CROTON FALLS, N.Y. -- Drew Outhouse had roots in Croton Falls long before he was born. His family members were dairy farmers in the 1800s, and their farm once occupied most of the hamlet.
"The original farm was situated in what is the Croton Falls Reservoir just north of the dam. Then when New York City built the reservoir system, my grandfather Arthur James Outhouse bought a farm from Joel B. Purdy where Primavera Restaurant is today," he said, adding the whole street by Primavera Restaurant at one time consisted of property owned by his family.
Outhouse's family farm consisted of about 1,000 acres, from up on Sunset over to Deans Bridge in Somers. It also included about 200 acres of orchards.
"Originally, we just raised dairy cows and made milk. We raised heifers and a lot of other farm livestock," he said.
While the family 's dairy farm has been sold, Outhouse still lives in his aunt and uncle's house.
For a large part of his life, Outhouse has been very active with the fire department.
"In 1969, we had a large barn burn down at the orchard and it was devastating for me and my family. My good friend Ed Haight who owned Haight Orchards on Hardscrabble Road, right where Hardscrabble Farms is now, was a chief in the Croton Falls Fire Department and he talked to me. I didn't think I had the time but as it turns out it was one of the best things I ever did," Outhouse said.
Outhouse was elected highway superintendent in 1980 and served 30 years.
"The department was always able to handle the snow and ice storms, even blizzards--always rising to the challenge. But Hurricane Floyd was by far the biggest test we ever experienced and I hope and pray we never see that happen again," Outhouse said.
Currently, he helps out at the orchard in the apple season. He is still in the fire department and serves as a commissioner with the Croton Falls Fire District and stays active in other groups.