ESOPUS CREEK AND ASHOKAN RESERVOIR
The Esopus Creek has played an active role in the livelihood of the area. It has provided wildlife and agriculture the ability to live in abundance for centuries. In Hurley, the Esopus waters created a fertile valley that has produced bountiful crops since the Native Americans occupied the land centuries ago.
In the late 1800s, New York City was growing at a rapid rate. More water was needed to supply the growing city. In 1905, New York State water commissioners came to the area and decided it would be the location for a new dam and reservoir. With the ink still wet on the paperwork, test borings were taken at Bishop’s Falls located in Olivebridge to determine the depth of the bedrock. Once the final decision was made, local residents were given 10 days to sell their house to New York City or lose it. Compensation for property was low, and some lawsuits against the city lasted 25 years. [Excerpts and photos taken from the book Images of America: Hurley by Deana Decker, Arcadia Publishing, 2007.]