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Wheat and corn were ground into flour and meal, and shipped to New York.In 1748, Madam Brett, with eighteen others, entered into an agreement for the building of the Frankfort Store House.In June 1718, Roger Brett was drowned when his sloop encountered a fierce squall near Fishkill Landing while returning from New York with supplies.

Ferry service between the future locations of both Beacon and Newburgh had existed in some form at least since 1743.

By the early 20th century the fleet had grown to three 160-foot (49 m) coal-fired ferries, the Orange, Dutchess and Beacon, capable of carrying 30 vehicles each.

The ferry's route runs between Beacon City Harbor and Newburgh City Waterfront.

The city served a variety of roles during the Revolutionary War.

Beacon is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, New York Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New York–Newark–Bridgeport, New York–New Jersey–Connecticut–Pennsylvania Combined Statistical Area.

It was named to commemorate the historic beacon fires that blazed forth from the summit of the Fishkill Mountains to alert the Continental Army about British troop movements. They were among the first colonial communities in the county.

In the late 1970s, the Dutchess Ski area, which had been a large tourist attraction, was closed.

Also in the 1970s, a decline in the economy shuttered most of the factories.

In 1828 Cornelius Carman of Low Point, (present day Chelsea), built for De Wint and Carpenter, the Plow Boy, the first steam-powered ferry between Fishkill Landing and Newburgh.

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