A Brief History of Tarrytown, Part Three


In 1901, Music Hall was one of the first theaters to show motion pictures. Presidents Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson have made appearances there. The acoustics are considered phenomenal and artists such as Tony Bennett, Joan Baez, David Bromberg, Dizzy Gillespie, The Preservation Hall of Jazz and Bruce Springsteen have performed there.

More than 50 recordings have been made there since 1980.

The millionaires of “Millionaire’s Colony” greatly contributed to Tarrytown’s economy. Every mansion and castle was built mostly by local tradesmen, every estate had many local workmen and every local merchant had his share of millionaire customers.

Tarrytown, being home to the “Millionaire’s Colony,” also attracted many students to its private schools and its boarding schools. The first private school to appear in the Tarrytown area was the Irving School for Boys in 1837. It was followed by the very fashionable Castle School or Miss Mason’s school for girls. There was also Mrs. Leonard’s School, the Home Institute. Newman’s Military Academy, Starr’s Military Academy, the Jane R. & H.L. Buckley school for girls, The Knox School, The Highland Manor School, Repton School for boys, the Andre Brook School, Tarrytown School, St. Vincent dePaul. Hackley, and Fordham-Marymount still educate today.

In 1947 Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, the former North Tarrytown, were selected by the American Associations for the United Nations, and the National Broadcasting Company to celebrate United Nations Week with a great festival of peace. Mayor Sterling Fisher of Tarrytown and Mayor H. Tilden Swan of North Tarrytown gave speeches as they welcomed U.N. dignitaries. Local churches began each day with opening services, and lunches honoring people of all nationalities were served. There was an exhibition of Polish dancers and an exhibition of Chinese dancing. There were Swiss yodelers, craft exhibits, and flower shows. Local residents donned clothes of different nationalities. There was also a Doll Show with dolls representing many countries. There were fire works at night and a large parade led by two U.N. dignitaries concluded the week’s ceremonies. It was quite an honor for Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow to have been chosen.

In 1970, we celebrated the hundredth year of Tarrytown’s incorporation. In 1976, we celebrated the Bicentennial of the United States with parades. Tall Ships sailed up the Hudson to the Tappan Zee Bridge and smaller sailing ships from The Netherlands moored their boats at the Tarrytown Boat Club.

Today Tarrytown has a population of approximately 11,500 and we have several decisions facing us that shall shape our future. One decision that will have to be made is what we will do regarding the Tappan Zee Bridge. How will this affect traffic, our personal lives and commuters? Tarrytown is facing expansion west of the railroad tracks with the “Ferry Landings” development. Will village hall and the police department be on the west side of the tracks? Our sister town, Sleepy Hollow is planning a large development to be called “Lighthouse Landing.” Another development, “Ichabod Landing,” is already under construction and has already changed the skyline of the area. We will have to work together to truly plan for an increase in traffic, and an increase in population. The manner in which the Union Free School District of the Tarrytowns responds to this increase in population will be another issue that has to be addressed.

This past year marked the 225th year of the capture of Major John Andre by Tarrytown’s three militiamen and we will be celebrating that event. If Andre had not been captured carrying the plans regarding the fortification of West Point, the outcome of the Revolutionary War and thus the history of our village and of our nation might have been quite different indeed.

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About the Author: Richard Miller