Woodbury is a town and village in Orange County, New York, United States. The town population was 10,686 at the 2010 census. The village was incorporated in 2006 and comprises all of the town that is not part of the village of Harriman. The region was once called Woodbury Clove. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New York–Newark–Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area. Woodbury is in the southeastern part of Orange County.
The region was once called Woodbury Clove ("valley").
The Town of Woodbury (which comprises the hamlets of Central Valley and Highland Mills) and the area formerly known as the hamlet of Woodbury Falls was officially created on December 19, 1889 by an act of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. The first town meeting was held on March 4 the following year, with John A. Patterson presiding as Supervisor. The second Supervisor was James Seaman. Even though the land is no longer used for farming, the Seaman family property can still be identified by a sign which reads “Sweet Clover Farm” along Route 32 at the northern end of town. This is now the home of Palaia Vineyards.
The Town of Woodbury was actually created twice; the first time in 1863, when the Board of Supervisors approved the division of Monroe into the three communities of Monroe, Southfields and Highland. The Highland portion was what would become Woodbury in 1889. Objections to this arose, and two years later the Legislature was asked to overrule the Board's decision; it did, by recreating the old Town of Monroe. In 1889 the Board of Supervisors reinstated the original separation, and the town now known as Woodbury was reborn.
Woodbury had undergone numerous geographic and name changes prior to its incorporation in 1889. Until 1764, the area was part of an enlarged Goshen. Goshen was then divided into two parts, with Woodbury becoming part of Cornwall. During the American Revolution, the area was shown on maps as Woodbury Clove. By 1799 Cornwall was also divided, with Woodbury joining present-day Monroe and Tuxedo to become the Town of Cheesekook. This name was changed to Smithfield (or Southfield) and in 1808 became Monroe (supposedly in honor of newly-elected US president James Monroe; however, Thomas Jefferson was president in 1808. James Monroe served from 1817 to 1825, and some believe Monroe was named for a local family).
The derivation of the name “Woodbury" is uncertain. Some say it may have come from the Dutch word wode for "wood", meaning "a dwelling place in the woods". Others claim that the many English families who settled here bestowed the name of a famous English family named Woodbury upon the area. As for the hamlets, Central Valley and Highland Mills were once called Lower Smith's Clove ("clove" meaning valley). Highland Mills was also known as Orange Post Office but the residents changed it in 1824, with the present name most likely reflecting the water and flour mills and tannery businesses in the area. A map dated about 1790 shows Woodbury Falls as Smithfields. It may have later taken its name from the once-lovely falls there. The first Cuban president, Thomas Estrada Palma, lived in Central Valley and Estrada Road was named in his honor.
The town's major attraction is Woodbury Common Premium Outlets – one of the largest outlet malls in the world, visited by people from Japan, China, Europe and the Americas. The shopping boom in the area (which began in the 1980s) has inspired construction projects including Wal-Mart, Home Depot, BJ's Wholesale Club, many chain restaurants, car dealerships, other retailers and proposed projects. This has caused conflict and controversy with local residents and surrounding municipalities. Orange County is prospering from the tax revenue this area produces; however, commuting on Route 32 during peak holiday shopping days is extremely irritating to local residents. The NYS DOT (Department of Transportation) is currently undertaking a $30 million project to redirect traffic flow, attempting to ease the unsafe conditions arising on peak shopping weekends.
On August 10, 2006, residents voted by a 4½-to-1 ratio to create the Village of Woodbury. The village incorporates all the town's land, except for a small portion of the Village of Harriman which lies within the Town of Woodbury.