Where in the Hudson Valley...?
photo Thomas Moore
Last month’s quiz featured a historic statue. Whose likeness was it? Many of you knew that it was President William McKinley. You also knew that it is located in downtown Walden in Orange County. Here’s more info to fill in the blanks concerning the statue’s story: In the 1820s, Jacob Walden, a New York businessman who worked in the shipping industry, financed the construction of wool mills on the Wallkill River, in what was then known as Kidd’s Town. His thriving mill brought other manufacturers to the area, which later became known as Walden’s Mills. (In 1855, the village incorporated as Walden.) Decades later, many of the mills closed, and the village lured other businesses, including the New York Knife Company, which made cutlery for the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war, other knife makers flocked to Walden; for a while, it was even nicknamed Knifetown.
Everything changed, business-wise, in the 1890s, when President Grover Cleveland lowered tariffs on many imported products. Foreign-made knives, especially those from Germany, cut (excuse the pun) into U.S. profits, and it looked like the beginning of the end for the Walden knife makers. In 1897, President McKinley — a friend of Walden businessman Robert Bradley of the U.S. Knife Company — orchestrated a change in tariff laws to benefit U.S. companies. In thanks, Bradley had this statue of President McKinley erected in Walden.
July’s Where in the
Every time we drove past it we wondered why a statue of President McKinley was in Walden. Now we know. Thanks.
When I was younger, I always remember seeing the statue with a beer bottle in his hand.
That is the statue of William McKinley at the intersection of Routes 52 and 208 in Walden. My best friend lives around the corner, and we used to joke, when we were younger, that he looks like the dean of our private school, Mr. Carrier. We both attended Leptondale Christian Academy in Newburgh. Believe me, he really is a spitting image.
President McKinley stands proud watch over the people of Walden, which is the home of one of the best Catholic elementary schools in the Hudson Valley, Most Precious Blood (it has some of the highest ratings on New York State standardized tests). Incidentally, the statue was discussed as a part of local history lessons at the school.
More Than 35 People
I would like to take issue with two of the 35 people who left a “lasting legacy” in the Hudson Valley (July). Maurice Hinchey may be a hero to the environmental activists, but he is no friend to business, small or otherwise. He has supported cutting the proposed Crossroads Golf Resort project in half and pushing the whole thing into Delaware County. That means Ulster County has to put up with all the noise and traffic and then reap no taxes from it. Some of us depend on visitors from out of the area to come and spend money here; and this resort would supply employment opportunities. Number 30 on your list is Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Also an opponent of the resort, Kennedy may be a friend to a few kayakers who paddle the Hudson, but even the most environmentally passionate visitor wants to rest their head on a brand new pillow in a brand new hotel at the end of the day. Not going to happen if Kennedy has anything to say about it.
Your “35 People” left out a giant in the Hudson Valley’s history: Robert H. Boyle, author of the 1969 classic, Hudson River, a Natural and Unnatural History, founder of Riverkeeper and the Waterkeeper Alliance, and leader of the opposition of the proposed Storm King Mountain power station. I propose an addition to the 35, so that the next issue recognizes that there is a 36th person who created a lasting legacy in the Hudson Valley.
President, Fishkill Ridge Caretakers