Flashback Friday Archive 2021-22: Flashback Friday: Week of December 10

2021-12-10 TWIR Image-Elm Hotel

December 9, 1871 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

       Nyack, on the west side of the river, opposite Tarrytown, is a much more important place than most people on this side of the river have any idea of. On a recent very brief visit, we had an opportunity to see something of it. There are three or four business streets, in all of which trade flourishes. The largest establishment belongs to the Smith family—including John—and corresponds very largely to Ramsdell’s, in Newburgh. Mr. I. M. Van Wagner is located in the village, and is doing a large photographing and picture-frame business. There are several churches, one of them, the Reformed, where we attended service, being elegantly decorated and furnished in the interior. It has also a splendid organ. A large and flourishing Institute is on the southern outskirts of the village. A large and fine public school is conveniently located. There are my fine residences, beautifully situated. The Northern New Jersey Railroad affords land communication with New York City, and a line of steamboats water communication during the season of navigation. Several of the fastest yachts in the world are owned there. Vast sums of money have been expended on them, and they are furnished in luxurious style. Two papers are published in Nyack, the JOURNAL and City and Country. We called at both offices, but only succeeded in finding the editor of the JOURNAL, Mr. Charlton, who is one of the best editors along the river, and has built up his paper from almost nothing to be a model of neatness and a decided success, having a large circulation and a good run of business. A ferry boat commanded by Capt. Haeselbarth, a veteran and retired editor, plys between Tarrytown and Nyack. A new boat is to be built and put upon the route in the spring. We visited Mr. DePew’s greenhouses, and were shown the great variety of plants raised and kept by him. He appeared to be doing a large and flourishing business, and being situated within the limits of the village, people find it handy to go and make selections at any time. We came away favorably impressed with the place. It is growing very fast, over one hundred and fifty new buildings having been erected during the past eighteen months. We regret that our limited stay did not permit us to see more of it. —Fishkill Standard

December 9, 1921 – 100 YEARS AGO
Rockland News

       The first supply of Christmas trees, holly and wreathes reached Nyack on Wednesday, George McNichol being the first to offer the holiday necessities. He has a large number of trees at the Rockland Light & Power Company building in North Broadway, his stand for the coming fortnight.

       Donald Pound, of Nanuet, sustained a broken leg, two broken fingers and fractured ribs Wednesday night when he was struck by a train on the New City branch of the Erie Railroad as he was crossing the track;

December 8, 1971 – 50 YEARS AGO
Rockland Independent/Leader

[Image: The Elms Hotel, New City, ca. 1900. Photo courtesy of the Nyack Library via NYHeritage.]

       The only remains of the Elms Hotel in the corner of Main Street and Congers Road in New City are a few cement blocks and several piles of debris. The hotel burned down in 1962, and nobody has been willing to rebuild on the spot.
       For the past three years, however, the New City Jaycees have been attempting to persuade the Town board to allow the group to approve plans for a vest pocket park.
       Josef Schefsky of the Shade Tree Committee helped the group draw up the plans and a month ago the long-awaited approval finally came.
       Project Chairman George Burfeind organized a work party Saturday to clear some of the rubble and debris from the site. Schefsky’s Shade Tree Committee has expressed an interest in planting trees in the park, which the Jaycees hope will be ready by spring.
       Publicity Chairman Bob Raymond told the Independent Leader that the site has streams flowing underground and that these will be tapped for ponds and fountains with recirculating water. “There will be a false front with colon[n]ades in the Southern mansion style. Walkways will wind throughout the park, with flowers and bushes on the sides. A unique feature of the park will be a cable arch bridge,” he said.
       The bridge will be built by the Cable-Arch Suspension Highway Systems, Inc., of New City, owned by Joseph Schefsky, of the Shade Tree Committee. The company’s Chief Engineer explained that the concept of such a bridge dates back to Roman times. The arches are the main supports and span the waterway. From the height of the arch, cables are dropped which hold up the planks. “The George Washington Bridge is a more sophisticated version of the same thing,” Davidson said, “but this is the first time such a cable-arch bridge will be built in the county.”
       The Jaycees are raising money for their effort to build the park by selling tickets for the second Annual Grocery Grab. The winner is allowed to run rampant for seven minutes in a local grocery store. Raymond said that last year’s winner managed to collect $517 worth of merchandise.

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. To learn about the HSRC’s mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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