Where in the Hudson Valley

You’ve passed by this mysterious structure, but do you know where – and what – it is?

For Peat’s Sake


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Thousands of Valleyites pass this imposing structure every day, although it’s a safe bet that most of them don’t know exactly what it is. No, it’s not a cell tower or radio transmitter. According to the local town historian, this metal monolith is actually a derrick. Located in a woodsy area known as Green Fly Swamp, it was built around 1940 and used to extract the nutrient-rich soil that lies beneath it. This high-priced humus was then sold and shipped to the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, and used to nurture the plants and shrubs there.

In operation for only about 10 years, the derrick was hidden from view by trees and brush until the 1960s, when the major thoroughfare that passes near it was expanded — and the surrounding undergrowth cleared away. Much of Green Fly Swamp — “fly” is actually a mispronunciation of the original Dutch word “vlie,” which means “valley” — has since been filled in. But the derrick stands as a reminder of the unusual “harvesting” that once went on in this now bustling mid-Valley village.

Do you know where in the Hudson Valley this derelict derrick is located? Send an e-mail to editor@hvmag.com and let us know if you think you’ve spotted it. But if you’re stumped, don’t worry — we’ll reveal the location in next month’s issue.

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