Harold Card, of the Town of Wallkill, is the founder of the Town of Wallkill Historical Association and resides in the historic Horton House on Van Burenville Road.
The house was originally small when built in the late 1700s and was later expanded by Vincent Clark in 1803. Clark moved from Long Island to the 163-acre farm next to the current Pine Hill Cemetery.
Clark, who became a well-to-do farmer, opened one of the first licensed inns in the Town of Wallkill in 1824. A tavern in the house served as a stage coach stop from Bloomingburg to Middletown.
Hemp and flax were the main crops on the farm. Mrs. Clark braided straw for New York hat makers. Business was good in the area until just after Clark’s death in 1839 when the Erie Railroad was built through Howells and the New Plank Road bypassed Clark’s house. Soon after the house and property were sold.
Timothy Horton purchased the estate in 1840. Horton had a 10 year teaching career before moving onto dairy farming for 23 years and expanded the estate. Earnings from the farm allowed him to construct outbuildings and update the house to a modern, architectural style, including woodwork meant to resemble embroidered flounces. Scrolls embellished the veranda.
Horton was elected Town of Wallkill Supervisor from 1889-90.
James, the younger brother of Timothy, started working at the farm in 1854 with only $14 cash and an overcoat. From there he built a successful career by finding a milk route between New York City and Orange County. Six years later he was elected President of the Orange County Dairy Association.
Eventually James moved from milk to ice cream and by the 1920s Horton Ice Cream Company was the largest ice cream maker in the world. James became the Town of Wallkill Supervisor between 1890-98.
After James passed away, the historic home and property stayed in the Horton family until Harold and his wife, Kathleen, bought it in 1961. The original ice box and fire place, complete with the bake oven on the side, is still in the kitchen and the wood used to make the foyer was used from the ice house that was once located across the street. There also was a door on the side of the house where a wagon used to pull up to to drop off ice.
The mission of the Town of Wallkill Historical Association is to assist the community in understanding and appreciating the heritage of their own town since its founding 1772. “Preserving the past for the future” is their motto.
The Town of Wallkill Citizen’s Memorial Park is located next to the Horton House and Pine Hill Cemetery at 74 Van Burenville Road in the Town of Wallkill.
For more information on the Town of Wallkill Historical Association visit townofwallkill.com.
Seeking photos for Now & Then feature
The Hudson Valley is rich in history. Our museums, historical societies and libraries preserve our past. Now & Then takes a look at places, people and landmarks in our area from a moment in time. We are asking libraries and historical societies to send in copies of their historical photos (no originals please), but anyone can send one in. Please send in full details on the photo and the history behind it, if any. Please be sure to include the location (city, village or town) of the photo and the year, as well as a contact number or email if additional information is needed. Mail all information and photos to:
Now & Then
℅ Donna Kessler
PO Box 2046
Middletown, N.Y. 10940
or email email@example.com.