History of Mahopac/Carmel


History---------------- The Town of Carmel and its hamlets, Mahopac and Mahopac Falls, have all played an exciting role in the history of Putnam County. Lake Mahopac, Algonquin Indian for 'the Big Pond,' was originally settled by the Wappingers, one of the Algonquin tribes. The Town of Carmel and the rest of present 'day Putnam County were given to Adolph Philipse, an Englishman, in 1697. During the French and Indian War the resident Wappinger tribe traveled north to Massachusetts to fight for the British. When they returned, they found their territory had been taken over by colonists who were farming the land. After an appeal to the British government for return of the land was denied, the Wappingers surrendered the Lake Mahopac area forever. After the war, more farmers and their families migrated to Mahopac from as far away as Cape Cod and rented land from the Philipse family. Wheelwrights and blacksmiths set up shops to assist the tenant farmers. During the Revolution, George Washington reportedly spent time at Captain John Crane's Inn (a commemorative marker has been placed on Route 6). A statue of Sybil Ludington, whose historic 40-mile ride to warn Colonial soldiers of advancing British troops, stands on the shore of Lake Gleneida. When the war ended, the Philipse family, loyal to the British, lost their land which was then resold to the farmers by New York State. Putnam County was incorporated in 1812, and the area grew steadily afterward. Mahopac became a booming summer resort community in the mid-1800s. The New York Central Railroad brought vacationers north from New York City to Croton Falls where stagecoaches then drove them to Lake Mahopac. The Italian and Irish immigrants who helped build the railroad decided to build their homes in the community as well. Mahopac remained primarily a summer resort until World War II when nearby highways such as the Taconic State and Saw Mill River Parkways replaced the need for rail travel (which eventually ceased in 1954). Since then, Mahopac has developed into a residential community with most people living in it year-round. Mahopac Falls originated around a large grist mill which drew its power from the fast-running stream flowing form Kirk Lake and Lake Mahopac, near the present-day intersection of Route 6N, Hill Street, and Myrtle Avenue. At the time, the mill was the largest building in the entire county. Early colonists included tenant farmers renting from the Philipse family. Since all of the buildings in the area were painted red, the area was originally called Red Mills. Today, although the mill is gone, one of its original millstones forms a part of the front steps of the Red Mills Brach of Mahopac National Bank. During the Revolution, the mill provided vital food to hungry American patriots, and although Red Mills was not a battleground during the war, it was situated between major camps. For many years after the Revolution, Mahopac Falls remained an agricultural region. The transition to more suburban housing did not begin until the mid 1900s. Today, Mahopac Falls remains a small residential community. Since Carmel is the County seat, it became the center of commerce in the region and took on more of a business character as a result. The Carmel Historical Society Museum in the Old Town Hall on McAlpin Avenue in Mahopac features many fascinating area artifacts. For more information, call (845) 628-0500.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -Offered by The Mahopac Chamber of Commerce and Guide Communications, Inc. ©2003 

Gary Margolis
Gary Margolis
Licensed Real Estate Broker