Greenwood Lake has long been a popular summer resort. The 7.3-mile lake, which straddles the New York and New Jersey border, is the largest in Orange County. The Village was originally settled as a farming community in the 1700s.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, vacationers from New York City traveled to the lake by rail or horse and buggy. Then they boarded steamboats in Sterling Forest which transported them to the large Victorian resorts dotting the shoreline. In the ensuing years many famous people, such as Babe Ruth and Greta Garbo, regularly visited the resort. The village incorporated in 1924.
Today, Greenwood Lake, attracts many visitors who come to boat, swim, ice skate, fish, or simply enjoy the spectacular scenery.
In the 1800s, Irish & Polish/German immigrants were attracted to the fertile “drowned land” (black dirt) soils surrounding the area that would later become the Village of Florida. These soil conditions were perfect for growing, and the railroad enabled farmers to sell their produce in New York City.
In the 1920s, the Village purchased water rights on Glenmere Lake and eventually acquired full ownership of this plentiful, good quality water. In 1946, the Village of Florida was incorporated. Notable Floridians include Elijah Churchill, who received the first Medal Of Honor on May 3, 1783, William H. Seward the Governor of New York State, Secretary of State, and the architect of the Alaska purchase, and Jimmy Sturr, “King of Polka” and 10 time Grammy Award winner.
The Village of Warwick was settled in 1764. In 1862, the opening of the Warwick Valley Railroad propelled the Village into a commercial, industrial, and financial center for the Town. On April 15, 1867, it was incorporated and a water system was constructed, DPW formed, and policing began.
The Village’s amenities and beauty were enhanced under the creative genius of Village president Clinton Wheeler Wisner. A pioneer in urban planning, he improved streets, added sidewalks, shade trees and flower boxes. The wealth of the community, spurred by the railroad and subsequent wealth of surrounding diary farmers, allowed the construction of many Victorian Homes.
In 1984, to preserve public and private structures, the Village established a State and Federally designated Historic district, comprising 208 buildings, nearly all of them built before the 20th century.