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Uploaded on Nov 9, 2010
The Italian Center is a late 19th century residence. On Mill Street, houses located here on the upper ridge were large mansions for bankers and lawyers. The Italian Center is of the same architecture and style, and the interior is beautiful as well, with a lot of mahogany and stained glass. The Italian Center is now a clubhouse for the local Italian community.
Further west towards the Hudson River down Mill Street, there are similar urban Victorian houses. Across from the Italian Center on the southside of Mill Street is the location of Matthew Vassar's former city home. Next to it is an 1830 Baptist church. It is the best example of Greek Revival architecture in the Hudson Valley.
Mill Street continues west down to the river to Mount Carmel Square, which is at the heart of the Italian-American community. The small park or square at the entrance to the Mount Carmel neighborhood is named after the first governor of New York Colony during the Dutch and English period.
Mount Carmel Square is primarily an Italian-American commercial area. One of the businesses is Café Aurora, a well-known pastry shop in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Across the square from the café is Dalio's, an import specialties shop with products like Italian cheese and salamis. Many shop windows and signs symbolically use the colors white, green, and red as references to the Italian flag.
The area keeps up a generalized ethnic history of the Italian community, although the area has gone through a number of different immigrant groups. Mt. Carmel Square was initially Irish and then Italian, and now it is more mixed, with Mexicans and newer immigrants moving into available housing. Neighborhoods are in constant change; however the commercial center often remains the same as well as the importance of the local ethnic Church.
Mt. Carmel neighborhood is named after Mt. Carmel Roman Catholic Church, which is situated in the center of the neighborhood. The green copper dome of the original church is visible throughout the neighborhood. Many parish churches were organized ethnically in Roman Catholic dioceses. This was the Italian church, and there were other national and ethnic churches in the city. During the mid-20th century, the New York diocese decided it would collapse ethnically oriented parishes into neighborhood churches.
The other Roman Catholic Church around the corner in the same neighborhood is St. Peter's. It is a much newer building and in better condition than the Mt. Carmel Church. So, Mt. Carmel Church was abandoned as the two parishes were joined. St. Peter's Church is now called Mt. Carmel Church because the Irish parishioners of St. Peter's had already mostly moved out of the neighborhood and moved into the town and suburbs of Poughkeepsie after World War II and in the latter part of the 20th century. Mt. Carmel not only brought its parishioners but also the Baroque alters and statuary. Inside St. Peter's there are Irish-American names on memorial wall plaques as well as Italian sculptures and paintings, which creates an interesting ethnic mix.
Fall Kill Creek runs through the heart of Mount Carmel neighborhood. The Fall Kill begins many miles to the northeast and runs south through the Town of Hyde Park, past Eleanor Roosevelt's home of "Valkill" (named after the stream), and into the northeastern part of the City, past College Hill and then westward through the Mount Carmel neighborhood to enter the Hudson River just north of the train station.
Mills built along Fall Kill would be driven by the water power, such as textile mills, grist mills, and saw mills, as well as a felt mill in this building across the street from Mount Carmel Church. It was abandoned for years and is now high-scale condominiums.