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grand and beautiful, nowhere so blended by a wise and beneficent creator as in the length and breadth of this group. It seems to one who has traversed this region often, and contemplated it in its relations to the vast city which lies below and yet in its infancy, as wisely designed for an adjacent suburban territory, whereon might be lavished the wealth and taste of a great metropolis.
Wealth and taste are already beautifying the scenery all along the headlands and bluffs of the river's bank, and in sequestered dells and vales; and it is not extravagant to anticipate that the whole country will be a succession of villas far up the river to Troy, and even beyond. .
The scenery has been dwelt upon, perhaps, to a degree scarcely warranted in a report like this, for the purpose of calling the attention of the people of a great city to the unexampled advantages which they possess, almost at their doors, for the enjoyment of a healthful, and, at the same time a beautiful country residence.
All below White Plains, in Westchester county, is now little else than a suburb of the city of New York-maintaining much the same relation to the city that Harlem did a few years ago. Its manufacturing facilities are immense, and its mineral resources inexhaustible. The iron mines of the Taghkanic range furnish ore for manufacturing the choicest iron, and its mountains abound with marble of desirable quality, while some of the most beautiful granites for buildings are found in inexhaustible quantities near its great thoroughfares. The facility for cheap fuel in the exhaustless supply of coal from Pennsylvania, through the Hudson and Delaware canal, adds largely to its manufacturing resources.
The soil possesses, in the mineral constituents of its prevailing rocks, the elements of inexhaustible fertility. The unrivalled fertility and richness of its pastures is owing to the constant supply of alkaline substances furnished by the disintegration of the rocks scattered upon the surface, or washed down from the mountains by the torrent or the rill.
There is but very little of the surface that does not afford a profit to the owner, and although one-fourth is uncultivated, yet it by no means follows that the greatest portion of the uncultivated is a waste, because the broken and rough hills furnish periodical crops of timber, and annual pasturage on nearly their whole surface. The absolute waste and worthless land will not exceed one twentieth of its whole area.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF COUNTIES WITH REFERENCE TO THEIR PRESENT AND
COLUMBIA COUNTY. The county of Columbia is bounded on the north by the county of Rensselaer, on the east by the State line, on the south by the county of Dutchess, and on the west by the Hudson river.
The general aspect of the county is hilly, and more or less broken. Few counties have a greater variety of soil over its whole surface. From the most fertile to the most rocky and sterile, can often be found upon the same farm, and that not covering a very large surface.
Its avenues for commercial intercourse, and its facilities for reaching
valuable markets at cheap rates, and by rapid modes of transit, are second to no other county. There are railroads over various portions of its lands, with the Hudson river in its front.
There is valuable hydraulic power in the county, already extensively occupied; and it is now a manufacturing centre of importance, and the general productions of its soil, and the improvements of its motive power renders it, by reason of its other facilities, among the most important counties of the State, whose population and wealth are rapidly increasing and whose valuations will require an annual revision.
DUTCHESS COUNTY. The county of Dutchess is bounded on the north by the county of Columbia, on the east by the State line, on the south by the county of Putnam, and on the west by the Hudson river.
The general aspect is hilly, rolling, and more or less broken. The soil is various, and ranges from very fertile to rocky and sterile. Generally it is capable of being used for permanent pasture, when too broken for tillage, so that there is comparatively only a small portion which cannot, in some respect, be made to yield an income.
It has important hydraulic power which is extensively employed, and it has already become an important manufacturing centre of textile fabric, as well as mineral products.
The Harlem railroad through its eastern towns, and the Hudson river railroad and the Hudson river on the west side, furnish great facilities for the rapid and cheap transportation of its surplus products of field and mine to a never-failing market.
Few counties, therefore, are in as prosperous condition in all its industrial resources, and its population and wealth is rapidly increasing, and its valuations will require annual revision.
POTNAM COUNTY. Putnam county is bounded on the west by the Hudson river, on the north by Dutchess county, on the east by the Connecticut State line, and on the south by the county of Westchester.
The surface is mountainous, hilly and broken; as but a small portion is in a condition for cultivation, its general agricultural product must be grass, and it can never be other than a grazing county. On its river front there are some important manufacturing towns, and it contains mineral in its mountains in large supply. The Harlem railroad in its rear, and the Hudson River railroad and river in its front, furnish abundant facilities for the successful development of its resources. Its agricultural population will not increase, except at a slow rate. But its proximity to New York city, and its already large manufacturing capacity, will.insure an increase of population and wealth which will require an annual revision of its assessments.
RENSSELAER COUNTY. Rensselaer county is bounded on the east by the Massachusetts State line, on the south by Columbia county, on the west by the Hudson river, and on the north by the county of Washington,
Its surface is hilly and broken, even mountainous on the cast and is generally undulating. Its soil assimilates to Columbia county, and has the same defects and advantages. It has already become a commercial and manufacturing centre of importance, and it must largely increase in its population and wealth. The Hudson river and its railroads furnish ample facilities for the development of its resources, which will be largely increased by the opening up of the northern wilderness.
WASHINGTON County. Washington county is bounded on the east by the Vermont State line, on the south by Rensselaer county, on the west by a part of the counties of Saratoga and Warren, and part of Lake George.
Its surface is hilly, broken, and undulating. Its soil is from very poor to first quality, and surpassed by none in the State. Like all the counties on the east side of the Hudson river, it possesses lands of great fertility, but so broken up by rocky hills that no large tract of fertile land can be obtained for cultivation. It is however among the very best of the second-class counties, and its peculiar facilities for reaching market by easy and cheap modes of transportation, by means of the railroads traversing its territory and the Hudson river and Champlain canal, render the lands more valuable than those of some of the more fertile, but further inland countier. It will always be a thriving county, and its population and wealth will gradually increase, and its valuations should be revised at least once in two years.
WESTCHESTER COUNTY. Westchester county is bounded on the east by the Connecticut State line and part of Long island sound, south by the East river and the Harlem river, west by the Hudson river, and north by the county of Putnam.
Its surface is mountainous, hilly and broken, and more or less covered with rocks and the stony debris of its hills and mountains. The soil whenever cleared from the stone wherewith it is so much mixed, is moderately fertile, and particularly adapted to grass and many of the spring grains.
It is not, however, in the richness of its soil that the value of its real estate consists, but in the facility whereby the surplus population of a great city, can make upon its unrivalled sites their suburban residences. AN that portion of the county below White Plains on the eastern side, and below the county line on the western side, has already become a suburb of the city of New York, and can no longer be valued as farming lands, but should be rated as village real estate, and is among the most valuable in the State. The Harlem and the Hudson railroads, as well as the Hudson river and Long Island sound, furnish ample facilities for developing its rei sources and for populating its lands. Its population and wealth will in crease rapidly, and its valuations will require an annual revision. AREA, POPULATION, AGRICULTURAL VALUATIONS, ROUTES OP TBAR
FIC AND BANKING CAPITAL.
ARRA. . ... This group is eight per cent of the surface of the whole State, and em. braces an area of 3,399 square miles, whereof there are,