Wappinger is a community with a long history steeped in heroism, innovation, and prosperity; which has allowed our town to grow. We are home to a variety of places of historical interest, some owned by the Town of Wappinger or Village of Wappingers Falls, and others by independent not-for-profit organizations that maintain them and welcome residents and visitors to see and explore. The following is a list of only our public historical locations.
Carnwath Farms Historic Site & Park – 81 Carnwath Farms Lane, Wappinger, NY
- A 99.7 acre Victorian-era estate turned Town park that sits high above the Hudson River with magnificent views of the valley. The oldest structure on the property is the 1850 Carnwath Manor, an Italianate style villa that was once the country estate of some of the region’s most wealthy families. Carnwath was originally for William and Lydia Willis, relatives of the Mesier family in nearby Wappingers Falls. The estate was named from a Manor home set in Scotland. Willis was a retired hardware merchant from New York City. He sold the Carnwath Manor and the rest of the 200 acre estate after the Civil War to General George Barclay and then built Obercreek. In 1870, General Barclay sold Carnwath to his son-in-law, Francis Robert Rives. Rives’ father served as the U.S. Ambassador to France. Rives constructed the Carriage House in 1873 to hold some of the finest carriages and stable horses in the entire country. Later his son, Reginald, inherited the estate, he was elected supervisor of Wappinger in 1900. Around 1910 the property was sold to Isaac Untermyer, who was famous for defending N.Y.C. Mayor William “Boss” Tweed.
The park grounds and Reese Cultural Center are opened to the public but the manor is closed to the public. View Website
Chelsea Post Office – 17 Liberty Street, Chelsea, NY
- An excellent surviving example of early mid-19th century one room school house architecture sitting in the heart of the waterfront hamlet of Chelsea. The Chelsea Post Office was built in 1875, as the first public works project by the then newly formed Town of Wappinger. The brick structure served as the hamlet’s schoolhouse from the time of its construction to 1940.
CoSM, Chapel of Sacred Mirrors – 46 Deer Hill Road, Wappinger, NY
- The 49 acre visionary art sanctuary is located on a former Victorian-era estate in the Wheeler Hill Historic District. The art gallery, cafe, and bed & breakfast is located in the 1865 “Elmhurst Mansion” that was built by Samuel Sands a banker and broker in partnership with William Henry Reese and joined the New York Stock Exchange in 1854. He acted as broker for a number of important financial interests, including the Astor Family. By the mid 1900’s, the United Church of Christ operated a church on the property. Since no physical church building was ever constructed, they conducted services at an outdoor pulpit. The property formerly housed the Deer Hill Conference Center, and now The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, an art sanctuary created by artists, Alex Grey and Allyson Grey. Ground and Galleries open year round Friday – Monday. View Website
Grinnell Public Library – 2642 East Main Street, Wappingers Falls, NY
- A Swiss-Alps inspired structure built in 1881 as a gift to the people of Wappingers Falls by Irving Grinnell. New York State’s sixth oldest library, Grinnell hired a New York City architect, Henry M. Congdon, and supplied him a list of architectural features he wanted to include. The tower is modeled after one he saw in St. Battenberg, Switzerland, and the way the second story overhangs the first pays homage to buildings he liked in Chester, England. In 1888, Grinnell Library was chartered as an association library. The library was in what is now the upstairs reading room, with an entrance by way of the winding staircase in the turret. The main room below it was rented, first to a jewelry store and later (after 1926) to a clothing store. At the western end of the building, a second entrance led to a rental apartment upstairs, and the offices of the local newspaper, the Wappingers Chronicle, downstairs. The Chronicle also rented the basement for their printing plant. The building was lit by gas until 1912, when it was electrified. View Website
Lafayette Lodge, No. 18 – IOOF – 2624 South Avenue, Wappingers Falls, NY
- Lafayette Lodge is the oldest, continuous fraternal organizations in the Village of Wappingers Falls. The society first met in 1838 at the Blackburn Hotel which was located on West Main Street. Charter members were John Kennedy, J.D. Stewart, George Chattilon, Joseph Young, William Taylor, John Ellison, and John Blackburn. In 1876, the Mesier family donated land for a lodge. The building was constructed by lodge members and dedicated on May 2, 1877. Festivities included speeches and a parade through the village led by Brennan’s Band. Delegations of Odd Fellows from Beacon, Poughkeepsie, and NYC joined the march. Since 1877, the group has held its meetings on the third floor. Rental apartments on the floors below generate income and help support the organization’s mission. The Odd Fellows still meet on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of every month. View Website
Mesier Homestead Historic Site – Mesier Park, 2 Spring Street, Wappingers Falls, NY
- Part of the Wappingers Falls Historic District built in 1741 by Nicholas Brewer and his father Adolphus, who settled here, built this Homestead plus several mills along the Wappinger Creek. Nicholas and his sons were active Patriots during the Revolutionary War, supplying wheat, corn, livestock, honey and more, without compensation, to Washington’s army. The Homestead was later sold to Peter Mesier, a Tory loyalist merchant from New York City. In May of 1777 the homestead was the site of a revolutionary protest known as the “Wappinger Tea Party”. Beautiful Victorian details disguise the 18th c. fieldstone core of the historic Brewer-Mesier Homestead, which sits on a village green that has been a public Village of Wappingers Falls owned park since 1891. Tours led by the Wappingers Historical Society cover the early history of the homestead (owned by three generations of the Mesier family), the greater Wappinger area, and tell the story of Peter Mesier and his family. Explore Victorian-era styled rooms and their displays of local antiquities. The Wappingers Historical Society maintains the Mesier Homestead Historic Site as a museum. Part of the tour also features a portion of their large collection of Wappinger Native American artifacts. The Mesier Homestead is open for free tours year-round on the 2nd Sunday of the month from 1pm-4pm. View Website
Sports Museum of Dutchess County – Carnwath Farms HSP, 72 Carnwath Farms Lane, Wappinger, NY
- Highlighting over a dozen different athletes who made it to the professional level from Dutchess County, is the newly renovated Sports Museum of Dutchess County. Reopened to the public in 2019, the renovations included almost a complete gut of the Sports Museum level in the Reese Cultural Center and the announcement of a new permanent exhibition entitled “Legends of Dutchess”. Joey Cavaccini (then 16 years old) and his father Dan, a trustee, renovated the museum and brought it into the 21st century as a modern respectable museum. Exhibits within Legends of Dutchess include highlighting over a dozen athletes who made it to the professional level in sports from Dutchess County as well as artifacts on almost 20 different sports with impacts on Dutchess County history.What you will see! Ty Cobb’s Bat | 1920’s Ice Yacht | Arnold Palmer’s Autograph | and so much more!Learn about the lives and larger than life athletic careers of some of Dutchess County’s greatest. A walk through the exhibition presents to you the history of each sport and their significance in the county along with the biographies and artifacts pertaining to that sport’s famous athlete(s). The Sports Museum keeps with its original hometown feel with exhibits on local Little League and Pop Warner teams as well as recreational and high school sports.
Open weekends May – October from 1:00 – 4:00. View Website
Town of Wappinger Owned and Protected Burial Sites & Historical Cemeteries:
Middlebush Cemetery – 714 Sgt. Palmateer Way, Wappinger, NY
Sleight Family Burial Ground – Deer Run Road, Wappinger, NY
Van Dyne Burial Ground – Robinson Lane, corner of Viola Court, Wappinger, NY
Privately Owned Historical Cemeteries:
Hughsonville Hamlet Burial Ground – 2368 Route 9D, Hughsonville, NY – Located on the grounds of the Iglesia Cristiana El Sembrador
Old Grove Burial Ground – 12 Satterlee Place, Wappingers Falls, NY – Located on the grounds of the Zion Episcopal Church
New Hackensack Cemetery – 1652 Route 376, Wappinger, NY – Privately owned by New Hackensack Cemetery Assoc.