Statement of Significance (as of designation - December 14, 1990):
This 30-square-mile cultural landscape on the eastern shore of the Hudson River is composed of several villages that are traditional rural communities. With its singular origins as a Dutch colony, its peculiar semi-feudal system of colonial government, its remarkable diverse ethnic populations and its rigid class structure, the region holds a unique position in the settlement and social history of our Nation. The origins of permanent settlement begin about 1688 and continue to the present time. The district is also notable for the preservation of its aristocratic estates and gilded age mansions. These remarkable county seats, together with the sedate Dutch homesteads, rustic German tenant farms, and industrious Yankee towns, create a rich landscape.