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Villages of Goshen & Chester



The village of Goshen was settled in 1714 and incorporated in 1809. Since the late 19th century, Goshen has served as the Orange County seat.

As early as the 1750s, residents used to race their horses along what is now Main Street in the village’s downtown. The first circular track for horse racing was built in 1838, a predecessor to the Goshen Historic Track, the oldest horse racing facility in active use in the United States. Today, Goshen is home to The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, adjacent to the Historic Track (the location of the finish line of the Hambletonian ®.Marathon & Good Time Trotters Relay).

The Hambletonian ® Marathon and Good Time Trotters Relay starting line is on “Lawyer’s Row,” just north of Goshen’s Orange Blossom’s monument. This statue honors the 124th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The volunteer regiment was formed in the summer of 1862, by Colonel Augustus van Horne Ellis, who was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg. Members of the regiment were interviewed by the famous author Stephen Crane for his book, The Red Badge of Courage.

Much of downtown Goshen is incorporated into a historic district recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown area has many architectural gems, including the 1841 Courthouse, the Goshen United Methodist Church and the First Presbyterian Church, which dominates the Goshen skyline.


The village of Chester was incorporated in 1892, and has made a variety of contributions to U.S. history. George Washington contracted with Chester resident Peter Townsend, who owned the Sterling Mine in Warwick, N.Y., to forge the famous iron chain that blocked the Hudson River at West Point.

Around 1873, Chester dairyman, William Lawrence was the first to mass-produce cream cheese. The cheese was renamed “Philadelphia Cream Cheese,” in 1880 because the Pennsylvania city had a strong reputation for this type of cheese.

The Yelverton Inn, at the corner of Main Street and Academy, was originally built in 1765, and at one time was visited by Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and George Washington.

Today, Downtown Historic Chester borders on the Heritage Trail at the Old Chester Depot, a museum now run by the Chester Historical Society, and located approximately at mile 21.3 of the Hambletonian ® Marathon and Good Time Trotters Relay. The district is home to many restaurants and stores, with many of the buildings having been restored to their original state.

Hambletonian 10, or Rysdyk’s Hambletonian, for whom the Hambletonian Stakes was named, was born in Sugar Loaf but spent a great deal of his life in Chester. Hambletonian died in Chester in 1876 and was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Goshen in 1953. A memorial to Hambletonian is located close to the Hambletonian ® Marathon & Good Time Trotters Relay race course, and at approximately mile 21 on the course, you will notice a sign that welcomes you to the Village of Chester, “Home of the Hambletonian.”

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