During the existence of the Town of Lansingburgh, Thieves Hollow formed part of North Lansingburgh from at least 1819 (when part of the Town of Schaghticoke south of the Deep Kill was annexed) to 1901. It’s also been called Thief Hollow or Thief’s Hollow.
Rensselaer County Rambles.
No. 17—Thieves’ Hollow.
BY HI TRAYLES.
Written for The Troy Times.
For one in search of nearby short interesting walks during this winter season of brief afternoons no better choice can be made than the numerous little hollows that cut down to the Hudson River north of Troy. Some of these are very short, beginning west of the Boston and Maine Railroad tracks. Others begin between the railroad and the auto road to Melrose, and give the railroad passengers fascinating glimpses of deep rock-lined ravines picturesquely decorated with evergreens. Still others, like Deepkill, rise far back of Rice Mountain, among the flanks of Bald Mountain, and have formed considerable valleys by the time the road and the railroad are reached, as at Grant Hollow.
Along all of these hollows the winter scenery surpasses the views at any other time of the year. The rubbish, dirt and junk which the ravine dwellers seem to accumulate with the passing years, and with the passing of the season, lie conceled under the purifying blanket of snow. Scenes that distress at oter times of the year with the evidences of neglect, thriftlessness and poverty, are transformed into fairy gorges of ice and snow in winter, concealing all traces of human shortcomings. Every prospect pleases, nor even man seems vile.
One of my favorite walks in winter time is down Thieves’ Hollow, starting just beyond Spiegletown, north of the little church. There is a road that follows down the right hand side of this hollow [Irish Road, formerly Thieves Hollow Road], at the top of the ravine, along the edge of the fields. It affords many a fascinating view over the Hudson valley and down into the splendidly timbered upper part of the ravine. Still finer views are often obtained by stepping from the road over to the ravine’s edge.
A short distance from where you leave the main road you come upon the attractive rustic camp of Dr. R. H. Irish. It commands a fine view over the upper part of the valley.
About half way to the Hudson River the hollow passes under the B. and M. and is soon joined by another road from the south [Haughney Road?]. Along here are a number of houses, which have seen better days, such as the Flynn house, which was quite a place in its day, but now, like most of its neighbors, falling into wrack and ruin. Most of the people now living in this ravine are newcomers.
For a half mile of the lower course of the hollow, the stream disappears underground, then reappears a cold refreshing stream in the summer time. This waterless part of the ravine bears a dismal forlorn note in the summer time, but in winter, the disappearing tricks of the water are rendered invisible. The charm of clean banks of ice and snow, twisting and rolling with the tortuous course of the little dry channel, is sharpened with the snow-laden evergreens, and the icy glistening branches of the hardwoods. Catch the scene near sunset time, and the pink and lavender glow on the hillsides and fields thrills you with its exhilarating beauty. Then Coolkill, as this lower part of the ravine is called, becomes a haunt of romantic beauty.
You soon come to the view of the Hudson River. At the corner of the river level road and the Coolkill Road [Irish Road?] stands an old house, a roadhouse or tavern-like place, at one time known as Camp Coolkill.
From this spot there is a two-mile walk to the carline in Lansingburgh. The first mile lies along the river’s edge. You look across the icy surface to the flats above Waterford, along which runs the auto road to Mechanicville and the Hudson Valley Railway. To the east of the road the bluffs rise steeply a couple of hundred feet. You approach the region of summer cottages which line both sides of the river.
Halfway to Lansingburgh the road forks and you can choose the left-hand route to the Fifth Avenue bus, or the right-hand route to the Second Avenue carline. In either cases this last mile is lined with cottages, the right-hand route lying through Pleasantdale.
If you would pick the ideal day for this walk select a day when the snow is crusted over hard enough to bear your weight. The first mile down the ravine road from Speigletown is little traveled and rarely so in winter. The snow is often not broken on this stretch, and if deep would be hard going without snowshoes unless the crust is hard enough to hold. I enjoy snowshoeing, but enjoy still more the exhilaration of striding a couple of feet above the surface of the fields on those icy snow crusts that are frequent and often long lasting in these northern winters. The right crust will be not too icy, but have just the right roughness and surface softness that gives the foot secure hold. Then you can swing along with an ease and a buoyancy you never experience on a road, and the thrill of walking unhindered over the barb-wire fences is the next thing to an airplane flight.
This walk from Speigletown is only a mile and a half down the ravine, or three and a half miles in all. By taking the 2:15 Saturday afternoon bus from the bus terminal you can easily be back downtown by 5 o’clock.
Troy Times. February 4, 1927: 8 cols 3-4.