Tucked alongside a bench on this riverside village’s Main Street, this rock is easily overlooked. Those familiar with the site, however, know that it is more than just a simple outcrop. This small boulder, complete with engraved plaque, is a monument to the founder of this mid-Valley burg.
The text of the plaque outlines the life of one Thomas Davenport, who was born in England in 1682. A “pioneer settler,” Davenport moved to America in 1715; he was the first to put down roots in what was known at the time as “Water Lot No. 2.” The local historical society erected this monument in August 1959 — the 200th anniversary of Davenport’s death — on the spot where he built his log house, ran his farm, and raised his 12 children.
During the 19th century, the village’s close proximity to the Hudson River enabled workers to use hydro-powered machinery. In short order, Davenport’s hometown progressed from a tiny hamlet into the bustling village that, today, is known for its antiques shops and interesting restaurants. Those who call this community home are justly proud of its well-preserved 19th-century architecture; the downtown area has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Among the town’s historic sites is the foundry that produced the Parrot gun — a rifle cannon that shot farther and more accurately than any gun of its time, and was credited with helping the Union Army defeat the Confederates in the Civil War.
Can you identify Davenport’s distinguished village? Send us your answer as a comment in the box below. The first reader with the correct response wins a prize. Good luck!