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New York History

This Week’s New York History Web Highlights


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This Week’s Top New York History News


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The Two Thanksgivings of 1871


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1871 turkey plucking harpersFor about a week in 1871, New Yorkers were in a quandary about Thanksgiving. On October 25, New York Governor John T. Hoffman designated Thursday, November 23 as Thanksgiving Day for the state. In his Thanksgiving Day proclamation, the Tammany Hall Democrat urged New Yorkers to spend time on that day to declare “their gratitude to God for all his mercies” and to “remember especially the poor.”

On October 28, President Ulysses S. Grant recommended that the nation observe Thanksgiving a week after the New York Thanksgiving, on Thursday November 30. In his proclamation, the Republican chief executive called for Americans to “make the usual acknowledgments to Almighty God for the blessings he has conferred on them” and ask “His protection and kindness for their less fortunate brethren.”

What was a conscientious, holiday-minded New Yorker supposed to do? Observe the Democratic Thanksgiving on November 23, or the Republican Thanksgiving on November 30, or both? Continue reading

St. Nicholas Day at Crailo Historic Site Dec 6th


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The Feast of Saint Nicholas, by Jan Steen, 1660sCrailo State Historic Site in the City of Rensselaer will host a St. Nicholas Day Open House on December 6, 2013 from 12:00 pm until 4:00 pm.  For the Dutch settlers of this region The Feast of St. Nicholas was a day of celebration with favorite food and treats.

Children checked their shoes, left out the previous night, for presents from Sinterklaas. In Washington Irving’s History of New York (1809), Sinterklaas was Americanized into “Santa Claus” (a name first used in the New York press in 1773) and helped popularize today’s Christmas traditions. Continue reading

Performance of ‘The Little Match Girl’ Set For Troy


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LittleMatchGirlOn the evening of Saturday, December 6th, during the 58th Annual Holiday Greens Show at the Rensselaer County Historical Society, a special one-night-only performance will take place in the parlors of the historic Hart-Cluett House in downtown Troy.

Inspired by the classic Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale The Little Match Girl, Troy–based musicians Katherine and Calvin Young, who perform as Simple Souls, have written a new musical adaptation of the fairy tale, titled The Other Side of Visible. . Performed in the Hart-Cluett House’s front parlor, The Other Side of Visible weaves the historic interior into the fabric of the story creating a unique blend of house concert and theatrical storytelling. Katherine Young’s voice takes the audience on a journey that explores the themes of love, invisibility, and imagination. Continue reading

Christmas at the Fort Plain Museum Dec 6th


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Fort Plain MuseumThe Fort Plain Museum will be hosting its annual “Christmas at the Fort” event on Saturday December 6, 2014 from 10 am to 6 pm. The Museum will present the Grand Opening of their new exhibit “The Children’s Attic”, which features children’s toys used in the Fort Plain area c. 1770-1920 that have been donated by residents of Fort Plain.

In addition to the authentic objects on display, the exhibit will also feature reproduction garments (both male and female) which reflect clothing worn during the colonial and Revolutionary War era. Youngsters visiting the museum will be able to try on these items and pose for a special “Photo-Op” during their visit. Continue reading

Plattsburgh Old Stone Barracks Plans Announced


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Old Stone BarracksFriends of the Old Stone Barracks (FOSB) has announced the results of their request for proposals and a new life for Plattsburgh’s Old Stone Barracks.

FOSB has come to an agreement with Terry Schmaltz and Mary Theresa Pearl, proprietors of Valcour Brewing Company, and will assign the contract to purchase the Old Stone Barracks to them.  Pearl is originally from Plattsburgh and both she and Schmaltz are retired Army officers. Continue reading

Origins of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Jingle Bells


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A-VISIT_5The Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center is continuing its winter lecture series with a presentation by Sloane Bullough about the origins of the famed Christmas story, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”, and the well known carol, “Jingle Bells”.

The poem was first published anonymously as “A Visit from St. Nicholas” in the Troy Sentinel on December 23, 1823, having been sent there by a friend of Clement Clarke Moore, and was reprinted frequently thereafter with no name attached. It was first attributed in print to Moore in 1837 and Moore himself acknowledged authorship when he included it in his own book of poems in 1844. By then, the original publisher and at least seven others had already acknowledged his authorship. Continue reading

John Quincy Adams, Treaty of Ghent Event


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image003(8)The Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA) will host a presentation by Vincent Puliafico on the Treaty of Ghent on Monday, December 1st at 7 pm. Using John Quincy Adams diary and other sources, Puliafico impersonates John Adams, giving a chronological presentation on the Treaty of Ghent negotiations.

The presentation emphasizes how the news of the Battle of Plattsburgh arrived and affected the mood at the peace table discussions.  Other questions answered include, who won the War of 1812 and what was gained? Continue reading

Adirondack Photos Made Associated Press History


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NYH4AMorehouseSiteIn modern times, photographs accompanying newspaper stories are sent around the world in digital format, utilizing the latest technology. But for half a century, from 1935 to 1989, the Wirephoto Service of the Associated Press was the industry standard. Prior to that time, the text of stories was sent by wire, but photographs for newsprint were shipped the same way mail and other urgent items were—by train or by plane.

Even by the speediest of methods, it could take more than three days for photographs to arrive. When a dramatic advancement—sending photographs instantly—arrived in 1935, the Adirondacks were linked forever with communications’ history. Continue reading

NYC: Original Central Park Plan On Exhibit


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central park map 1863The Museum of the City of New York has put on public display the rarely seen Greensward Plan for Central Park – the original 1858 design by Central Park superintendent and future leading landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and English-born architect Calvert Vaux that won a public design competition to improve and expand the park.

This four-by-twelve-foot map depicting Central Park’s framework in pen and ink has permanently left its imprint on the park and the visitor experience. On loan from the New York City Parks Department, the Greensward Plan for Central Park is now on view at the City Museum through January 2015. Continue reading

Can You Identify These Photos?


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Fairview home album photo 5 uknown mill complex009An old photo album of the Fairview Home For Friendless Children was recently rediscovered while beginning an inventory process of materials in the Collection of the Town of Colonie Historian’s Office and Historical Society.

In the album were these three photos depicting a deep gorge with either a train or trolley trestle in the background, and a view of a very interesting mill complex that may have existed in the Capital District area.  Continue reading

This Week’s New York History Web Highlights


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The Historians: Oldest House in Amsterdam


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The Historians LogoThis week on “The Historians” podcast, Jeff Wilkin from the Daily Gazette in Schenectady discusses his long-running Monday morning history picture feature, “Capital Region Scrapbook”. Dan Weaver of Historic Amsterdam League promotes the League’s contest to find the oldest house in Amsterdam that has not been converted to another use. And hear highlights from my final radio show on WVTL in Amsterdam after a ten-year run.

Listen to the program at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/
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Saratoga Auto Museum ‘Lost Speedways’ Event


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lost speedways for TVThe field of presenters is set, the huge video screen is up and hundreds of chairs are ready to be filled by racing enthusiasts attending the Saratoga Automobile Museum’s most popular program of the year, “Lost Speedways,” on Saturday, November 29th.

The annual look back at speedways that no longer exist and driving legends of the past will get the green flag at 11 am with memorabilia displays in the Golub Gallery and racing videos in the presentation area. In the “Racing in New York” gallery, Jamie Moore and Doug Holmes will be on hand to answer questions about their restoration of the famed Jim Shampine #8 Ball offset supermodified, which has been attracting a steady stream of visitors. Continue reading

This Week’s Top New York History News


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Latest New York History News

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Make a Contribution! The New York History Blog is supported by you. If you think this site provides a valuable service, please become a recurring contributor – or just make a one-time contribution at our Rally.org page. Questions about contributions should be directed to editor John Warren.