Then & Now

West Point cadets and the sex-and-drug ’60s; IBM, Luckey Platt, and ice harvesters; airports, bridges, and those famous ferries. Join us for a look back at the last 100 years of Valley history


(page 7 of 20)

Reprinted with permission from Kingston by Edwin Millard Ford
with Friends of Historic KingstonKingston FerryThe South Rondout Ferry (shown above, circa 1900) transported passengers across the Rondout Creek. It was piloted by an operator who used a pole to propel the boat; the load limit was two horses and a wagon

Beacon ferry: nowPhotograph by Olivia Abel

Ferry Tales

Then: Through the first half of the 20th century, the Hudson bustled with cross-river ferries between Poughkeepsie and Highland, Kingston and Rhinecliff, and (most famously) Beacon and Newburgh, among other routes. But the construction of the Mid-Hudson (1930), Kingston-Rhinecliff (1957), and Newburgh-Beacon (1963) bridges directly led to the ferries being taken off the river, and was also a death knell to many of these vibrant waterfront communities. Thought to be one of the oldest ferry crossings in the nation, the Newburgh-Beacon ferry ran continuously from 1743 until the day after the new bridge opened in 1963. The postcard below shows the ferry on one of its last runs. However, it’s clear that the gentleman who wrote on the card was more interested in the bridge under construction in the photograph’s background.

Postcards courtesy of Dutchess County Historical Societypostcard and beacon ferry photo




Now: Due in part to the congested parking lots at the Beacon Metro-North station and traffic jams on the bridge, NY Waterway reestablished ferry service between Beacon and Newburgh in 2005. The ferry, which carries approximately 325 people a day, makes the 10-minute trip across the Hudson six times in the morning, and eight times in the evening.


If you like what you see here, check out, the Web site of Arcadia Publishing. The leading publisher of history books in the U.S., the company generously supplied many of the vintage photographs for this article. Their list includes a large number of titles that profile Valley cities, towns, and other popular locations.


Next: The Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge


Click on any image below to view more historic photos from 'round the Valley


Edit Module