About Henry John Steiner

A word from Henry John Steiner…
 
The following are a few lines I’ve borrowed from the preface to my latest book… Sleepy Hollow Stories:
 
I have found this community’s past entirely fascinating since the days of my youth here.  The decades have only amplified that personal sense of interest and allurement, as I learn more about the stock of historic legacies that Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown offer. 
 
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The Village of Sleepy Hollow is but two miles-square, yet to me that dimension belies the wealth of historical “treasure” to be mined there.  Sometimes as I walk about the village, the landscape appears to me in four dimensions, with overlaid incarnations of human life reaching from the present into the distant past. 
 
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Each place, in each century, has its own layer, sandwiched one slice on top of another back to the time of “First Contact.”  To summon up images beyond that point, we must consult the work of the archaeologist, the anthropologist, and to some extent our own intuition, counting millennia rather than centuries.  We might dream of the earliest humans who peopled these hills and valleys, or conjure up the human relics that were laid down in the woods of Sleepy Hollow during remote, archaic times…     
 
One of the phenomena I have enjoyed in studying local history here is the surprising way historical people, places, and events tend to intersect.  For example, John Paulding, locally famous beyond measure in our own community (as a captor of British Major John André in the American Revolution) may be virtually unknown to folks just a few towns away.  Yet, how many of us in Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown realize that his son, Hiram, played a significant role during the American Civil War in the epic clash between the two, prototype, American ironclads, the Monitor and the Virginia?  Certainly this realization was, to me, unexpected and eye-opening.  Some readers may be interested to learn of the Christmas connection between Washington Irving and Charles Dickens described in these pages…
 
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9 Comments

  1. Allen Williams

    Henry, I really enjoyed your story on John Anderson and the Ghosts. I had no idea
    his estate was near Maple St. I lived on Spruce St for 20 years before moving to nearby Connecticut. My Dad and two brothers still live there. Now I know why there’s an Anderson Avenue and Rice Avenue in Webber Park. Do you have any historical tidbits on any of the homes on Spruce St? I lived at 11 Spruce St. where there is a large two-story stone garage. Wondering if the garage was part of the old Douglas estate? I should probably buy your book for more info..

    Allen Williams
    Former Village of North Tarrytown Trustee 1985-87

    • Allen, thanks for your comments. I think we would need to look at the old maps for evidence of structures on Spruce Street that would be contemporary with the Anderson mansion (perhaps a carriage house). I do recall there were some buildings shown in Webber Park east of New Broadway and west of the Old Croton Aqueduct, but off hand I do not remember where along the current New Broadway they stood.

    • Allen I am pretty sure that many of the homes on the east side of New Broadway pre-dated the development of Webber Park in the early 20th century. On the other hand the site of the old John Anderson mansion was directly across new Broadway from Maple Street — on the west side of New Broadway .

  2. Angela

    I knew Father Maza attending My Carmel school in the Bronx. He was so kind. I was saddened to hear of his passing. Thanks for sharing info on his background. May he Rest In Peace

  3. Gabby

    Hi do you know anything about Freemont pond in Sleepy Hollow?
    -a curious local

    • Thank you for your comment Gabby. I’m not sure exactly what kind of thing you would would like to know of Fremont Pond, but here is something I recently posted elsewhere on the subject:
      Fremont Pond in Sleepy Hollow Manor, Sleepy Hollow. It is named for John C. Fremont, “The Pathfinder” and his wife Jessie. What we know today as Sleepy Hollow Manor was their estate between 1865-1875. That is where they lived in great “style” and where they went broke through railroad speculation. Fremont was one of the first two U. S. senators from California and the first Republican candidate for president. When Fremont ran for president, the campaign signs read “Vote For Fremont and Jessie!” (The vice presidential candidate (who I do not remember) was barely mentioned. Fremont and Jessie were later laid to rest in Rockland Cemetery, on a ridge visible from Sleepy Hollow.

      Years ago I spent hours playing cat-and-mouse with the bass in Fremont Pond. I think there were days when Christopher Skelly and I launch a canoe there (or was it Jim Laird’s flat-bottom boat?) Occasionally I would share the shoreline with a young Manor girl who loved to net enormous snapping turtles and hold them captive under a milk crate in her backyard overnight, until they crawled away and back into the pond.

      Also, please be sure to see my post on Jessie Fremont in this blog.

      Best wishes!

  4. Erika

    Hi there! Love your blog! I feel like you may have known my grandmother? Marie von Holzhausen? Wonder also if you have any info about her parents’ bakery-the eberhardts?
    Love all you’ve written here too! Thanks for sharing all this!

    • Thank you for your comment Erika. As it happens, I did know your grandmother, a very elegant lady. And I know something about her parents’ bakery. I understand it may have preceded Alter’s Bakery — and the bakery where wonderful Mary made her start before going over to Alters’.

  5. Erika

    Hi Henry-
    Thank you for your reply. Yes it did precede the Alter’s bakery.
    And thank you for remembering my grandmother so kindly.
    She was indeed an elegant lady and one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. ❤️❤️

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