Hudson Valley Decoded: Meanings Behind 5 of Our Most Famous Names
I know I'm not the only one who wondered why we have so many kills in our area. We have the Dutch settlers who populated our region in the 1600s to thank for that one. Kill means stream, or creek, and with that small amount of information, Peter's Kill Area on Rte. 44 sounds a lot less terrifying.
Speaking of good ol' H20, Minnewaska State Park, which is just down the road from the non-murderous Peter's Kill, means "good water", derived from Native American languages. And that's what this list is about: the background, history, and etymology (had to spellcheck that one) of some of the most famous names in the Hudson Valley. Let's start with a hilarious one.
Just north of Hudson is the 9,000-person town of Coxsackie, NY. Translations of the Native American word differ, but the consensus is that it's about a bird. The most popular meanings are "migrating geese", or "place of owls".
The Catskills is one of the most famous regions in our area, but how many people actually know what it means? Well, we already have kill down, and while it's a little anti-climactic, Cat, or kaat, still mean cat, meaning that roughly, the mountain range can translate from old Dutch to "Wildcat Creek". Another theory claims that it was instead derived from the Dutch word "kasteel", which referred to the walls they observed that were built around Native American villages.
Growing up in Ulster County, Onteora was one the school districts we often faced-off against in sports. While we usually crushed them (go Ganders!), their name is pretty cool, translating from a Native American language meaning "hills of the sky".
Speaking of Ulster County, there are few places more beautiful places than the Ashokan reservoir. Fittingly, Ashokan translates to "place of fish".
Staying with the water theme, Esopus, a town near New Paltz, and also the namesake of a creek, literally means "small river"