How Dutch Is New York? - The Kingston Stockade Tour

Kingston, NY, United States
Est. 3.3km / 1 hr 7 mins / Map

How Dutch Is New York? - The Kingston Stockade Tour - Cya On The Road

IMPORTANT!READ THIS FIRST! From 1629 onwards the Dutch West India Company allowed patroonships in New Netherland, one being Rensselaerswijck, near what is now Albany, NY. After living and working there for a while, a group of Dutch and other European settlers wanted to leave to own and work their own land. Thomas Chambers, an Englishman, led the group that settled in Esopus, now Kingston, NY. He purchased the land in 1652 from the Esopus Native Americans. The name was changed to Wiltwyck, meaning “wild place”. The name changed once again when the Dutch Governor, Peter Stuyvesant, surrendered the colonies to the British in 1664. Wiltwyck then became called Kingston, New York. In 1658a group of 60-70 settlers living along the Esopus Creek moved from the lowlands to the bluff above. Board by board, they took their barns and houses down, carted them uphill and rebuilt them behind a 14-foot high wall. Some of their names are still connected with the homes they once built.They were ordered to move for their safety by the Director General of the colony of New Netherland, Peter Stuyvesant, who selected the site because its height on three sides afforded natural protection. Disputes between the settlers and the Esopus Indians, farming side by side for about five years, had brought both sides to the brink of war. Despite the discord, the Esopus Indians gave the land for the new village as a gift to honor Stuyvesant. The settlers built the wall in three weeks from tree trunks pounded into the ground. By day, the men left their walled village, called Wiltwyck, to go out to farm their fields in the lowlands, but the women and children were confined to life within the stockade. The villagers lived this way until 1664 when a peace treaty was signed ending the second of two wars with the Esopus Indians. The stockade walls are long gone, but the streets of the original village, planned by Peter Stuyvesant, remain laid out just as they were in 1658. The earliest houses of wood are also gone, replaced by the limestone houses that populate the Stockade Area. Today they are still used as homes and offices, a testament to their sturdiness and timeless design. Built with stones hauled right from the field, many began as a single room with a loft above and were gradually expanded vertically and horizontally. A few were given “facelifts” by 19th century owners who added architectural elements such as Gothic Revival gables and gingerbread trim.    If these stones could talk, they would tell you how they witnessed the birth of New York State in this neighborhood in 1777. Today, you can still stand in the room in the 1676 Abraham Van Gaasbeek House where the first elected Senate met – hence the name Senate House – and at the site of the county courthouse where the New York State Constitution was written, adopted and read to the public on April 22, 1777. On this site also, Chief Justice John Jay administered the oath of office to New York State’s first elected governor George Clinton whose gravesite is just a few steps away in the Old Dutch Church cemetery. Because it was serving as New York State’s first capital, the village was burned by the British on October 16, 1777. More than 300 homes, barns and other buildings were torched, forcing the state government to vacate the village and move further north. But the resilient residents, stone by stone, rebuilt Kingston. More than three centuries later, its noteworthy past is still very visible. Families with names dating back from the 17thand 18thcentury Dutch colonists like Schoonmaker, Hasbrouck, Deyo, Roosa, and TenBroeck can still be found in today’s Kingston.The Stockade was named a National Historic District in 1969. Press ‘Start’ now, and enjoy your walk through the Stockade today. Your first stop is the Fred J. Johnston House at 63 Main Street. Close to each stop the audio information will start automatically, because you walk into a GPS-zone. If the audio doesn’t start, you can either read the information or tap on the number you are at on the screen. This will set off the audio.

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