Looking east in the Then photograph from the Wallkill Valley Railroad trestle, the village of Rosendale is on the left on a low-lying flood plain at the foot of Joppenbergh Mountain with the steeple of St. Peter’s Church rising above the trees on the right at a higher location.
Until the early twentieth century, the highway leading into Rosendale from the west was adjacent to the Delaware and Hudson Canal with the towpath on an embankment above the Rondout Creek. The inset image shows the canal boats beneath the trestle.
The canal ran behind the stores and residences on the north side of Rosendale’s Main Street with cement mines and mills along its northern bank, which facilitated the transport of cement to the Rondout wharves at the Hudson River. Once the canal company ceased operating in 1898,many saw the canal as merely a ‘ditch’ that needed to be filled in.
Floods impacted both the D&H Canal and the Rondout Creek over the years. After serious floods in 1928 and 1936 as well as two in succession in 1955, the US Army Corps of Engineers reconfigured the creek, dredging sections, constructing a flood wall to the south of the village, as well as raising portions of Main Street. The Now photograph reveals clearly not only the realignments but also the obliteration of any trace of the nineteenth century D&H Canal.
Now: Susan Lehrer