20 Hammond Street, Port Jervis, NY 12771 | 845.858.4000 | Business Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

NEWSLETTER

History

HISTORY OF COMMUNITY

Scenic Queen of the Shawangunk RangeThe City of Port Jervis is beautifully situated in the twin valleys of the Neversink and Delaware Rivers, and between the Appalachian Plateau and Shawangunk Mountains. It is located near thousands of acres of state parks, forests, game lands, and two National Park Service units- the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. One could not pick a nicer location on which to build a community.

The city was once located entirely within the boundaries of the Town of Deerpark, which was created in 1798. Port Jervis was first was incorporated as a village in 1853, and then, after being partitioned from the Town of Deerpark, it became a city in 1907.

Port Jervis has long been a transportation center. Whether it was a stop on the Delaware River for Native Americans or as it is now, the first exit in New York State on Interstate 84, it still remains at the center of the region’s transportation network.

European settlers¬† first came to the area in the 1690’s, and the fertile valley became the home to many farms. Mahackmeck, later known as Port Jervis, was a small settlement located along and near the Old Mine Road (US Route 209) that carried early travelers southward from Kingston, New York. The small community was later sited as a boat basin and repair point along the Delaware and Hudson Canal. It became an important station on the waterway which was part of a larger 171-mile-long transportation system that shipped anthracite coal from northeastern Pennsylvania to New York City and New England. The small hamlet was named Port Jervis in 1827 by a group of citizens who wanted to honor the chief engineer of the canal, John B. Jervis, who was from Rome, New York, was then overseeing its construction.

The next transportation system to dominate the landscape and eclipse the canal, was the New York and Erie Railroad, along with the Port Jervis and Monticello Railroad (which was later purchased by the New York, Ontario, & Western). The New York and Erie arrived in 1847, and successor companies continued to maintain a major presence here until the 1960s. In the early years of the twentieth century, several highways were built that passed through Port Jervis including US Routes 6, 209 and New York State Route 97, and then in the late 1960s, Interstate Highway Route 84. The city is now the southern most entry point for the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, and once again is along a major flyway for the American bald eagle.

From 1875 to 1940 Port Jervis was an important regional industrial and economic center, and shipping depot for bluestone. It was home to author Stephen Crane and painter John N. Howitt. Later, other well-known personalities lived here including Herb and Hal Kalin, who had an international following because of their hit song, “When” in 1958, and Ed and Lou Banach who earned gold medals in wrestling in the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Many visitors have come to enjoy the beautiful scenery that surrounds the city in all directions, and thousands pass through the city during the summer.

Print