Monroe- "a sleepy little hamlet"
The Village of Monroe was established from a small farming community after a disastrous fire destroyed nearly all the buildings at the heart of the settlement. The village and its boundaries were created in 1894 as a result of the need to establish a volunteer fire district to avoid such future calamities.
Although the town itself was incorporated in 1799, settlement was well established by the time of the Revolutionary War with Dutch and English coming as early as the 1600’s.
It was a perfect setting for a hamlet with abundant water and farmable lands nestled in the picturesque valley of the Ramapo. Rung by protective mountains and yet only a short distance to the important access of the Hudson river; so beautiful in fact that it was often likened to the tranquil foothills of Scotland.
Monroe was once the lands of the Lenepe Indians and the domain of the prehistoric Mastadont, ancient glaciers left behind a land perfect for settling and a river ideal for milling.
The damming of the Ramapo and the construction of the grist mill in the mid 1700’s signaled the beginnings of permanent settlement and the establishment of a new town. The Orange Turnpike, connecting Albany to New York City brought stage coach access to Monroe in 1807, and the town quickly became an important stopover point. The area grew rapidly and stage coach inns appeared all along the main road. The growth continued with the coming of the Erie Railroad in 1841 and the inns gave way to the age of the big hotel. Abundant mining and a prosperous cheese and dairy industry supported a thriving community and laid the foundations for a population, which today, numbers over 7,000 in the Village alone.
While we cannot document that George Washington ever slept in Monroe, we do have our own unique and interesting history. A history interspersed with notorious cowboys, revolutionary unrest, dairy invention, horse racing, baseball players, a famous showman and a legendary movie star. Explore our site and learn about these and other interesting and perhaps surprising facts about Monroe.