Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Two local history presentations will have you yearning to learn

“Peekskill Bay From Industry to Recreation” & “Lost Annsville: The History of Annsville”
Peekskill Bay and the narrows of the Hudson Photo Credit: Library of Congress

How do you choose from two phenomenal programs that highlight different aspects and parts of the Peekskill and Cortlandt area from the past to the present? How do you choose when you will be yearning to go to both of them, but can’t because they are both at the same time and on the same day? How do you choose when your curiosity to learn and your love of local history is drawing you to both programs? We don’t have the answer, but we do know that whichever program you choose, you will not regret the hour spent learning about the local history or the area. Both programs will be so good you will not be able to hold back telling others everything you learned. 

The Peekskill Yacht Club presents “Peekskill Bay from Industry to Recreation” at the Peekskill Yacht Club Thursday June 13 at 7:00 pm

For a brief moment, think of the Peekskill Riverfront. What do you see? What memories are conjured up when you think about it.

The Hudson River? A large green field? Dunderberg or Bear Mountain? The Diver? The Playground? The gazebo? Fireman’s Park? The boats or tug boats going up and down pushing and pulling? Kids playing? Families enjoying music at the Riverfront Series? Fireworks on Independence Day or in the past from the Peekskill Celebrations? Maybe even the “Worlds Largest” festivals that set records in the Guiness Book of World records from 1978-1989 for the world’s largest omelet, submarine sandwich, cake, apple strudel, and so many more. 

Whatever memories that came to mind, I am sure they are fond memories. 

But have you ever wondered what the Riverfront looked like in the past? How did it become the gem on the Hudson in Peekskill that we take for granted today? How it developed into what it is today with so many things to do and a Riverwalk that connects it all for over two continuous miles?

How and when did Peekskill Bay transform from a gritty industrial waterfront to a place where people can enjoy many different types of recreation including walking, biking, running, kayaking, fishing, and, of course…boating!?  

Find out when Peekskill Yacht Club historian Thom Johnson presents “Peekskill Bay from Industry to Recreation” at the Peekskill Yacht Club on Thursday, June 13 at 7PM. This event is brought to the public free and is open to the entire community. 

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  • Photo Courtesy: Thom Johnson

  • Photo Courtesy: Thom Johnson

  • Photo Courtesy: Thom Johnson

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The Peekskill Yacht Club 

The Peekskill Yacht club was chartered in 1908 making it one of the oldest boat clubs on the Hudson. Like many of the other clubs on the river, The Peekskill Yacht Club is a working club, which means members work together to maintain the docks, floats, harbor, clubhouse and more. The Peekskill Yacht Club is also very community oriented. The club supports the Sea Scouts, continually teaches and brings boating education to the community, brings kids from the Peekskill summer camps on boat rides, and hosts many historical presentations throughout the year. 

The club is open to anyone who wants to be part of the boating on the Hudson community. For more information check out the Peekskill Yacht Club Facebook page or contact Keith Rapping at: [email protected] for more information. 


The Croton Friends of History presents “Lost Annsville: The history of Annsville with Kirk Moldoff” at the Croton Library June 13 at 7:00 pm

Everyone knows of the Annsville Circle. Go a quarter of the way around and you can head north on Route 9. Go three-quarters of the way around and you can take the Goat Tail up to the Bear Mountain Bridge which turns 100 years old this year. Today, the Annsville Circle has a Mobil gas station with a Dunkin Donuts in it and next door is Table 9 restaurant. On the other side of the circle is a small park where there are a few benches, a kayak dock, and where Hudson River Expeditions hosts kayak and stand-up paddleboard tours and rentals. It is also the area where the Annsville Creek enters into the Hudson River and where the Town of Cortlandt is looking to redevelop to become an enhanced Waterfront District according to the River Journal North. 

People also know of Annsville as they also drive out of Peekskill heading towards Cortlandt just past Spare Cube, formerly Highland Storage and cross over the Annsville Creek where they are met by Cortlandt Colonial Restaurant, what old Peekskillians would call the Rock Cut, Jim Reeds Trucks, a Gulf gas station and the Redline Roadhouse Restaurant. The whole area encompases the area known as Annsville.

“Factory on the Hudson” (Blast Furnace at Annsville)
Frank Anderson, 1867
Stair Gallery
(Photo Courtesy of Kirk Moldoff)

This is where the remnant of the Wire Mill at Annsville was located just before Highland Avenue ascends to join Route 9. At one time, a giant 23-foot wide water-wheel stood there, of which there are countless postcards and images. It operated from roughly 1819 to 1831 as a paper mill leased from Pierre Van Cortlandt and had a wheel some 23 feet in diameter. It later became a wire mill and operated until it burned in 1883. At the time, it was the largest employer in Peekskill.

22nd Regiment soldiers posing for photographs on a mill wheel, State Camp (Camp Smith), Peekskill, N.Y., June 16, 1903.
George E. Stonebridge, photographer
New York Historical Society
(Photo Courtesy of Kirk Moldoff)

The tiny hamlet of Annsville was home to some of Peekskill and Cortlandt’s first industries. Other mills operated on Annsville Creek including the first paper mill, Tobacco and Snuff Mill, followed by Capt. J.W. Binney’s lamp black factory on what became known as LampBlack Hill due to the amount of soot produced there.

The Lampblack Factory was the antecedent to a crayon dynasty. A blast furnace owned by the Peekskill Iron Company was built in 1853 to supply Peekskill’s many plow and stove foundries and on the shore of Annsville Creek it had its own narrow gauge railroad running to the Croft mines of Putnam County inside of what is now known as Fahnestock State Park.

The Peekskill Chemical Works (Binney’s Lampblack Factory)
artist unknown, 1871
Collection of the author
(Photo Courtesy of Kirk Moldoff)

Yet, not a trace remains of these vibrant industries and others that were central to the existence of this little hamlet called Annsville. The only thing left are the  sites depicted by Peekskill’s Frank Anderson (1844-1891), a painter and inventor who sketched and painted Peekskill and Annsville Creek more than any other artist.

On Thursday, June 13 at 7 p.m. at the Croton Free Library the Croton Friends of History brings in local historian and Industrial Archaeologist, Kirk Moldoff to discover the history of “Lost Annsville”. 


“This talk is a favorite research area of mine, about the old industries from a forgotten area, including tobacco and paper mills with the largest being the Wire Mill, Peekskill’s largest employer until the days of Fleischmann’s” Moldoff stated. “It also had a blast furnace that provided iron for the stove and plow foundries in town.”  Kirk continued, “The bit of its history that I’ve researched the most, but became twisted, would be that of the Lampblack Factory of J.W. Binney, whose son later created Crayola crayons.” 

Moldoff will bring the history of Lost Annsville to life with “plenty of fun images” that will keep the audience enthralled.

Visit the Peekskill Herald Events Calendar Features and the Peekskill Herald Event Calendar to see more local events.

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About the Contributor
Dave Mueller
As a Peekskill native, Dave is thrilled to be working with the Peekskill Herald showcasing featured calendar events. A 1999 graduate of PHS, he remembers reading and enjoying the original weekly print edition of the Peekskill Herald every Thursday. He especially liked the political stories, local features and sports coverage when it was written by Peekskill Runner columnist Jack Burns who always managed to weave history into the running times. An avid hiker, he enjoys exploring the local trails as well as the concrete ones in his job as a conductor for Metro North Railroad. He’s a former teacher and co-founder of the Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park, where he frequently can be found with his Koda. He’s happy to be part of the Herald’s growth as the source of local news for Peekskill and looks forward to highlighting a few of many of the events and happenings in Peekskill and the surrounding communities. Reach Dave at [email protected]