Former steamboat buildings in Saugerties are being ‘faithfully’ rehabilitated

The Saugerties and New York Steamboat Company warehouses on Ferry Street, a fixture of the Saugerties landscape since the late 19th century, has been included on the New York State Register of Historic Places. On September 14, the New York State Review Board for Preservation accepted the site’s nomination, terming it historically significant for the evolution of local commerce and industry.

The nominating document has been sent for review to the National Park Service, where it can be accredited for placement on the National Historic Register. This listing will support the site’s pending approval for the historic preservation tax-credit program. Designation will support current propertyowner Thomas Struzzieri, proprietor of HITS and The Diamond Mills, in his restorative visions for the land parcel.

“We are extremely pleased that the historic value of this property has been recognized by the review board,” said Teryl Mickens, managing member of Exceedance, a historic tax-credit consultancy.


Along the southerly banks of the Esopus, the two warehouses remain remarkably intact. Built circa 1875 and initially owned by Henry Barclay, the warehouses are a reminder of an era in which Saugerties played an integral role in the industrialization of the Hudson Valley. At the time, the properties were flanked by the J.B. Sheffield Paper Mill, Ulster White Lead (nicknamed the Slow Kill), Saugerties Gas Works and the Finger and Lewis Lumber and Coal Company.

The buildings were constructed of locally sourced common red brick, embellished with local bluestone accoutrements. In some spots, flecks of the yellow paint meant to protect the brick from waterfront conditions are still visible. Asphalt roofs were added to the properties about 1940. At some point in the structure’s history, shuttered windows were removed and replaced. Their interiors are outfitted with exposed brick and wooden floors.

Ferry travel was commonplace  In the era before the Hudson Valley bridges made crossings of the Hudson and Esopus. Known colloquially as the “Saugerties Night Boats” and “The Saugerties Evening Line,” two steamboats kept at the warehouse docks, the Saugerties and the Ansonia, would transport people and freight alike from Saugerties to New York City, and also accommodate visiting travelers to and from Catskill Mountain resorts.

Offering the lowest freight rate at any point on the Hudson, the ferries were one of the village’s most important businesses by 1898. The company guaranteed that shipments brought to the warehouse at 6 p.m. would arrive in New York City at 7 a.m. At the turn of the century, the Saugerties Evening Line took approximately eight hours to travel from the docks to the city.

Struzzieri has steadily been repairing the properties since 2015. He plans to transform the underutilized facility into an event venue and boatyard. The first of the two warehouses, now called the Saugerties Steamboat Co., has been renovated and reimagined as a restaurant. The second building will serve as a marina office for the boatyard and a site for kayak and paddle boat rentals. The docks are also in the process of being repaired for use.

“This is the best and highest use of the historic preservation tax-credit program,” said Mickens. “The credits help the owners and investors deflect some of the enormous costs of faithful rehabilitation [to] spur local economic development and preserve our shared architectural and cultural heritage.”

There are 2 comments

  1. Michael Sullivan Smith

    I see no excuse for inaccuracies now since the release of A Brief History of Saugerties in June of 2016. If the circa date and use of the waterfront in this story have found their way into a National Register nomination documentation it’s a real shame. These warehouses are from nearly half a century after the Barclay era of the early Industrial Revolution but are nonetheless very important in the era of transportation as river decline met railroad growth in the 1880s. They should use those merits for their historic importance. The picture of the Ansonia at its dock from 1875 in The Pearl has no warehouses evident and the earliest sign of one is in the 1892 Sanborn insurance maps, but only one at that time. The best picture of them together is from 1903 when the Saugerties burned at the dock right in front of them.

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