Monday, March 16, 2009

Hastings-on-Hudson Becomes an Official Village

In our post for March 12th we showed you our incorporation map, but we didn’t tell you the story behind incorporation.

According to the local paper, The Statesman, people in Hastings-on-Hudson had been talking about incorporation since 1875. The place had already been called Hastings-on-Hudson (or a variation on that name) for at least 40 years. But incorporating as an official village would mean that the community could elect its own government instead of relying on Greenburgh for services. The paper was all for it. “Hastings looks for progress and increased prosperity by incorporation,” wrote a reporter, “which means better streets, increased value of real estate, and higher taxes.”

In 1876 the same paper reported that most people would, in fact, rather be annexed to the city of Yonkers.

But by 1879 the tide of opinion had turned. The prominent citizens of Hastings took up a collection to raise money to pay for a survey of the proposed area to be covered by the town, one of the steps necessary to apply for incorporation. In September the surveyor, George Wiley, was working on the map. A village census was also in progress, another crucial part of the application for incorporation. (The total number of inhabitants was 1,226.) In October, everyone was invited to come to Samuel G. Dorland’s general store to see the completed map.

This postcard from about 1915 shows the building on the corner of Spring Street and Warburton Avenue where Samuel G. Dorland had his store. Dorland was postmaster and "dealer in dry goods, groceries, general merchandise, and also hay, straw, and feed."

In the opinion of The Statesman, most citizens favored incorporation. However, there were some who thought the proposed village was too large. It was, after all, two square miles. “It takes in roads which are not needed, which will be expensive to work, and keep in repair,” the paper reported. A public vote on incorporation was held in Protection Hall on November 18th.

Protection Engine Company was the only fire company in the village in 1879, and their firehouse on Warburton Avenue included a big meeting room on the second floor.

There were a lot of votes against incorporation (conflicting reports give the number as 221 to 209, or 104 to 75), but in any case the supporters won the day. And that is how we officially became Hastings-on-Hudson.

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