Chappaqua in Westchester County

Monday, 12 September 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  5 minutes

Rehoboth, one of the very first concrete homes ever built in the US © Nat Postrigan/cc-by-sa-3.0

Rehoboth, one of the very first concrete homes, originally built as a barn, ever built in the US © Nat Postrigan/cc-by-sa-3.0

Chappaqua is a hamlet and census-designated place in the town of New Castle, in northern Westchester County, New York, United States. It is approximately 30 miles (50 km) north of New York City. The hamlet is served by the Chappaqua station of the Metro-North Railroad‘s Harlem Line. In the New York State Legislature it is within the New York State Assembly‘s 93rd district and the New York Senate‘s 40th district. In Congress the village is in New York’s 17th District. Chappaqua was founded by a group of Quakers in the 1730s and was the home of Horace Greeley, New-York Tribune editor and U.S. congressman. Since the late 1990s, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have lived there.

In the early 1730s, a group of Quakers moved north from Purchase, New York, to settle in present-day Chappaqua. They built their homes on Quaker Road (more recently, Quaker Street) and held their meetings at the home of Abel Weeks. Their meeting house was built in 1753 and still holds weekly meetings each Sunday. The area around the meeting house, known as Old Chappaqua Historic District, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Horace Greeley‘s home, known as Rehoboth and built by Greeley himself, still stands in Chappaqua. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places along with Chappaqua Railroad Depot and Depot Plaza, Church of Saint Mary the Virgin and Greeley Grove, and the Greeley House. Various spellings were used for the name they heard Native Americans use for their valley and hillside. It was an Algonquian word, shah-pah-ka, and it meant “the rustling land” or “the rattling land,” or a place where nothing is heard but the rustling of the wind in the leaves. The Quakers spelled it Shapiqua, Shapaqua, Shapequa, Shappaqua, and, finally, Chappaqua. Their meeting was often referred to as the Shapequa Meeting as early as 1745.

On March 18, 1791, the government of New York decided to split the overly large town of North Castle (jokingly called “the two saddlebags”) into two smaller towns, one of which was named New Castle. The border was drawn from the southwest corner of Bedford to the northeast edge of Mount Pleasant. New Castle’s borders have remained the same since 1791, except for a small piece of land received from Somers in 1846 and the secession of Mount Kisco in 1978.

former Reader's Digest building in Pleasantville © Atilin/cc-by-sa-3.0 Statue of Horace Greeley © Ksflicker/cc-by-sa-3.0 Chappaqua historic train station © Daniel Case/cc-by-sa-3.0 Church of St Mary the Virgin © Daniel Case/cc-by-sa-3.0 Horace Greeley House © Nat Postrigan/cc-by-sa-3.0 Rehoboth, one of the very first concrete homes ever built in the US © Nat Postrigan/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Rehoboth, one of the very first concrete homes ever built in the US © Nat Postrigan/cc-by-sa-3.0
Chappaqua had great streams such as the Saw Mill River and Roaring Brook. These bodies of water powered mills to crush corn and press oil from beans. The eastern half of Chappaqua was very suitable for farming. The majority of the Quaker settlers of Chappaqua were farmers. The popular farming industry also helped give way to Chappaqua’s high milk production. Other popular industries from Chappaqua included shoes, hardware, vinegar, pickles, eyeglasses, and furniture. Many early homes and businesses were demolished in the 1904 Chappaqua tornado. In 1846 when the New York and Harlem Railroad extended through Chappaqua, business became centered on the new train station. These businesses included a hotel, livery stables, a public library, and various stores and small factories. The railroad enabled commuters to travel to New York City and back each day. Among the notable structures are:

  • The Chappaqua Friends Meeting House, circa 1753, is the oldest extant Quaker meeting house in Westchester County, and is a contributing property to the Old Chappaqua Historic District.
  • America’s first concrete barn was completed by Horace Greeley on his Chappaqua farm in 1856. It was also one of the first concrete buildings ever built in the U.S. Greeley’s daughter and son-in-law later remodeled it into their house and named it Rehoboth.
  • The world headquarters of Reader’s Digest was in Chappaqua. The exterior featured statues of Pegasus.
  • Part of the original structure of one of Horace Greeley’s homes is part of the present-day New Castle Historical Society.
  • The Shamberg House, designed by Richard Meier, was built in Chappaqua in 1974.

Read more on Wikivoyage Chappaqua and Wikipedia Chappaqua (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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