About

The Society was chartered April 26, 1968 by the Board of Regents and develops programs and exhibits about the Town, its people, buildings and specific events, which contributed to our culture and history. Our growing collection of photos, artifacts and documents are tools that can be used by our citizens for studying the past. The Society is also available to help with questions on genealogy.

March 14, 1839 – Town of Quincy was established.

February 13, 1840 – The name was changed from Quincy to Putnam Valley.

Mid 1850s – Oscawana Lake House opened – the first summer resort in town.

November 23, 1897 – Putnam Valley Grange No. 841 was organized: building was erected 1900.

April 28, 1931 – Ground was broken for the Taconic Parkway to cut through Putnam Valley. The ceremony took place where Bryant Pond Rd. crosses the Taconic.

January 11, 1933 – Lake Peekskill Post Office was established.

June 9, 1934 – Putnam Valley Central School district was created.

About 1935 – A CCC camp was established in what is now Fahenstock Park; the men from the camp constructed Stillwater Pond, Canopus Lake, their dams and other projects in the area.

December 14, 1935 – Putnam Valley Central School was dedicated.

March 28, 1936 -Putnam Valley acquired its own town hall building.

July 30, 1937 – Putnam Valley Free Library obtained a provisional charter; it actually started in 1929 in the summer home of Rhea K. Johnson.

1942 – 1945 – The CCC camp was converted to a rest station for British sailors who saw active duty and whose ships were being repaired at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

August, 1946 – Putnam Valley Volunteer Fire Department was established.

June 2, 1947 – Putnam Valley Post Office was established at Oregon Corners.

April 2, 1950 – Ground was broken for St. Lukes church. The original building was dismantled at its site in the Bronx, brought here in 3 foot sections and reassembled.

May 31, 1957 – The first Civil Service Chief of Police was appointed.

1961 – Putnam Valley Volunteer Ambulance Corps established.

April 26, 1968 – Putnam Valley Historical Society was created.

March 31, 1983 – Tompkins Corners Methodist Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Native Americans

Before the Europeans came, the people who lived in this area belonged to the Canopus group of the Nochpeem band of the “Wappinger Indian Confederacy”. As part of the Mohican nation, they spoke the Algonkian language.

In 1600 an estimated 4,700 members of this confederacy ranged over an area that spread from Manhattan to Poughkeepsie, along the Hudson River and extending eastward toward Connecticut.

The footpaths made by the Native Americans usually followed the stream valleys.  The first settlers followed these footpaths and in the course of time, they became the roads we know today as Peekskill Hollow, Canopus Hollow and Oscawana Lake roads.

Native American villages were usually positioned on the side hill, facing south, and within easy access to water.  The principal settlement in Putnam Valley is thought to have been in the hollow at Canopus Hill and one of the largest villages in the entire region.  Other campsites might have been located at Roaring Brook, Tompkins Corners and Adam Corners.

The Native Americans left us a legacy of their names. The name Oscawana seems to have been a Native American personal name.  One of the signers of the deed dated 1682 at Croton was a Native American named “Askawanes”.  In 1683, one “Oskewana” sold a tract of land to the Van Cortlandt family.  Wiccopee is said to mean “house by the water”.

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