The Village of Valatie is located in the center of Kinderhook town, in Columbia County along the scenic Hudson Valley of New York State. Valatie is located at 42°24′50″N 73°40′39″W (42.413847, -73.677533). It is equidistant between Albany and Hudson.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2)—approximately 640 acres—of which, 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (3%) is surface water aerated by several waterfalls, namely Valatie Kill Creek; and Valatie Kill Falls/Beaver Mill Falls; Wild’s Falls; and Kinderhook Creek.
Valatie was first named Pachaquak, “Cleared Meadow” by the earliest Native American settlers—Algonquian Mohicans—who lived along the banks of Valatie’s two waterways now referred to as ‘Valatie Kill Falls’ (aka ‘Valatie Kill‘) and Kinderhook Creek.
Part of the original New Netherland, the first Europeans—the Dutch—settled Kinderhook around 1665, and named this area “Vaaltje” which means ‘Little Falls’. The first Post Office was established in 1832. By the early 19th century there were nine cotton mills in Vaaltje operating on power derived from the famous waterfalls; the village was incorporated in 1856. With a bustling village Main Street, Valatie was considered the center of commerce in Northern Columbia County throughout the 19th century.
Valatie is also home to the nation’s first Santa Claus Club, founded in 1946, after World War II by fifteen village veterans to provide holiday gifts for indigent children. Since then, the Club has provided joy for every needy Valatian child throughout the years, and continues to be a vital presence in the area. Every Christmas Eve, Santa travels throughout the village, personally visiting every child under age ten.
A WinterWalk and Winter Parade and festival is hosted annually in mid-December by the Valatie Economic Redevelopment Association (VERA). The parade is populated by the Kinderhook, Valatie, and Niverville fire trucks and rescue vehicles, as well as marching bands from the Ichabod Crane High School and marchers from the Girl Scouts and the Valatie Free Library. Hay rides stop at various venues along the parade route. A highlight of this winter parade is Santa Claus riding (and waving) in a sleigh. Santa also receives guests and listens to kids’ requests at the Valatie Community Theatre. And Mrs. Claus is often spotted around the village during the evening festivities!
The village library, The Valatie Free Library, was begun in 1928 as a casual circulation of books. It was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization in 1931 and moved to a small 600 square foot, 19th-century cottage on Church Street, where it continues to operate. The library serves the village of Valatie, the hamlet of Niverville, Kinderhook Lake, and surrounding rural Kinderhook. In December, 2001 The VFL Board of Trustees commissioned a Feasibility Study for a new library. A decade later, in December, 2011, the library Board of Trustees selected building designer David Bienn to design a new library in the historic Kinderhook Railroad Freight Barn located on Kinderhook Street. In June 2012, David Bienn’s proposed Net-Zero sustainable VFL library was highlighted with international status by the United Nations at the 2012 Earth Day Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as an iconic sustainable community template that can be replicated across the globe, preserving the ability for libraries and communities to thrive in the future.
Recent immigrants to Valatie include members of the creative class, with musicians, authors, artists, and designers resettling from the NY metro area, as well as Albany commuters who have chosen the graceful pace of village life over urban living; Valatie is part of New York State’s Tech Valley.
The unique backdrop of several waterfalls—on both ends of the village Main Street—is a soothing daily presence that changes with the seasonal rain and snowfall.
In September 2006 the Village of Valatie celebrated the milestone occasion of the 150th anniversary of its incorporation with two parades and a carnival followed by fireworks and live music by the StringMasters, held at Callan Park.
Prominent Architectural landmarks include the First Presbyterian Church of Valatie. This congregation formed in 1835; the high Victorian Gothic Revival style building designed by Ogden & Wright Architects was built in 1878 of red brick with limestone trim, slate roof and slate dormer windows. It features a porte-cochère and open bell tower. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Haldane of the Secret Service (1924), Directed by and Starring Harry Houdini, Co-Starring Gladys Leslie; also starring Adele Ormsby and Edward Ormsby (watch clip), filmed at Beaver Mill Falls in Valatie.
As of the census of 2010, the total population of Valatie is 1,819, which is 6.25% more than it was in 2000. The population density was 1,388.3 people per square mile (537.4/km²). There were 627 housing units at an average density of 508.4 per square mile (196.8/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 93.84% White, 2.14% Native American, 1.37% African American, 0.49% Asian, 0.35% from other races, and 1.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.23% of the population.
Valatie’s median household income was $60,365 in 2006-2010 and has grown by 36.03% since 2000. The income growth rate is higher than the state average rate of 24.79% and nearly twice the national average rate of 19.17%. The per capita income for the village was $16,650. About 7.94% of families and 8.68% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.0% of those under age 18 and 15.6% of those age 65 or over.
There were 584 households out of which 36.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.0% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.9% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the village the population was spread out with 24.4% under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 23.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 80.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 73.6 males.