A Brief History of New Castle, NY

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A Brief History of New Castle, NY

Sometimes we forget to look back and admire the unique and accomplished histories of our Westchester, NY towns. Maybe you’re considering building a new custom home and moving into the area. Or perhaps you’re renovating or building an addition on a special property here. Either way, we thought it would be interesting to take a brief look back at the history of New Castle, NY.

New Castle

New Castle, in Westchester County, NY, originally began as part of North Castle. Settlers purchased part of the existing town’s land from Indians in 1640, and additional tracts in 1661. It wasn’t until April 5, 1791 that New Castle broke away from North Castle and became established as its own town. Before the separation, that part of North Castle was known as Chappaqua, which is one of New Castle’s present-day hamlets.

Quakers who had moved to the area from Purchase, New York originally settled Chappaqua in 1730. They began to build homes on what was known as Quaker Street. Weekly town meetings were held there on Sundays at the home of a man named Abel Weeks. The venue changed when the town built an official Meeting House in 1753. In 1776, The Meeting House became a shelter for some of Gen. George Washington’s men who had been wounded in the Battle of White Plains during the Revolutionary War. The building remains to this day, and weekly meetings continue to be held there each Sunday.

Although Chappaqua residents were initially self-sufficient farmers, craftsmen, and part-time millers, things began to change as the railroad arrived in 1848. They began to focus on exportable goods including apples, milk, and vinegar. After the railroad arrived, freight stations, general stores, livery stables, and even hotels began to appear in Chappaqua. There were also cider mills, a barrel factory, and a pickle factory. Despite some growth, the population remained small at less than 2,500 at the turn of the century.

Unfortunately, several of the local industries in town were unable to sustain themselves and eventually shut down. Despite this slowdown, money was coming into town as New York City residents started to populate the area. More and more New Yorkers began to discover the beauty of the rural landscape and quiet community.

Although some towns in the area were destroyed as a result of conflicts during the Revolutionary War, it was actually a tornado that would demolish parts of New Castle in 1904. The twister swept through Quaker Street, taking out several of the homes. As luck would have it, the tornado stopped just short of hitting The Meeting House.

Although the town’s population remained small for many years, it began to grow after World Wars I and II. During the 1920s, Realtors recognized the value of New Castle and started promoting the area more heavily. By the late 1930s and 1940s, real estate development was in full force and the once tiny town would expand to a population of 14,000 between 1950 and 1960.

Today, New Castle has a population of approximately 17,569. Despite its growth through the years, it has managed to keep several historic buildings intact and continues to maintain its small-town charm and beautiful rustic scenery.