Town of Coeymans

Town History

The Town of Coeymans was named after Barent Pieteres Koijemans who arrived here from Holland in 1639 and was an apprentice in a grist mill owned by the Patron Van Rensselaer. It was on April 7, 1673, that Barent Coeymans took possession of the land that he had purchased from the Indians in 1672, land which became known as the Coeymans Patent. About the year 1800, perhaps 300 or 400 families lived in the Town of Coeymans, which was formed from part of the original patent and also from part of the Town of Watervliet. The first recorded Town meeting was held in April, 1811 and the first Supervisor was elected in 1818. The Ariaantje Coeymans stone house was built about 1720 near the mills on the Coeymans Creek. The house still stands and is in very good condition. The first dwelling, called Coeymans Castle, was a stone house that was subsequently torn down in 1833. It stood on the corner of Westerlo and First Streets.

Much of the earliest life was of Dutch ancestry and centered around the junction of the Coeymans and Onesquethaw Creeks and the Hudson River. Several mills were constructed for grinding grain, sawing lumber and water power. The earliest settlement was Coeymans Landing, a port on the Hudson River, where most of the early industry began. Coeymans Landing is now the Hamlet of Coeymans. Commerce grew, especially with the close of the War of 1812, and continued to grow until the turn of the century. Ship building was a major industry along the Hudson River along with the harvesting of ice. In the late 1700s, there were many brick companies and mills along the Hannacroix Creek including Dean’s Mill, Aquetuck (Peacock’s Corners), Coeymans Hollow, Alcove (Stephensville), and Indian Fields (inundated in 1930 to make way for Albany’s water supply, the Alcove Reservoir). Alcove was known for its mills and Mossy Hill Stone Quarry, which is still in operation today. Coeymans Hollow is home to the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum and the Electus Shear house, both listed on the State and National Register of Historical Places. Other listings on the Registers include the Civill Building (now a senior citizen apartment house), Ariaantje Coeymans Stone House, both located in Coeymans, Tobias TenEyck House on Old Ravena Road; the crossroads community of Alcove Historic District; and St. Patrick’s Church, Ravena.

It was about 1820 when stage companies established routes and were given contracts for carrying mail. Prior to this time, mail had commonly been carried by Post Riders. A turnpike company was incorporated for the construction and maintenance of a highway from Coeymans Landing through Coeymans Hollow, Indian Fields, Dormansville and Westerlo to the Delaware Turnpike (about 18 miles). The first division was incorporated in 1850 as the Coeymans and Westerlo Plank Road Company. Ten years later, plank was taken up and broken stone substituted.

The first newspaper was published in 1863. In 1907, the Ravena News bought the Coeymans Herald to become the News Herald.  F. E. Bleezarde became the owner in 1917.

Coeymans was first connected to Albany in 1864 by the Saratoga and Hudson River Railroad. It was short lived and later called the “White Elephant Railroad.” It left the Town without a railroad until 1883 when the New York West Shore Buffalo Line was completed. With it, Coeymans Square, whose name was changed to Coeymans Junction, flourished. Coeymans Junction is now Ravena. Waterworks were constructed in 1897 and Ravena was incorporated into a village in 1914. Telephone service was added in 1903, electric lights were added in 1908 and a sewage system was installed in 1915.