"Jessups Landing" (1816)
The commercial use
of the Hudson River at Corinth dates to the 1770's when the
site where the Corinth Free Library now stands was called
Jessup's Landing. Adirondack-cut timber that was destined
for sawmills at Glens Falls and further south was driven downriver
and portaged around the large waterfall that was then known
as Hadley's Falls. Businesses were established at Jessup's
Landing and a small community developed as a result of this
early river commerce.
The earliest known image of Jessup's Landing is a lithograph by Jacques Gerard Milbert, thought to have been rendered in 1816, two years before the Town of Corinth was founded. The image omits the River commerce that would have been typical of the spring and early summer months, and instead represents a pastoral scene with cleared fields, tended livestock, and small boats drifting on a calm Hudson River. William Guy Wall made another lithograph of virtually the same scene in 1820. A more accomplished artist than Milbert, Wall's "Jessup's Landing" is less busy and more romantically evocative. Like Milbert, Wall's picturesque interpretation of Jessup's Landing excludes any hint of commerce or community.
Milbert and Wall
also made similar lithographs of the Hudson's rapids and falls
just downriver from the Landing. These picturesque scenes
feature genteel figures that help to affirm the landscape's
aesthetic value. Only Milbert confirmed the presence of early
industrial production at the site in a second lithograph of
the Falls that appeared in his book whose broader perspective
includes two small mills and cut timber drifting in the River.
In this lithograph, a small group of people may be seen at
the bottom right of the image, while in the background the
Falls and the small mills comprise a picturseque scene that
is within their aesthetic view.
A small sketch of Palmer Falls appeared
in an 1858 investment prospectus for the Palmer Water Power
Company. Seemingly unmoved by the site's greater picturesque
appeal, the artist of the sketch exaggerated the intensity
of the falls in mid-summer, an aesthetic stragegy that was
most likely employed to persuade industrialists that abundant
waterpower was available at the Hudson River location to power
their mills. The first photographs taken of the Falls a decade
later would show a virtually dry river bed and demonstrate
that the water level of the Hudson River in the summer was