Hillsdale, A History
by Herbert S. Parmet
Hillsdale Town Historian, 2005-2009
“At the time of the American Revolution, the Taconic hill country was still basically an “unbroken wilderness,” in the words of a standard history of New York State. Most of what is now the Town of Hillsdale belonged to the Van Rensselaer family, major beneficiaries of the Dutch patroon system, and much of the modern town was within the manor of Rensselaerwyck. Colonial maps show that “Renslaerwick” also included Nobletown and Spencertown. The present location of Route 23 follows the line separating Rensselaer lands from Livingston Manor. Baronial farmlands were leased to proprietors and rented to tenant farmers. Much of upstate New York, including the vast Upper Manor of the Livingstons on the west side of the Hudson, resembled the old European feudal system…”
Links Related to Hillsdale
Following is a list of links about Hillsdale and Columbia County history that are essential reading for anyone interested in the topics:
- Some interesting demographic information
- Early Nobletown history
- Interesting Columbia County history and genealogy
- James Agee buried in Hillsdale
- Reproduction of Collin’s History of Hillsdale on Google Books
Hillsdale’s Historic District
Very quietly, on a cold day in January 2010, the Hillsdale Historic Hamlet District was added to the National Register of Historic Places, the National Park Service’s official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation. This is enormously satisfying news. Not only does having a property on the National Register make some property owners eligible for tax incentives, this is a highly symbolic honor and recognizes the Hamlet’s architectural diversity and unique origins as a cultural crossroads. For more information on the New York’s Department of Historic Preservation, visit this site.
To learn more about our landmark designation, our history and Hillsdale’s unique architectural diversity click here.