Stock Subscription from the Matteawan Machine Company
issued in 1852. This historic document was handsigned signed by all of the shareholders next to the number of shares they purchased.
Back side of document showing more signatures
Beacon, situated on the east bank of the Hudson River at the foot of stately Mount Beacon, is located 59 miles north of New York City and approximately 90 miles south of Albany.
Incorporated on May 15,1913, by combining the old villages of Fishkill Landing and Matteawan, the City of Beacon was so named to commemorate the historic Beacon fires which blazed forth from the summit of the Fishkill Mountains warning the Revolutionary Armies of the movement of the British Troops.
Beacon has the distinction of being the First-Commission-Government City in the State of New York as well as one of the first in the United States.
James A. Frost was Beacon's first Mayor. Chief Engineer of the Beacon Fire Department, beginning July 1, 1913 was Charles McNeal. On July 4, 1913, a city-wide celebration was held and the members of Beacon's Three Fire Companies participated. An inspection was conducted by Mayor Frost and Members of the City Council.
Rich in Revolutionary History, Beacon and surrounding territory was the scene of much activity during the War for Freedom. Perhaps the most famous reminder of this period is the Madam Brett House (Teller Homestead) located directly behind the present Memorial Building and Mase Hook and Ladder Firehouse. Washington, LaFayette, Von Steuben, and other distinguished patriots were guests under its roof, and supplies were stored there during the Revolution. The Historical House was built in 1709 by Catherine and Roger Brett and is the oldest house in the county.
Another major historic place in the city is the Mt. Beacon DAR Monument and Incline Railway. The DAR monument is in memory of our Revolutionary soldiers who built signal fires to warn inhabitants of approaching British. It is made of native stone in the shape of a pyramid, patterned after the original pyres, which were built of logs, being 14 feet square at the base and 25 feet high. The Melzingah Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected the Monument and has maintained it throughout the years (seen on the home page). According to records, the unveiling took place on the hot and sultry July 4, 1900, and more than a 100 patriotic inhabitants climbed the mountain on foot and in carriages to attend the impressive ceremony. The monument is at the highest point of North Beacon Mountain, 1,503 feet.
The beauties of the countryside gave birth to a dream, and in 1900 with the aid of local business men, formed the Incline Railway Association to erect a cable railway to the top of Mount Beacon. The railway was a monument to the ingenuity of the engineers of over 100 years ago. It was built on an unsurpassed steep grade of 65 percent and lifted to a height of 1150 feet above the Hudson. It was opened in 1902 and carried 60,000 passengers during its first season.
In the incline's heyday the BeaconCrest Hotel stood at the top. It was a popular resort which annually attracted thousands of visitors, some merely to ride the incline and some to stay days or weeks at the mountain retreat. The hotel was destroyed by a fire in 1932 and was never rebuilt. There was also a casino on the top of the mountain. The casino is also no longer in existence.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Beacon occupied an area of 5.38 square miles, had over 45 miles of paved streets and had a population of about 15,000 people. At present, in the new Millennium, Beacon occupies an area of 4.74 square miles, has over 50 miles of paved streets and has a population of still around 15,000 people.
Beacon also has Municipal Water Works. Three Reservoirs with a capacity of 400 million gallons supply the city. Since 1904 the city has had fire hydrants, currently there are about 400 city owned Hydrants. The city also has a Sewerage Disposal Plant.
Beacon and surrounding areas have always been fortunate in having varied industrial environments to provide employment for their citizens. From the first grist mill established by Madam Brett in 1709 through the present, there has always been a vast variety of industrial businesses to bolster the economic growth in the community. Most of the original sites were along the Fishkill Creek because of its abundant water power. The Brinckerhoff brothers built the second mill in 1735 which supplied Washington's troops. The third was built by Peter A. Schenck in 1800 and did a large business grinding grain for New York City. The first cotton mill was erected by Schenck in 1811. Around 1825 Schenck also built a factory that built cotton machinery. During the succeeding years the building housed a locomotive factory, the Green Fuel Economizer, the Carrington Air Brake Company, the Littauer Silk Mill, and the Werber Coat Factory. The Frankfort Storehouse at Dennings Point was started in 1743 for river freighting and continued in business until the 1840s. In 1812 John DeWindt built Long Dock and an adjacent shipyard. The Hudson River Railroad came through in 1851 and 1866 the Dutchess & Columbia Railroad Company laid tracks along the the Fishkill Creek to Millerton. Presently, the Hudson River Railroad is owned and run by the MTA & Conrail. In 1844 the Judson Hancock foundry and machine shop was established. This facility manufactured many guns used in the Civil War. Also in the 1800s many other factories were established, many of the buildings still exist today. In the early 1900s Beacon was considered the hat center of the state. This industry was started in Beacon in 1864 when the Matteawan Manufactoring Company started its production of fine wool hats. At the present time the only hat factory in Beacon is the Aldo Hat Company. Another major industry in the early 1900s was brick making. Although no factories exists today, many of the buildings in New York City, including the Empire State and Rockefeller Center, used the local product. In 1928 the National Biscuit Company built a plant for the manufacturing of cartons and wrappings. The building is now presently the DIA Art Facility. From these beginnings Beacon has continued through the years to maintain a number of small industries making products from textiles to paper clips. In 1933 there were 38 industries that employed 2,570 people. In 1963 there were 36 industries that employed 5,719. Presently, there are many industries that include, chemical manufacturing, shower products, and electric signs.
Beacon has had many places of worship, even well before the formation of the City. The first was the Reformed Church of Beacon which was erected in 1813. It was the first to be established in the immediate area. In 1824 a group of people of the Methodist faith decided that they wished to become a "Station" and keep a minister. On 1824 Beacon's second church was formed, the Trinity Methodist Church. In 1832 the First Presbyterian Church was established in the Village of Matteawan. Also in 1832 the Episcopal church called St. Luke's was established. The present building on Wolcott was built in 1870. In 1850 in the Village of Fishkill Landing the St. Joachim's Church was established. The First Baptist Church was established in 1853. The First Methodist Church was founded in 1860. The Salavation Army was established in Beacon in 1883 and moved into its present building in 1941. St Johns the Evangelist Church was established in 1887 and the present church was completed in 1891. St Andrew's Church was established in the middle 1890s. The Beacon Hebrew Alliance was established in 1924 and moved into its present synagogue in 1929. The St. Lawrence Seminary was established in 1936. In 1945 the Springfield Baptist Church was established. In 1951 the Assembly of God was founded.
The City of Beacon's education is covered by the Beacon City School District. Education in the city though dates way back to 1819, when the Fishkill Landing School was started. In 1826 the first known school building was erected in the Village of Fishkill Landing. The student body at that time was about 150 students. In 1856 that building was replaced by a more modern and larger building. In the Village of Matteawan the first school building was erected in 1870. In 1907 the Matteawan building was replaced by a more modern building. In 1891 another school was built in the Village of Fishkill Landing. After the formation of the entire city it was decided to build a high school in 1916. At this time there were 3 elementary schools and a High school. In 1937 a large addition was placed on Beacon High School. In 1951 the present Forrestal Elementary School was erected, which replaced the Spring Street School. In 1959 the Chelsea and Brockway school districts consolidated with the Beacon City School District. In the 1960s the Rombout Middle School and Sargent Elementary Schools were built. As of 2000 the new Beacon High School is being constructed to replace the well out-dated school. Presently the District serves 3,400 students with 4 elementary schools, 1 middle school, 1 high school, and 2 parochial schools.
History from the City of Beacon.