The Sad Fate of Danskammer Farm

Danskammer Farm (named by Henry Hudson as he sailed up the eponymous river when he saw Indians dancing (Danskammer means dance hall in Dutch) on a vast boulder overlooking the river) is on the outskirts of the town of Roseton which is near Newburgh.

It was 100 acres and had apple orchards, cows, chickens (my elder sister collected the eggs), and beehives. Its owner Nancy Armstrong in whose family it had been since Civil War days and her husband Les Rice who penned the song Banks of Marble (sung by Pete Seeger: The banks are made of marble / With a guard at every door / And the halls are stuffed with silver / That the farmer labored for.") and others were Commies and unionized the farmhands and apple pickers. We lived (my father was an artist and built himself a studio) there until 1961 when we moved to Rome. Later, Consolidated Edison ("Con Ed") acquired the property and built, on the shore of the Hudson from which they could draw cooling water, the massive Indian Point nuclear power plant. They got the land by eminent domain and demolished the magnificent rambling 200-year old farmhouse. I remember the vast hearth and secret passageways.

In the 80s my mother and I snuck back onto the property and saw that nothing was left -- no orchards, no barn, nada. We did find the foundation of our own house, and the remains of my playhouse and even some of my boyhood drawings buried in the muck left behind by Con Ed's bulldozers.

-- Dan Keller


My elder sister Marthe corrects me...

> Ho Bro,

Good historical info, but you have a few errors. 
Central Hudson is not the same as Con Edison, it was a coal fired
plant when we lived there, (they used to shake the coal cars to
dump the coal and make a racket), but is now a fracked gas fired
plant at Danskammer.  Indian Point nuclear power plant is across
the river and completely different, although insane, so close to NYC.

Henry Hudson actually named it "The Devil's Dance Chamber",
der toifels dansenkammer or something Dutch. 
The farm was only 50 acres left from an enormous deed of many
many hundreds of acres of land along the Hudson, given by
George Washington to Nancy Armstrong's family who supported him
in the revolution. The great columns at Storm King Art center
in Kingston were from one of the Armstrong Mansions, later
donated to the art center. The "farm" house was built by
Nancy's great great great uncle who was the first US
Ambassador to Italy. Tooled leather in the library and
stained glass etc. It had been a grand mansion before
it was a farm house.

As a child, Nancy had to turn on the lighthouse on the
point when it was foggy.

Nancy and Les fought off Central Hudson for years and
years and didn't give in until long after we had moved
to Rome. Central Hudson is still embroiled in battle
with the locals vs pipeline and fracking gas etc...
Roseton still exists, but the Rose Brickyard and
everything else except the Catholic Church and a few
little homes, has been over run by Central Hudson.

xxxx
Theenia