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Students: Learn About the Hudson River With Fun Facts and Trivia

written by: Nick Oza • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 2/8/2012

The Hudson River is one of the national treasures of America. It has been used for many things from trade to transportation to navigation. Explore some uncommon facts about this historical body of water and ponder the importance of it in our present day and age.

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    The Hudson River

    The George Wahington Bridge Along the Hudson River Have you ever looked at the Hudson River and wondered about its history is or where it comes from? You may have heard of the river and know something about it because it is truly rich in history and an important sailing route for many.

    The Hudson River flows north to south through the state of Eastern New York. The length of the Hudson is 315 miles (507 km), and the main source of the Hudson is the Lake Tear of Clouds in the Adirondack Mountains.

    The Hudson is smaller in size compared to the other major rivers in America such as the Mississippi River and the Ohio River. Throughout history, the Hudson has been used for trade and as a travel route and has attracted people from all walks of life to its splendor and beauty. Many important industries are presently located around the Hudson as it continues to serve as an important trading route.

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    The History of the Hudson

    Here we are going to look at some Hudson River facts (for kids), and see what the history and importance of the river has been in the past as well as the present:

    History & Discovery

    The Hudson River is named for the European explorer Henry Hudson, who explored it in 1609. Hudson was looking for a passing to the Asia when he discovered the river. In 1524, the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano first entered the Hudson but mistook it for an estuary.

    The Hudson River flows both North and South. Near the Atlantic, the river flows north, and near its origin in Lake Tear of the Clouds, it flows south.

    The Native American tribe of the Iroquois called the river Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk also known as the Great Mohegan. It actually means "the water that moves both ways".

    Before the river was explored by Henry Hudson (traveling for the Dutch East India Company), the river was used for travel by the Native Americans.

    Colonial Times

    The Hudson River valley is the valley of the Hudson River and its neighboring communities in New York. The Hudson River valley played an important role during the French and Indian war in 1750s and the American Revolutionary war. In the 1750s, the British army made the Northern part of the Hudson Valley their defense against the invading French from Quebec.

    During Colonial times from the 17th century to 1776, the Hudson River supported a very important and profitable fur trade. The Hudson Valley at this time was used for wheat and timber, which was taken to New York and from there made its way to the entire western world.

    The Dutch occupied New York State and settled in two cities on the Hudson. One was called Nieuw Amsterdam, which is now New York City, and the other was Beverwyck, which is today the state capital (Albany).

    The major cities along the Hudson include Troy, Hudson, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Peekskill and Yonkers in New York, and Weehawken, Hoboken and Jersey City in the state of New Jersey.

    The Hudson is surrounded by incredible beauty. In fact, so much so that it was nicknamed "America's Rhine" because it was being compared to the popular area surrounding the German Rhine River.

    Another name for the southernmost portion of the Hudson is the North River. This refers to the area between Manhattan and Hudson County.
    Tapan Zee is the widest part of the river.

    The Industrial Revolution to Today

    The Erie Canal opened in 1825 and connected Lake Erie in the Great Lakes region to the Hudson and onward to Europe. The cost of moving goods was reduced as well as the time it took to transport them. This was very important for America as it created an increase in the trade of goods and gave the economy a big boost.

    Inventor Robert Fulton started a new age of navigation when he piloted his North River Steamboat on the Hudson. Later, the boat was to be called the "Clermont".

    Railroads were built along the Hudson in the 1850s, which increased the number of tourists in the area greatly. The Hudson River Rail Road was built along the shores of the river, and travelers could see the amazing beauty surrounding the river like never before.

    Many artists and writers would try and capture the beauty in their art as well as in poetry and stories. Collectively, they formed the Hudson River School and included artists such as Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, and Frederick Church. These artists created marvelous paintings of the natural beauty surrounding the Hudson, which was then sold in New York art galleries. The first internationally known American author, Washington Irving, drew his inspiration from the Hudson and wrote many stories about the people and the places surrounding the Hudson.

    The Tapan Zee Bridge is the longest bridge crossing the Hudson, which links South Nyack and Tarrytown in New York State. Tappan is the name of a Native American tribe that lived near the Hudson while Zee comes from the Dutch word for "wide expanse of water".

    People traveling from the state of New Jersey use the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) system, which is a subway-like rail system connecting New Jersey with Manhattan. The PATH system runs beneath the Hudson.

    The Lincoln Tunnel is an old tunnel under the Hudson connecting 42nd Street in Manhattan with Weehawken in New Jersey.

    West Point is the oldest military academy in the United States that started in 1802 and is situated along the Hudson.

    So, how many of these interesting facts did you already know?

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    Pollution in the Hudson

    The Hudson in the Adirondack Mountains 

    There are many industries located along the Hudson, and they dump their waste into the waters of the Hudson thus polluting it. The government has taken action and passed laws to stop this pollution. However, some companies still continue to pollute the river, which causes the death of the animals that live in the Hudson. We must all make an effort to stop this from happening and save this beautiful and historical river from being polluted.

References

  • Image: Huson in Adirondacks near Newcomb, New York, a dozen miles downstream from its source by Mwanner under CC 3.0
  • Image: George Washington Bridge by Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) collections — a U.S. National Park Service program, Jet Lowe under Public Domain Mark 1.0
  • "A Hudson River Portfolio", New York State Public Library, http://legacy.www.nypl.org/research/hudson/history/his1.html
  • "The Mighty Hudson River", Fun Trivia,, http://www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/The-Mighty-Hudson-River-251899.html

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