Kingston Point - the closest point to the eastern shore of the Hudson for Kingston and Rondout, had long been used for ferry service. In the 19th century, steamboats generally docked at Rhinecliff on the eastern side, or up Rondout Creek. As steamboats grew larger, the need for a river port increased.
In 1896, Kingston Point Park opened with a steamboat landing to entice the Hudson River Day Line steamboats to dock on the Kingston side instead of at Rhinecliff (where the train station was). Built by Samuel Coykendall, heir to the Thomas Cornell Steamboat Company - once the largest towing company on the Eastern seaboard - and owner of the Ulster & Delaware Railroad, the park featured gardens, an amusement park complete with Ferris wheel and carousel, and boat rentals. Serviced by Coykendall's trolleys and Ulster & Delaware railroad trains, visitors docking at Kingston Point Park could take the train up to the Catskill Mountain houses - a popular destination - or take the trolley down to the Rondout Waterfront or walk to the nearby hotel to stay overnight. A fire in the 1920s destroyed most of the buildings. Today, just the park itself and the trolley tracks remain.
We thought we'd share just some of the many lovely postcards from the Hudson River Maritime Museum's collection today. Dating to the turn of the 20th century, they illustrate the steamboat dock, boating bay, island bandstand, hotel, trolley tracks, carousel, and park-like grounds.
Kingston Point Park was one of over a dozen steamboat landing parks, picnic grounds, and amusement parks that once lined the banks of the Hudson River. We hope to tell more of their stories over the next year and on future voyages!
Do you have a favorite Hudson River park? Share it in the comments!
This Captains' Log is kept by the captains and crew of Solaris and Apollonia and staff of the Hudson River Maritime Museum.