"There is a town, upstate, two days journey to the north, in the Hudson Islands.
It is called Sleepy Hollow."
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,  1999 film.
 
 

These are photos I took of the town Sleepy Hollow, NY.
This is the location where Washington Irving
penned his famous work.
The photos show locations depicted in the book and
the graves of the local townspeople who, in the late 1700's,
were the inspiration for his novel's characters.


 


 


 

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The Old Dutch Church, established in 1685, is said to be the oldest church in New York state,
and the seventh oldest in the U.S., only being preceded by churches of Spanish explorers.


During my visit and exploration of the grounds I met a kindly and enthusiastic older
gentleman named Bill Lent. As a live-in caretaker/tour guide for the church, he was eager to
share the history and not so commonly known facts about the town, its people, and
Washington Irvings connection to and inspiration from it all. If Bill had not taken the time
to stop on his way driving out the gate, there is so much I would never have known
and so much I would have missed.


The Old Dutch Church takes prominent part in the classic novel. This is one of the
places that Washington Irving had regular contact with the people who inhabit
the Sleepy Hollow of his imagination. Apparently, one summer as a youth,
Irving became enthralled with the niece of  Katrina Van Tassel. Just a couple
years older than  himself, Irving developed a growing fondness for the lass
as he regularly found himself standing  within ten feet of her during
church services. As Irving himself described her, she was "flaxen haired"
and "was plump as a partridge".
 


A young couple in the Van Tassel family had a  baby daughter who was saved
by a Hessian soldier. Some years later, a different Hessian soldier was found decapitated
in the town of Sleepy Hollow. To repay the kindness of the Hessian who had
saved the life of their child, the couple provided a proper Christian burial for
the soldier's lost countryman. It has been suggested that the grave of the Hessian is located
somewhere in the burial yard of the Old Dutch Church. This headless Hessian soldier
became the source for Irving's headless horseman.
 


 


Irving Family Plot


The grave of Washington Irving, author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.


The Van Tassel family takes prominent part in the story. Because this was a Dutch
settlement you can see the original spelling was "Van Telsel" and the spelling
of March is "Maarr".
 


Katrina (Catriena) Van Tassel, the heroine of the story.


The face carved of Katrina Van Tassel's tombstone.
 


If you've seen the Johnny Depp version of the movie, you may remember
the "archer" carved into the back of the fireplace.


The character of Ichabod Crane, though a person in real life, was based upon
several different people. As Bill informed me, Samuel Youngs was the inspiration
for Ichabod at the point in the book after he is chased over the bridge by the
"Headless Horseman".


The burial site of Brom Bones.


This is the original bridge which takes place in the story.
 


This is the location where the old bridge crossed the river.


This pile of rocks is a remnant of the old bridge abutment.


This new bridge is part of the main road through town. It crosses the stream
within about 50 yards of the original bridge.


 Further upstream is a bridge which links the old cemetery with
the new cemetery (people who haven't been dead for 200 years).
This bridge in much more reminiscent of the original bridge and the days
of the early Dutch settlers.


 


 


Philipsburg manor and the upper mill have been part of this part of the
Hudson River valley since the 1600's.



If you want to hear more information about the history of  Sleepy Hollow,
here is a pod-cast given by Bill Lent
Click Here



The Hudson River Valley
 

Sing Sing


AJust up river from Sleepy Hollow is located the famous or "infamous" prison "Sing Sing".
This prison has housed many thieves, serial killers and and lawless criminals over the years.
Among some of the more famous inmates were bank robber Willie Sutton,
George C. Parker (the man who sold the Brooklyn Bridge) and
communist spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.
Since Sing Sing is located up the Hudson River from New York City,
if you were arrested and sentenced to prison, you were literally
"sent up river" - (hence the phrase).
It  is also where the term "Big House" originated.
 


Sing Sing is still in use as a maximum security prison to this day.
Still somewhat reliant on old technology, when I took these pictures, I saw a prison guard
 lift a shotgun and bullet proof vest up into the tower with a bucket, rope and pulley.
Sometimes you can't beat the old fashioned things.


I'm assuming the trailers are for conjugal visits?!