SH Tidbit #2: The Real Sleepy Hollow

by Washington Irving

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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SH Tidbit #2: The Real Sleepy Hollow

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Oct 18, 2005 8:31 am



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The history of Sleepy Hollow, like so many other towns, begins with the American Indians. In the early days of its settlement, the tribes which had inhabited the lands bordering the Pocantico River (which connects to the Hudson) shared their domain with Dutch trappers and homesteaders, but before the century had ended, title to the lands about the Sleepy Haven Kill (river) had passed to Frederick Philipse. Philipse hailed from the Lowlands, but after England had taken New Netherlands from the Dutch in 1664 he demonstrated his loyalty to the British Crown. The Crown later confirmed his ownership of a great portion of Westchester County which was to be known as Philipse Manor. Sleepy Hollow, the valley of the Pocantico, was to be one of the featured places in his domain. There, during the 1680's, he built a manor house, a mill, a dam and a church, which has come to be known as "The Old Dutch Church". A historical site, it is still standing.

Old Dutch Church:

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It is in the post-Revolutionary War years that Irving's tale of Sleepy Hollow takes place, and indeed, these were quiet times for the small town. Eventually the town was incorporated into the village of North Tarrytown, and it was not until 1996 that the original name of Sleepy Hollow was restored.

Of course, there are other towns which bear the moniker "Sleepy Hollow". There is even a town in the state of Washington, clear on the other side of the continent, with the name. But it is here, just past the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York, that the traveler will find the one and only Sleepy Hollow, the land of Ichabod Crane and Brom Bones, Katrina Van Tassel, and of course that headless chap.

Today, Sleepy Hollow is still a small town, and even though modernization has left its mark, there is still much history to be found here, with Colonial mansions, the Rockefeller estate, and even the capture, in 1780, of Major John Andre - an event considered a turning point in the American Revolution. But for most, the prime interest in Sleepy Hollow lies in its connections to Irving's haunting tale.

There are a surprising number of factual names and places behind Irving's story. Many of his characters were based on real people, and the graves of Van Tassels and others whose names figure in the tale can be found in the Old Dutch Burying Ground, adjacent to the Old Dutch Church, which is itself mentioned by Irving. Also worth visiting is the "Headless Horseman Bridge", not far from the church, which is popularly regarded as the bridge over which Ichabod Crane rides in the story as he is fleeing the Horseman.

Site of the Headless Horseman Bridge:

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Irving himself, however, is buried not in the cemetery of the old Dutch Church, but farther down the road, on the grounds of one of the most impressive sights a visitor to Sleepy Hollow can behold: The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Covering nearly 100 acres of rolling hills, the Cemetery sits just north of the Old Dutch Church and Burial Grounds. Within its boundaries lie over forty thousand burials, dating back to the time of the Revolution. There is an Irving burial plot in the end of the cemetery that joins the Old Dutch Burying Grounds. It is within this wrought iron fence and gate that Washington Irving is buried.

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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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ibbi 3
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Unread postby ibbi 3 » Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:29 am

I love reading the tidbits DITHOT of Sleepy Hollow :cool: , Washington Irving had a beautiful house , great pics , I didn't know much about him or about the Sleepy Hollow town .
Joel:"That's the movies, Ed. Try reality." Ed:"No thanks." Northern Exposure

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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:50 am

Thanks DITHOT nice pictures, looks like quite a peaceful place.

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:26 am

You're welcome, gilly. All the pics I could find seemed to be in the fall when the leaves were off the trees. I'm sure it is beautiful in the spring and summer.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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gilly
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Unread postby gilly » Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:59 pm

No that wasn't me :grin: ..but ibbi and I both love Tommy dearly..[Thanks again I. :cloud9: ]....This looks like a beautiful place ,very peaceful..Thanks DITHOT
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Unread postby lumineuse » Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:18 pm

I'm transplanting this from an earlier question:

I can tell you this, that area around Sleepy Hollow is pretty spooky looking to begin with. Of course, when I was there, I was keenly aware that I was in headless horseman territory, but I don't think that's all it was. Very ancient looking, with narrow roads winding around curves and hills, stone fences lining the roads, glimpses of old homes through the trees, crumbling cemeteries. You can imagine what it would be like on autumn night with all the dry leaves and corn stalks rustling. Very spooky. Maybe that's what inspired Irving in the first place.

Has any one else been there? It is a commute to NYC now. Those unbelieveably narrow roads belie its proximity to the City. But there is still something about it......
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Liz
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Unread postby Liz » Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:32 pm

I haven't been there, but I've been by here hundreds of times--3 miles from my house. Like DITHOT said, there are a few Sleepy Hollows--even across the continent. I have to finally share this--with those who understand. :lol:

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