For motorists traveling in Dutchess County on the Taconic State Parkway, the dominant impression is the beauty of a seemingly unchanged natural landscape. Nestled under the shadow of the Taconic (Berkshire) Mountains to the east with views west to the Catskills, the parkway follows a ridge halfway between the towns and cities on the Hudson River and those in the Harlem Valley bordering New England. The parkway, as envisioned by a commission appointed in 1925 and initially chaired by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was built to open up a very beautiful section at present inaccessible and to provide a new through road from New York City. Roosevelt later claimed the road as his invention. Taconic Pathways shows in part what has happened to the parkway and to five remote towns that it opened to accelerated growth and considerable change. In the beginning, the parkway was a leisurely recreationalexperience that offered breathtaking views, many of which were previously reserved for circling hawks or the fortunate locals who knew the back trails to the heights; today, the parkway has become a route for commuting residents. Before the parkway was built, Beekman, Union Vale, LaGrange, Washington, and Stanford were dotted with farms and hamlets; with theparkway came the rise of suburban living and an accelerated decline of the family farm."