A Short History Of The Hudson River Day Line


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the-hudson-river-paddlewheel-towboat-oswegoAbraham Van Santvoord, a descendent of one of the earliest Dutch settlers in Albany, was born in Schenectady on December 18, 1784. At the age of 14, he worked with his granduncle John Post who owned a shipping business in Utica. Since, at the time, there were few roadways, and the ones they had were snow covered in the winter and mud bogs in the spring, most shipping was done by water.

Van Santvoord successfully ran a shipping business on the Mohawk River. During the War of 1812, he contracted with agents of General Stephen Van Rensselaer of Albany to store and ship provisions westward on the Mohawk to support Van Rensselaer’s troops planning to invade Canada. Continue reading

New York History Around The Web This Week


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Johanna Yaun: Newburgh’s Dutch Reformed Church


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Dutch Reformed ChurchOn a summer day in 1998, I stood on Grand Street, waiting. First Lady Hillary Clinton’s press bus had broken down on I-87 and she was now several hours late.

When she finally arrived, she gave an impressive speech and pledged funds ($128,205) through the Save America’s Treasures program to stabilize the upper gallery of an A.J. Davis designed masterpiece, the Dutch Reformed Church.

At 14 years old, I was just beginning to take an interest in historic preservation. I was already aware that Newburgh possessed a vast array of historic structures, but Clinton’s visit was an inspiring notion that the ruins I had grown up around in the post-urban renewal era were finally getting the attention they needed and deserved. The work done with the grant stabilized the building and prevented what would have been an imminent collapse. Things were looking up for Newburgh’s historic district. Continue reading

Southern Tier: Free Preservation Grant Info Sessions


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Elmira Downtown Development, IncNot-for-profit groups and municipalities have been invited to attend one of three free information session on Preserve New York and Technical Assistance Grants (TAG), the signature grant programs of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the Preservation League. At each meeting, Erin Tobin, the League’s Director of Preservation, will explain the requirements of the grants, the process of applying, and discuss some successful previous applicants. Continue reading

The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island


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ben_franklins_worldHow did the smallest colony and smallest state in the union became the largest American participant in the slave trade?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Christy Clark-Pujara, an Assistant Professor in the Department of African-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island (NYUPress, 2016), joins us to explore the history of Rhode Island and New England’s involvement with slavery.

You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/118

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Battle of Lake George Book Talk, Signing Feb 4th


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battle-of-lake-george-bookSchenectady County Historical Society will host a book talk and signing with historian William Griffith on Saturday, February 4th at 2 pm at the Mabee Farm Historic Site.

In his book The Battle of Lake George (2016) Griffith tells the story of the first major British battlefield victory of the French and Indian War.

In late summer in Lake George, 1755, a bloody conflict for control of Lake George and its access to New York’s interior took place between the British and French forces. Against all odds, British commander William Johnson rallied his men through the barrage of enemy fire to send the French retreating north to Ticonderoga. The stage was set for one of the most contested regions throughout the rest of the conflict. Continue reading

A Visit to the Pergamena Tannery in Orange County


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Pergamena Tannery A walk around the Pergamena warehouse in Montgomery, NY in Orange County, is a step back in time. Rows upon rows of animal skins, of all kinds, are carefully laid on shelves, in piles and are in various stages of processing.

Some will turn into leather, some into parchment, some will become covers for drums and books, some will be made into shoes, handbags, dog collars, and the list goes on.

Pergamena – Italian for “parchment” – is a tanning business, and Jesse Meyer, co-owner with dad Karl and brother, Stephen, is providing this tour in a cold warehouse off of Montgomery’s Route 211. Continue reading

Ice Harvest Festival at Hanford Mills Museum Saturday


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Hanford Mills Museum ice harvestThe annual Ice Harvest Festival at Hanford Mills Museum on Saturday, February 4, 2017,  offers adults and children a chance to take part in a traditional ice harvest using historic tools and techniques. Before refrigeration, harvesting ice was an essential winter activity. The ice was stored in ice houses until it was needed in the warmer months to keep food and agricultural products cold.

Festival also offers Ice Sculpting, Ice Fishing, Horse-drawn Sleigh Rides, Hot Soup Buffet, Local Farmers, and more. Continue reading