The first settlement in the Prospect area is reputed to have
been at the junction of the present highways to Remsen and Fairfield just north of the Village. Located
here was, Matt Hoyt's Tavern, a tannery, several log houses, and a log building
that served as a school, church and gathering place. Other small settlements
were on Summit Street,
near the present dead-end, where the Worden family settled, and also at the
corner of State Street
and Trenton Falls Street.
What is now the center of the Village was a wilderness,
traversed by a rough road connecting the other settlements. Legend has it that
Prospect got its name when Colonel Mappa, a land agent for the Holland Land
Company, stood on the bank near the center of the Village, overlooking the
Falls and said, "What a beautiful prospect."
Prospect was governed by the Town of Trenton until incorporation in 1890. April
30th, 1890 was a red letter day for Prospect, for this was when the papers of
incorporation were recorded in the county clerks office in Utica, N.Y. Up to
that point in history, there had been no village organization, although
Prospect had been settled for nearly a century before.
That year the first village election was held at W.S. Hodges
Hotel (destroyed by fire in 1926). On May 28th, 1890 Prospect's first board was
made up of Chauncey B. Hodge as President; Dr. Leander Swartwout, Richard
Williams, and Henry Hagedorn as Trustees; John Merriman as Treasurer and George
Millard, Collector. E. E. Whittemore was appointed as village clerk with
William Morris fulfilling the role as Prospect's first Street Commissioner.
It has been noted that in that early period of time -- until
1914 -- the Village ran on less than $500.00 per year. Some of the original
ordinances enforced at that time seem a bit unusual now. Ordinances in effect
for the children were: no flying of kites; no batting or throwing of balls; no
sliding down hills or skating on Village streets. Adults were prohibited to
riot or to call false alarm fires, were not allowed to appear in the streets in
a state of public intoxication or run a gaming house or a bawdy house of ill
fame. The title of the chief officer was changed from "president" to
"mayor" in 1929.
Park, located in the
center of the Village, was purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hall in 1910 for
the sum of $325.00. Over the years the park has been the site of a number of
Village activities such as circuses and religious tent meetings.
Prospect Books was established in 1950 by author Howard
Thomas as a vehicle to publish and sell his work, as well as that of other
local authors. Mr. Thomas worked and ran the company out of his home and barn
at 802 State Street.
Here he distributed his books to local businesses. Purchases of his books could
be made also from Mr. Thomas directly. It has been commented upon that Howard
was known to store his books in an inactive refrigerator in his kitchen. Howard
stated that he had a rodent problem in his house and his books were being
chewed up. The old refrigerator made a good mouse-proof storage area.
Howard Thomas published a number of books through Prospect
Books starting with his first book "Life of a Village" a history of
Prospect, currently out of print. Other books Mr. Thomas is known for include
"Trenton Falls, Yesterday and Today" 1951; Marinus Willett: Soldier
Patriot" 1954; "Tales from the Adirondack Foothills"1956;
"Folklore from The Adirondack Foothills" 1958; "Boys in Blue
from the Adirondack Foothills" 1960; "Black River in The North
Country" 1963; "Singing Hills" 1965 and "The Road To
Mr. Thomas very much wanted to publish "Joseph Brant,
The Story of a Mohawk Indian Chief." However poor health prevented this. With
the death of Mr. Thomas on November 30th 1969, Prospect Books was taken over by
William and Margaret Thomas who ran the company until the mid-1980's. They
fulfilled Howard's dream, publishing "Joseph Brant" in 1973.
In April 1987, William and Margaret Thomas turned the
copyrights to Mr. Thomas's books and the proceeds from these books over to the
Howard Thomas Scholarship Fund administered by the Village of Prospect.
The income from this fund is used to provide scholarships to Prospect area