Haverstraw History

Haverstraw, founded in 1666 and incorporated in 1854, developed in part due to it's unique geographical location and natural resources.

Referred to as "Bricktown" or "Brickmaking Capital of the World", Haverstraw was famous for brick making. This success was due to the clay formed by the Hudson River's water and the rich soil that lined Haverstraw's waterfront. Many of the old brownstone and brick buildings that were constructed in New York City in the late 1800s were composed of Haverstraw bricks. In 1906, tragedy struck the village. Due to excessive excavation of clay, a landslide demolished several residential homes and killed 21 residents.

While founded by Dutch, the village grew with English, Irish, Italian, and Afro-American workers arriving seeking jobs in the brick industry. Since the 1950s, the village has experienced an influx of new immigrants - many of hispanic descent. The village continues to reflect it's rich diversity with a variety of multi-cultural events and festivals.

Located within the Village is Lucas Candies, the oldest chocolate company in the state of New York (even older than Hersheys) and still a family owned Haverstraw business. The Village library was chosen as one of the locations for the shooting of Woody Allen's 1986 film titled 'The Manhattan Project'. In 1920, “Babe” Ruth filmed the movie “Headin’ Home” almost entirely in the Village. It was also in the Village in the spring of 1888, at the Haverstraw Waldron Opera House that George M. Cohan first performed 'Yankee Doodle Dandy'. He also debuted as a violin soloist in Haverstraw at the tender age of 10. Also, the subject house of Edward Hopper's 1925 “House by the Railroad”, now part of the MOMA collection, is located in the Village.

September 2004 marked the village's 150th anniversary. This river village has a bright future with a large revitalization project underway.

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