Moodna Creek

Moodna Creek is a small tributary of the Hudson River that drains eastern Orange County, New York. At 15.5 miles (25 km)[1] in length from its source at the confluence of Cromline Creek and Otter Kill west of Washingtonville, it is the longest stream located entirely within the county.

Despite its small size relative to the Hudson, it has been a major influence on the topography of eastern central Orange County. Its 187.2-square-mile (485 km2) watershed,[1] including not only both its parent streams but Woodbury Creek as well, reaches as far inland as Warwick as well as 21 other area communities. Near Salisbury Mills it is crossed by the Moodna Viaduct, the longest actively used railroad trestle east of the Mississippi.

Moodna Creek
Murderers' Creek
Murderer's Creek
Moodna Creek 2011, after Hurricane Irene
Moodna Creek from Forge Hill Rd. Bridge in New Windsor, showing widening of channel resulting from floods after Hurricane Irene
Moodna Creek and its watershed and major tributaries
Native nameWaoraneck
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
TownsCornwall, New Windsor, Blooming Grove
Physical characteristics
SourceOtter Kill
 ⁃ locationGoshen Reservoir No. 2, Town of Goshen
 ⁃ coordinates41°22′06″N 74°19′02″W / 41.36833°N 74.31722°W
 ⁃ elevation460 ft (140 m)
2nd sourceCromline Creek
 ⁃ locationTomahawk Lake, Blooming Grove
 ⁃ coordinates41°24′57″N 74°13′07″W / 41.41583°N 74.21861°W
 ⁃ elevation340 ft (100 m)
Source confluence 
 ⁃ locationBlooming Grove, New York
 ⁃ coordinates41°25′51″N 74°11′41″W / 41.43083°N 74.19472°W
 ⁃ elevation300 ft (91 m)
MouthHudson River
 ⁃ location
 ⁃ coordinates
41°27′13″N 74°01′00″W / 41.45361°N 74.01667°WCoordinates: 41°27′13″N 74°01′00″W / 41.45361°N 74.01667°W
 ⁃ elevation
0 ft (0 m)
Length15.5 mi (24.9 km)
Basin size187.2 sq mi (485 km2)
Basin features
 ⁃ rightWoodbury Creek


Before European contact, the creek was known as Waoraneck, which was also the name of a tribe in the area.[2]

Most early records name the creek Murderer's Creek. One theory holds that "Moodna" is a corruption of the Dutch word moordenaars, meaning "murderers." Local lore has it that the name came from the massacre of the Stacys, an early family of settlers, along its banks.[3] However, there is no evidence of any such murder actually having taken place.[4]

Writer Nathaniel Parker Willis, while living in Cornwall, near the creek's mouth, in the mid-19th century, popularized the name "Moodna."[4] He claimed that the "Murderers' Creek" name was a corruption of the name of a chief, likely Maringamus of the Waoraneck, who lived near its banks.[2] By the dawn of the 20th century, "Moodna Creek" was commonly used on maps although the older name persisted.[5]

Moodna Creek source
Confluence of Cromline Creek (center) and Otter Kill (right), creating Moodna Creek (left)


From the confluence, just off NY 208, the Moodna flows through woods and field alongside the highway for a short distance, then veers southwestward to where it crosses NY 94. The creek and Route 94 will keep close company for several miles as it turns eastward again into Washingtonville, where it crosses under 208 just south of downtown. Past the village, Route 94 and the creek enter first the Town of Blooming Grove and then Cornwall. They run close together at first, then further apart as the Moodna valley opens up just to the north of Schunemunk Mountain. At Salisbury Mills the viaduct crosses 193 feet (59 m) overhead.

Moodna Viaduct 2
The Moodna Viaduct, location for a key scene in the 2007 film Michael Clayton.

After that point, the Moodna turns southward slightly, following the curve of Schunemunk's north end under the Thruway and leaving the Route 94 corridor. It descends into the narrower valley, forming the eastern boundary of Storm King Art Center. Here the already wide creek gets even wider with the addition of Woodbury Creek just after it tumbles over a small dam. Immediately afterwards NY 32 crosses between Vails Gate and Mountainville. The wide, rocky stream curves between steep, wooded hills to enter New Windsor and cross Old Forge Hill Road just below Knox's Headquarters State Historic Site, receiving its only major northern tributary, Silver Stream, in the process. Following Old Forge Hill briefly, it passes its last road crossing at US 9W, site of a small hamlet referred to once as Moodna Village and location of a small cottage once occupied by James and Ellen Gaffney, then bends southwards back into Cornwall to empty into the Hudson amid tidal marshes. The CSX Hudson River Subdivision freight line crosses right at its mouth.

Moodna Creek tidal marsh
The tidal marshes at the creek's mouth, home to some rare species and communities.

Natural history

The 75 acres (30 ha) of tidal marsh in the creek's estuary, between Route 9W and the Hudson, are home to several rare plants and natural communities. Anadromous fish species, such as striped bass, spawn there as well. This fish supply has been attractive not only to human anglers but to predatory bird species as well: bald eagles and ospreys have been seen feeding in the Moodna's marshes[6] Bald Eagles have been confirmed nesting on the Black Meadow Creek.

Two herpetofaunal species listed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation occur along the Moodna. One, the Northern Cricket Frog (Acris c. crepitans) occurs along the length of the Black Meadow creek, which runs from Warwick, NY into Chester, NY. The Northern Cricket Frog, NY's only endangered frog species, occurs in its most numerous population along the Black Meadow creek, in the Orange-County-owned Glenmere Lake reservoir lands.

While the water quality in that area remains generally good, there is effluent from the Town of New Windsor's sewage treatment plant. In November 2003 the Riverkeeper environmental organization sued the town over discharge into the creek leaking from two manholes into the creek. It was settled in 2005 when the town agreed to repair the manholes, remediate the area and provide public access to the water.[7]


A group of 25 Scotch Presbyterian families became the first European settlers in what would become Orange County when they settled at the mouth of the Moodna in 1685.[8]

The creek served as an important transportation route for soldiers during the American Revolutionary War.[4]

During colonial times, and for a short time after independence, the creek formed part of the boundary between Orange and Ulster counties.[5] In 1798, however, Rockland County was created, and the line was adjusted northward, giving Orange the current towns of Newburgh, Montgomery and Crawford as compensation for the lost territory.

Heavy rains during the April 2007 Nor'easter caused the creek to flood extensively in its upper course in and around Washingtonville. Route 94 was blocked in both directions, and Route 208 from the south, leaving only northern access to the village available. Almost a hundred residents had to leave their homes for temporary shelter at a local elementary school.[9]

Hurricane Irene caused the creek to swell, coming nearly to the platform of the 9W bridge,[10] and washing out an area at the Forge Hill Road bridge.[11][12] This caused the closing of part of Butternut Drive, and all of Forge Hill Rd, except the easternmost 640 feet, from Route 9W to Staples Lane. The portion east of Staples Lane remains open to local traffic, until the east end of the bridge, which is unstable. One house on Butternut Lane has been condemned, and the property fenced off, due to the dangerous dropoff on the property.[13]


Fly-fishing on Moodna Creek on opening day of trout season, Mountainville, NY
Anglers fly fishing for trout on the opening day of the 2013 season at the Woodbury Creek confluence

The six miles (10 km) between Woodbury Creek and Old Forge Hill Road in Cornwall have become a popular place for whitewater kayaking.[14] Section ratings on the International Scale of River Difficulty range from Class II to Class IV.[15] Anglers, too, have taken advantage of the stream above the salt marshes. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation keeps Moodna Creek regularly stocked with brown and rainbow trout.[16]

Popular culture

In season three of Turn: Washington's Spies, the Moodna is the scene of a skirmish between Patriots and Loyalists, where Patriots try to the stop the excessive distribution of Continental Currency by the Loyalists designed to increase inflation in the United States and cause economic turmoil.[17]


See also


  1. ^ a b Nolan, J. Kelly; April 2004; "Rapid Bioassessment of the Moodna Creek, Orange County NY" (PDF). (2.51 MiB); Hudson Basin River Watch; retrieved June 29, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Moodna Creek Watershed Conservation and Management Plan (PDF) (Report). Orange County Water Authority. March 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  3. ^ Murphy, Glenn; Town of New Windsor Online History Archived 2007-10-30 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved June 29, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c Randall, Michael (May 16, 2004). "Murderer's reek label hard to shake". Times Herald-Record. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b Smith, Richard; Francis Whiting Halsey (1906). A Tour of Four Great Rivers: The Hudson, Mohawk, Susquehanna and Delaware in 1769, Being the Journal of Richard Smith, Of Burlington, New Jersey. New York, NY: Charles Scribner & Sons. p. 7. Retrieved 2007-06-29..
  6. ^ New York State Department of State, Division of Coastal Resources; "Moodna Creek" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. (194 KiB) retrieved June 30, 2007.
  7. ^ "Riverkeeper and New Windsor Settle Sewage Case" (Press release). Riverkeeper. March 24, 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
  8. ^ "Cornwall On Hudson : : : Our Town: A Look at Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY : History of Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY : Moodna History". Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  9. ^ Al-Rikabi, Ramsey; April 17, 2007; "Moodna Creek floods Washingtonville"; Times-Herald Record; retrieved June 30, 2007.
  10. ^ Young, Sue. "Hurricane Irene - Moodna Creek, Cornwall NY 8-28-11". YouTube. Designs by Sue. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  11. ^ Rockman, Robby. "cornwall/new windsor NY old forge hill rd Damage from irene". YouTube. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  12. ^ Salisbury, Lance. "Hurricane Irene: Raging Moodna Creek near Forge Hill Road in New Windsor, NY". YouTube. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  13. ^ Google Map view of 348-350 Butternut Drive. Retrieved 11 May 2014
  14. ^ Moodna Creek, NY; Woodbury Creek to Old Forge Hill Road American Whitewater
  15. ^ "New York whitewater - Moodna Creek, Orange County". Retrieved 2007-07-03.
  16. ^ "Spring 2007 Trout Stocking for Orange County". New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
  17. ^ "'Turn' recap: Simcoe returns to Setauket, and Judge Woodhull has to pay the price". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
Black Meadow Creek

Black Meadow Creek is a 9.7-mile-long (15.6 km) tributary of the Otter Kill in Orange County, New York, in the United States. Via the Otter Kill, it is part of the Moodna Creek watershed, flowing onward to the Hudson River, in one of New York State's most biodiverse natural areas. Home to 13 species of salamander as well as to New York's largest population of the Northern Cricket Frog (Acris c. crepitans), the state's only listed "Endangered" frog species, the creek area is considered by biologists to be one of the state's herpetological "hot spots". Black Meadow Creek has several confirmed bald eagle nests along its length.Roughly 1/2 of the creek's length runs through a reservoir preserve owned by Orange County. This preserve status is credited with maintaining the upper creek's floodplain in its natural state for over one century.

Black Meadow Creek begins in the town of Warwick, near Glenmere Lake, and flows north into the town of Chester before converging with the Otter Kill in the village of Chester. Studies of the creek and its watershed are conducted by the nonprofit Sugar Loaf Historical Society and the nonprofit Glenmere Conservation Coalition, which maintain a small launch and study area on the creek.The creek was named for the expansive, dark, forested swamp that settlers found along its floodplain, most of which was transformed into agricultural areas by the mid 19th century. Its floodplain hosts the Black Meadow Hunting Club, the Straub Farm and the Chester Industrial Park at its confluence with the Otter Kill.

Browns Pond

Browns Pond, in the Town of New Windsor in Orange County, New York, United States, is the smaller of two reservoirs for the nearby City of Newburgh. The 0.3 square mile pond is hook-shaped, with the circuitous Mount Airy Road running past both ends.Its outlet streams ultimately feed Silver Stream, which is a tributary of the Moodna Creek. The Catskill Aqueduct, which the city uses as a supplementary supply, runs between the two.

Unlike Lake Washington, there are no recreational facilities on the reservoir.

Cornwall, New York

Cornwall is a town in Orange County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was at 12,646.

Cornwall is located about 50 miles north of New York City in the Hudson River Valley on the western shore of the Hudson River. Cornwall has become a bedroom community for area towns and cities including New York City. Commuter rail service to North Jersey and New York City is available via the Salisbury Mills–Cornwall train station, operated by NJ Transit in behalf of Metro-North Railroad that is part of Metro-North's "West of the Hudson" service. The town is located less than an hour from the George Washington Bridge with access to major commuter routes like the New York State Thruway and the Palisades Parkway.

Cornwall's Main Street includes gift shops, taverns, restaurants, coffeehouses, yoga studios and boutiques. Government offices, churches, parks, the riverfront, and St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital, a part of the Montefiore Health System, are situated within walking distance of downtown. The town is a designated Tree City.

Cornwall was featured as "The Best Places to Raise Kids 2013" in New York by Bloomberg BusineesWeek magazine.

Firthcliffe Firehouse

The Firthcliffe Firehouse is located along Willow Avenue in the Town of Cornwall in Orange County, New York, United States. It was built to protect the homes being built by the Firth Carpet Company for workers at its nearby plant in the early 20th century.

In 1996 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It is currently being used as a hair salon.

List of Erie Railroad structures documented by the Historic American Engineering Record

This is a list of Erie Railroad structures documented by the Historic American Engineering Record.

List of bridges documented by the Historic American Engineering Record in New York

This is a list of bridges documented by the Historic American Engineering Record in the U.S. state of New York.

List of crossings of Moodna Creek

This is a list of crossings of Moodna Creek, in Orange County, New York, from its mouth at the Hudson River to its source at the confluence of Cromline Creek and Otter Kill west of Washingtonville.

List of rivers of New York

This is a list of rivers in the U.S. state of New York.


Monzievaird () is a place in Scotland, situated 2 miles (3 km) west of Crieff in Highland District of Perth and Kinross. The village of Monzie; (pronounced Mon ee) is a couple of miles to the east-northeast.


Moodna may refer to:

Moodna (moth), a genus of moth

Moodna Creek, a tributary of the Hudson River in New York State

Moodna Viaduct, spans the above creek

USS Keokuk (1862), at one time known as Moodna

Moodna Viaduct

The Moodna Viaduct is an iron railroad trestle spanning Moodna Creek and its valley at the north end of Schunemunk Mountain in Cornwall, New York, near the village of Salisbury Mills.

Murderers Creek

Murderers Creek (or Murderer's Creek) is a creek in upstate New York, United States, that flows into the Hudson River in Greene County, New York, just north of the town of Athens. It should not be confused with Moodna Creek, which is in Orange County and is also sometimes called "Murderer's Creek".

New Windsor, New York

New Windsor is a town in Orange County, New York, United States. The Town of New Windsor is in the eastern part of the county, bordering the Town of Newburgh and the City of Newburgh. The population was estimated at 25,244 in 2010 by the US Census.

The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located on Route 300 in the Town of New Windsor.

New York State Route 94

New York State Route 94 (NY 94) is a state highway entirely within Orange County in southern New York. The western terminus is at the New York–New Jersey state line, where it continues as New Jersey's Route 94 for another 46 miles (74 km) to Columbia, New Jersey. Its eastern terminus is located at U.S. Route 9W (US 9W) in New Windsor. From Warwick to Florida, NY 94 is concurrent with NY 17A. The entirety of NY 94 is known as the 94th Infantry Division Memorial Highway.

NY 94 was originally designated as NY 45 in 1930. It was renumbered to NY 94 on January 1, 1949. The portion of the route between Warwick and Florida was part of NY 55 during the late 1920s.

Orange County, New York

Orange County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 372,813. The county seat is Goshen. This county was first created in 1683 and reorganized with its present boundaries in 1798.Orange County is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown Metropolitan Statistical Area, which belongs to the larger New York–Newark–Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area.. It is in the state's Mid-Hudson Region of the Hudson Valley.

The County Executive is Steve Neuhaus.

As of the 2010 census the centre of population of New York state was located in Orange County, approximately three miles west of the hamlet of Westbrookville.

Otter Kill

Otter Kill is a 16.0-mile-long (25.7 km) tributary of Moodna Creek that flows through central Orange County, New York, in the United States. Via the Moodna, which it forms at a confluence with Cromline Creek north of the village of Washingtonville, its waters eventually reach the Hudson River.

The Otter Kill flows primarily through rural, undeveloped areas of the towns of Goshen, Hamptonburgh and Blooming Grove. Development pressures in those areas have led the state Department of Environmental Conservation to classify it and a major tributary, Black Meadow Creek, as threatened streams.

Schunemunk Mountain

Schunemunk Mountain (also spelled Schunnemunk) is the highest mountain in Orange County, New York. The 1,664-foot (507 m) summit is located in the town of Blooming Grove, with other portions in Cornwall and Woodbury. The community of Mountain Lodge Park is built up its western slope.

The mountain is a popular recreational resource in the area. While only the northeastern quadrant and summit are part of the recently created Schunnemunk State Park, some popular hiking trails and access routes have long crossed the privately owned lands elsewhere on the mountain. Conservationists hope that eventually the state will be able to acquire the whole mountain.

Tomahawk Lake (New York)

Tomahawk Lake is a lake located in the town of Blooming Grove, New York, United States. It is a reservoir, created in 1929 by damming Cromline Creek, which converges with Otter Kill elsewhere in the town to form Moodna Creek, a tributary of the Hudson River. It is privately owned, and regulated by the homeowners' association and access both as a water supply and recreational resource is restricted to its members. Two roads cross the lake, and public fishing access is limited to the lake up to 50 ft from the centerline of these roads. Limited parking is available on Hulsetown Road South of the junction with Cherry Hill Road. There is no bow-fishing in Tomahawk lake because it is illegal to discharge a bow from a NY road.

It is 150 acres (60 ha) in area. Recently a 30-acre (12 ha) section of the lake became infested with water chestnuts and had to be treated with herbicide. The state Department of Environmental Conservation found in 2006 that the dam had not been operated safely, lacked an ermegency action plan and had been repaired in the past without a required construction permit. The tree clearing and construction work required by DEC is now underway (summer 2009) and can be seen from Cherry Hill Rd.

Washingtonville, New York

Washingtonville is a village in the Town of Blooming Grove, Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 5,899 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New York–Newark–Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area. The village is named in honor of George Washington.

Hudson River watershed

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