IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- During the late 19th century, Irvington was one of many suburban villages to adopt the railroad, which increased both the population and wealth of Irvington.
According to the Irvington Historical Society, the first European settlers to the region were Dutch, but the area was ultimately taken over by the English in 1664. For centuries, before the railroad, the settlers' main source of transportation was by boat along the heavily trafficked Hudson River.
Everything changed with the development of the train during the late 19th century. An influx of skilled workers such as architects and builders came to Irvington, which had predominantly been a farming community. From 1860 to 1890, the population of Irvington increased from about 600 to over 2000 and the village saw many developments during these years, including schools, churches and the first firehouse.
The railroad was electrified between 1912 and 1913, changing the character of Irvington to that of a suburban commuting village. Following World War I, the landscape of Irvington was changed for good, allowing big city commuters to live in quiet, suburban town.
“When I show houses, I love to show people the historical treasures of Irvington,’’ said Janet Kovacs, manager of Houlihan Lawrence's Irvington and Ardsley brokerage offices, and also a member of the Irvington Historical Society. "Just like today, one of Irvington's biggest attractions was its proximity to the city. The railroad certainly played a big part in our history."
Adding to the allure and historical significance of Irvington, Alfred Hitchcock's famous 1959 film, "North By Northwest," featured Irvington as passing scenery through the window of a train.
"I’ve always been fascinated by history and I enjoy sharing that with people who are considering purchasing a home here," said Kovacs. "At the end of the day, people are going to purchase a home because it suits their lifestyle and their budget, but I think it’s always nice to reflect on the history of the town.”
For more information on Houlihan Lawrence Irvington or to find a listing, visit their website.