Middle GateAll Roads to the River: The 1799 Columbia Turnpike and Historic Toll Houses

The Roeliff Jansen Historical Society’s exhibit is now on display at the Hudson Area Library. The exhibit includes large colorful panels that explore the story of the Columbia Turnpike and its impact on the history of Columbia County.

“We’re excited to acknowledge the enormous importance of the Columbia Turnpike and its role in the development of early Hudson and Columbia County,” said Peter Cipkowski, President of the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society. “The turnpike was the first in Columbia County and became part of a giant network of roads designed to promote commerce after the American Revolution.”

Two toll houses still stand on either end of Route 23 in Columbia County – both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Known as the East Gate (Hillsdale) and the West Gate (Greenport), they marked the beginning and end of Columbia County’s first turnpike, established in 1799 by the New York State Assembly. “Local folks are on a mission to help find a way to rescue and reuse the Greenport and Hillsdale tollhouses ,” Cipkowski said. “The buildings are irreplaceable cultural resources and can hopefully be put to good use.”

Toll SignThe Columbia Turnpike created a commercial trade route to and from the City of Hudson, an emerging center of commerce in the early nineteenth century. Prominent families along the pike adopted stock which provided an outlet for their goods, particularly livestock, wool, rye, and wheat.

The Hudson Area Library is located in the beautifully renovated armory at Fifth and State streets in Hudson, New York.




Click here to view our complete photo collections