Today in History: Indian Point Park Opens in Buchanon

Today in History: Indian Point Park Opens in Buchanon

M.C. Millman

It's hard to remember a time before the Indian Point Energy Center nuclear power plant existed, but a park was opened in the same location one hundred years ago today. 

On June 26, 1923, the Hudson River Day Line, a commercial steamboat line on the Hudson River, opened the Indian Point Park. The park was intended as a day trip destination for city residents, offering entertainment like food vendors, paths, ball fields, and picnic areas. 

A 1923 Hudson River Day Line magazine article described the park as a "shady and always cool resting spot for those who wish to escape the city's heat."  

The park was expanded in 1929 to include a large swimming pool, measuring 100 by 150 feet, making it one of the largest of its time. 

According to the Peekskill Herald, Admission was ten cents before 11 am and 25 cents after. The park had 1,500 lockers available, and thousands of people visited the park on weekends.

In 1948, the Hudson River Day Line went out of business, forcing the park to close. Sections of the park were sold off, with 52 acres purchased by businessman Emanuel Kelmans purchased 52 acres of Indian Point Park and reinvented it into Indian Point Amusement Park. 

Newer attractions included amusement rides, mini golf, a petting zoo, a beer hall, a roller skate rink, and concession stands. In both 1952 and 1953, Kelmans hosted the Westchester County Fair at Indian Point Amusement Park. 

According to River Keeper, Consolidated Edison bought Indian Point Park and an adjacent tract in October 1954. The company purchased 350 acres total on the banks of the Hudson River at the Ramapo earthquake fault line. 

Eight years later, in 1962, Consolidated Edison began operating the first of three nuclear reactors at Indian Point. The property was purchased by Holtec International in 2021. Holtec is in the process of decommissioning the nuclear power plant, which they say could take 12-15 years.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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