On Newburgh’s Montgomery Street once stood the Howell Homestead, where photographer and preservationist, William Thompson Howell once lived.
William Thompson Howell was born in Newburgh, New York 1873 to Mary Johnston and Charles Howell, a worker at Newburgh’s Wright Steam Engine Works.
Later in life, William would work for the New York Telephone Company while freelancing as a photojournalist for publications like The Sun, The Tribune, Country Life in America, and Outdoor Life.
As an avid hiker and photographer, Howell’s photos and journal offer a unique glimpse of the region during his lifetime. His work documents historic moments like Mount Beacon’s Incline Railway, the construction of Storm King High and more.
Howell’s life and works also proved valuable in swaying opinions on environmental issues like reforestation and preservation of the Hudson Highlands. Though he is lesser-known, his legacy can be seen in places like Storm King Mountain whose Howell trail is named after him. His writings and photography are a rich resource for fans of history, hiking, and beauty of the Hudson Highlands and can be found in the recent reprint of The Hudson Highlands: William Thompson Howell Memorial.
“No roamer of the Hudson Highlands had more to do with bringing about the preservation of their hills and forests for playgrounds of the people than the late WILLIAM THOMPSON HOWELL of Newburgh. He was a nature-lover and not a politician. Day and night, in Winter as well as Summer, he was afoot in the wilderness.“