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Historic Sloatsburg
Glenwood Hotel
The Henry Club
Jacob Sloat House
Old Cemetery
John Sloat's Burial Plot
The Sloats House & Inn
The Ramapo Pass
The Sloat Dam
Old Erie Railroad Station
Cappermore Farm
Brown's Gate
Brown's Family
Taylors Corner
Knapps's Dam

 

 

 

Historic Sloatsburg

This area was first inhabited by the Leni-Lenape Indians.  An archaeological excavation of an Indian shelter in Sloatsburg disclosed artifacts dating back over 5,000 years.  (See display at the Sloatsburg Library).

In 1738 Dutch settler, Wynant Van Gelder purchased a tract of land called Pothat from the local Indians - that tract was to become the village of Sloatsburg.  In 1747 Van Gelder deeded the land to his brother-in-law, Isaac Van Duzer (Van Deursen).  Van Duzer in turn deeded the property in 1763 to his son-in-law, Stephen Sloat.  At that time, there was no inland route for wagon travel upstate to Albany and other northern settlements.  Dutch settlers like Isaac Van Duzer, Stephen Sloat and others recognized that an old Indian trail through the Ramapo Pass could be widened and leveled to form such a route.  They began this work and also expanded their homes into inns to accommodate the travelers along this roadway.  The old Sloat home & Inn at the entrance to Sloatsburg has been preserved and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This route was fully opened for wagon traffic at about the time of the start of the Revolutionary War.  The British had conquered New York City and were intent upon seizing Albany.  General Washington blocked their access on  the Hudson River with a huge chain stretched across the river and gun emplacements at West Point.  To block the inland route at the Ramapo Pass, he established a command post at the Sloat home and placed Captain Stephen Sloat in charge of the troops guarding the Pass.  Stephen's eldest son, Private John Sloat was subsequently shot by a sentry and buried on a grass knoll that later became the Sloat Family burial plot and eventually the Sloatsburg Cemetery - also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Isaac Sloat, son of pioneer Stephen and brother of Pvt. John was the first entrepreneur of this area. By 1792 he had constructed a dam across the Ramapo river with a system of sluice gates and a mill race to provide water power to run a saw mill and tannery located in what is now downtown Sloatsburg.  Jacob Sloat, a son of Isaac, constructed a cotton mill in 1815.  His operation was so successful that it was enlarged several times and continued to be a major local employer until destroyed by fire in 1955.  It was Jacob Sloat and his industry that put Sloatsburg on the map, becoming an incorporated village in 1929.

In 1800 the Orange Turnpike Association was formed and until the NYS Thruway was completed in 1957, the Orange Turnpike - now Route 17 - was the only major route to upstate New York.  Thousand of passengers passed through "Downtown Sloatsburg" annually.  The Glenwood Inn, Taylor's Inn and the Henry Inn were elegant restaurants and hotels catering to those travelers in the early 1900's.  Commerce flourished in "Downtown Sloatsburg" during that period. Multiple grocery stores, gasoline stations, departments stores, and many other stores and services lined "Main Street Sloatsburg" until after World War II when the concept of shopping malls and other social changes negatively impacted shopping in local villages.  Sloatsburg is now primarily a remote and environmentally attractive residential area for commuters who work in other areas.