The Village of Brewster is a small rural district with a population of more than 18,000 located within the municipality of Southeast, one of the fastest growing townships in Putnam County. Situated in southeastern New York State approximately 50 miles from New York City in the heart of the picturesque Hudson Valley, Putnam County is an area rich in colonial history and favored with an abundance of natural resources. A favorite destination of both history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts, Brewster was named for Walter Brewster, an entrepreneur who helped foster the area's growth by bringing the Harlem Line Railroad to town. Today, the Train Station is the heart of Brewster, allowing a quick commute to Manhattan. Brewster is also home to the Borden Milk Factory, which shipped condensed milk to union troops during the Civil War. While the Village retains much of its 19th-century architecture and historical ambiance, Brewster is fast becoming a modern resort community surrounded by winding country roads and sparkling reservoirs. Residents place great pride in their historical roots, charming landscapes and outstanding educational system. The Brewster Central School System serves more than 3,577 students and approximately 88% pursue some form of higher education.
Downtown Brewster maintains a turn-of-the-century flavor as evidenced by Morningthorpe, a modest Romanesque residential-style house recently renovated into a grand Tudor mansion, and the Brewster house, which showcases Greek Revival architecture. Amid significant historical buildings, modern construction is booming.
Southeast Township was founded in 1788 after a border disputes between Connecticut and New York. Walter Brewster laid out the Village of Brewster in 1849. He and his brother James built passenger and freight depots so the Harlem Line Railroad would stop at "Brewster's Station." The coming of the railroad helped foster two prominent industries - iron mining and dairy. The most productive mine in Southeast was the Tilly Foster Mine, which in its heyday produced 7,000 tons of iron ore per month. John Gail Borden constructed the Borden Milk Factory. The Village of Brewster was incorporated in 1894.
In 1878, much of the area's farmland was flooded when the Middle Branch Reservoir was created. This reservoir was the first of the Croton System to be constructed in Southeast. Later, the Sodom Dam and the East Branch Reservoir and ultimately the Diverting Reservoir followed. The advent of the reservoirs created a booming tourist industry in Putnam County. Families from Cape Cod and Long Island flocked into the area to enjoy year-round trout and bass fishing, as well as skiing, hiking, antiquing and golf. Numerous recreational areas dot the landscape and include the Glenda Farrell-Henry Ross Woodland Preserve, Fild Farmstead, Paul Fitchen Preserve, Birdwood and Cedar Swamp. A favorite annual event in Brewster is the Putnam County Fall Classis One-Half Marathon and 5 K.
Two mountain bike trails are located in Fahnestock Park - the 10-mile Peekskill Hollow Road trail and the five-mile Stow Road loop. The annual "Tour de Putnam" is a day of exciting bike tours through the scenic countryside with planned stops at local historic sites and landmarks. Other area attractions include the old Town Hall, the Southeast Museum and the Old Southeast Church.
Patterson Township is located in the northeastern corner of Putnam County, one of the fastest growing counties in the region. Putnam County, named for Revolutionary War General Israel Putnam, is bounded by Connecticut, Westchester County, Dutchess County and the scenic Hudson River. Patterson Township includes the hamlet of Patterson and the Putnam Lake community. Immediate proximity to Manhattan and other tri-state metropolitan areas, as well as rolling hills, beautiful lakes, modern conveniences and unrivaled outdoor recreational opportunities, helped Patterson and Putnam County become a popular vacation spot.
Local residents enjoy a simple, rural way of life with a high standard of living, affordable housing and an outstanding educational system. In fact, the Town of Patterson contains portions of three school districts. The Brewster Central School District serves more than 3,500 students. The Pawling Central School District is primarily rural and serves more than 1,300 students. The Matthew Patterson Elementary School and the George Fischer Middle School, both part of the Carmel School District, are the only schools located within the Town of Patterson.
The area known as Putnam County was originally purchased by Dutch settlers from the Indians in the late 1600s and later sold to a wealthy landowner. It was part of Dutchess County until 1812, when a 235-square mile piece of land was declared an independent county. Named after Revolutionary War General Israel Putnam, Putnam County first flourished as an industrial area. A foundry used to make weapons was built in Cold Spring, rich iron mines were abundant and Gail Borden constructed the Borden Milk Factory in Brewster. In the early 1900s, New York City acquired land for reservoirs and beautiful lakes replaced many Putnam County farms. Today, year-round trout and bass fishing, as well as skiing, hiking, antiquing and playing golf, have transformed Putnam County into an area of lakeside resort communities and a tourist Mecca.
There are numerous intriguing historical sites in downtown Patterson at Front Street and in the historic district along Route 311 in Patterson Hamlet. Patterson Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Hall, the War Memorial and the "Little Red Schoolhouse" are a few examples of charming turn-of-the-century buildings. Patterson is also home to the Great Swamp, the second largest wetlands area in New York State. There is a 23-acre nature preserve located in the Great Swamp where the public is free to hike, fish, canoe, cross-country ski and observe nature in its natural habitat. Other popular recreational sites are Walter G. Merritt Park, the Cranberry Mountain Wildlife Area, Ice Pond Preserve and Thunder Ridge (formerly the Big Birch Ski Area).
Biking is also popular throughout Putnam County. Two mountain bike trails are located in Fahnestock Park - the 10-mile Peekskill Hollow Road trail and the five-mile Stow Road loop. The annual "Tour de Putnam" is a day of exciting bike tours through the scenic countryside with planned stops at local historic sites and landmarks.
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