How Saugerties streets got their names, part III


The Village Addition streets

When the village incorporated in 1831, its borders were set to geographic landmarks where the Sawyerkill meets Malden Ave., the Tannery Brook meets the turnpike, and the road to the ford crossed the Esopus near the village line and Esopus Bend. New streets spread out to fill these corners once the nucleus of the earliest surveyed village filled out.

The Esopus Bend area was a very active place far before the village formed. On the south shore was the farmstead and mill of the first settlers in Saugerties, the family of Hannah and John Wood, who were well established before the first land grants of the late 1680s. A fording place over a bedrock formation behind the Stony Point Falls always had a mill there until Barclay’s dam downstream pushed the water level up, reducing the natural advantages of the site. A ferry and pontoon bridge kept the road at the ford useful and a few houses along the road had a commercial or tavern function back then. Barclay’s 1831 bridge at the dam removed this advantage, too. The division line between the village and town runs along the roadbed that reached this crossing.

Today on the north shoreline is a secluded 1930s development called Oakledge Park. Oakledge Dr. is the old roadbed from the colonial crossing and is named after the estate of George W. Washburn. It included the entire west side of the village after the Civil War. Oakledge Dr. circles back to Main St. by way of Reed Pl., named for Washburn’s son-in-law, H. Clark Reed. Esopus Dr. runs off this circuit parallel to the creek bend shoreline where cottages have views up the length of the Esopus. Oakledge Park, Esopus Creek Rd. and Finger Hill Rd. all intersect at the village border where Main St. ends. Esopus Creek Rd. continues out of the village to where cottages along the creek were built in the 1910s on lots subdivided from the old Peter Cantine Farm. Finger Hill Rd. once continued on to the Kings Hwy. from Main St., but like the creek road, is now dead-ended.


In pre-village times, after crossing the Esopus here, the road continued uphill and along what is now the east boundary of the cemetery and then down Myer Ln. to present-day Teetsel St. to skirt the bog lands where the Tannery Brook leaves its deep ravine and reaches the level of the Esopus. This ravine was an obstruction before the turnpike made a crossing for it right at SPAF. Myer Ln. is named for the stone houses that mark both ends of this route; the Petrus Myer house where Elizabeth St. meets Livingston and the Hendrick Myer house where Teetsel St. meets Ulster Ave.

The area of the village where the Saugerties and Woodstock Tpke. entered was only brought into the village with the arrival of the West Shore Railroad in 1881, and then not developed with residential streets until after Martin Cantine built the Tissue Factory in 1914, where SPAF is today. High St., where Town Hall is located, was part of this Cantine subdivision plan, as was North St. Previously, this part of the village was just warehouses and slaughterhouses along the railroad sidings. Lumber, coal and stone yards were the main businesses between the Railroad Ave. and the toll house (located where Saugerties Lumber is now).

Elm St. was first developed in the 1880s and is said to have been a showcase of quality housing for the time. Elm St. runs parallel to the Canoe Hill on its east side straight into and merging with Market St. where they rise over a break halfway along the Canoe Hill’s length and meet up with North St. to continue along the west base of the hill. That cut from Market St. through Canoe Hill to meet North St. separated the more earthy side of Saugerties from the residences. The west side of Canoe Hill was where the slaughterhouses were allowed.

Halfway down Elm St. is the block-long Dawes St. reaching over to Market. It is named for Thomas Dawes, a doctor, and his wife Elizabeth, whose estate house was where the Clermont Apartments are built on Market St. The carriage house from this estate is still intact.

(Click to visit attachment page, where image can be enlarged.)

From the 1858 French’s map of Ulster County

Dr. Dawes built his house where the Peter Post homestead house was and purchased the old Post farm’s open fields on the west side of Market from Jeremiah Russell’s estate in 1869. Elm and Market St. lots were laid out by Mrs. Elizabeth Dawes in 1872. This was the earliest planned expansion area of the village and appears to have been conceived as early as the grid of streets seen on the 1858 French’s map of Ulster County.

Partition St. had not yet been extended on this French’s map north of where it always began at Main St. John St. was the earliest street to run north from Main east of Partition. John St. is named after John W. Davis, a merchant who came in the late 1840s and around 1851 built the store where the Inquiring Mind bookstore is now. The street probably began as just a lane to his house, which is the earliest one there. John’s house now faces down a short street called Irving Pl. toward the Kiersted farmlands. It marks the rear of Fordyce Laflin’s estate grounds, where his large mansion house faced Main St. (where the senior housing is now). Facing down Irving Pl. toward the Davis house is Egbert Cooper’s house, built around 1874, when the Kiersted farm first began to subdivide along the extended Washington Ave. Cooper was John Davis’ business partner.

Lafayette St. is on French’s 1858 map. It is, of course, named after the Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the Revolution. It is the first project of John Kiersted, Jr., and is on land of the old Post farm. Its lots were fully developed by 1869 and preceded the division plan of the Kiersted farm and the development of Washington Ave. north of Main St. by several years.

The street running east of Market St. behind Lafayette is Finger St. The back of the lots on its south side run the south fence line of the Finger Farm which ran all the way northwest to Canoe Hill. These fields are captured in a photograph for The Pearl in 1875 that shows the Finger house on Market St. (which still stands) and the distant village in the background.

Treis Terrace runs off Finger into a small mid-20th century development at the back of what were Dr. Dawes’ estate grounds. Prospect and Robinson streets are also later developments in addition to Treis Terrace on old Finger Farm land. These streets use names of developers or local luminaries or just plain descriptive words instead of names that reference early families and national heroes.

By the 1960s, the Knaust addition to the village of the late-1940s and the division of the Schoonmaker land together built out the eastern end of the village to cover what remained of farmland running up to the Sawyerkill. The huge Schoonmaker Dutch barn at the corner of Main St. and Malden Ave. and the English barn behind the Kiersted house and the modern barn complex of Martin Cantine’s Valley Farm at the Sawyerkill were gone by the late 1960s. Their fields had been crisscrossed with streets named Gurth Ln., Willow Ln., Virginia Ave., Williams St., Mill Ln., Sawyerkill Terrace, Warren Pl., and Brinnier Ln. Some of the streets that had preceded them from the late 1920s, like Bennett St., laced through them into extensions of the original Finger and Lafayette streets to cut up the pastures the village had integrated into its growth patterns for the previous century and a quarter.

The next installment will cover the streets of the Clarkson Grounds, which is the hillside down to lower Partition St. and the bridge.

Read the other installments in this series.