The Heights – North Country Connection


On Monday, my daughter and I rode Amtrak's Adirondack from Penn Station north along the Hudson Valley, through Albany, Schenectady and Saratoga, then skirting the train's namesake range along the western shore of Lake Champlain to Plattsburgh, where we detrained and were greeted by my stepfather-in-law, who took us in his pickup seventy or so miles northwest to the Village of Massena, where he and my mother-in-law live.  Massena is on the northern border of New York State, hard by the St. Lawrence River, which here marks the border with Canada.  It's about as far from Brooklyn Heights as you can get and still be in New York.

Yet I noticed that, if you follow the Raquette River, which flows past my in-laws' back yard, upstream about twenty miles, you come to the town of Pierrepont.  Just a coincidence?  No.  A quick bit of research showed that it is named for Hezekiah Pierrepont, the same as owned a mansion on the Heights, was the first to propose construction of a promenade along the bluff overlooking the East River, and for whom Pierrepont Street is named.  It seems that Pierrepont thought that northern New York State was a promising area for investment, principally for timber, and bought most of the land comprising the town that now bears his name.  He also found his wife up here; her maiden name was Constable, and another nearby St. Lawrence County town bears her family's name.  Montague Street was originally named Constable Street in her honor.

Update: My wife, whose archival work has made her well-versed in Heights history, tells me that Hezekiah's will left his timber lands upstate to his older son, Hezekiah, Jr., while the younger, Henry, inherited a large piece of Brooklyn Heights.  Guess which proved, in the long run, to be the more valuable legacy.      


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