Strolling Through History


An hour and a half north of Manhattan, in the shadows of the Shawangunk mountains, lies what is considered America's oldest continuously inhabited street. It's called Huguenot Street, now designated a National Historic Landmark District. In 1678, a group of 12 French-speaking Huguenot families established a settlement in a wooded area along Wallkill River in the Hudson Valley after buying 39,000 acres of land from native Esophus Indians. This group of refugees from what is today's Northern France/Southern Belgium came to the New World in the hope of practicing their Protestant beliefs without fear of persecution. They called their new settlement die Pfalz (now New Paltz) after the region along the Rhine River in Germany where they first took refuge before crossing the Atlantic.

The Huguenot's story is certainly one of the oldest immigrant odysseys that I know. Theirs is a story about seeking freedom. To start living free in what is at the time a remote location in the East Coast must have entailed a lot of sacrifices for the men, women and children who comprised this group. They erected temporary wooden homes until they started building one-room stone houses in the early 1700s reflecting Dutch architecture and furnishings. Of the original stone structures, only seven houses stand to this day. Descendants continued to live in these houses for many more years, incorporating changes in them as their families grew. Thus, what we see today are houses showcasing a time period from 17th to early 20th century.


As we took a stroll along this now asphalted street, we can only imagine the richness of the history that lies here. Certain areas of the neighborhood are roped-off for more archaeological diggings. Underneath these manicured lawns are the remains of Indian communities that lived long before the Huguenots arrived. Which, come to think of it, even makes Huguenot Street truly ancient and historic than it already is.

Huguenot Street in New Paltz can be reached from Manhattan's Port Authority Bus Terminal via daily bus service with Trailways New York. Roundtrip fare is currently $36.50. Guided tours from the Dubois Fort Visitor Center start at $9 for an hour per adult.


  1. Amazing find. Did you research this or you simply stumbled upon it?

    I love historical places, haven't been in many but I am so interested in them.

    Love the stone houses too.

  2. Great post! Thanks for writing about Historic Huguenot Street and I'm impressed with your very accurate description of our history. Those interested in the Native American aspect of our history can check out our current exhibit, Before Hudson: 8,000 Years of Native American History and Culture. It is based on findings from recent archaeological digs on site.

    Richard Heyl de Ortiz
    Director of Public Programs
    Historic Huguenot Street

  3. Hi Photo Cache,
    I found out about Huguenot through my guide while hiking in the Shawangunk mountains.

  4. Wow! And this one's just near NY? How I wish I'd get the chance to visit this historical place one day.

  5. Of the original stone structures, only seven houses stand to this day. >>>> that's sad to know. these reminds me of the stone houses of batanes.

    so beautiful to have kept these few.

  6. Got to keep that street in mind next time I visit New York.

  7. nice stone structures!! very similar to the stone house near the sea i had been to in new zealand =p great!

  8. it is an amazing house with lots of colorful history. great shots.

  9. Such history in just a short distance from Manhattan!

  10. This resonates in me because of the work I do. Many people in the UK are against refugees and asylum seekers, not realising that they themselves probably came from people who needed refuge back in the day.

    Love this post! I should make it a point to visit there when I return to the US.

    Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comment. Come back tomorrow!

    A Pinay In England
    Your Love Coach
    I, Woman

  11. ang ganda naman...kinsa imo kauban kung mag laag ka? hehehe
    so nice...i was supposed to visit NY this month. Pero na praning ang UAE sa swine flu so naay travel advisory. I am a little bit hesitant sad kay basig maigo ko sa sakit. Di pa baya ko ready muuli sa pinas ehehehe..sa sept na lang ko anha...request ko ug itinerary ha hehehe kanang mga must see jud
    Great shots btw. :-)

  12. Cool place Nomad! Now I understand that line from Family Guy about Peter Griffin being a "self-described Huguenot" haha....

    I'm glad they preserve historical places like that, and so close to the city yet it looks like another place and time.

  13. txs for re-visiting me..i jst saved u to my favorites..and featured blogger so i would have the chance to see ur masterpieces..and for the others to enjoy it likewise..

    txs for sharing us the history behind those .. interesting.

    b back then for more.rgds n more power.

  14. Hi Richard Heyl de Ortiz,
    I'm surprised you found my post right away but thanks for the compliments. I'd like to return there someday.

    Hi r-yo,
    I hope you will someday!

    Hi Dong,
    Thanks to the descendants who helped preserve them.

    Hi BertN,
    It's so accessible you shouldn't miss it.

    Hi Fufu,
    Thanks for the visit. Another blogger says it's like the stone houses in Batanes, Philippines.

    Hi Lawstude,
    Very historic indeed! Thanks.

    Hi Jen Laceda,
    So close yet you feel so removed from modern Manhattan.

    Hi Joy,
    That's very true, some Europeans don't realize that it's not only Asians and Africans that migrated to other places but some of their ancestors as well!

    Hi Laagan,
    Sometimes ako ra, sometimes naa pud mokuyog. The H1N1 isn't really so bad even in NY - we're still doing our daily grind. There's plenty of sights to see and things to do in NY but I can give you suggestions - just email me.

    Hi Angelo,
    So now you know, he-he-he! I know the show's on Fox but I never watch it.

    Hi Josh,
    Thanks for adding me up to your favorites. I do enjoy reading your insights as well!


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