First, there is only the land. Over thousands of years, glaciers shape the land. A landscape of elongated hills called drumlins, sand-filled valleys and rich wetlands cradling water is carved. The river, omnipresent, swells and recedes a million times. The ponds and lakes grow rich with fish. People come, nomadic families with musical names—Narragansett, Ockoocangansett, Wampanoag, and Nipmuck, living off the land, the river, the lakes. Others from across the ocean follow, determined to make a new home. Land is cleared. Cowpaths, cartpaths, bridle paths and then roads are formed along native routes. The river is tamed. The power of the river is channeled into grist mills, then industrial mills small and large. Within two hundred years, two dozen families grow to thousands. Industries thrive. The world’s countries send willing workers to fill the valleys. Stagecoaches and then the railroad bring others. Wars rage and end—our men fight in Concord, in Gettysburg, in Europe, in Asia. Countless lives are won and lost as medicine advances. High-technology industries flourish as the region flourishes. Schools, homes, parks, wetlands, old buildings and new—all come and go.
Take a snapshot of Hudson, poised always between the river and the future.