History of Montgomery, NY
Welcome to our historic and picturesque community, the Village of Montgomery. Montgomery is nestled along the Walkill River in eastern Orange County, New York. The first group of European settlers to come to the open spaces along the Wallkill River around Montgomery came in the early 1700s. They were the Palatines from the Rhine area of Germany. In the 1800s, they were joined by the Dutch, Scottish – Irish, English, Irish and later the Italians.Click for a list of Historic Places in Montgomery
Ward’s Bridge was the original name of Montgomery. It was named after George James Ward, a grist mill operator, who built the first bridge across the Wallkill River to facilitate the transportation of his own milled grain and of other farm and industrial products to market.
The villages name was later changed to Montgomery in honor of General Richard Montgomery who was a Revolutionary war hero and died in the battle of Québec in 1775. The village itself was incorporated in 1810.
Those early settlers found fertile soil for farming along the banks of the Wallkill River. This rapidly flowing small river was also harnessed early for milling grain. In the early 1800s efforts to harness the river’s power for industrial purposes was successful as Montgomery Worsted Mills, in existence even today and known as Montgomery Mills. The founders of the mill Arthur Hatchett and William Crabtree became prosperous and upstanding citizens of Montgomery who left their mark on the communities they where lived. Many of the homes on the nearby stretch of Factory Street and the Historic District were built by them for their families. Many of their descendents still live in the Montgomery area today. The Mills are still in operation today, but they are no longer the property of the family or used to mill textiles as in the past, while they still sell yarn and knitting materials in the store today, the mill is primarily an electric power generation station.
Farming the raising of cattle and sheep and milling were the main sources of employment in Montgomery until the mid-1900s. In December 1868, Chauncey Brooks, an early settler and engineer, built the first Railroad station in Montgomery. Montgomery flourished with the coming of the railroad; farm products and industrial products that were made by the mills along the river were then able to be transported quickly to New York City and throughout New York State. Mr. Brooks also designed and built many of the Victorian homes found throughout the village. Travelers coming to the village found food and lodging at the Patchett house, Empire House and the National Hotel.
Today the village of Montgomery has a population of nearly 4000 residents and it continues to grow. Many of these residents find employment elsewhere, but daily anticipate their commute to a quiet adopted hometown each sunset the village of Montgomery prides itself on being a community built upon values and a strong immunity spirit.
Today, the quaint village atmosphere invites residents and visitors alike, to sample its charms, its relaxed atmosphere, its shops and restaurants.