Hudson River, in New York, one of the most beautiful and important rivers in the United States. Its remote sources are in the Adirondack mountains, in the N. E. part of the state, more than 4,000 ft. above the sea. Its principal head streams rise in Hamilton and Essex cos., serving as the outlets to a great number of small highland lakes. Several of these streams unite in the S. W. part of Essex co., and the river formed by their junction flows in a tortuous course S. E. to about the centre of Warren co., where it receives the outlet of Schroon lake on the east, about 8 m. W. of the S. part of Lake George. It runs from this point nearly S. to the town of Corinth, on the boundary between Warren and Saratoga cos., receiving on its way the Sacondaga river from the west, and some smaller streams, and then turns sharply to the east, following that general direction with several bends until it reaches Glen's Falls, where it has a fall of 50 ft. Soon after passing this point it sweeps around to the south, and flows in that direction with little deviation to its mouth, a distance of about 190 m., separating Washington, Rensselaer, Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester, and New York cos., on the east, from Saratoga, Albany, Greene, Ulster, Orange, and Rockland cos., and the state of New Jersey on the west.
From Glen's Falls to Troy its course is much broken by rapids, but at the latter place, 151 m. from its mouth, it is affected by the tide and becomes a broad, deep, sluggish stream. From Albany, 6 m. below Troy, its general width is from 300 to 700 yards, though it greatly exceeds this in certain places. Its banks are elevated and picturesque throughout nearly its whole course. The upper part of the river is bordered by gentle eminences, covered with cultivated fields, interspersed with pleasant towns and villages, while in Greene and Ulster cos. its valley is bounded W. by the Catskill mountains, which in the former approach within 7 m. of the river. A short distance below Newburgh, 61 m. from New York, it begins its passage through the beautiful hills called the Highlands, which rise abruptly from the water; in some places vessels following the channel pass so near the shore that one can almost touch the cliffs from their decks. The most remarkable of these hills are Breakneck (1,187 ft. in height), Beacon, so named from the signal fires which used to burn on its summit during the revolutionary war (1,685 ft.), Butter (1,500 ft.), Crow Nest (1,428 ft.), Sugarloaf mountain, Bull hill, Anthony's Nose (1,128 ft.), and Dunderberg (Thunder Hill) or Donderbarrack (Thunder Chamber). The Highlands cover an area of about 16 by 25 m., and the river flows through them with many windings, which add greatly to its beauty.
In the midst of them, on a bold promontory commanding magnificent views both N. and S., is West Point, the seat of the United States military academy. Fort Putnam, the ruins of which remain, was built here during the war of independence by the Americans, and a chain was stretched across the river at this place to prevent the passage of British ships. Several other sites memorable in the history of that period are pointed out to tourists in various parts of the river. Shortly after emerging from the Highlands the Hudson widens into the expanse known as Haverstraw bay, immediately below which is Tappan bay, extending from Teller's Point to Piermont, about 12 m. long and 3 to 4 m. wide. On the W. shore a range of trap rock called the Palisades rises perpendicularly from the water's edge to a height of from 300 to 500 ft., extending from the New Jersey boundary just below Piermont to Fort Lee, 9 m. from New York bay, the range being thus about 15 m. long. From this place to its mouth the Hudson is between 1 and 2 m. wide. It falls into New York bay in lat. 40° 42' N., lon. 74° V 30" W., its whole length being a little over 300 m. Its fall from Albany to its mouth, according to the United States coast survey reports, is only about 5 ft.
On the E. side of its mouth lies New York city, on the W. side Jersey City and Hoboken. The Hudson has few tributaries, the largest being the Hoosac, Mohawk, Walkill, and Croton. Spuyten Duyvil creek connects it with the Harlem river, which flows into the East river, forming the N. boundary of Manhattan island. The basin of the Hudson occupies about two thirds of the E. border of the state, and a large part of the interior. The principal cities and towns on its banks are Lansingburgh, Troy, Hudson, Pough-keepsie, Peekskill, Sing Sing, Tarrytown, Yon-kers, and New York, on the east, and Water-ford, West Troy, Albany, Catskill, Kingston, Rondout, Newburgh, Haverstraw, Nyack, Piermont, Hoboken, and Jersey City on the west. It is navigable by ships to Hudson, by steamboats to Troy, and by sloops, by means of a dam and lock, to Waterford, at the mouth of the Mohawk. The passenger steamers from New York to Albany and Troy are noted for their elegance and fine proportions. A little below Albany the navigation is at times obstructed by shifting sands called the Overslaugh, for the removal of which large expenditures have been made by the United States government.
New York is indebted for much of its prosperity to this river, which forms one of the principal channels of communication between the east and west, and is connected with the great lakes by the Erie canal and the Erie and New York Central railroads, with Lake Champlain and Canada by canal and railroad, and with the Delaware river and the Pennsylvania coal region by the Delaware and Hudson canal. The Hudson River railroad runs along its east bank from New York to Troy, and a railroad has been commenced along its west bank from Jersey City to Albany. - In 1524 Verrazzani, sailing under a commission from Francis I. of France, entered the bay of New York and sailed a short distance up the river in a boat. Henry Hudson discovered it Sept. 11, 1609, explored it above the mouth of the Mohawk, and called it " river of the mountains." This name was soon changed to Mauritius, in honor of Prince Maurice of Nassau; and about 1682 it became generally known as the North river, to distinguish it from the Delaware or South river.
The name Hudson's river had been applied to it by the English not long after its discovery in 1609. The Indians are said to have called it Shatemuc and Cahohatatea. The first successful attempt at steam navigation was made on the Hudson by Robert Fulton in 1807.