Capsule History of the
Old Albany-New York Post Road

In 1699, the Dutch of New Amsterdam created a route to Albany which followed Indian trails called "The Path".  Under British rule, the road was widened to accommodate troop and supply transport for the French and Indian Wars.

During the American Revolution, the road became the primary artery for regional troop movements and long-term encampments such as Continental Village, Soldier's Fortune and New Hampshire Village. From 1776 to 1783, the garrisons on this side of the Hudson River maintained a constant vigil to prevent any enemy approach to the critical crossing to West Point.  Given this strategic importance, the road was traversed by Generals Washington, Putnam, Lafayette, Heath and other American commanders.

Later, a "stage-waggon" route carried mail and passengers.  One stage stop was a tavern known today as the Bird and Bottle Inn.  Benjamin Franklin had milestones placed to determine the charges for mail service.

Eventually bypassed by Route 9, this remaining 6.2 mile segment of the original road retains much of its early character.  In 1982, it was listed on the New York State and National Historic Registers.

The following timeline is derived from sources compiled by Carl Van Patten and Noel Kropf:

1669      The Dutch in New Amsterdam created a post road, the foundation of which were trails used by the Wappinger/Wicopee Indians.  A postal service was established in 1671 and mail was carried by Indians on foot along “The Path.”

1703      Under British rule, the Publick Highways Act of the Provisional Assembly authorized building of the Queens Road to a "breadth of 4 rods", subsequently called the King’s Road during the reign of George I and II.

1730      The first settler was John Rodgers whose log homestead served as a tavern and inn throughout the French and Indian Wars of the 1750’s.  The site was probably the property now owned by Alexander Saunders, Jr.  The road was widened at this time to accommodate wagons and military supply vehicles.

1750    By this time the Native American population had dwindled to nearly nothing.

1753    Benjamin Franklin appointed Joint Postmaster General for the British Crown. New surveys made, milestones placed on principal roads. [US Postal Service]

1763-1769      One report that milestones (or "guide stones") were placed on Old Albany Post Road during this period. [Peekskill, A Pictorial History 1654-1952 by Peekskill City Historian, Chester A. Smith , p23] 

1769    The first mile-stones erected on the Albany and New York Post Road were set up from NY City Hall to Kingsbridge [Elbert Floyd-Jones, A Relic of the Highway, The Origin and Use of Mile-Stones (Albany, NY: J.B. Lyon Co., 1923)]

1771    Date on a milestone on the NY-Albany Post Road in Scarsdale

1772    The provisional assembly enacted a statute to carry mail from New York to Albany by postal rider.

1774    Benjamin Franklin left the office of British Postmaster General.  [US Postal Service]

1775    B. Franklin appointed 1st Postmaster General of the Colonies by the Continental Congress [US Postal Service]

1777      Continental Village was burned and pillaged on October 9.  It was soon reoccupied and never attacked again. All through the Revolution it was the main supply center for the area.

1778-79 Erskine and Dewitt surveyed Old Albany Post Road and published a manuscript map with mile markings in the appropriate locations.  The mileages noted do not correspond with markings on the present milestones ("to N. York"). [Maps located in NY Historical Society]

1779-80 George Washington often traveled to various outposts along the road.  One place, near what is now the Stapf farm, was called “New Boston” by officers of the Massachusetts Line.  Another, near Travis Corners was called New Hampshire Huts (some accounts refer to Hempstead Huts).  These outposts formed a line across to Connecticut.

1785      An act established a stage route between New York City and Albany.[Historical Reminiscences of Cold Spring & Nelsonville, Olive Adams, 1955 Foundry School Museum]  One of the stage stops was the tavern of John Warren, built in 1756, now known as the Bird and Bottle Inn. 

1789 Christopher Colles's “A Survey of the Roads of the United States”, records the locations of mile markers all the way from New York to Albany, and along other major roads in the eastern US. Mile markings in revised Erskine-Dewitt maps included in this book correspond with present milestones along Old Albany Post Road.[Maps located in NY Historical Society]

1789 Samuel Osgood, first Postmaster General under Constitution [US Postal Service]

1797-1798 Act to Regulate the Highways passed March 21, 1797 and amended March 16, 1798.  This act directed the superintendent of highways in every county to erect stones or posts each mile on the road from Kingsbridge to Albany. [Floyd-Jones and Laws of the State of NY...first to twentieth session...Vol.III, p.415] [Putnam County was part of Dutchess County until 1812]

1798-?? Some accounts state that milestones on the Albany Post Road north of Manhattan were placed after 1798, in accordance with the Act of 1797 "The stones were ... five and one-half feet high, fourteen inches in width and six inches in thickness.  They were placed  in the ground to a depth of three feet." [Floyd-Jones]

1820      Iron ore was mined at the Hopper Farm at Travis Corners.  Mineral rights to most Philipstown properties are held by the descendants of the Philipse family.

1849      Train tracks reached Peekskill.  Two years later, they reached Albany and the stage coaches were retired.

1878-80 High grade iron ore from the Croft or Indian Lake Mines was extracted and transported by narrow gauge railway down Canopus Valley to the Peekskill Blast Furnace at Annsville Creek.  The mine was abandoned in 1887 and the tracks removed for salvage in 1910.

1911-17 The Catskill Aqueduct was built in this area.  All along the road and at the present aqueduct site, shacks, bars and hotels were built to accommodate workmen.

1921      The monument to the “Mothers of the Revolution” was unveiled at the southern end of the road.  It was rededicated in 1976.

1925      Annie Stapf convinced her neighbors to accept electricity.  Under the Rural Electrification Act the cost of installation was reduced from $13 to $5.  For five years previously, Annie ran a Westinghouse generator for the farm’s electricity.


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