Vanderbilt Hudson River Hook Mansion Mystery

If one thing is certain, there’s never a shortage of “what’s that stuff?!” moments in the Hudson Valley. Our region is steeped in history, which not only contributes to the abundance of these mysteries, but also often means that the answer is Actually interesting.

One such mystery surfaced on Facebook this week, when a user posted to the Hudson Valley public page seeking answers to an intriguing item he had never encountered before.

Facebook/Chris Emmet

Facebook/Chris Emmet

“Down at Mills Mansion [sic] park on the Hudson,” Chris Emmet wrote, “does anyone know what this hook-like object is. I’m a river rat, I’ve never seen one before.” At first glance, the rusty hook had been there for a long time, adding to the intrigue. Comments poured in. Before revealing the answer, what to do you do you think it is? Some incorrect guesses were a lantern hook, a clothes hook for lean soaking, and a place to hang disobedient children by their shirt collars (ok, that last one was mine).

Thanks to the rich history of the Hudson Valley mentioned earlier, the answer is tied to our past. Says a commenter, who was later confirmed by the National Park Service, it’s a boat hook. But not only any boat hook. It was the blunder of the famous Vanderbilt family at Bard Rock.

National Park Service

National Park Service

The coolest part? You can visit. The Vanderbilt Mansion is a National Historic Site in New York, and it is open to the public. Visit the mansion, grounds and you guessed it: the boat hook at Bard Rock.

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