The Hamlet of Blauvelt was originally part of land included in the Tappan Patent of 1686. Among the ten families who settled here, several people were members of the Blauvelt family, and together they named this green and productive settlement Greenbush.
Residents of Greenbush attended Sunday services at the Dutch Reformed Church in Tappan. After the Revolution, several of them wanted a church of their own. They applied to the New York Presbytery and were granted permission to establish the Greenbush Presbyterian Church on Greenbush Road on October 8, 1812.
The first school here, the Greenbush Academy, was built in 1809. In the early 1800s, Judge Cornelius Blauvelt — farmer, merchant, builder, and state legislator built a road, today’s Route 340 to transport produce to Tappan Landing, now Piermont. He built a 500-foot pier there in 1824 to accommodate steamships. Blauvelt was instrumental in the building of Erie Railroad, which included a rail stop here. The Erie was completed in 1851. Local farmers used the railroad to ship fresh milk daily to New York, a run that became known as “The Milky Way.” In Judge Blauvelt’s honor, the people of Greenbush renamed the hamlet Blauveltville in 1836. The first post office was established in Judge Blauvelt’s store that same year, and he served as its first postmaster.
In the mid-1850s, German Catholic immigrants from Manhattan began arriving, and in 1868 they established St. Catharine’s Church. By the beginning of the 20th century, there were about 15 houses, two churches, a store, and a school here, and Blauveltville was simply called Blauvelt. In 1910 the New York National Guard built Bluefields, a rifle training range. From 1913 to 1918 the range became a YWCA camp for young working girls from New York City.
Passenger service on the Erie Railroad ended in 1936. The West Shore Railroad, which extended service through Blauvelt in 1873, ended passenger service in 1959. Today, Blauvelt remains a small, quiet residential hamlet where a number of the 18th and early 19th century sandstone homes built by the descendants of the original founding families, still stand along present-day Western Highway.
Erie Station ca. 1920 - By the 1840s, the Erie Railroad connected Blauvelt to Piermont, where passengers and freight were transferred to New York. When the entire Erie system was completed in 1851, it also connected Blauvelt to western New York. Farmers shipped containers of fresh milk by train daily to the city, a run that became known as “The Milky Way.” The Erie station, pictured ca. 1920, was built before 1851. (Courtesy Robert Knight)
Camp Bluefields Summer Camp
Between its closure in 1913 and reopening in 1918, Camp Bluefields was a popular YWCA summer camp for young working girls from New York City. Charging $3.50 for a week’s vacation of sleeping in tents and engaging in a variety of activities, the camp adhered to a regimented program. The girls were required to wear uniforms of bloomers and middy blouses, and the start of activities was signaled by bugles.(OMHA)