Washingtonville predates the American Revolution, as it was first settled in 1731. But, it wasn’t until 1809 that one of the town’s fathers began making an impact on the tiny settlement called Little York. John Jacques opened a boot and shoe shop. He planted vineyards and later, in 1839, he created Brotherhood Winery, which is now the oldest continuously operating winery in the U.S.
In 1811, Samuel Moffat built a trading post on the village square. The hamlet grew with a tannery, as well as grist and plaster mills. Moffat then built the Washington Tavern in 1818. In that year, Jacques and Moffat renamed the village Washingtonville in honor of the late general and first president, who died nearly 20 years earlier. According to legend, Washington had stopped so his horse could drink from a trough under a large tree near what is now the village’s center.
Washingtonville grew in the 1800s after the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railway built a line that connected the village in 1850. The village then became a dairy center with two creameries and incorporated in 1895.
Take a tour of Brotherhood Winery at 100 Brotherhood Drive, off of West Main Street in the village, and see the oldest and largest underground cellars in America and learn about the winery’s rich history. Afterward, of course, visitors get to taste the winery’s creations. During harvest season, visitors can even take part in grape stomping.
The Moffat Library, located at 6 West Main Street, is also something to see and an iconic building in Washingtonville. A gift of Samuel Moffat’s son, David, in honor of his father, the library was built on the site of Samuel Moffat’s former home. The Queen Anne-style building is made of brick made in Goshen.
Washingtonville’s center is located at the crossroads of Routes 208 and 94. The Washingtonville Central School District is made up of five schools – Washingtonville High School, Washingtonville Middle School, Little Britain Elementary, Taft Elementary and Round Hill Elementary.