Sunday, February 15, 2009


The Common Council has sold off another piece of property in the Hamlet of Wilbur.

In accordance with Local Laws #5 of 1989 and 1995, the City of Kingston is urged to sell off any remaining paper streets that our departments deem unnecessary. The piece of property that came before the Council this month was the undeveloped portion of DuFlon Street.

The street, was named after John DuFlon who, like so many of the leaders in Kingston's earlier industrial history, had his own evident impact on the development in the Wilbur area. I'll dive into family history at another time.

Over the period of 15 plus years, the Feeney Land Company, with property on three sides of the paper Street, have acted as owners of the unwanted strip. Strangely enough, they have been paying taxes on the lot and in years past, acquired the small building you see here, which is 1/3 on the paper street in question.

DuFlon was already noted as the shortest street in the City. Well, now we have proof. With only one house on the street, occupied for decades by one of Feeney's employees, the little stretch of macadm was unknown to me. Once I became Alderman, I set out to find this DuFlon St in what was then Ward 5.

The Council opted to offer the Feeney Land Company sale of the paper street for the sum of $100. Their history of paying taxes on the strip for all these years while insuring the property, made the decision easy and equitable.

Their intent, through this purchase, is to disolve the multitude of lot lines running through the parcel. However, there is one last mystery lot between the Feeney building and the single DuFlon house. The owner, with no known lineage, has been deceased for decades and our Corp Counsel is trying to settle the process for that sale as well.

Don't get excited, there's no access to the lot other than through the two contiguous owners.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Mike - a post I enjoyed to read. I have been searching for information as to who DuFlon St was named after and was surprised to finally have the first name of "John" to go by.

Living on the shortest city street has pluses and minuses. I don't get a lot of traffic and when I do I know that someone selling drugs has moved onto the hill in the rental down the street. However, we are suffering from neglect due to lack of maintenace. Money and manpower are diverted to areas that are more visible to the general population.

Living above a boatyard is very unique. Part of me loves it, part of me hates it. The Feeney's have always been very generous to my grandparents. When my grandfather became to infirm to work, they paid him to be the night watchman. From DuFlon he had an eagle eye view of the comings and goings of the boatyard. Something that I now do - for free. My grandmother used to clean their offices on a weekly basis. I remember going with her one time. We grabbed her cleaing supplies and walked down the old set of stairs that used to lead down to their office - this being the paper street you write of. I went into the Feeney's offices not too long ago and thought my grandmother would have given them a good tongue lashing for having the place so dirty - but I guess it's just a dirty line of work. Even after my gram became too old to clean for them, the Feeney's paid her a small weekly sum of money up until her death in 2006. You don't find that anymore.

Paper streets abound up here on DuFlon. Behind me is the paper street portion of Burnett. Family legend says that Burnett used to run over to the Purvis/Hamilton St area. Let me know when there is action taken on this. This city owned property is supported by a retaining wall that is catastrophically collapsing onto my property. The city engineer has been here and said that "yes" it's the city's and "yes" it's a problem - but don't expect anything. Why should I? I'm just a tax paying citizen that votes and is living with a dangerous situation created by city neglect of their property. I just keep mowing around the boulders that are too big for me to move.

Feeney's has worked hard to ingratiate themselves into the history and fabric of Kingston and "other" Rondout waterfront (Wilbur). Their story is one of true American ideals, hardwork and family. They are skilled at a trade that is not typically especially so far removed from major urban areas.

I would like to see Feeney's do a little more for Wilbur. After all, we the residents are the ones that must succumb to their will. We are pounded mercilessly with industrial noise and thick plumes of diesel exhaust. At the end of the day they can go home to their clean and quiet neighborhoods. It's my hope that this coming year the Feeney's will reach out more to the residents and perhaps help support a neighborhood clean up project. Maybe we could even bring a small piece of the Kingston Victory Garden project into to Wilbur.

Wilbur isn't just a place that people drive into or out of town. It's not just a boatyard. It's a neighborhood. Working together with the residents would give a strong boost in pride over our "hamlet."

So again Mike, thanks for the post. It's always good to have you stop by Wilbur. Drop me a note with any other history on DuFlon!


Anonymous said...

Wilbur is a hidden gem. Rich in history and isolated from the busy bustle of midtown traffic.
Sure there are issues in the Industrial Zone and the diesel fumes can permeate the remaining homes on the hill, but I would approach the Feeney family with tempered hand. Not only have they contributed to this community but I would hate to see any jobs threatened.

I have also told Mike about the fumes in the morning. I know it's a morning thing and the trucks, once warmed up make little smell, but there has to be another way to get their fleet up and running.

Mike Madsen said...

KL; If you venture over to Hamilton, you'll see a wide driveway on the right with a house about 100 yards in your direction. There will also be a nice row of pine trees that look unnaturally organised. This is where that missing street met the other neighborhood.

With the whole ridge gutted through decades of mining, you wont see anything driving behind your home unless the federal stimulous package includes a bridge to no-where along the Rondout Creek.

It was nice to see you at the meeting.