In 2015, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad carried over 74,000 passengers, an all-time high for the 24-year old organization. If Spring 2016 sales are any indication, the Railroad projects that 2016 will break the previous year’s record.
The spring season kicked off March 26th with the Easter Bunny Express, a train ride geared for children and families, which travels from Holland Patent to Remsen. The event sold out over a month in advance the company said, even with additional added capacity. A total of four trips carried over 1,500 passengers. Continue reading
Journeys to Orange County’s most historic inns and restaurants are planned for the 2016 Historic Tavern Trail of the Hudson Valley, beginning April 29th.
There are seven tavern events being held on the Friday of each month from April through October, between 5:30 pm and 7 pm. A cross promotional effort between Orange County history, tourism and economic development communities, these seven Tavern Trail happy hour and dinner events feature local food, a specialty cocktail, and discussions of local history.
While recently investigating the dismal record of the Amistad Commission, I came across the Underground Railroad portion of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (State Parks) – there I found reference to the New York State Freedom Trail, which began as a state project with similarly high hopes and followed the same trajectory to substandard results.
According to the State Parks webpage: “The New York State Freedom Trail Act of 1997 proposed the establishment of a Freedom Trail Commission to plan and implement a New York State Freedom Trail program to commemorate these acts of freedom and to foster public understanding of their significance in New York State history and heritage.”
In Hear My Sad Story: The True Tales That Inspired Stagolee, John Henry, and Other Traditinal American Folk Songs (Cornell University Press, 2015), Richard Polenberg describes the historical events that led to the writing of many famous American folk songs that served as touchstones for generations of American musicians, lyricists, and folklorists.
Those events, which took place from the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, often involved tragic occurrences: murders, sometimes resulting from love affairs gone wrong; desperate acts borne out of poverty and unbearable working conditions; and calamities such as railroad crashes, shipwrecks, and natural disasters. All of Polenberg’s accounts of the songs in the book are grounded in historical fact and illuminate the social history of the times. Continue reading
Lowell Thing’s book The Street that Built a City: McEntee’s Chestnut Street, Kingston, and the Rise of New York (Black Dome, 2015) takes a look at the city of New York and the street that built it — or much of it. The street is on a quiet hilltop overlooking the Hudson River a hundred miles north of New York’s harbor.
Chestnut Street’s first resident, James McEntee, was an engineer who helped build the Delaware and Hudson Canal, which brought millions of tons of coal from Pennsylvania to the port at Rondout to be hauled down the Hudson River on barges pulled by steamboats belonging to another Chestnut Street resident, Samuel Coykendall, to fuel a rapidly growing New York City. Seven owners of brickyards lived on the street, and their hundreds of millions of bricks rose skyward in New York while bluestone slabs shipped from nearby Wilbur paved the city’s sidewalks. Continue reading
This week on “The Historians” podcast the guest is journalist David Kinney, co-author of The Devil’s Diary: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich. (HarperCollins, 2015) The co-author is retired FBI expert on cultural property crime Robert Wittman. You can listen to the podcast here. Continue reading
If the walls of the Gomez Mill House could talk, what a story it could tell.
Despite the hard stone construction of the building, the sentiment is gentle: “If you have a warm heart, you are welcome.”
The alert observer will see hearts in the designs around the home and grounds, and in the artwork. It’s a place that has been witness to over 300 years of history: not only of Orange County, but of the United States. It has seen days as a business operation, sending construction materials to New York City; it has overheard secret intelligence meetings during the Revolutionary War; it has also been a working farm growing fruit and breeding purebred animals. Built by Jewish businessman Luis Moses Gomez, it’s also the oldest known Jewish dwelling in the United States. Continue reading
If offered the opportunity, would you undertake a journey across the Oregon Trail in a mule-pulled covered wagon?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore the Oregon Trail past and present with Rinker Buck, author of The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/077
The Great Shipwrecks of NY’s ‘Great’ Lakes Traveling Exhibit developed by New York Sea Grant will be installed at The State University of New York at Albany Gallery, 353 Broadway, Albany, from May 4 to May 27, 2016. Admission to the exhibit from 10 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday is free. Continue reading
The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the New York State Canal Corporation have teamed up to sponsor 28 festivals and events in 2016 to showcase the Canalway Corridor’s nationally significant heritage and the recreational appeal of the waterway and trails today. Events include cycling and paddling tours, canal festivals, and concerts at the waterfront. The canal system is scheduled to open May 1, weather permitting. Continue reading