Two-hundred and forty years ago—that’s 1775 for you non-mathletes—Westchester became the richest and most populous county in the colony of New York. The wealthy part isn’t all that surprising; what is surprising is that, unlike their New England neighbors, Westchester farmers did not pick up their pitchforks and riot over taxes, so they probably weren’t paying quite the same taxes we are now…
Westchester remained a destination for the rich and famous, with the Goulds, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts all making the county their home. And 180 years ago, a theater befitting their high-class taste opened. Designed by Theodore DeLemos and August Cordes—known for their work on Grand Central and the Macy’s building at Herald Square—the Tarrytown Music Hall opened in December of 1885. The first act was instrumental selections from The Mikado.
When the Kensico Dam was completed 100 years ago, we said goodbye to the town of Kensico, which was flooded to create the Kensico Reservoir. After residents of Kensico were paid a “fair share” for their land, 1,500 men—mostly Italian immigrants who suffered through a “fair share” of fatalities—went to work building the dam in 1913, pouring nearly 2.5 million cubic yards of concrete. Completed in 1915, the dam stands 300 feet high and 1,830 feet long, and holds back about 30 million gallons of water.
The Tappan Zee Bridge—built to last 50 years—was built 60 years ago this year. Officially opened on December 15, 1955, the bridge’s first traffic was a parade, featuring chimpanzee J. Fred Muggs (the former mascot of Today on NBC) riding across wearing a Santa suit.