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HISTORY PROJECT

We are working on compiling information for a possible book on the Homes of Huntersville and their infamous occupants. Previous owners range from The Van Cortlandts to rumors of Sidney Sheldon and Joan Crawford!!

Present Day Huntersville currently occupies six square miles between the Taconic Parkway, Route 129, and the Town of Cortlandt border. Most of the original village of Huntersville was lost after the New Croton Dam flooded some twenty square miles in the path of the Croton River. Of the old hamlet, little remains intact other than a few homes, a schoolhouse, and the church and cemetery at the junction of Baptist Church and Hunterbrook Roads.

 

The stone ruins of a former grist mill are said to stand near the church, but the old Wire Mill or Dugway – a covered bridge spanning the Croton River – was long ago dismantled, burned and replaced by the Hunterbrook Bridge. Some speculate that a brickyard once existed here as well. The Aqueduct Commission spent fifteen years in preparation for the New Croton Dam, appraising and condemning properties, evicting occupants, and relocating hundreds of buried bodies. Families moved to Route 120 or to Yorktown. Initial construction of the dam began in 1892, and by the time of its completion in 1907, scores of Italian and Irish immigrants were lured to the area to work on the project.

 

In 1957, half a century after the New Croton Dam was completed,  area resident Sam Tompkins once again saw his old house when the reservoir was drained for repairs. Before the dam was built, many houses were saved after being dismantled and rebuilt. One Tompkins house stands behind Tompkins Garage on Route 129. The old farmhouse, currently the local Department of Environmental Protection headquarters, situated on Route 129 and Locke Lane, was allegedly moved from its original location on logs.

The Tompkins family was among the earliest to settle in Huntersville. Family members may have been tenant farmers before they purchased land in the fertile Croton Valley from the Van Cortlandts around 1750; within seventy years they had amassed  fifteen hundred acres of land. By 1841, a calamitous flood had silted the Croton River in, denying farmers access to the Hudson River boats that had once transported their goods to market.