Hudson Valley Region Facts

Each Friday a new fact about a region of New York State is posted to the Exploring Upstate Facebook Page. In case you haven’t been following along there, here’s what you missed!

– Cream cheese was invented in 1872 not in Philadelphia, but actually in Chester, NY by A.L. Reynolds. He began distributing it in foil wrappers and called it ‘Philadelphia Brand’ simply because at the time, Philadelphia was nearly synonymous with ‘high quality foods’, so he figured it would be more respected. [source]

– Martin Van Buren was born in Kinderhook and later became the 8th President. He is the only President for whom English was a second language. [source]

– On December 5, 1782 Martin Van Buren (who would later become the 8th President of the United States of America) was born in Kinderhook, NY. He was the first President that was born here in the U.S. [source]

– The first female self-made millionaire in the U.S. spent her final years in Irvington-On-Hudson in Westchester County. Madam C.J. Walker created a line of beauty products specifically designed for black women and went on to use her wealth in numerous charitable efforts. The home where she passed away, Villa Lewaro, was designed in 1917 by New York State’s first licensed black architect. [source]

– Camp Sundown out of Poughkeepsie is a camp specifically for children with Xeroderma Pigmentosa, which is a profound allergy to sunlight. Camp activities are basically the same as other camps, but they take place at nighttime so children can safely play outdoors. [source]

– Martin Van Buren, who was the 8th President of the United States, was born in Kinderhook, as was his wife Hannah. She died of tuberculosis at the age of 35, prior to her husband holding office, and therefore was never First Lady. When Martin Van Buren wrote his 800-page autobiography, his wife of twelve years was never once mentioned in the book. [source]

– The Union Street Guest House in Hudson, NY once had a policy statement on their website that any customer who posted a bad review on any online website would be charged $500. When the NY Post reported on it, the Facebook page and Yelp profile for the business collected thousands of scathing reviews within just 24 hours. [source]