What are the origins of Kingston? The settlement of Esopus [Kingston] by Europeans began with the purchase of land from the Esopus Indians by Thomas Chambers in 1652, but if we’re talking about the history of the Rondout area, then that begins earlier with Henry Hudson´s 1609 voyage of discovery.
What we know is that according to journals from Hudson’s voyage, the Half Moon anchored near the Rondout. Although not permanently settled prior to 1652, Esopus was popular and recognized as a distinct geographical location by the early Dutch fur traders.
By the mid 1600´s the village of Wiltwyck (previously Esopus) had developed on high ground two miles from the creek. Later, Wiltwyck was given the name Kingston following the English takeover of the Hudson Valley in 1663.
Early communication with the outside world was by Hudson River sloops. By 1820 two active sloop landings on the north bank of Rondout Creek served Kingston.
Southbound cargoes consisted of firewood, hoop-poles, grain and sawed lumber. Return freight consisted primarily of supplies for area merchants.
The two sloop landings were named Twaalfskill, but later renamed Wilbur, located on the north shore of the Rondout Creek, and Kingston Landing, or the Strand as it’s better known, near the mouth of the Creek, at the foot of what is now Broadway.
Although growth was slow, it was steady, but dramatic growth did not occur in Rondout until the Wurts brothers built the Delaware & Hudson Canal in the 1820s. That’s when it began to boom.
Kingston’s historic Rondout district has undergone a period of revitalization and its waterfront park is now lined with restaurants, bars, boutiques and galleries. It’s quite the happening place.
Two river tour operators provide access to the river, and a nearby park and beach are wonderfully picturesque locations to spend an afternoon, either by yourself or with friends and family.
If you’re ever close to this quaint and historic place, it’s worth driving over to see it. Have lunch and take advantage of some photo opportunities!