The purpose of this project is to show the Great Knot as part of a greater dynamic motivational environment of sustainable creativity. This cannot be understood without some background in the history of this environment.

This section is the history of Saugerties, New York, from its earliest beginnings as part of Kingston through its most recent times. A summary timeline below this introduction is offered to show significant highlights.

Saugerties is on the west bank of the Hudson River 100 miles north of New York City. It is the most northerly town in Ulster County, New York State. Easterly Saugerties borders parts of Columbia and Duchess Counties mid-channel in the Hudson. North and northwest it borders on Greene County. The Ulster County Towns of Ulster, Kingston and Woodstock border south and southwest.

Traditionally Saugerties has been measured at 30,000 acres or about 48 square miles between its eight mile frontage at sea level on the Hudson River and a 2200-foot elevation on the great escarpment of the Catskill Mountains. It is divided north-south by the Mount Marion Hills, or “Hoogebergs”, with peak elevations at Mount Marion of 740 feet and at Mount Airy of 612.

Midway along the Town's border with the mountains is the Plattekill Clove. This is a break in the mountain wall where a steep, scenic road travels from the 800-foot elevation at the edge of the Hudson Valley to the edge of the 1800-foot continental plateau in the Catskill Mountains in a little over a mile “as the crow flies”. Saugerties’ width is the closest the Catskill Mountains come to the Hudson River. Saugerties hosts the shortest routes between the tidewater of the Hudson River and the mountains through the Plattekill Clove, and other mountain accesses at the Kaaterskill Clove and at Woodstock.

All of the drainage from the eastern escarpment of the Catskill Mountains feeds into Saugerties’ Plattekill Creek. This enters the Esopus Creek on Saugerties’ southern border and combines with its drainage of the southeast slopes of the Catskills to enter the Hudson at the Village of Saugerties.

Two additional stream systems water Saugerties. The Hoogebergs drain into the Beaverkill Creek and flow north to enter the Kaaterskill Creek in Greene County. The Sawyerkill Creek meanders south through the broad flats north of the village and drops to the Hudson at its historically important mouth on the northern border of the Village of Saugerties.

Henry Hudson was filling his casks with water from the mouth of the Sawyerkill when he first encountered the Warranawonkongs, a tribe of the Lenne Lenope federation of Native Americans. After meeting Katskills, a tribe of the Mahican federation further up the river he spent three days on his return with the highest chiefs of both of these peoples at Saugerties. A passage from the 1609 journal kept during this voyage characterizes their gesturing from this point to the extent of their lands.

The Sawyerkill Creek had a significance ages before Henry Hudson’s “Discovery”. South of it was the territory of the Warranawonkong people which ranged to the headwaters of every tributary of the Esopus. The territory of the Katskills encompassed the drained lands to its north.

In 1685 when New York was divided into counties the mouth of the Sawyerkill Creek was used to define the border between the original counties of Albany and Ulster. At this time the means of declaring a true north for surveys was established as a line from the mouth of the Sawyerkill through its source at the "Great Fountain". Thus the aboriginal importance of the geographic characteristics of Saugerties was carried intact into the era of land surveying, making Saugerties literally and measurably "on the map" for ages.

Saugerties was a territory of the third settlement area of the early Dutch Colonial period: Esopus. It gains its name and separate identity as early as the 1680’s. It was governed as part of the Commons of Kingston for over 120 years and after the creation of Greene County and the division of the Kingston Patent in 1803 was officially named “Saugerties” and made into a Town in 1811. The village of Saugerties was first incorporated in 1831 as “Ulster” and renamed Saugerties-on-Hudson in 1855.

The purpose of this web site is to create a graphic matrix for interpreting historical references encountered while researching the site-specific aspects of the Great Knot. It places these historical and cultural references geographically in the time when they took form and developed. It is not created as an authoritative History. As a “Matrix” this work is designed to continually evolve as information is learned, evaluated and validated for placement on its pages. The initial statements made are subject to this authentication and the addition of references.

The landscape of Saugerties has changed significantly over its 400-year history. Its importance as a transportation hub has had routes change from footpaths to wagon roads to turnpikes, railroads and thruways. Its shoreline has been progressively adapted for access to the canoe, sloop, steamboat and ocean freighter. Industries have changed the course of water bodies and moved land forms. The passing of a few decades may have seen the removal of a landmark used in centuries of records or the creation of a new one used in the same context. For preservation and legal concerns the precise placement of period landmarks is a necessity.

Saugerties is full of fragments of history begging to be recognized and interpreted. It is a goal of this work to bring a common awareness to all of Saugerties’ citizens of the deserted roads, overgrown ruins, quarry pits and mounds, functional realignments of houses, yards and walls and other details of the built landscape that tell the story of Saugerties.

Saugerties has a story that is clearly linked to the land. It is the perfect base for building a site-specific reference to a work of art. So much has been buried in and layered upon it over the past that it is hard to find an inch of surface without something to say that enhances the meaning of the art.

This work will tell this history and link it to aspects of the Great Knot where history is recognizable and retrievable relative to every roadway, lot line and architectural landmark of not only the Town but the greater region it grew out of.

For the first time ever it presents maps of all the earliest land divisions and relates them to the most current property bounds. It shows Saugerties of today relative to past-era roads and existing and lost stone houses and abandoned and lost communities and the work places they supported in a way that an understanding of a present-day location’s place in history is more apparent than ever before possible.

The format is mobile-based. Maps and images are filled with information made accessible interactively using every graphic interface currently available to the Internet. Most details can only be seen with extreme enlargement of scalable vector graphics. Much is made into downloadable PDF so pages can be printed for reading the text and the illustrations and maps can be studied by enlargement and pans on a desktop device. All the graphics are made specifically to be digitally enlarged with a computer.

Development of this work for the computer also makes updating, correction and enhancement of the material and republishing and redistributing it economical and ecological.

This graphic work grew out of the experience of creating maps for locating surveyed properties for a 2004-2005 Cultural Resources Survey of the Town of Saugerties under a Preservation League of New York State grant. That material and numerous discoveries made since, in particular the collections of Morris Rosenblum generously made accessible by Dan Lamb, Jr. of Rosenblum and Lamb, PC, has been used in developing the hundreds of interpretive pages that fill this web site.

The original date of the beginning of this digital document is December 26, 2006. The date of this web page is January 14, 2015.

Michael Sullivan Smith

Sources: Penn State scan in Hathi Trust of Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, History of Ulster County, 1880, viewable; searchable on line; not available for full download (available to Partners only); Library of Congress scan in Hathi Trust of Benjamin Myer Brink, Early History of Saugerties, 1905, viewable; searchable on line; available as a PDF download; Yale University scan in Hathi Trust of Alphonso T. Clearwater, History of Ulster County, 1905, viewable; searchable on line; available as a PDF download; Library of Congress scan in Hathi Trust of Marius Schoonmaker, History of Kingston New York, 1888, viewable; searchable on line; available as a PDF download; Gutenberg project transcription ebook of Cadwallader Colden, The History of the Five Indian Nations of Canada Part I (1727), Part II (1747), viewable on line

1609, Sept. 25th Henry Hudson's first mate, Robert Juet, summarized in his journal a resource survey of what is believed to be the land inland from the outlet of the Esopus Creek at Saugerties

1669, April 9th Settlement within present Saugerties is documented for the first time in a mention of the footpath to Albany and the Platte Kill Creek as an area described for establishing a Precinct of Kingston around Dutch Settlement (Ruby)

1677, April 27th (after) a side treaty made after the official Andros Treaty when the Indians said they had not included their Flatbush lands east of the Esopus that they called Tendeyachemech, from Turkey Point to Barclay Heights

1687, May 31st The Meales and Hayes patents, surveyed in 1685 as Albany county land, are granted with the description that they are located in the "Sagiers"

1687, May 19th Saugerties falls within the great Kingston Patent that is granted for all land east of the Catskill base to the Hudson River from the Ulster county border with Albany county south to the New Paltz patent

1687, Nov. 27th The first settlers in Saugerties are documented in the deed to John and Hannah Wood out of the Meales and Hayes patent for land they had already settled along the south bank of the Esopus within the present day Esopus Bend Conservancy

1688, May 27th Half of present day Saugerties becomes part of a royal charter given for governing the territory granted as the Kingston Patent when it is incorporated as the Town of Kingston

1710-11 The large Palatine immigration into West Camp that resulted in the settlement of the part of Saugerties that was in Albany County being absorbed into the Town of Kingston

1765 homesteads and roads of Saugerties are surveyed along the boundary line between Ulster and Albany counties from the Sawyer Creek outlet through the Woodstock valley by William Cockburn

1777, Oct. British fleet anchored in the Hudson channel north of the Esopus shoals burned and shelled riverfront interests of the Livingstons at the landings of Saugerties

1803, March The Trustees of the Corporation of Kingston voted to divide the Kingston Patent's common lands into lots and sell them to resident freeholders of the colonial Town of Kingston

1811, April 5 The land of the Town of Kingston north of the Platte Kill and the second and seventh classes of Kingston Commons lots are incorporated as the Town of Saugerties

1825, Aug. 9 The ledger book of Henry Barclay records contracts paying John Wurts $28,840 and John Bolton $15,000 to construct his dam, waterworks and mills in Saugerties at the same time these contractors are beginning the D&H canal

1825, Sept. 27 to Dec. 30 The ledger book of Henry Barclay lists contracts to pay a total of $24,910 to Isaac T. Perry as the drives and machinery for America's first machine to produce a continuous web of paper is installed and made operational in Saugerties

1827, Sept. 29 Contracts, agreements and deeds record West Point Foundry principles buying Henry Barclay's developed iron works and all the land that is now Cantine Island

1827, March John Kiersted laid out the Livingston and Barclay division and also his own land south of Main street, naming the original streets and lot numbers of the village of Saugerties

1828 A charter is given for the Saugerties and Woodstock turnpike company to improve the old Livingston road from the village of Saugerties to Shandaken

1828, April John Simmons is employed to develop double puddling furnaces at the iron works and the first purified iron in America is made at Saugerties

1831, April 26 The village of Saugerties is incorporated as Ulster by Henry Barclay merging his mill interests at Ury on the rim of Barclay Heights with the town's business interests centered on the Main and Market terminus of the turnpike

1831 The Town's manufacturing and industrial interests begin with Silas Brainard's commercial bluestone quarrying in Centerville, Matthew Laflin's gunpowder manufacturing on the Platte Kill falls at Fish Creek and Edward Clark's white lead paint manufacturing at the Glenerie falls.

1835, Oct. 29 beginning entry in Edward Clark's letter book for his Great Falls Manufacturing Company that chronicles his business over a seven year period giving a first hand account of business life in Saugerties

1835 James Eights runs a transit from atop the Catskills through the Glenerie falls to the Hudson river below Glasco for publication in the January, 1836 issue of The Zodiac, a science and arts magazine, as one of the earliest geological surveys in America

1837 The steamboat Commodore Vanderbilt, is the first to enter the Esopus to Barclay's docks and begin scheduled service from the village of Saugerties

1840, Feb. The original Barclay bridge was destroyed and replaced with the longest Burr arch bridge in New York, built by Ralph Bigelow who had built Trinity church a decade before

1844 Renwick and Battelle first arrive in Saugerties to take over Edward Clark's white lead works at Glenerie and operate it as the Ulster White Lead Works.

1850 The steam ferry "Airline" begins regular service from Saugerties village to the warehouses at Tivoli Landing carrying goods for the steamboats and soon after, the railroad

1853 John B. Sheffield takes over management of the Barclay family paper mill after Henry Barclay's death in 1851, making it into J. B. Sheffield and Company in 1858

1858, Feb. Henry Barclay's 1825 stone dam broke and was replaced under an agreement between the paper mill and iron works that gave Ulster Iron Works priority rights to the power and removed the rights of mills on the opposite side of the new dam

1872, June Barclay's original paper mill burned and a new mill replaced it built by William R. Sheffield, becoming the first of several new Sheffield buildings built up to 1888

1875, Jan. - Dec. The Pearl is published in 12 monthly issues with three photographs of local scenes taken by Edward Jurnegan pasted in each copy and writings by Leon Barritt primarily on the Saugerties history and period observations

1877, June The Long Dock opens on lands patented to Joseph B. Sheffield from the State of New York specifically for construction and use of a public transportation facility

1883, July The 1881 right-of-way purchases for a north extension of the Wallkill R.R. are traded to the West Shore R.R. and construction through Saugerties is completed

1884 The iron works shut down and its land and buildings and water rights are sold to W. R. Sheffield by William Mulligan

1886 William Henry Parsons replaces the iron works with a mill for an experimental process to make wood pulp for paper making

1887 Water from the reservoir in Blue Mountain begins to be piped into the village and crosses the bridge to supply water pressure to hydrants at the mills

1887 the first Sanborn Insurance maps are made for the Village of Saugerties in a period of transition from water power to steam and electricity and from river transportation to the railroad

1888 Martin Cantine's coating mill is built and the Sheffield's "bindery" is built initiating the industries that will be Saugerties mainstays for the next 90 years

1891 An electricity generating plant at the old Baptist church on Partition street delivered the first electricity for use in the village

1895 The Ulster White Lead Works is bought by the lead trust, is shut down with all of its equipment moved to lead trust producers in the west

1899-1906 The Ulster White Lead Company property is the site of a proposed dam by the Roanoke Water Company (1899), a crafts colony by Boston investors (1902), and a hydroelectric dam by John Sands (1904) until the legislature gives New York City the water rights to the Esopus Creek for the Ashokan Reservoir in 1906 taking away its water advantages

1902 Edwin Gould takes over the iron works first right to water power and transfers them to Martin Cantine for electric generation after a court settlement gave ownership of the mill pond and bed of the Esopus and second right to the water power to the Sheffield family trust.

1914 The Tissue Factory is built by Martin Cantine alongside the West Shore R. R. tracks as the first mill in Saugerties not related to water power or water transportation

1929 The third dam in the village, replacing the wood dam built in 1858, is made of concrete and designed by engineers at the Diamond Paper Mill, and declared by co-builder Martin Cantine to be more for aesthetic and recreational use of the pond than for power

1939 Harvey Fite purchases the Ben Myers quarry and begins Opus 40

1942 The route of a super highway across New York is placed on maps for the first time and Saugerties is marked as an initial section to be developed, called the "Catskill Thruway"

1948 the part of the Martin Cantine Valley Farm in the village that was sold to Knaust Brothers in 1936 is developed by them as the first expansion of housing since the 1880's

1951, July 4 The section of the thruway from State Rt. 212 and Rt. 32 at Saugerties to Brick Schoolhouse Road at State Rt. 23 near Catskill opens to regular automobile use

1957 The new Mount Marion school and the high school open as Saugerties begins planning for a residential base that over the next two decades doubles its population.

1969-1989 The paper mill shuts down (1969) and is demolished; the Cantine mill shuts down and burns to the ground (1978) and the F. L. Russell Bindery moves to the town, is sold and finally closed down, ending a hundred and sixty years of local industry

1984 The Main and Partition Streets National Register Historic District is created

1990, August 4th The Saugerties lighthouse restoration is completed after it had been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979

1994, August The 25th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival is the first use of the Winston Farm as a concert site and attracts record crowds and international attention to Saugerties

2000 The Saugerties Historical Society purchases the Kiersted House and it becomes a National Register historic property

2003 The part of the Valley Farm outside the village is developed by Horseshows In The Sun (HITS) and Saugerties begins applying a Comprehensive Plan as a tourist destination

The Great Knot, April 27, 2011

Michael Sullivan Smith, 2015
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