The towns, villages and hamlets within New York state have extensive historical backgrounds. Some parts of the Hudson Valley date back to the 1600's.

Hudson Valley native may have roots all throughout the different counties and could discover their ancestors who helped shape the area.

The Hudson Valley towns that we know the best could have gone by different names.

What Hudson Valley Towns Went By Different Names In The Past?

Edit New York Heritage Digital Collections, Museum of Rhinebeck Histor

New York Heritage Digital Collections, Museum of Rhinebeck History, Canva

It's possible that the next time you're driving through a historic Hudson Valley town, you may learn something. Drivers could come across America's oldest intersection in Ulster County, NY or explore a piece of the past in Dutchess County, NY.

While cruising through Rhinebeck, NY I discovered that it went by a different name.

After doing research about Rhinebeck, I continued to explore other Hudson Valley towns with different names from the past

Rhinebeck was once referred to as Kipsbergen, Hurley was once referred to as Nieuw Dorp and Kingston was once referred to as Wiltwyck.

Should The Hamlet Of Wallkill, NY Go By A Different Name?

The Hamlet of Wallkill, NY is located in Ulster County, NY. Those who have drove through this hamlet may have spotted a popular logo on the hamlet's welcome sign.

The New York Almanack shared,

"When you enter the hamlet of Wallkill, you are greeted by the happy face of the Borden Company’s mascot, Elsie the Cow. The company’s website states that this mascot dates to the 1930s."


"Underneath Elsie is a sign stating that the Hamlet of Wallkill was the location of the “Home Farm” of John G. Borden."

The New York Almanack also shared that some believe that the Hamlet of Wallkill is where Borden Condensed Milk was invented although it does have ties to Burrville Connecticut along with Gail Borden Jr.

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How Is Borden Dairy Company Related To The Hudson Valley?

The New York Almanack continued to explain Gail Borden Jr. and his positive impact on society.

They claimed that Borden Jr.'s mission was to improve the lives of people by finding a way of keeping food and drinks unspoiled.

Borden Jr.'s trip to and from Europle helped shape his ideas into reality when he witnessed what would happen if people consumed milk that had been contaminated. 

The New York Alamanack claimed that,

"Borden, Jr. capitalized on his future creation when he came upon a contraption called vacuum pans by the Shakers. These were used to generate preserves from harvested fruit. Borden felt that he could utilize a variation of this technique to make milk safer." 

They explained that Borden Jr. found a way to prevent milk from coming sour which he then called condensed milk. His discovery of heating milk would allow microorganisms to ward off and would prevent milk from spoiling.

The company was later called "The New York Condensed Milk Company".

Borden Jr. had a family, his son attended college in Poughkeepsie, NY. During that time, Borden Jr.'s milk company gained attention more than ever.

The New York Alamanack states,

"His father’s condensed milk business caught the eye of the U.S. Army; as a result, they contracted-out his family’s milk to be provisioned to the Union Army."

After the war, Borden returned to Brewster, NY which was where Borden Jr. had built a place where milk was manufactured.

Borden wanted to have a farm and community but still keep it near a city, especially New York City for the demand of milk and food.

How Did The Borden Family Help Shape The Hudson Valley?

The New York Alamanack continued to share,

"Borden finally settled on an area known as “the Basin” in the Town of Shawangunk in 1881. The Basin occupied the region where the present-day Hamlet of Wallkill is located."

There was also a time when Borden Jr. left the business to John G., he would then be known as the second president.

The Borden family helped create what is known today as the Hamlet of Wallkill.

The New York Alamanack continues to share information,

"The town, which was a short distance away, became his project as he went about “improving the lands and lives in the village.” Borden created in Wallkill what he viewed as a paradise."


"Frank Mentz, in his Recollections of an Old Timer, recalled that he not only built “new roads and lined them all with maple trees; he also lined the public roads that ran through Home Farm.”

Why Do Some Residents Want To Rename The Hamlet Of Wallkill?

Canva, Google Maps
Canva, Google Maps

The New York Alamanack explained,

"In fact, Mentz attributed the hamlet’s entire evolution to the Borden Family. They quite literally created a town parcel by parcel." 


"It would have made sense to call today’s Hamlet of Wallkill the Hamlet of Borden or Bordentown because the Borden family came to own just about everything in Wallkill (or their fortune helped build it."

In 1899, the company changed its name to what we call today, Borden Dairy. We can remember the Borden family, their mark on history and in the Hudson Valley when we drive through the Hamlet of Wallkill and see Borden Dairy for sale in stores.

What Hudson Valley town, hamlet or village should go by a different name? What historical story about the Hudson Valley do you find interesting? Share more with us below.

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