John Edward Green, born in 1772, from Coeymans, N.Y., lost everything to a fire. His successful lumber business was reduced to ashes.
That could have been the end of it. But it wasn’t.
Instead, he traveled 120 miles away from everything he knew, relocating to the tiny river village of Nyack, NY where he went to work as a laborer for the Cornelison family, located in South Nyack. Before too long, he was able to open a new lumber business in New York City. Around 1810, he started Nyack’s first lumberyard at the foot of Main Street, and a few years later built the sandstone home that we know call The John Green House.
Again, that could have been the end of it. But it wasn’t.
Green was a man who saw opportunity - a forward thinking entrepreneur looking to capitalize on his fortuitous position on the river. The Nyack of that time was a remote location, only accessible by dirt roads or the Hudson River. Green didn’t see isolation - he saw opportunity. He was well aware of his neighbors to the west, manufacturers in Ramapo who desired a dependable way of getting their goods to market.
He also saw the future of transport on the river. He had already constructed Nyack’s first dock, where sloops delivered lumber for his yard. But in the years to come, he would redefine transportation in Nyack and beyond. Teaming up with neighbor Tunis Smith and Suffern factory owners, Green worked to procure a Legislative Act creating a turnpike linking Suffern and Nyack - a turnpike which terminated at his own riverfront property. While the roadway was being planned out, Smith and Green could be found out on the river, charting what would come to be known as “The Nyack Channel”, a safe passage for larger vessels to reach the Nyack landing from the main channel of the Hudson.
And while the turnpike was being built, Green, serving as its Chairman and primary investor, was helping to found The Nyack Steamboat Association. The steamboat they built was called “The Orange” and that, with the new Nyack Turnpike, completely redefined transportation and commerce throughout the County and beyond.
John Green is a testament to the effect that one man can have on the world around him. He was a dynamic businessman, a visionary that would find a way or make a way, and truly one of Nyack’s Masterbuilders.