About Our Town
Welcome to the Town of East Fishkill, NY.
The Town encompasses the communities of Arthursburg, East Fishkill, Fishkill Plains, Gayhead, Hillside Lake, Hopewell Junction, Hortontown, Lomala, Pecksville, Shenandoah, Stormville and Wiccopee and is located in Dutchess County, NY.
In March 1960, Mrs. Charlotte Cunningham Finkel convened a meeting of a group of citizens interested in local history. At a second meeting, in April, they decided to form an association to be know as the East Fishkill Historical Society. The first formal meeting took place May 1960 at the East Fishkill Town Hall. Dues for individual members were set at $1.00 per year. In November of 1960, the Society decided to have its official seal designed featuring the beautiful Emmadine Oak Tree, which had been cut down the previous January. Mrs. Minor McDaniel volunteered to make the drawing. The New York State Board of Regents granted the Society a Permanent and Absolute Charter in December 1961. The Society held its meetings in the East Fishkill Town Hall up until 1975 when Gustav Fink donated to the Society what today is know as the Brinckerhoff-Pudney-Palen House. Members of the society donated both time and money to restoring the house and today it is a beautiful mid-18th to early 19th century house to which all of its members can point with pride. Significant contributions have been made by the Town of East Fishkill, the IBM Corporation of East Fishkill, Adeline and Elton Bailey, Sr., Dorothy Cunningham, Rita and Cole Palen, Jr., Louise Macy, the Fanny Van Wyck Boos Trust, and Martha Cestone. Rescued from vandalism and decay in the early 1980's, the Brinckerhoff-Pudney-Palen House stands as a model of Dutch colonial architecture, of the 18th century. This old farmhouse located on North Kensington Drive off of Palen Road in East Fishkill has now been returned to its former state of grace and elegance. This structure, at present helps us to imagine life at the beginnings of a community here in East Fishkill.
The Brinckerhoff-Pudney-Palen House, home of the East Fishkill Historical Society
The year was 1718, and Madam Catherine Brett was beginning to offer her lands in Dutchess County for sale soon after her husband, Roger, drowned in a storm on the Hudson River after being knocked overboard from his sloop by one of the booms. One of the first large purchasers was Dirck Brinckerhoff (1667-1748) of Flushing, Long Island. He bought from Madam Brett a tract of land of 2,000 acres lying along the "Vis Kill" (Fishkill Creek) from Fishkill village to Sprout Creek. Although there is some discrepancy in records as to whether Captain John G. Brinckerhoff and George C. Brinckerhoff were brothers, or whether George was John's son the outcome was that John conveyed to George the 213 acre farm on the south side of the "Vis Kill" on which the original east wing of the Brinckerhoff-Pudney-Palen stood, built during the last half of the 18th century. This wing, which at the time was the entire house, consisted of a kitchen with a large fireplace and oven, a steep staircase to the single room upstairs, a Dutch door, and a covered, enclosed porch attached to the house, reminiscent of medieval architecture. Only the Dutch door and the enclosed porch remain today. The Brinckerhoff's probably built the center gambrel-roofed section constructed sometime around 1780. This, the largest section of the house contains an exquisite foyer/hall graced by subtle yet elegant architectural features. The home is one of only two gambrel-roofed houses remaining in East Fishkill, preserving for posterity the unique style, which was popular during the period of 1750 to 1800. The small pained windows, enclosed staircases, Dutch doors, built-in coat racks, and wrought iron "HL" hinges were characteristic of the 18th century, making the house an architectural treasure.