Situated on the bank of the Hudson River, Beacon is a small, quaint city with many artistic and historic attractions and numerous connections to other New York areas.
The city is located in the southwestern corner of Dutchess County and is nearly five square miles in area, with a diverse population of about 15,500. A Metro-North Railroad line leads south from the Beacon Train Station about 60 miles to New York City, and Interstate 84 passes over the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge to the western bank of the Hudson River.
Originally belonging to the Wappinger Indians, the area that would become the city of Beacon was purchased by New York City fur traders in 1683. The land was soon settled as the villages of Fishkill Landing and Matteawan in the early 18th century, which became known for their valuable wheat production and location on the bank of the Hudson River.
The city of Beacon was incorporated in 1913, merging Fishkill Landing and Matteawan. Home to various historic buildings and areas, Beacon was named to commemorate the beacon fires that were lit on the summit of the Fishkill Mountains during the Revolutionary War to inform the Continental Army of British movements.
COFFEE & COMMERCE
Since Beacon established itself as a center for culture and the arts, new and exciting eateries and shopping venues have been opening frequently along the city's storefronts. The Bank Square Coffeehouse, a corner coffeehouse with a view of the Hudson, offers high-quality coffee, tea, and baked goods, as well as open mic entertainment several times each week. Cafes and restaurants including Homespun Foods and Meyer's Olde Dutch Food and Such are scattered throughout the city, and stores such as Riverwinds Gallery, Utensil, and Notions-N-Potions are great places to shop for art, apparel, or unique gifts for yourself or others.
Beacon's location between the Hudson River and the Fishkill Mountains lends itself to many types of recreational activities, from hiking the trails of Mt. Beacon Park to swimming in the River Pool. Memorial Park, located in the center of town, is the city's largest park and hosts various civic events. Other parks include Forrestal Park, which is connected to Forrestal Elementary and has a large playground and basketball court; Riverfront Park, hosting numerous events on a peninsula jutting into the Hudson; and Hammond Field, a neighborhood park primarily used for city school district functions.
In addition, Beacon is home to Dia:Beacon, an art museum featuring the Dia Art Foundation's collection from the 1960s to the present. The Beacon Theatre, built in the 1930s, houses professional and amateur theatre, and the Howland Cultural Center, once known as Howland Library, now presents art exhibitions and other cultural activities since the library collection moved to its new location in 1976. The city is home to numerous historic places, including the Madam Brett Homestead, the oldest building in Dutchess County; and Eustatia, a Victorian Gothic brick cottage built in 1867 overlooking the Hudson, among others.
Beacon, as well as parts of Fishkill and Wappingers, is serviced by the Beacon City School District. The district is composed of four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school, in addition to an administration building and a transportation facility.
Additional information for the town of Beacon, including public safety, government, and resources, can be found on their website.