Category Archives: History

New York History

Western Erie Canal Communities Conference Nov 6th


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Western Erie Canal AllianceThe Western Erie Canal Alliance, in conjunction with the Landmark Society of Western New York, will present a conference, “Something Old… Something New”, in celebration of historic Main Streets as centerpieces of community economic success.

The conference will take place on Thursday, November 6, 2014 from 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm, at the Fairport Electric building in Fairport, NY, hosted by The Village of Fairport. Continue reading

Realist Art Exhibit: Eugene Speicher At NYS Museum


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Speicher_KingstonsThe New York State Museum has opened a new exhibition featuring the work of New York artist Eugene Speicher. Along His Own Lines: A Retrospective of New York Realist Eugene Speicher explores Speicher’s diverse art career ranging from portraits to still life to landscape.

On display in West Gallery through March 22, 2015, the exhibition features more than 70 artworks by Speicher, who was born in Buffalo, NY. Continue reading

The Half Moon and The Hermione: A Tale of Two Ships


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Half_Moon_ReplicaIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times. So it goes for two ships and their diametrically contradictory paths through history.

The Half Moon is a full scale replica of the original Dutch ship of exploration sailed by Henry Hudson for the Dutch East India Company in 1609. The original Half Moon was the first European ship to document entry into what we now call the Delaware Bay and River, and to explore the Hudson River to its navigable limits.

The HermioneThe Hermione is a full scale replica of the French ship that brought LaFayette to America in 1780 and which joined Admiral de Grasse’s fleet for the Battle off the Capes on the lower Chesapeake and the siege at Yorktown. The ship then sailed to Philadelphia in 1781 where the Continental Congress visited and paid tribute to it. Continue reading

NYS Barge Canal on National Register of Historic Places


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nys_barge_canal_system_map-100The National Park Service has announced that it has listed the New York State Barge Canal on the National Register of Historic Places. The designation recognizes the New York State Canal System as a nationally significant work of early twentieth century engineering and construction that affected transportation and maritime commerce for nearly half a century.

The New York State Barge Canal National Register Historic District spans 450 miles and includes the four branches of the state’s canal system: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals– all much enlarged versions of waterways that were initially constructed during the 1820s. The nomination evaluated 791 features and included 552 contributing structures and buildings. Continue reading

Drums along the Mohawk 1939 Premiere Returns


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DrumsalongthemohawkIn celebration of the Glove Theatre’s 100th Anniversary the Glove Performing Arts Center will present a re-enactment of the World Premiere of the film “Drums along the Mohawk” from 1939 on November 1, 2014 at the theater in Gloversville, NY.

“Drums along the Mohawk” was a Technicolor picture, produced by Darryl F. Zanuck. Directed by John Ford, screen-play by Lamar Trotti and Sonya Levien and based upon the novel by Walter D. Edmonds, the film starred Claudette Colbert and Henry Fonda depicting the Mohawk Valley at the time of the Revolutionary War with a gripping love story between the two leading characters.   Continue reading

‘Immoral Tendencies’:
When Amsterdam Banned Burlesque


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Rose Hill FollyTwo Amsterdam clergymen had concerns and asked Mayor John Dwyer to do something about the situation. The Rose Hill Folly Company was planning to perform on Wednesday, November 6, 1889 at the Potter Opera House on Market Street.

The formidable Reverend John McIncrow of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church and Reverend Donald Sprague of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church told the mayor the company had an “immoral tendency.” The clergymen also asked Dwyer not to allow the “posting of indecent pictorial advertisements of shows” in the city. Continue reading

Lecture: NYC Carnegie and Branch Libraries History


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Untitled1The Historic District Council of New York City will present a lecture, “The History and Endurance of New York City’s Carnegie and Branch Libraries”, by Dr. Jeffrey Kroessler on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 5:30 pm at the Yorkville Branch of the New York Public Library (the first Carnegie Library built in New York City), 222 East 79th Street (between Second & Third Avenues).

In 1899, industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated the funds which would build 67 architecturally distinctive libraries in the five boroughs between 1901 and 1923. These buildings, of which 54 still function today as libraries, have been community landmarks ever since. Together with the more recently built branch libraries, and the famous main branches, they make up the three library systems that serve the dynamic population of New York City. Continue reading

Ottilia Beha: An Extraordinary NYC Educator


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OttiliaBehaclassJust a few months after losing a re-election bid as county school commissioner, Ottilia Beha accepted a position in New York City, where she began teaching in 1903. By 1909, she had taught at several public schools in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, and had served as assistant principal at two facilities, gaining valuable experience.

In fall of that year, she was among 258 teachers to take the licensing exam for elementary school principal. Ottilia finished at the top of the group, leading to a promotion as principal of a Brooklyn school with 800 students and a staff of 19 employees. Continue reading

Erie Canal Birthday Party Planned At Schoharie Crossing


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Erie Canal PartySchoharie Crossing State Historic Site will celebrate the 189th Birthday of the Erie Canal at its annual Birthday Bash on Sunday, October 26th from 1 to 5 pm.  This year will feature rides from Run by Dogs Dogsledding, a pie raffle, and a beard contest, as well as local farmers showcasing their products, a pumpkin decorating contest, cider tasting, and music. Free walking tours will be available at 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm.

Schoharie Crossing will also be exhibiting a cannon used to announce the opening of the canal in 1825 that has been loaned by the Fulton County Historical Society’s Fulton County Museum for this occasion. Continue reading

Grant Workshops Set for Arts, Culture Organizations


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Federal Grants WorkshopNonprofits and artists in New York State are invited to learn more about state and federal support for arts and cultural activities at two Federal Grants Workshops for Arts and Culture Organizations on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 near New York City.

Any organization, or individual coordinating cultural programming is invited, including museums, libraries, historical societies, artists and performing arts groups, filmmakers, community organizations and colleges and universities. Continue reading

MANY And Advocacy For The NYS History Community


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nycapitolIn this post, I wish to focus attention on recent developments involving the Museum Association of New York (MANY) and opportunities for advocacy on behalf of the history community.

MANY has undergone significant changes which are of importance to the history community, though it should be noted that the organization’s membership is not limited to historical museums, but also include art and science museums, zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums. Continue reading

This Week’s New York History Web Highlights


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Artifact Identification Day In Clinton County Saturday


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Clinton County Historical SocietyTo celebrate International Archaeology Day, the SUNY-Plattsburgh Anthropology Department and Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA) invite community members to bring their artifacts and collections to the Museum to participate in their Annual Artifact Identification Day.

Archaeologists Chris Wolff and Andy Black from SUNY-Plattsburgh will be on the grounds of the CCHA to identify and provide more information about your artifacts from 11 am to 2 pm on Saturday, October 18th. They will also be displaying some of their findings from local excavations for visitors to view.  Guests are also encouraged to take advantage of the Museum’s free admission for this event and free family activities.  No appraisals will be given at this event. Continue reading

Jack McEneny, the Adirondacks on ‘The Historians’


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The Historians LogoThis week on “The Historians”, Albany historian and former longtime New York State Assemblyman Jack McEneny on the Pine Hills, the Quackenbush House and the politics of history. In the second half of the show I talk with Adirondack historian Don Williams about his latest book Adirondack Tales of Tragedy and Tidings Between the Sacandaga River Bridges. (Leader Herald, 2014).

Listen to the whole program at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/

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This Week’s Top New York History News


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An Infamous Criminal’s Connection To Monticello


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RulloffEdwardH[1]Edward H. Rulloff was one of the most famous American criminals of the 19th century, believed responsible for multiple murders and sundry other crimes, and eventually being publicly hanged in Binghamton, New York. He was also a brilliant savant, obsessively seeking respectability and the approval of what he deemed “good society.”

And if not for this obsession, his crime spree would have without a doubt included the National Union Bank in Monticello, the County Seat of Sullivan County.   Continue reading

Historic Textile Exhibit Opens At Albany Institute


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image006(1)In the private space of the bedroom, the world takes center stage. Politics, international trade, social events, religion, and cultural affairs come alive in the elaborate designs and patterns displayed on American quilts, coverlets, and bed hangings.

The Albany Institute of History & Art has opened Undercover: Revealing Design in Quilts, Coverlets, and Bed Hangings, an exhibition that investigates the designs and patterns that decorate American bedcovers of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. In addition to the textiles, early illustrated books, paintings, ceramics, and more are included to show sources of inspiration for textile designs. Continue reading

Governor Hugh Carey Awards Gala November 1st


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Irish American Heritage MuseumThe Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany will honor Pulitzer Prize winning author William Kennedy and Sister Katherine Graber, RSM, and the Religious Sisters of Mercy as the 2014 Governor Hugh L. Carey Award recipients at 6 pm on Saturday, November 1, 2014, at The Desmond Hotel in Albany.

Joining the Museum for the Gala are Honorary Co-Chairs Ambassador Consul General of Ireland Barbara Jones and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. The Honorable Gerald Jennings will preside as the Master of Ceremonies. Continue reading

Cherry Hill Marks 50th Anniversary With Free Tours


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Cherry HillTo commemorate its 50th anniversary as a museum, Historic Cherry Hill will offer Behind-the-Scenes Restoration Tours free during the rest of the month of October.

Tours will highlight the ongoing restoration of the 1787 historic structure, including factors that contributed to the building’s deterioration and how the building is being stabilized. Guides will also discuss the house’s intact original fabric, its “layers of history,” and the Van Rensselaer family that occupied Cherry Hill from 1787 to 1963. Tours are offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00 pm. No reservations are required. Continue reading