The Albany Post Road, or Rt. 9 of today, was the main artery between New York City and Albany during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and was the center of all kinds of interesting stories and activity that Hyde Park town historian Carney Rhinevault, and his wife Tatiana, bring out in fascinating detail in their 2011 book Hidden History of the Mid-Hudson Valley: Stories from the Albany Post Road. Its a fun work filled with anecdotes than span history from the Pre Revolution Era to Poughkeepsie of the nineteen sixties, the reader gets a taste of what the region meant to its’ history and how human all people are during times of peace, turmoil, and change.
Some more of the interesting stories revolved around legends of underground tunnels dating back to the abolitionist period. In Rhinebeck:
“A tunnel ran under Livingston Street from house to house a few yards east of the Post Road. Reverend Robert Scott, founder of the Baptist church on that street, was one of the more vocal abolitionists in the area. (It is interesting to note that if every rumored tunnel was used frequently, the escape to freedom would have been damp and dark, indeed.”
Another fun read is Poughkeepsie’s connection to Samuel F.B. Morse who “retired to Locust Grove, his Hudson River estate on the southern outskirts of town. Morse is known as a painter, inventor, photographer, and political agitator. He invented the telegraph and the code that bears his name. A fact that may not be well known was that Morse designed his estate in Poughkeepsie in 1847 but did not actually move in until 1852. He had to adjust to events such as building of the Hudson River Railroad during that time which cut off their river view.”
Almost two hundred pages of fascinating fun, drama, and engaging Mid-Hudson history, and also filled with wonderful drawings and illustrations, Hidden History of the Mid-Hudson Valley: Stories from the Albany Post Road is available from publishers The History Press and online from www.historypress.net.