Highland Mills is a hamlet located in the town of Woodbury in Orange County, New York. The area was originally inhabited by the Lenape Native Americans before European settlement.
In the late 18th century, the area began to be settled by European immigrants, with the first recorded land purchase in the area occurring in 1772. The area was primarily agricultural, with farms and gristmills being the main sources of industry.
The name "Highland Mills" comes from the fact that the area was situated on a hill overlooking a small stream, and mills were established in the area to take advantage of the water power. The first mill in the area was a sawmill, which was established in the early 19th century.
In the mid-19th century, the New York and Erie Railroad was built through the area, and a station was established in Highland Mills. This brought increased commerce and development to the area, and the hamlet began to grow.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Highland Mills was a popular vacation destination for wealthy New Yorkers. Many grand homes and summer estates were built in the area, and the population of the hamlet continued to grow.
During the 20th century, Highland Mills continued to evolve, with new businesses and residential developments being established in the area. Today, it is a thriving community with a population of around 3,900 people.
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