History Of Columbia County

The county was discovered by accident in 1609 by Henry Hudson. He was sailing up the river when he had an accident with his ship and was forced to go ashore in search of food and supplies. At that time the Mohican Indians occupied the land. Soon the Dutch & Germans settled in the area and in 1786 the county was officially formed.

Most of us have grown to love the beautiful terrain, which combines rolling hills, lakes, ponds and streams, as well as the gently sloping mountains of the Catskills and the Berkshires. Whether a full time resident or a weekender, all of us tend to agree we are all so lucky to be able to call Columbia County our home. Let us show you the way home!

The Chatham Fair

Originally, the Chatham Fair was held in Hudson, this was due to the ease of getting attendees to visit by rail. In 1855, the fair was moved to what was then known as Chatham Four Corners. The following year, 15 acres of what is now Church Street in Chatham was purchased for $2,400. Over the years, additional land was purchased, making the fairgrounds 27 acres in total. The reason the Fair was established was to promote agriculture, horticulture, manufacturing, and the local economy. The Fair continues today and grows each year in attendance and size. The Fair attracts many different types of people from all over including downstaters and weekenders. Another wonderful resource right here in our own backyard. How lucky we all are, especially those who are able to call Columbia County home.

Our thanks for input & Photo from the Chatham Historical Society. Call (518)392-9236.

The Birth of The Chatham Village

In 1811, William Thomas and his bride were given a wedding gift of 97 acres, on which he built a tavern, next to the only Chatham village home. Today the tavern still stands just beyond the circle. His plan was to be able to service the stagecoach passengers, at the busy intersection in front of his building. William also built a store on Central Square and Austerlitz St. After this the village began to grow. As railroads began to replace stagecoaches as the primary means of transportation, the Berkshire and Western Railroads were established within a short walk to the taverns and stores. The rest is history as the saying goes.

Today, our modern village has so much to offer. We like to think that home is where the heart is. The greater Chatham area along with the Village then and now has captured the hearts of many new arrivals. They have discovered all our wonderful area has to offer. Come visit us here on Main Street and let us show you the way home!

Yesterday & Today

Right here in Chatham we are lucky to have Columbia County’s oldest & largest active theatre. The Crandell opened Christmas day in 1926, and shortly after it opened in 1927, the first talking film opened.

Since then it has been in continuous operation for over 83 years, for much of that time run by the Quirino family until Tony Quirino’s death In 2010. The Chatham Film Club, a volunteer, not for profit group then acquired the theatre and has been committed to the preservation of the Theatre & it’s traditions, while bringing art, independent, foreign, children, and first run films to our community.

Such a treasure here in the village has brought our community together both to save it as well as celebrate it. We who live and work here are fortunate to have The Crandell as a symbol of who we are.  This is why so many of us have chosen to live here, and continue to stay here.  If you have not yet chosen to make that move, visit our site & let us show you the way home in Columbia County.

Our thanks for input & Photo from the Chatham Historical Society. Call (518)392-9236.

Phantoms of the Fairgrounds…

Its Grandstand completed in 1881, the Fairgrounds was to add a 1.5 mile track and harness racing about 1898.

Many years later, a reputable local gentleman reported hearing the sounds of such racing not once, but three times that summer. For a while, The  ‘Phantom Racers’ were all the talk. Small wonder: harness racing had been discontinued some 12 years earlier!

Some speculate that history actually leaves ‘traces’ which occasionally reveal themselves. Certainly , our old and oldest homes have a distinct character or personality, usually quite apparent on a first visit. It not just an matter of style and the various physical details – it’s a very strong feeling you get…just perhaps all that history added up and ‘speaking.’

You’ve heard it’s a great time to buy. And it most definitely is. So visit our website to review various homes, each with a personality, each with a story to tell…each awaiting a next chapter.

Imagine: you just might wind up making some history of your own.

Our thanks for input & Photo from the Chatham Historical Society. Call (518)392-9236.

The Day Abraham Lincoln Came To Chatham

It was September 23, 1848, a cool and quiet day seemingly like any other – except to those who know our history well.  About 4:30 that day Abraham Lincoln arrived in Chatham.

His Presidency in the distant future, “Honest Abe” was traveling west on the Boston & Worcester Railroad along with Massachusetts Governor Seward – both having made speeches in Boston.

Disembarking briefly, the far-sighted Lincoln envisioned the growth of the Chatham “village to be” into an important rail link. He also foresaw the long-term agricultural potential of out gently rolling landscapes and those of the entire Hudson Valley as well.

Both prophesies proved correct. Even today, small organic farms are sprouting up to meet current wants and needs, while many of our early and earliest homes still stand, solid and proud.  Our contemporary homes often and easily pass muster as well, blending award-winning architecture with materials of the highest quality.

Just visit our website. Pick a comfortable price range and consider altogether new and intriguing possibilities – these created by extraordinary value plus an enhanced lifestyle, the two coupled with superior long-term investment potential.

All this awaits you, and we mean that…in all honesty.


The Clock Tower Yesterday & Today

The history of the village of Chatham has always been a very interesting one. The clock tower at One Main street has often been the landmark feature that has come to be considered by many as the symbol of Chatham.

After a fire in 1869 had destroyed a good portion of main street, this unique structure was rebuilt in 1872 by William Woodbridge. At one time, Woodbridge sold the building to the village for $5000, where it served as the town hall, the police court, & also the home of the Chatham fire company.

That was then, today it still stands as the village of Chatham’s center piece, standing proudly at the start of main street. It last sold in August of 2010, for $230,000, that’s quite an impressive increase in value since those earlier days.

That’s part of the reason my faith continues in the long term investing of Real Estate. Check out our website to see  what long term investments you can make.

Our thanks for input & Photo from the Chatham Historical Society. Call (518)392-9236.

A Magical Moment At Chatham’s Train

In 1841 Chatham became a major pivot point for Railroad traffic throughout the Region. With the completion of the present station in 1887 — appropriately dubbed the ‘Union Station’– Its importance would grow for a century and more.

Along the way, It also revealed the beauty and fertility of our Land, a glowing reputation the Hudson Valley enjoys to this very day.

It did seemed magical when, in1909, the first  ‘milk train’ left Union Station…hauling some 20 tanker cars of unsurpassed ‘fresh local milk’ to serve the needs of New York City. A remarkable tribute to our farmers and Land alike, it became a daily event for decades to come.

Today, a secure and private lifestyle occupies the County. Ancient farmsteads share space with dramatic Contemporary homes. Small organic farms are springing up, on acreage still beautiful, still unspoiled. – yet as always surprisingly affordable. Whether viewed as building sites or already carrying a fine home, our Land – Columbia County – has a very special ‘spin’.

Review our web site. Consider the prices, the sheer value…and you may well want to create a ‘magical moment’ of your own.

Our thanks for input & Photo from the Chatham Historical Society. Call (518)392-9236.

Elephants On Main Street!

Chatham had been identified as a “Central Regional Location” by the Railroads in the 1830s, but it was1869 – its year of incorporation as Chatham Village – that a dumbstruck crowd actually beheld a mob of elephants right here on Main Street.

A Circus Train had arrived, and stopped…confronted by the intricate wooden trestle* then leading into the Village. Taking exception to this seemingly rickety structure, the elephants’ violent reaction threatened to collapse the trestle altogether! With that, each was off-loaded and led into the Village, re-boarding once the trestle had been cleared…and roll off into history.

Our ‘central’ location has been a growing lure ever since, the County today offering quick, easy access to the Capitol Region, New York and Boston – plus all the joys of secure country living.  Always affordable, homes here remain remarkably so. Like to take a tour? No need for a Circus Train – just a computer tapped into beachandbartolo.com.

Our thanks for input & Photo from the Chatham Historical Society. Call (518)392-9236.

‘The Sanitarium in Chatham Village…’

Each month we present here a fascinating, often little known aspect of Chatham’s history or that of Columbia County — as drawn from our monthly ads in the Chatham Press.

Once upon a time – the 1890’s – the huge brick building just off the Central Square was a very, very Grand Affair.

Dubbed the Windsor Hotel Sanitarium, this magnificent structure reminded one of a fancy wedding cake.  Four stories tall with proud pergola atop, the first three were girdled all ‘round by dramatic porches much in the ‘Steamboat Gothic’ style.

It was founded by Doctor-brothers C.H. and Abbott Mason, the latter famous for his ‘Vegetable Cancer Cure’…which was not known to have cured anything.

The Windsor flourished nonetheless . Its 50 spacious rooms ($2 -$3 per day) were Hotel for  Railroad Agents and travelers, most being Permanent Residences for‘inmates’ whose severe afflictions were largely emotional. A ‘sanitarium’ indeed.

The Windsor and accompanying land likely cost about $60,000 – a major bargain when compared with the Berkshires next door. This same disparity exists to this very day. Properties have remained very affordable in Chatham and the County, astonishingly so now in the present economy.

For those with a ‘dollar and a dream’, it’s a perfect time to review your bargain opportunities – on our web site beachandbartolo.com.

Our thanks for input from the Chatham Historical Society. Call (518)392-9236.

Photo courtesy of MetzWood Harder Insurance.