Letters to the Editor


Derrick detectives

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More than 140 readers responded to our February “Where in the Hudson Valley?” quiz. Almost everyone correctly identified the location of the derrick, which towers over the southbound lane of Route 9 just a stone’s throw north of Fishkill’s SplashDown Beach Water Park. Many of you also confided that you had long wondered about the purpose of the giant structure. Two people heard it was used to gather peat moss for the 1939 World’s Fair; many thought it was an oil derrick; one of you even thought it was a mooring station for blimps. Many thanks to Fishkill Town Historian Willa Skinner for enlightening us about the derrick’s real purpose. (For this month’s WITHV stumper, turn to page 116.)

The winner of our contest, Kevin Denton of Pawling, receives a gift certificate to the Daily Planet Restaurant in LaGrangeville. Read on for more derrick discourse.

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I have often driven by this structure when I’m on the east side of the Hudson River, and I always wondered what it was. I thought maybe a circus came to town many years ago and left it there! I’m glad to know now what it is for!

Stacey Wygant

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My parents leased a farm in Pawling, where I was born, in 1939. Every once in a while, we had to drive from Pawling to the Midway Garage on the then-US Route 9 that ran between Wappingers Falls and Fishkill before the present Route 9 was built.

Back around 1945, I remember dad stopping at the crest of the road and looking west towards that tower. A small blimp was moored at or very near it, and he thought that its purpose was to anchor small dirigibles or blimps just after the war had ended. A few years later we saw two small blimps anchored on or around that tower. I think it may have been 1950. Not until I read your article about this landmark did I know that it was a derrick used to mine specific soils… interesting indeed.

Henry W. Walters



Great shot, I actually never knew what it was either.

Rob Yasinsac

Author, Hudson Valley Ruins


I first noticed the structure on my way to work in the Dutchess Mall in 1981. Until I read your article I had no idea what this thing was. Thanks for the info.

Duane Beyer



I thought it was an oil derrick. I never heard of pumping soil!

Ralph Verdu

Hopewell Junction


The derrick is in Fishkill. I have to admit I’ve cheated in a way. The local town historian quoted in your article is most likely my mother, Willa Skinner. When I was growing up she’d always point it out to me as we drove past it in the car and tell me the history of it.

Eugenia Ballard

Ulster Park


I grew up seeing this metal tower. I had heard that it was a crane that was digging and the area filled up with water, that the crane operator barely got out alive, and that it was just left there. (This rumor circulated about Sylvan Lake, too.) I often wondered why it still remains. Thanks for the smile!

Trudy Giampaolo



I have passed it hundreds of times and always wondered what it was. Also thanks for an excellent magazine. My husband and I enjoy your restaurant reviews and try to patronize your recommendations.

Eleanor Dubetsky

Wappingers Falls


I am writing from Las Vegas, Nevada, however I know that the derrick is located along Route 9 in Fishkill.

Juliette Iannuzzi


I’ve often wondered what the structure was. I am so delighted now to know. I just love the magazine! I first saw it in my doctor’s office and now subscribe to it. It has some great articles. Keep up the wonderful job!

Jacquie Vogle



The story I heard is that it was used to provide fill for the 1939 World’s Fair site. Whatever!

Robert Koffsky

Hopewell Junction


Thanks for the story! I’ve wondered so many times for what use that contraption was built.

Deke Rothacker

United Way of Dutchess County


Thanks for the great history lesson and for a consistently excellent magazine!

Marie and Kevin Burns



Consider it done

While I was happy to see Millbrook wines featured in the For Starters/Be My Valentine page (February), I was dismayed to see the per bottle prices that were listed. Our wines range in price from $14.50-$29.00 per bottle, not $49-$65 as published in your magazine. When I was contacted about this issue, I was told that our Monthly Wine Club was going to be listed as a gift option which is where those prices would be applicable. A quick fact-checking visit to our Web site could have cleared up any confusion.

We are continually trying to portray our wines as approachable for everyone. My concern is that people will look at those prices in your magazine and be immediately turned off. Is it possible to have a correction printed in your next issue?

Stacy Hudson

Marketing Director

Millbrook Vineyards & Winery


We stand corrected

In our February article, “The 10 Best New Restaurants,” the hours for Poughkeepsie’s Artist’s Palate were listed incorrectly. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner weekdays, dinner only on Saturdays, and is closed on Sundays. For information, call 845-483-8074.


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