The Hudson Valley: The Historic Area of New York

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The Hudson Valley is one the historic areas in New York. Named after an Englishman Henry Hudson, who came across it in the 15th century as he was looking for a short passage to China as he was sailing along Americas North Atlantic coast. Henry and his crew of about fifteen men traveled over hundred miles up the valley before realizing that the passage would not get them to their destination. During this time, the area was deemed as inhospitable with all sorts of wild animals. The river itself had not been opened up and was treacherous and dangerous to sail through the native Dutch sailors had a name for it Devils Horse Race.

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The early 1600s saw an influx of Britains colonist in the area which opened up the area into a commerce hub. The Hudson Valley played a major role in the quest for independence as it did play a pivotal point in the winning of the Revolutionary War. Because of its richness in culture, it became an area of interest to both the Americans and the British. When the Erie Canal opened up the West America, it consequently became the Worlds most important commercial waterway. The Hudson Valley history is to die for with the ancient settlements of native Dutch and Immigrant Germans and the magnificent aristocratic palaces on private estates. The industrial river towns which flocked folks from all walks of life intermingled to bring forth the rich culture history of the Valley.

The Hudson Valley boasts of the Hudson River, which extends over Three hundred miles from the Adirondack Mountains to the where its meets the waters of the Atlantic Ocean at the New York. Because of the river, the valley opened up to the world and become one of the worlds historic commerce areas as the traders used the river for transport. In the colonial era the River Hudson, as a means of transport supported the trade of Hudson Valley wheat, the fur trade as the valley was rich in wild animals, timber from the dense forest of the mountains surrounding the Hudson Valley.

All the commodities transported through the Hudson River to the New York City, from here they were distributed to the western world, this included Yonkers, Kingston, Peekskill, Hudson and Troy just to name but a few.

Although, life on the Hudson Valley changed when an inventor Fulton Robert with his steamboat known as Clermont inaugurated a new era in water navigation. Later on, this led to the opening up of the Erie Canal which connected the Hudson River to the Great Lakes, leading to Delaware this meant that the coal fields of Pennsylvania were now accessible through the Hudson River. All this meant development in the New York City as fuel was now available in abundance and there were a means of transportation for it. This is what made The New York City the metropolis it is today. Later the railroad was extended by consolidating many smaller lines linking the City to the needed manpower in the small Industrial towns of the Hudson River Valley as they traveled to and from work through the railway network. Before the introduction of the steamboats transport of goods, raw materials for the industries and passengers who traveled either for leisure or work was difficult. This was because of the unfavorable road network which got very muddy when it rained, and the unpredictability of the winds, therefore, stalled the boats before they got to their destination and delays meant that work could not run as scheduled. The invention of the steamboats came as a relief both to the industrialist and the workers in the industries. Robert Fulton completely revolutionized water movement and opened up a new era of advancement in water transport.

In the mid-1850s water transport in the Hudson Valley was at its peak when the railroads after a half century of development started to compete for passengers especially tourist in the region.

This was because the trains represented the next level of advancement in transport engineering and it was for the first time in Hudson Valley land transport was preferred to water. Thanks to railroads as the trains did not get stuck or weather did not hinder ground transportation.

The rise of rail in Hudson Valley was fueled by the fact that the railroads were close to the shores of the Hudson River this was scenic especially for the tourist who flocked the town in the same period. A tourist came from all over the United States to see Hudson, and it never disappointed from the Adirondacks Mountains to the waterfalls in Niagara and the Revolutionary War sites in the West point. Visitors thronged the Hudson in the 19th Century, and this ultimately brought a lot of fame to the area. The beauty of the Hudson Valley it Scenic Mountains and the river houses were the main attractions of the tourist.

The Hudson Valley in the 19th century hosted a lot of travelers and tourist alike this was facilitated by the ease of transport to and from the cities along the Hudson River Valley. It also provided as a good pastime for the city dwellers in the New York City who were looking for a time away from the bustle and the hustle of the city life. Its scenic beauty and abundance accommodation in the hotels made it possible for both travelers and those who came for much longer periods. Also, the different social classes were taken care of regarding accommodation.

Hudson Valley was not short of art. Not with all the scenic beauty and the visitors from all over the United States flocking in the Hudson River towns.

When the names of people like Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church have mentioned today images of luminous paintings, linger on our minds.

The sun slipped behind the rugged Catskill Mountains of West point; clouds lit up making a golden canopy, the river winding down from the mountains. History was not letting the romantic landscape paintings of the 19th century from these artists go unnoticed.

When one is at the Hudson River School of Painting looking at the art, you get the feeling that these artists are just looking down at you from heaven and smiling. Thomas Cole visited the Hudson Valley after the Erie Canal was completed. This was after the Revolutionary War came to an end. On his arrival, he got captured by the scenic beauty of the Hudson Valley and started sketching his trip through the valley. His works along with those of a dozen other artists who got mystified by the scenic beauty of the Hudson Valley as attracted universal attention for over a half a century later on. All this collection can be found in the Newburgh at the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay. The effort of the artist to capture the picturesque of the Hudson Valley landscape in an image was immense because of it natural beauty. The amount of artistic talent both in literature and art put in the documentation of the (Cole, Gilmore, Merritt, H.Gerdits, & Art, 1967)Hudson Valley scenery resulted to one of the most articulate and important eras of literature and art in the history of the United States of America.

During this era the most successful of the artist paintwork were displayed in art galleries and fashion events the most popular of these were engraved on steel plates and re-printed and sold in bulk to the people. The financial returns of these sales helped in motivating the painters for their successful work. In the 1820s, Jacques Milbert toured the Hudson Valley and compiled a number of paintings. On his return to Paris, he authored his travels that later got published and illustrated in lithographs for the public it was his work that introduced the citizens of Europe to the beauty of the Hudson Valley.

Asher Durand, who was also the president of the National Academy of Design, is also one of the New Yorks landscape painters of the Hudson Valley. He published a number of Letters on Landscape Painting in which he standardized naturalism. Most of the Hudson Valley landscape painters were socially coherent because most of them belonged to the National Academy. They also happen to have worked on the same address thus their similarities.

Of all the artists contribution to the art of the Hudson Valley, Thomas Cole work takes the center stage. He is regarded as the founder of the Hudson River School of Arts. This was an American movement that flourished in the 19th century. Cole is known majorly for his exemplary work in portraying the American wilderness romantically on paintings. Born in Bolton in the early 1800s he first worked as an engraver. His interest in art saw him learn it by himself to satisfy his curiosity relying on books and studying work of another artist. He started as a portrait painter before shifting his interest to landscape painting. To raise money for his trip to the Hudson Valley Thomas Cole sold five of his art in New York. After his journey to the Hudson Valley, Cole came back to New York with some of the paintings he did while there, and he displayed some of them on a window of a bookstore belonging to one William Colman. It got the attention of Mr. Seton who purchased them and later let these paintings to the American Academy of Fine Arts for display in their annual exhibition. This was the turning point of Thomas Cole has it is in these exhibitions John Trumbull got interested in the art of Thomas Cole. He later sought him out, bought one of his arts and put him into contact with his other wealthy friends.

Thomas Cole was primarily a landscape painter though he also painted other figurative works. Some of his popular works were: The Course of Empire which was a landscape painting, followed by The Voyage of Life.

Cole also painted The Garden Of Eden which had Adam and Eve living with wild animals with plants and waterfalls. His influence on his peers was staggering as they studied him.

His style of painting showed who Cole was, he is said to have painted from the heart as most of his painting clearly depicted his love for the natural environment, where he derived his inspiration from. Though later with the effects of development and seeing what the industries were doing to the environment, Cole through his painting started to predict what one could call the rise and fall of the American culture. This was from his observation on the intensity of the American materialism and in his works, The Voyage of Life and The course of An Empire he predicted the downfall of the rich, natural landscapes of the early American.

Thomas Cole later got into architecture in his later days. This was not surprising as then it was a common thing since the field had not been exploited by many people and was still new. He was an entrant in a competition that was meant to build new state building in Columbus, Ohio. He won the third place. Thomas also made designs for the Episcopal Church in Catskill, New York.

He was formidable in recording his thoughts in writing with detailed journals and the many poems he wrote. His essay on the American scenery was quite influential. He also encouraged the second generation of landscape painter like Frederic Church who later continued with the painting tradition he had established even after his death.

These second generation artist went ahead and founded the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in the New York City. Thomas Cole passed on after a short illness that he succumbed to. This legendary Father of the Hudson River School of Arts through his paintings conveyed the ancient rich natural landscapes of the native America.

He put forward the importance that Hudson River Valley had in the history of America. Most of his paintings epitomize this as they depict the environment in which he Thomas Cole existed.

William Bryant a poet and publisher edited two-volume works about the United States of American. He picked the well-known writers from different regions which included essays he illustrated...

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