Garrison's Landing Association
PO Box 205
Garrison, NY 10524
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President, Peter Hofmann
Vice President, Sara Silbiger
Treasurer, Donna Pidala
Secretary, Margaret O' Sullivan
Director, David Lilburne
Director, Carl Nelson
Director, James Cross
Director, Byron Stinson
The Garrison's Landing Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to restoring and preserving Garrison's Landing as a monument to the long and vivid history of this small but important piece of the Hudson Highlands. For over 50 years it has
owned the old, stone railroad depot (now the Philipstown Depot Theatre), the marina (leased to the Garrison Yacht Club) and a portion of the riverfront park around the gazebo. It also owns and maintains the street, formerly known as Depot Square but
now named Garrison's Landing, which runs north to south on the east side of the railroad tracks.
Prior to the arrival of European colonists, what is today Garrison was part of the territory inhabited by the Wappinger Indians. In 1697, King william III of England granted to Adolph Philipse the "Highland Patent," which included the Town of Philipstown and
Garrison and Garrison's Landing get their names from Harry Garrison who ran a ferry from a boat landing there to the west bank of the Hudson River. The actual name Garrison's L:anding appears as early as 1818 in a drawing of the area which is to be
found in the archives at the West Point Library. Mr. Garrison established the Garrison and West Point Ferry Company in 1821 to carry people, mail, and goods between Garrison, Highlands Falls and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. That ferry service was a primary means of getting to West Point up until the construction of the Bear Mountain Bridge in 1929. At various times, rowboats, a scow propelled by horses walking on a treadmill, and steam-powered vessels were used. In addition to U.S. Army
personnel, cadets from the military academy, and others, over the years quite a few notable people took the ferry from Garrison's Landing to West Point. In 1854, before the Civil War, General Robert E. Lee, then in the U.S. Army and the superintendent of the academy, crossed the Hudson on it. President Abraham Lincoln used it to get to West Point in 1862 during the Civil War. And, in the early 20th century, passengers included the Queen of Rumania (1926) and Edward, Prince of Wales (1919).
Slips for the steam ferries were built at the Landing in 1878. The last two ferries, the Highlander and the Garrison, were abandoned and sank at those slips when service became unnecessary and uneconomical after the opening of the Bear Mountain Bridge. In the 1950s, fill dirt was placed atop the old slips and hulks of the ferries in order to create the park where the gazebo now stands and to serve as the northern breakwater for the marina. However, at low tide, the remains of parts of the engine and hull of the Garrison are still visible from the park.
The Garrison Landing Historic District
In 1982, the Garrison Landing Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places on the basis of the history described above and the fine state of preservation of the mid-19th century buildings still in use there. Originally built to serve
the ferry and its employees and the railroad, the buildings continue to serve the community in different ways. At the north end of the area stands a handsome three-story brick building fronted by verandas facing south. Going back to at least 1845, it originally was the Garrison Hotel.
After use as recently as the early 1960s for offices and a hardware store, in 1968 it became the setting for Vandergelder's store in the movie "Hello Dolly." It continues in use and houses offices and apartments. It now is privately owned, The 1892 stone building in the middle of the Historic District was for many years the railroad station or depot for Garrison. Now owned by the Landing Association, it is the home of the Philipstown Depot Theatre, where an enterprising and talented community group puts on plays, poetry readings, musical performances, and films.
Another very active and important community organization, the Garrison Art Center, now occupies buildings which were once Forson's General Store and the U.S. Post Office. The original structures and facades have been preserved, as have those of a
half-dozen other 19th century buildings which now are home to residences, offices, and commercial tenants, including an antiquarian book store located in the original frame railroad station. These other buildings and a significant portion of the riverfront park are actually owned and maintained by another entity, Garrison Station Plaza, Inc. (in which the Landing Association holds a majority interest).
Through the efforts of the Landing Association, Garrison Station Plaza, and the private owners, this historic spot, Garrison's Landing, has been and will continue to be preserved and made available as an active center of life in the community and as a delightful place to visit.