West Nyack Local History : A Brief History of West Nyack
Hamlet of West Nyack
With a population of about 7,085 people, West Nyack is a hamlet in the town of Clarkstown whose name became official in 1891. According to Portrait of West Nyack, the hamlet officially adopted the name West Nyack, in order to identify Mont Moor Railroad Station with the port of Nyack. Founded by Dutch settlers approximately 300 years ago, colonists began construction on stone houses built from red sandstone that was discovered in their backyards.
How They Lived
Some of the plants inigenous to their homelands that the Dutch settlers brought with them, were gooseberry and current bushes. They also cooked with marigolds and used healing herbs like comfrey for ailments. The Great Greenbush Swamp provided copious amounts of clover and Timothy Hay (grass) from which animals grazed.Dutch settlers spread out among the farm land and lived in cave-like dwellings with wooden coverings for the walls.
The Seventh Day
On days of worship, settlers would travel miles to attend services, often times on treacherous terrain, to as far away as Tappan. They held the church and their clergy in high esteem and regarded it as the central focus in their daily life. In 1749, Clarkstown formed its own parish and built the church on Germonds Road. In 1830, Reverend Christopher Hunt became the first minister of Clarkstown church.
Among the earliest settlers of West Nyack that helped shape the culture, were the DeClarkes, Demarests, Tallmans, Vanderbilts, Lydeckers, and the Obelnis family. In 1834, William Oblenis opened the first general store and post office. The Oblenis famliy thirved for approximatley 200 years on the same section of land which is said to be an extraordinary occurence in the history of the county. Charles, William Oblenis's son, owned property in the late 1840's which is now Clarksville Inn.
Upon landing on Rockland shores, British troops infiltrated as far as Strawtown, pillaging supplies and attacking patriots. Tories that sided with the British became informants against their enemies. Long after the end of the war, West Nyack began to rebuild and cultivate their ravaged lands. The Great Greenbush Swamp created a obstruction against travel and transportaion of any kind and the Nyack Turnpike would not be built until 50 years later.
The War of 1812 required all men in Rockland to serve in the militia and as a result in 1814, no one was left to tend to the crops. In 1861, some county men enlisted to fight after the boming of Fort Sumter and became members of Company G, which joined the 17th regiment of the New York State Volunteers. Five hundered and fifty-eight county men served in the Union army, among them Charles Oblenis who served as a captain. Eighty-nine Rocklanders died fighting for the Union.
In 1834, the Oblenis general store and post office was first opened. Mail was delieverd twice a week by steamboat between Haverstraw and New York. By 1828 the hub of Rockland migrated to Oblenis Corners (presently Four Corners, which is at the intersection of West Nyack Road with Strawtown and Sickeltown Road). In 1840, Thomas Warner built a hotel which today is presently known as Clarksville Inn. In 1847, Oblenis Corners became Clarks Ville Corners and was a hub for social and economic growth.
Sources: 2010 Demographic Profile, West Nyack Free Library Local History Collection: Portait of West Nyack, 974.7Por
Photo Credit: Made in Germany by M. Neisner, Nyack New York, Holding Instiution: New City Library, All Rights Reserved.