Skip to main content

Hudson River History

See the Hudson River Like Never Before!

The fourth of July has come and gone and that only means one thing—summer will be over before you know it! Not really, of course, but doesn’t it always seem that way? We always seem to make a list of fun summer things to do in our heads, but more often than not, before we get a chance to do a lot of them, it’s time to start buying back-to-school items.

Not this year! Start a great summer tradition and get you and your family and friends out on to the Rip Van Winkle II and spend an unforgettable afternoon or evening cruising the Hudson River. There’s no doubt that a Hudson River Cruise is one of the top things to do in the Hudson Valley—you’ll see this spectacular and historic river like you’ve never seen it before!

We listed some of the spectacular sites you see on our two-hour tour, and now we’d like to give you a little more history from the Hudson River Valley.

Home of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“All that is within me cries out to go back to my home on the Hudson River”—Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The very first presidential library was started here in Hyde Park on the Hudson River for the only American president to serve four terms. Bill Murray starred as Roosevelt in the 2012 movie, “Hyde Park on Hudson,” which looked at Roosevelt’s time living on the river and the 1939 visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Hyde Park.

Boys in the Boat

This best-selling 2012 non-fiction book is about nine American men and their epic quest to win a gold medal in rowing at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The American run-off shell races (and all national championships) were held just north of Poughkeepsie and the boat house is still there. A movie is reportedly in the works to capture this incredible American story.


The International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) has deep roots in the Hudson Valley. In 1911, four companies amalgamated in the area to form what is now IBM.

Tugboat History in Rondout Creek

The Hudson River was the great natural highway into the interior of New York State for centuries. Transportation for people and goods was by boat for over two hundred years after the arrival of European, mostly Dutch, settlers in the early 17th century.

Rondout, the port of Kingston, was a major shipping point, and the busiest port on the Hudson for most of the 19th century (1800s). The major product shipped from Rondout was coal brought here from eastern Pennsylvania over the Delaware & Hudson Canal from 1828 to 1898. Coal was the main fuel of the steam age of the 19th century, so Rondout boomed from coal transport.


Located 91 miles north of New York City and 59 miles south of Albany, Kingston became New York’s first capital city in 1777, and was burned by the British on October 13, 1777, after the Battle of Saratoga. In the 19th century, the city became an important transport hub after the discovery of natural cement in the region, and had both railroad and canal connections.

As you can see, Kingston and the entire Hudson Valley area are ripe with historical sites and stories. For a day or evening you’ll never forget, take a Hudson River Cruise and soak up the history and beauty of the area!

Check out Hudson River Cruises full schedule of sightseeing cruises.