Germantown, New York

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In the southwest part of Columbia county, along the east bank of the Hudson River, sits Germantown. Just 100 miles north of New York City and 40 miles south of Albany, the town is known for its family focus and quiet lifestyle.

According to the town’s website, residents enjoy “easy access to the river for boating, fishing and viewing spectacular sunsets behind the Catskill Mountains.” Famous Hudson School painter Frederic Church lived and painted at his mansion, Olana, a few miles north. The sense of culture and education extends to nearby Bard College. There also are many antique and art stores, as well as Palatine Park and the Kellner Community Activities Center.

Germantown’s history dates back to October 1710 when some 1200 Palatines established what was called East Camp on the east bank of the Hudson after their voyage from southwest Germany via Queen Anne’s England. According to the town’s website it was the largest single migration in the colonial era. “Many Germantown residents today trace their ancestry to those original Palatine settlers.” The town’s oldest building can be found on Maple Ave: The First Reformed Church Parsonage, which dates back to 1743.

Among the other historical buildings still in existence are Central House on Main Street, established in 1876 and once owned by the Rockefeller family; The Stone Jug House on County Rte 9G, which was built by Konrad Lasher, son of one of the original Palatine settlers, in 1752; and The Rockefeller House on Country Rte 8, which was built by Simeon Rockefeller, son of Diell Rockefeller who came to the town in 1733. Diell was John D. Rockefeller Sr.’s great-great-great-grandfather.

Photo credit: Phillip Capper

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