Mount Vernon, NY and Its Interesting History
Known to locals as “The City of Hope,” Mount Vernon, New York is a beautiful city that perfectly embodies a balance between the bustling New York City life and the quiet comfort of upstate New York. Downtown Mount Vernon boasts of a fun and adventurous nightlife, while uptown is more residential.
But how did Mount Vernon get to be the way that it is? How did a small colonial settlement turn into a top-ten most populous city in New York? This city’s history may surprise you; with many well-known historical figures involved, the story of how this city came to be is very interesting.
The Beginnings of Mount Vernon, NY
Initially, the city began as most towns in America do: as settled land. In 1664, what would become Mount Vernon housed settlers for the first time; it was the same land where Anne Hutchinson, the religious dissenter, was killed by Native Americans just a few decades earlier in 1643. Settlers took advantage of this land and began to plant successful crops. The settlement grew into a farm village and was adopted into the Eastchester township in the 1780s.
The Colonial Era
While Mount Vernon was part of the Eastchester township, their meeting house elected Lewis Morris to the provincial assembly in 1733. It was this election that inspired John Peter Zenger to write the anti-political newspaper that would put him on trial for libel. As a result of this trial, Colonial America took its first steps towards freedom of the press for the American media.
During the Revolutionary War, Mount Vernon witnessed many bloody battles between the British and American parties. One of the most notable moments in the city during the Revolutionary War included a delay by Glover’s Brigade on October 18, 1776.
It was likely that this action saved General George Washington’s troops from defeat at the hand of General William Howe. Without that simple action in the city, the Americans could have lost the Revolutionary War. St. Paul’s Church, which was built in the 1760s, served as a British military hospital and, because of this, was marked as a historical landmark in 1943.
Growth in the Town
After the war ended, more and more people looked to Mount Vernon, NY as a way to settle near the City on a smaller budget. The Industrial Home Association came in to the city in the 1850s and purchased a large area of land in the Mount Vernon area to build affordable housing on. Once the land was developed, the Association gave it its name, after General George Washington’s home in Virginia.
Into Modern Day Mount Vernon
Since the Revolutionary War, the city has been steadily growing and developing as a wonderful place to work and live outside of New York City. The town contains interesting and historic landmarks, like the town library that was built in 1904 and gifted to Mount Vernon by Andrew Carnegie. The city has grown from a strictly residential area to a lively neighborhood with its own exciting culture. Without its unique history, this city would not look the way it does today.