Inspired by a railroad official who, in 1870, declared this scenic spot a “grand view,” the Village of Grand View is as well known for the beauty and bounty of its past, as it is for the charm and tranquility of its present.
Referred to for much of its history as the “North End of Tappan,” this was part of the 1671 Van Purmerant patents that led to the settling of Nyack. Van Purmerant’s, son Cornelius Clausen Cooper, inherited and deeded a parcel of this forested riverfront to his brother John, who built a small house above a distinctive curve of coastline and fishing ground called The Bight in the 1730s.
During the Revolution, the first full-scale engagement between the American and British navies took place just offshore here on August 3, 1776. Well before the war, Garret and Abraham Onderdonck discovered rich deposits of sandstone. When peace returned, they returned to quarrying in earnest.
Between 1820 and 1840, 16 quarries were in full swing and building stone was being shipped to New York. By the mid-1820s, steam-powered ships arrived and soon provided faster service between Nyack and New York. In 1859 the Northern Railroad of New Jersey extended its line to Sparkill, and in 1870, New York was now just an hour away when the Nyack and Northern Railroad connected Grand View to Jersey City, a connection that continued for nearly 100 years. In the late 1800s and early 1900, these trains also brought tourists, and elegant hotels and inns were built overlooking the Hudson to accommodate them.
Grand View was incorporated in 1900. But by 1917, a dispute over taxes for maintaining River Road erupted and the village was disincorporated. In 1918 the village was reincorporated as Grand View-on-the-Hudson, while those “up the hill” reverted back to hamlet status as Upper Grand View.
The Tappan Zee Bridge was begun in 1952 and several homes were demolished or relocated during construction, which was completed in 1955. Today, this remains a picturesque community of distinctive homes, hills and waterfront, and, irrefutably, some of the grandest views in Orangetown.
Grand View Station, 1885 In need of a suitable name to call the proposed rail station on this spot in the 1870s, a railroad official looked out over the Hudson and declared, “What a grand view!” His observation caught on, and the Grand View Station was built. The station master lived in a house nearby and handled 25 trains daily. Passenger service ended in the 1960s. What remained of the station collapsed during a storm in 1970. (Courtesy Nyack Library)
Gaylor House, 1954 In 1954 the Gaylor House near Bight Lane stood directly in the path of the Tappan Zee Bridge causeway. Built originally before 1800 and operated for a time as a private school, the house was owned by Albro Gaylor, a mayor of Grand View in the 1930s. The house was not destroyed, but instead picked up and moved to a safer location uphill and west in South Nyack. (Courtesy Nyack Library)