Renamed Sleepy Hollow Turns Fiction to Fact


Washington Irving can rest easier.

Nearly 150 years after the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” asked that his village cemetery be named for his fictional town, the village trustees did him one better.

They voted 5 to 0 last week to certify the landslide election in which residents voted to rename the entire town Sleepy Hollow.

“We are now officially Sleepy Hollow,” Mayor Sean Treacy declared after the trustees’ vote.


The former North Tarrytown, on the Hudson River about 20 miles north of Manhattan, is believed to be the setting for Irving’s 1819 tale about gangly schoolteacher Ichabod Crane, who disappears after being terrorized by a headless horseman.

The name change voters approved Tuesday was more than Irving had hoped for when he wrote to town trustees in 1849.

“The cemetery was known as the Tarrytown Cemetery when it started,” said Bill Graham, cemetery superintendent. “Irving knew he was going to be buried there, so he suggested the trustees change it to Sleepy Hollow.”

The change wasn’t made until 1864, five years after Irving died, “but it’s kind of a satisfying twist, isn’t it?” said Nancy Gold, a publicist for the Historic River Towns of Westchester.


Some confusion over the name change appears likely, however.

“We got checks, forms, hey, a big sign out front,” said Marty Costello Sr., whose son owns North Tarrytown Auto Body. “What do they say?”