Early 20th Century Hurley, NY
The Hurley area of New York underwent extraordinary changes during the early 1900s to build a safe drinking water system for New York City. To create the manmade reservoirs necessary to gather the water for this endeavor, New York City claimed the right of eminent domain. Within the township of Hurley, the hamlets of Ashton, Glenford, and West Hurley were removed and the area flooded to construct the Ashokan Reservoir. The city condemned these towns, paid compensation to property owners, forced people from their homes, and cleared the land. Construction began on the dam in 1907.
Two cousins, Hobart Rowe and Allen Rowe, became interested in researching one of these former hamlets – West Hurley. The cousins contributed in separate ways to the preservation of knowledge about the town. Hobart Rowe created a scale model, which unfortunately does not exist anymore. However, the library does possess a videotaped interview with Hobart Rowe and slides of some of the homes. Allen Rowe’s research was compiled by his family into a book called “Old West Hurley Revisited: A Nostalgic Tour.” The book was formatted as an imaginary tourist visit to the little village.
Scope of Collection
This collection brings together the Rowe cousins' research to create profiles of the properties - and people - of West Hurley before the community was displaced to construct the Ashokan Reservoir. The town was divided into parcels. Presented here are sets of images organized by parcel number. When available, both the narration from Hobart Rowe's interview and the narrative from Allen Rowe's book can be found in the description of each parcel.