Buttermilk Falls is the original name of the village of Highland Falls, which borders the West Point Military Academy. The Dutch, who were the first to settle in this area called this area Buttermilk Falls after the waterfall which descends into the Hudson River at this point. In the late 1800's when it came to be called Highland Falls. In 1906 it was incorporated under that name.
Famous people who lived in Highland Falls included John Pierpont Morgan who in 1871, purchased a home he called Cranston. While they were only summer residents, they maintained a dairy farm with local hired help running the farm in their absence. Frances Tracy Morgan, his wife, is the founder of the Highland Falls Library.
Revolutionary heroine Molly Corbin lived in Fort Montgomery, which together with the Village of Highland Falls and West Point Military Academy make up the Town of Highlands. Molly Corbin joined her husband John Corbin in November of 1776 when his regiment defended Fort Washington. Initially she carried water to the battlefield and is sometimes mixed up with Molly Pitcher whose real name was Molly Hays and fought in the Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey. When Molly Corbin's husband who was firing a cannon was killed, she took over for him and fired the cannon until her own arm was torn apart with grape shot. When Fort Washington fell to the British, Molly Corbin was taken prisoner for a time.
John Burroughs, the naturalist made his home in Highland Falls for some time as did Alexander Mearns, another naturalist. John Bigelow, writer and journalist, was also a resident. He became the Minister of France during the Civil War.
Benson Lossing described the town of Buttermilk Falls in 1866 in The Hudson From the Wilderness to the Sea:
"On the rough plain above (the falls) is the village of Buttermilk Fall, containing over three hundred inhabitants. The country around is exceedingly rough and picturesque, especially in the direction of Fort Montgomery, three or four miles below; while on the brow of the high river bank near, there are some pleasant summer residences. Among these was the dwelling of Mr. (John) Bigelow, then the associate of Mr. (William Cullen ) Bryant, the poet, in the ownership and conduct of the New York Evening Post, but since appointed, first the Secretary of the American Legation at the French Court in 1861, and afterward Minister Plenipotentiary at the same Court"