Sleight Farm News
Fun Facts about LaGrange and Dutchess County History
Even though Sleight Farm is a new home community, we are proud to be part of the long, continuing history of the LaGrange area and Dutchess County. People have been building new homes and new lives in our beautiful corner of the Hudson Valley for hundreds of years! Here’s a sampling of interesting facts about this neck of the woods:
Sleight Farm History
- The original Sleight Farm dates back to 1765, when Abraham Sleight purchased land for 565 pounds. He brought his wife and six children to live in a small farmhouse close to what is now Overlook Road in LaGrange. The eldest son, Jacobus Sleight, built a stone farmhouse in 1798 that today still sits at the juncture of Sleight Plass Road and Overlook Road.
- Sleight Farm continued to be family-owned and run by the next five generations of Sleights. In 1925, David Barnes Sleight and his family took over the farm and under his care, the farm was named a New York State Century Farm, meeting the criteria of “being owned and operated by the same family for at least 100 years; the family must be good farmers now, have an established record of volunteer services to the community.” Sleight Farm earned that distinction for a second time in 1972. In the 1980’s, family members found they could no longer maintain the farm, and the land was sold to developers.
- Today, the Sleight Farm new home community includes the original, restored Sleight Farm House, and features more than 150 acres of preserved conservation land throughout the community.
LaGrange and Dutchess County History
- LaGrange was named after the ancestral estate of Marie Adrienne Françoise de Noailles, the wife of the Marquis de Lafayette, at a time when the legendary Lafayette had recently visited the area.
- Dutchess County was officially founded in 1713 and named for Marie of Modena, Duchess of York. She was the queen consort of England, Scotland, and Ireland as the second wife of James II and VII. Dutchess is an archaic spelling of the word duchess.
- One of the major arteries through Dutchess County, US Route 9, was the area’s early mail route; it starts in Delaware, travels through Manhattan, and runs all the way north to Albany.
- Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck is the oldest working inn in the U.S.; it’s been welcoming guests since 1766.
- The northern end of Dutchess county shares a half-mile long border with Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
- The Bardavon Opera House is one of the oldest active theatres in the U.S.
- Fishkill was the temporary capital of New York state for six months, until Congress moved it across the river to Kingston in 1777.
- The Van Wyck Homestead in Fishkill was the Revolutionary War headquarters for the Continental Army Quarter Master.
- Vassar College was founded as a women’s college in 1861 by Matthew Vassar, the second degree-granting institution of higher education for women in the U.S. It became one of the elite Seven Sisters colleges for women in the U.S. until it went co-ed in 1969.
The area’s rich history is woven into the fabric of everyday life here at Sleight Farm and in Dutchess County. We hope you find many ways to explore it for yourself!