Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Hudson River Valley

Spring is finally around the corner and I can't keep my mind from wandering to the Hudson River Valley.

 It all started a few years ago when I attended a workshop given by Dan Burkholder in Palenville, New York, located in between Woodstock and Saugerties, NY.  One cold not help being infected by Dan's love of this valley and those special places where we went to make images.

The valley was a gathering place for artists such as Thomas Cole and Frederick Church. Frederick Church's house, Olana, still stands high above the valley and has a southern panoramic view of this amazing place. At last count there were over 100 waterfalls in the Hudson River Valley and my intention would be to visit every one of them.

Here is a page from Wikipedia:

At the time of the arrival of the first Europeans in the 17th century, the area of Hudson Valley was inhabited primarily by the Algonquian-speaking Mahican and Munsee Native American people, known collectively as River Indians.

The first Dutch settlement was in the 1610s with the establishment of Fort Nassau, a trading post (factorij) south of modern-day Albany, with the purpose of exchanging European goods for beaver pelts. Fort Nassau was later replaced by Fort Orange. During the rest of the 1600s, the Hudson Valley formed the heart of the New Netherland colony operations, with the New Amsterdam settlement on Manhattan serving as a post for supplies and defense of the upriver operations.

During the French and Indian War in the 1750s, the northern end of the valley became the bulwark of the British defense against French invasion from Canada via Lake Champlain.

The valley became one of the major regions of conflict during the American Revolution. Part of the early strategy of the British was to sever the colonies in two by maintaining control of the river. In the early 1800s, popularized by the stories of Washington Irving, the Hudson Valley gained a reputation as a somewhat gothic region inhabited by the remnants of the early days of the Dutch colonization of New York (see, e.g., The Legend of Sleepy Hollow).
Following the building of the Erie Canal, the area became an important industrial center. The canal opened the Hudson Valley and New York City to commerce with the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. However, in the mid 20th century, many of the industrial towns went into decline.

The Hudson Valley also was the location of the estates of many wealthy New York industrialists, such as John D. Rockefeller and Frederick William Vanderbilt, and of old-moneyed tycoons such as Franklin Roosevelt, who was a descendant of one of the early Dutch families in the region.
The area is associated with the Hudson River School, a group of American Romantic painters who worked from about 1830 to 1870.

The natural beauty of the Hudson Valley has earned the Hudson River the nickname "America's Rhine," a comparison to the famous 40 mile (65 km) stretch of Germany's Rhine River valley between the cities of Bingen and Koblenz. A similar 30-mile (48 km) stretch of the east bank in Dutchess and Columbia counties has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

The image at the beginning of this blog was made at the top of Kaaterskill Falls.

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