Fishermen in Athens, looking toward the Hudson, New York waterfront
(date and artist unknown). Source: Historic Hudson
Hudson was the first chartered city in the United States. It was founded on the river of the same name by whalers and merchants hailing from Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Rhode Island who sought an inland port safe from 18th-century piracy.
The original residents established a rational grid of streets and parks over the uneven terrain previously called Claverack Landing. They began building handsome houses, banks, department stores and other commercial buildings in what would become a living catalogue of American vernacular styles.
Hudson grew quickly in its early years. It almost became the capital of New York, missing out by only one vote. In addition to whale oil, Hudson was for many decades a thriving commercial center producing a wide variety of goods including beer, matches, mushrooms and pocketbooks.