Discover the Hudson Valley from a Bed and Breakfast Inn in Beacon
Like many of the Hudson River towns, Beacon, New York has had many incarnations. The area was originally settled by the Dutch in the late 1600’s on land purchased from the Wappinger Indians. Fishkill Landing (on Fishkill Creek on the south side of the future city of Beacon) was originally the site of a grist mill in the early 1700’s, and later became an important river port for the transport of products from the agricultural regions of the Hudson Valley, down to New York , and imported goods back up the river. Dutchess County was an important producer of wheat, and supplied a third of the flour produced in New York State in the early 1800’s. A ferry between the future cities of Beacon and Newburgh, just across the Hudson River, existed as early as the 1743, and was of vital importance until the Newburgh Beacon Bridge was built in the early 1960’s.
The city played an important role during the Revolutionary War, when war supplies were manufactured there, and the city’s strategic location allowed it to act as a fort and a signaling point for the Continental Army. The city’s name came from the signal fires that were lit atop the nearby Fishkill Mountains.During the 1800’s, Beacon became known as the “hat making capital of the US” with nearly 50 hat factories operating at one point. Its close proximity to New York City’s garment center made it a perfect match. Beacon was incorporated as a city in 1913.Beacon’s latest rebirth can be traced back to the late 1990’s with the opening of Dia:Beacon. This open space contemporary art museum, one of the largest in the world, is housed in a restored 1929 Nabisco box printing factory. The natural light pouring in through the large factory windows, as well as nearly 34,000 square feet of skylights, have earned Dia:Beacon a reputation as a “daylight museum.” Depending on the hour of your visit or that day’s weather, viewing of the art pieces can present the visitor with different perspectives. Dia:Beacon sits along the Hudson River and is a short walk from the Metro-North train station. This allows tourists from New York City a great day trip, if their time is limited.Beacon is a funky small river city with a Historic Main Street District. There can be found vintage Italianate style buildings housing a plethora of small businesses, many galleries, and numerous restaurants. It is also close to Bannerman’s Castle on Pollepel Island, just south of the city. This ruined castle has a colorful history and is today operated by the New York State Offices of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.