Long Island Archeology

Westchester Archeology by longislandarcheology
May 5, 2008, 1:18 pm
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Moving south of Connecticut, Westchester County is located about 15 miles south of New York City.  The county consists of New Rochelle, Yonkers, Mount Vernon, White Plains, Hartsdale, Scarsdale and many other towns.  Westchester is known for its beautiful landscapes and rich history.  Westchester has a local newspaper called The Westchester County Genealogical Society that has a monthly series dedicated to giving an overview of a different town every month.  In the Yonkers series they focus on how Yonkers had been one of the towns that remained unchanged for the longest, but when it did change it made a huge positive impact on itself and the surrounding areas.  The name Yonkers came from the first landowner to settle there named Van Der Donck, “De Jonkheer” for short.  It was officially changed to Yonkers March 7, 1788.  Nothing changed about Yonkers or was touched until December 16, 1872.  Yonkers stretches about two miles along the Hudson River.  On January 30, 2008 the Preservation League of New York State in Albany added Yonkers former Glenwood Power Station to the list of The Empire’s States Most Threatened Historic Resources (aka Seven to Save).

(Glenwood Power Station, click for full; from oboylephoto)

  In 1904, the power station started out as a railroad for New York Central and Hudson.  Now it stands as a monument to 20th century engineering and to the New York Central Railroad electrification, which in turn lead to industrialization and the suburban growth of Westchester County.  The same designers who designed the New York Central Railroad also designed New York’s Grand Central Station.  In the  Hudson Valley Ruins: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape, a book co-authored by Rob Yasinsac and Tom Rinaldi it had this to say about the station.

“When completed, the Yonkers Power Station stood as a triumphant expression of the architecture and engineering of its day … built of red brick, with rows of monumental arched windows, red terracotta trim and corbelled cornices. [The plant closed in 1963,] dwarfed by newer and more efficient power plants in New York and farther up the Hudson.  Now, more than forty years after it closed, the Yonkers Power Station remains abandoned, a hulking industrial ruin facing out across the river toward the cliffs of the palisades.

(Inside the power station, from Impose Magazine)

“After decades of abandonment, it has become arguably the most noteworthy and dramatic ruin, industrial or other, on the Hudson River,” said Yasinsac. “The historian Roger Panetta used the power station in Bill Moyer’s 2003 PBS special on the river to illustrate not only the decline of industry on the Hudson, but more importantly to show an example of the kind of landmark now threatened by decay and by growing pressure to redevelop the river’s long neglected shoreline.”

The Seven to Save list received massive amounts of positive publicity in 1999, and from there led to stabilization of many other Historic sites not just located in Westchester.             

Today there is the Hudson River Museum which was started in 1919 as city hall.  The museum features historic paintings and documents from the 19th and 20th century.  A lot of the exhibits and artworks focus on the beauty of the area and the industrialization process that the area went through and how it affected the surrounding areas.  The Museum’s mission is to reflect and preserve. 



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