In April 1716, Luis Moses Gomez, a Jewish community leader from New York City, purchased 1,200 acres with river access in what is now Marlborough, NY, near the current border with Newburgh. With his two sons Jacob and Daniel, the Gomez family amassed 3,000 acres by 1723. They built a fieldstone blockhouse on what was known as Jews Creek, to conduct trade and maintain provisions as an extension of their successful enterprises in Colonial New York. Gomez launched one of the Mid-Hudson Valley’s earliest commercial ventures: operating mills and lime kilns on the property, then shipping the material to New York City markets.
From these pioneering roots, through 300 years of American history, the blockhouse evolved to further serve the community. American Revolutionary patriot and civic leader, Wolvert Ecker, built a second floor of bedrooms and used his manor house to host meetings with local revolutionaries. Gomez’s one-room stone structure became a center for establishing democracy. Ecker continued and expanded commercial operations on the 1,000 acres he bought, and started an historical ferry service across the Hudson. In the mid-1800s the prominent Armstrong family occupied the House, most notably, William Henry Armstrong, who built the kitchen wing. Arts and Crafts paper historian and artisan, Dard Hunter, who built the Mill in 1913, produced the world’s first one-man made books here. And early 20th century social activist, Martha Gruening, sought to establish a school on the Site. These five owners’ stories are interpreted on guided tours of the House and Mill.