Tag Archives: Columbia County

Peter Feinman: Bring Back the Mastodons!


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Peale's Exhuming the MammothIt is time for New York State to boldly go where no state has gone before and go back to the future to resurrect the now extinct mastodon. The effort to bring the mammoth back from extinction recently was the cover article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

Russia and Japan are working to create mammoths. New York should not be left behind in the de-extinction race. I hereby challenge Governor Cuomo to launch a new “Manhattan Project” so we are the first to bring the paleolithic era to life through the creation of Mastodon Park, our own Ice Age animal, the mastodon. Continue reading

American Revolution:
Trouble at Poughkeepsie and Peekskill


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American Revolution ShipsA loyalist is a man with his head in England, his body in America, and a neck that needs to be stretched.  – an anonymous patriot.

Late in June of 1776, the New York Provincial Convention (NYPC) received a troubling report from the Dutchess County Committee of Safety. It said that Poughkeepsie officials and patriot warships were being threatened by loyalists, so-called Tories. Continue reading

The Misnamed Columbia County ‘Battle of Egremont’


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MilitiamenA small, but important part of the American Revolutionary War took place during 1777 at Livingston Manor, Albany County (now Columbia County), New York. The few historical references about this event identify the event as the Battle of Egremont, implying that it happened in Massachusetts.

While it was customary to name a battle after its location, participants or some other feature, these conventions were overlooked in this case and the involvement of Egremont, Massachusetts militiamen seems to be the primary reason for the naming of the battle. However, many participants were from New York militia units, and the battle actually took place in New York. The battle was actually a series of four skirmishes that occurred over two-days. Continue reading

Program on History of Copake Nov 2nd


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Copake Railroad StationHistorian Howard Blue will do a repeat of his slide show presentation on Copake’s history (in Columbia County) on Sat. Nov. 2 at 4 P.M.

Blue’s program is largely based on interviews with local residents, many of whom shared old photos of the town and its people from their family albums. His talk will include such history gems as the 1840s agrarian revolt in Copake, the town’s unusual aeronautical history, three local former horse racetracks, and ice harvesting in town. Continue reading

Mount Lebanon Shaker Museum Preservation Reception


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DSC_0146On Wednesday, September 25 the Shaker Museum – Mount Lebanon will hold an open house and reception with the Preservation League of New York State to celebrate the collaborative restoration efforts of the two organizations.

The Shaker Museum recently received a loan from The Preservation League of New York State to support the preservation projects currently underway at the North Family. Continue reading

Mount Lebanon Herb Festival at Historic Shaker Village


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2nd annual mount lebanon herbfest finalThe Mount Lebanon Herb Festival will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, rain or shine on the campus of the Darrow School in New Lebanon, NY, the historic grounds of Mount Lebanon Shaker Village.

New Lebanon has a remarkable history with herbs. Its famous warm spring feeds the Shaker Swamp in the village of New Lebanon, and that supported an extraordinary collection of wild herbs long used by Native Americans. The Shakers, who based their national headquarters in New Lebanon, expanded on the uses of these herbs and created an industry around their sales. In 1824, Elam Tilden (father of politician Samuel J. Tilden) put this knowledge toward the start of one of the nation’s first pharmaceutical companies, the Tilden Company, using herbal tinctures, extracts and compounds derived in New Lebanon that were eventually marketed around the world. Continue reading

New Project: Virtual Center for Prison Memories


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The Prison Public Memory Project, focused on making prison history relevant as a guide to the future, today launched a website and blog (www.prisonpublicmemory.org) featuring its work in Hudson, NY a small town that is home to an historic prison and the site of the Project’s pilot effort.

Hudson Correctional Facility, a medium-­‐secure state prison for men that opened in 1976, was originally built in the 1800’s as the House of Refuge for Women, the first reformatory for women in New York (1887 – 1904), and then transformed into The New York State Training School for Girls (1904-­‐1975) where famed jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald and other girls found to be delinquent by the courts were sent to be reformed.
Since 2011, Prison Public Memory Project founders and a growing team of contributors based in the Hudson Valley and around the state have been interviewing Hudson area residents including prison ‘alumni’; conducting research in local and state archives and libraries; and developing educational, interpretive and cultural activities to be offered in Hudson and on the website later this year and
next year.

Visitors to the website can view current photos of former prison workers and inmates and listen to audio clips from their oral histories; see old photographs and maps of the prison; and read prison documents and letters from the 19th and 20th centuries. Short articles tell about ordinary as well as extraordinary prison-­‐related events and people that influenced local, state, and national history. One section of
the website invites visitors to become history detectives helping the Project team answer questions and find evidence and visitors are encouraged to contribute in other ways.

Even before its public debut, the website-in-progress grabbed the attention of a few people who offered their own stories and questions and photos. One woman wrote in “My mother’s stories of the (NYS Training) school (for Girls) were brutal, I want to find out if I have another brother or sister. maybe someone has information to help me.” Another woman wrote ” i was sent too hudson in 1964. it wasnt a very nice place to be. but i made my bed so i had to lay in it… once you got use to being there it wasnt, a bad place… it made me a better person some of these young girls now should have a place like that it taught you respect for your self and others.”

Project founder/director Alison Cornyn anticipates more public input as the site is officially launched and word-of-­mouth spreads. “Prisons, especially old prisons like  the one in Hudson, have touched thousands of lives over the course of their history, in both profound and ordinary ways. Using history, art, dialogue and new communications technologies, The Project will craft safe spaces and new opportunities for people from all walks of life – including those who lived and worked inside the walls ‐ to connect with the past and each other and engage in conversation, learning, and visioning regarding the role of prisons in communities and in society today and in the future”, said Cornyn, a Brooklyn based
interdisciplinary artist and new media producer whose previous projects have garnered numerous awards.

Illustration: New York State Training School For Girls.

Peter Feinman: New York and the Civil War


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The Union may have won the war but the South has won Civil War tourism and its legacy. It’s an extraordinary fact of life that wherever the National Park Service has a site, a battle was fought there! And they are all in the South with the major exception of Gettysburg.

Time and time again presentations on life back then in antebellum (before the war) times begin with Gone with the Wind, still the box-office champion adjusted for inflation. What story does the North including New York have to tell that can compare with the pageantry of the South, the chivalry of the idealized plantation, and the glamour of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara, Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh? Freedom and preserving the Union that made the world safe for democracy in the three world wars in the 20th century should count for something, even for Confederates. Continue reading

Spring Walk at Olana Features Landscape, Wildlife


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Craig Thompson, director of Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, will host an outdoor foray to search for bluebirds, robin redbreast, white trillium and other colorful signs of spring on Sunday, April 1. An Olana educator will join the group to discuss the history of the landscape and carriage drives designed by Frederic Church.

Craig Thompson has been an environmental educator in NYS DEC’s Division of Public Affairs for over 30 years. Five Rivers, one of the state’s environmental education facilities, is a 445-acre “living museum” offering a comprehensive program of interpretive, education and information services year ‘round.

The Spring Walk will take place from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and is free and open to all ages. Meet at the Wagon House Education Center and dress for casual trail walking. Binoculars are helpful but not necessary. Space is limited, so please register by calling (518) 828-1872 ext. 109. In the event of inclement weather, the program may be canceled. (If in doubt, call (518) 828-1872 x 109 to confirm.) A vehicle use fee will be charged at the entrance to the site.

Forum: 1979 Hudson Valley Nuclear Decision


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In 1979, a nuclear power plant was nearly built on the Hudson River in plain view of Olana State Historic Site. The Olana Partnership is presenting a panel discussion on Saturday, February 25, about this little-known incident in Hudson Valley history.

For the first time ever, three key players in this debate will unite and recount this game-changing episode, and how each played an important role. The panelists, Carl Petrich, J. Winthrop Aldrich, and Richard Benas, will discuss the unprecedented and nationally significant approach of considering the visual impact of a nuclear power plant in a region. Dorothy Heyl, a member of Olana’s Landscape/Viewshed Committee, will moderate.

In 1977, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Power Authority of the State of New York held hearings on siting a nuclear power plant just south of Catskill in Cementon. The cooling tower, at a height of 450 feet, would have been visible for many miles. Thirty-five stories tall, it would have been 250 feet in diameter at its highest point and discharged a prominent plume. On some days, the plume would have obscured views of the Catskill Mountains from many locations, including Olana.

In the late 1970s, Carl Petrich, one of the panelists, worked as a landscape architect on the research staff of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Through an agreement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Oak Ridge produced an Environmental Impact Statement for this project. Petrich immersed himself in Hudson River School history and the designed landscape of Frederic Church’s Olana. His conclusion—that the viewshed from Olana was of national importance and warranted protection—changed history. The resulting Environmental Impact Statement caused the Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff to recommended denial of a construction license for the proposed nuclear power plant. This was the first and only time that such a recommendation had been made on any grounds—let alone environmental or aesthetic.

J. Winthrop Aldrich, a Hudson Valley resident and long-time public servant, worked with counsel for local groups opposing the siting of the plant in Cementon. He was a proponent of assuring that the impact of the project on historic and scenic resources would be formally weighed in the decision making.

Richard Benas, then at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, testified in hearings on the proposed plant. Based on this experience, Benas later developed visual impact guidelines which are now used to insure compliance with the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, SEQRA.

Testimony at the hearings on the significance of the Olana Viewshed included some by David Huntington, who had earlier led the successful preservation effort that saved Olana in 1967. More than 30 years ago, Huntington testified, “Olana is a monument and site whose significance will be increasingly appreciated by the American people.”

The three panelists, Petrich, Aldrich and Benas, will share their memories of a crucial, but mostly forgotten chapter in the preservation of a national historic landmark and its spectacular viewshed. “It’s surprising how few people know about this episode in this region,” noted Mark Prezorski, Landscape Curator for The Olana Partnership. “In some ways, it’s similar to the Storm King Mountain preservation effort, with far reaching effects.”

“This discussion, while it addresses the prospect of a nuclear power plant, is not about nuclear energy,” commented Sara Griffen, President of The Olana Partnership. “It is the story of how the importance of the Olana Viewshed factored into the siting of a plant, and how this mattered on a national and regional level.”

“Olana is famous for its breath-taking panoramic views that draw thousands of visitors to this magnificent historic site every year,” said Kimberly Flook, Site Manager of Olana Historic Site. “It was Frederic Church’s vision that actively shaped his landscape to frame the Hudson Valley’s unique natural beauty.”

The panel discussion will begin at 3:00 PM on Saturday, February 25 in Hudson, NY, at Stair Galleries (549 Warren Street). A suggested donation of $10 can be paid at the door, and admission is free for all members of The Olana Partnership. A reception will follow. More information is available online at olana.org or by phoning The Olana Partnership at 518.828.1872. RSVPs appreciated.

Photo: View from Olana with Superimposed Simulated Nuclear Cooling Towers (detail), 1979, photograph #4363-77, Courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Dept. of Energy.

‘Keeping Up With the Schuylers’ Dramatic Tours


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Historic Cherry Hill and Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site present to the public, “Keeping Up With the Schuylers,” a dramatic house tour of both historic sites. It is part of the special series: Got Class? Status and Power in Early America presented by Historic Cherry Hill and Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site and funded by the New York Council for the Humanities.

The dramatic tour begins at Historic Cherry Hill in the year 1787. The public will meet the 18th century Van Rensselaer family inhabitants of the Cherry Hill home. The tour continues at Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site where visitors will find the Schuyler Mansion household preparing for the approaching nuptials of General Schuyler’s son, John Bradstreet Schuyler to Catherine Van Rensselaer.

This unique dramatic tour will explore the subtleties of class within Albany’s 18th century elite. The public will be able to compare the households of two of Albany’s prominent citizens and determine for themselves what it meant to be a gentleman in the founding era of the United States. Dramatic tours will be offered to the public on Thursday October 20th at 3:00pm and 5:00pm and on Saturday, October 22nd at 9:30am, 12:00pm and 2:30pm.

The dramatic tour is a ticketed event. The cost of tickets is $12.00 per person. To purchase tickets for this event please call Historic Cherry Hill at 518-434-4791 or email mary@historiccherryhill.org.

Historic Cherry Hill, located at 523 ½ South Pearl Street in Albany, NY, is a non-profit historic house museum built in 1787 and was lived in continuously by five generations of the same family until the death of the last family member in 1963. The museum is currently undergoing a large restoration project and offers a Behind-the-Scenes Restoration tour from April through December, on Wednesday afternoons at 1, 2 and 3pm and Saturday afternoons at 2 and 3pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and college students and $2 for children between the ages of 12 and 18. An Architecture Hunt for Families is also offered on Saturdays between 1 and 2pm at the admission price of $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 6-11. Visit Historic Cherry Hill’s website at www.historiccherryhill.org for more information.

Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, located at 32 Catherine Street in Albany, NY, was once the home of Philip J. Schuyler, the renowned Revolutionary War General, US Senator and business entrepreneur. He and his wife Catharine Van Rensselaer descended from affluent and powerful Dutch families. Together they raised eight children in this home. Throughout the Schuyler family occupancy from 1763-1804, the mansion was the site of military strategizing, political hobnobbing, elegant social affairs, and an active family life. Guided tours are available mid-May through October 31st, and are offered on the hour, Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00am to 4:00pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and college students. Children under 12 are free. Visit www.schuylerfriends.org for more information about Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site.

Illustration: Schuyler Mansion.

Walking Tours of Olana Landscape


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The weekend of September 24 and 25 offers two unique opportunities to enjoy the landscape at Olana State Historic Site. On Saturday, September 24, author and geologist Bob Titus will lead a Hudson Valley Ramble Walk at Olana starting at 2 p.m. On Sunday, September 25, Lin Fagan will lead a walk starting at 9 a.m. Both groups will meet at the Olana Visitor Center at the top of the hill and continue their respective walks from that location. The tour on Saturday has a $5 vehicle fee per car as the cost of admission; the tour on Sunday is free of charge.

Professor Robert Titus has held several very popular Hudson Valley Ramble Walks at Olana. This year his walk entitled “Unplanned Views” will circle Olana looking at the dramatic views that artist Frederic Church took advantage of as he laid out his landscape. Titus will point out the views and then describe their geologic histories with a series of dramatic readings describing moments of time in the geological past that brought these views into being for Mr. Church. Reservations are required for this walk and it is limited to 20 persons; plan for two hours in the landscape with easy to moderate walking. Please wear clothing and shoes suitable for walking outside on shale paths and woodland areas.

On Sunday, Lin Fagan will conduct a tour with a focus on the landscape and the wildlife, particularly the bird populations. Fagan, an Olana volunteer for over 20 years, is a long-time member of the Audubon Society, an avid hiker and birder who has travelled all over the United States. She will bring to bear her particular expertise in looking at the landscape and enjoying all that surrounds you. When not travelling or volunteering at Olana, Lin can most often be found hiking and birding in the Shawangunks in Ulster County. Her tour will include the landscape, the gardens, and Ridge Road. A loop around the lake can be added to the walk for those who are interested. Wear clothing and shoes appropriate for walking outside.

For both walks, bring cameras, binoculars, sketch pads, water, and a pure joy for the landscape of the Hudson Valley. Reservations are required for both tours; please call 518-828-0135 between 9 AM and 5 PM Tuesday – Sunday to reserve a spot on one or both of these walks in the landscape.

Landscape Photography Workshop at Olana


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The Olana Partnership will host a two-day landscape photography workshop, Growing your skills beyond the snapshot phase, on Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18 from 1-7:30 pm at the Wagon House Education Center at Olana. Photographer Greg Miller will teach participants how to blossom from a snapshot shooter to a photographer who makes compelling photos that elicit strong emotional reactions. Participants will learn about proper lighting, technical vs. artistic skills, composition, equipment, and technique, and will have an opportunity to shoot intimate scenes and vistas in Olana’s picturesque landscape.

Cost of the workshop is $75 for Saturday only or $125 for both days for non-members, and $50 for Saturday only and $100 for both days for members of The Olana Partnership. An additional $5.00 entry fee per vehicle will be charged (waived for members of The Olana Partnership). This fee may be credited toward a house tour as long as tickets are available. Register now while space is available. Contact Sarah Hasbrook, education coordinator for The Olana Partnership, at shasbrook@olana.org or call (518) 828-1872 x 109.

Greg Miller’s books include The Hudson River: A Great American Treasure (Rizzoli, 2008) which was selected for the “2008 Editors’ Favorite Books of the Year” list by The Bloomsbury Review. Miller’s second book, Panorama of the Hudson River (SUNY Press, 2009), was commissioned by Open Space Institute and the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz. His selected permanent collections include the Center for Fine Art Photography in Ft. Collins, Colorado, Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington D.C. (five prints), and Catskill Regional Medical Center (eighteen prints), to name a few. Miller was selected to be a 2009 “Artist in Residence” for Acadia National Park and was a finalist for the “2003 Photography Now” award from The Center of Photography at Woodstock. In addition, Miller is a workshop leader for the Center of Photography at Woodstock, and photography tour leader for the Adirondack Photography Institute. More information and photographs can be found on Greg Miller’s website

Wagon House Education Center programming is made possible in part through support provided by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency; the Hudson River Bank & Trust Foundation; the Educational Foundation of America; the John Wilmerding Education Initiative, and the members of The Olana Partnership.

Photo: Hudson Valley by Greg Miller.

New Yorker Named A National Sporting History Fellow


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The National Sporting Library and Museum (NSLM) in Middleburg, Virginia, has announced seven John H. Daniels Fellows for 2011-2012 including one to Judith Martin Woodall, a New York City writer and former manager of Claremont Riding Academy, for
“Witching the World with Noble Horsemanship: Riding in New York City, 1770-2007.”

The fellows program began in 2007 in honor of sportsman and book collector, John H. Daniels (1921-2006), a longtime supporter of the National Sporting Library. Since 2007, the fellowship has supported thirty-eight researchers-in-residence at the NSLM from all regions of the United States and ten foreign countries.

The full list of winners includes:

Marcia Diane Brody, Middletown, MD, writer and breeder of Cleveland Bay horses, “Alexander Mackay-Smith: Pioneering the Future of the Cleveland Bay Horse in North America.”

Michael Del Vecchio, Egmondville, ON, Ph.D. candidate, Univ. of Western Ontario, “The Scientific Angler: A Conservation Identity Forged through the Market.”

Carolee Klimchock, Ph.D. candidate, Yale University, “The Theatrics of Coach Driving in Late 19th-Century America.”

Andrew G.F. Lemon, Victoria, Australia, author of the three volume History of Australian Thoroughbred Racing, “The Steeplechasing Mind.”

Earl Parker, Ph.D., Orange, Texas, writer, “The U.S. Remount Service: Stallions Distributed Across America.”

Corey Piper, Curatorial Assistant for the Mellon Collections, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia, “The Cast and Characters of the British Sporting Ring,” a scholarly essay for “Catching Sight: The World of the British Sporting Print,” upcoming exhibition catalogue, VMFA.

Judith Martin Woodall, New York, New York, writer and former manager of Claremont Riding Academy, “Witching the World with Noble Horsemanship: Riding in New York City, 1770-2007.”

The National Sporting Library and Museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing the
literature, art, and culture of horse and field sports. Founded in 1954, the institution has over 17,000-books dating from the 16th-21st centuries. In the fall of 2011, the newly renovated and expanded historic building on the campus will open to house exhibits of American and European fine sporting art. Information is shared through exhibitions, lectures, seminars, publications, and special events. The NSLM is open to researchers and the general public. Admission is free.

Olana Presenting The Life of Emily Dickinson


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The Olana Partnership will present “To See a Summer Sky,” a one-woman theatrical performance based on the life of Emily Dickinson. Excerpted from William Luce’s play “The Belle of Amherst,” on Saturday, July 2 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. The performance will take place at Cosy Cottage, the first home of Hudson River School painter Frederic E. Church located in the historic farm complex at Olana State Historic Site.

The production, performed by Triple Shadow actress Mari Andrejco as Emily Dickinson, and directed by Beth Skinner, focuses on Dickinson’s quiet life of transcendent reflection. Dickinson’s poems were inspired by a circumscribed world of home, garden, and village of Amherst. Andrejco says the play is “created for family audiences and allows them to learn about Emily Dickinson as if they were living at that time period (1830-1886).”

Triple Shadow creates visual theater challenging artistic boundaries, revealing the interconnectedness between human cultures and nature. The collaborative process is intercultural and interdisciplinary, affecting audiences in sensory and subconscious ways creating new perceptions of time and memory.

Mari Andrejco trained with Sanford Meiser at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. She has performed in Europe, Mexico, Egypt, and the United States. Andrejco has done stage acting, television, and video including appearing as Queen Elizabeth I and Susan B. Anthony for PBS. She has worked with Shakespeare and Company, Triple Shadow, and the Pleiades Company and has taught at the Institute for Arts in Education in the Albany schools.

Beth Skinner has premiered ten productions at La Mama E.T.C. in New York City with support from the theater programs of National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts and Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as grants from NEA Opera and NEA Presenting Program. The company has toured in Egypt, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Canada, and Indonesia and collaborated with artists from Japan, China, Korea, Hungary, Romania, Indonesia, Mexico, and Russia.

The performance will take place at Olana State Historic Site 5720 State Route 9G, Hudson, NY.

Cost of the play is $5.00 per person for non-members and free for members of The Olana Partnership. A $5.00 entry fee per vehicle will be charged (fee is waived for members of The Olana Partnership). This fee may be credited toward a house tour as long as house tour tickets are available. Please bring blankets and lawn chairs for seating. For more information contact Sarah Hasbrook, Education Coordinator for The Olana Partnership, at shasbrook@olana.org or call (518) 828-1872 x 109.

This program is made possible in part through support provided by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency; the Hudson River Bank & Trust Foundation; the Educational Foundation of America; the John Wilmerding Educational Initiative, and the members of The Olana Partnership.

Hudson Valley Farm Photo Exhibit at Olana


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Olana has announced the opening of a new exhibition by photographer Brandt Bolding entitled FARM: Agricultural Life of the Hudson Valley. The exhibit in the recently restored Coachman’s House Gallery at Olana State Historic Site.

In 1860, Frederic Church purchased approximately 126 acres of farmland and immediately set out to build a new “farm house” for his family. The artist expanded his land holdings over the next ten years and ultimately moved his family to the larger stone-and-brick house he built near the summit of the hill, but he continued to work on and operate a farm at Olana for the rest of his life. Church was proud of his farming accomplishments, writing friends and family of the success of his orchards, vegetables, and livestock.

The FARM exhibit coincides with extensive farm restoration work about to begin in Olana’s historic farm complex. The Olana Partnership and Olana State Historic Site have secured two major grants to focus on restoring Frederic Church’s farm. Over the next several years, meadow and orchard restoration projects will return the neglected farm to potentially active agricultural use. “According to a report of the American Farmland Trust, every hour we lose 125 acres of farm and ranch land in the U.S.,” reports Olana Partnership President Sara Griffen. “By focusing on the restoration of Olana’s farm we hope to play a small role in ensuring the agricultural future of Columbia County.”

Photographer Brandt Bolding states, “through extensive travels photographing and documenting the farms of northeastern America I am attempting to bring awareness of just a small part of what is at stake. Nowhere is this more of a concern than in the Mid-Hudson Valley…where citizens, and civic organizations large and small rally to preserve the irreplaceable beauty of our landscape from less than circumspect development.”

The photos included in the exhibition will be printed by the photographer in a limited edition of twelve and are available for purchase in the Olana Museum Store. The exhibit will be open every day through October 30, 2011 at Olana State Historic Site, 5720 State Route 9G, Hudson, New York.

About Brandt Bolding:

Brandt Bolding’s photographs have been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the northeastern part of the U.S. and have appeared in newspapers, journals, and publications by various preservation organizations in New York State. His work on agricultural life will be the subject of a solo exhibition at the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, NY, later this year. Two of his photographs appeared in the book entitled Old Homes of New England: Historic Houses in Clapboard, Shingle, and Stone published by Rizzoli in April 2010.

Photo: Level Acres Cornfield, Route 82, Columbia County. Courtesy Brandt Bolding Photography.

Olana Offers Children’s Summer Programs


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The Olana Partnership has announced two summer programs for children that will be offered in July and August. Each of the week-long programs offers a distinct experience for children ages 7-14 and parents can register their child for either one or both offerings.

Panorama – Olana’s new summer program for children will be held at the Wagon House Education Center from Monday, July 11 through Friday, July 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The week-long adventure will explore art, history, and nature through the prism of artist Frederic Church. Children will learn about artist techniques and Olana’s working farm in the 19th century; they will paint in the beautiful Olana landscape and create historic crafts for children. Professional authors and illustrators will enhance the experience of participants through hands-on activities. On the final day of the program, a museum will be set up in the Wagon House to display the children’s artwork.

River School – Olana’s summer dramatic arts program will be held at the Wagon House Education Center from Monday, August 8 through Friday, August 12, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children will create their own play from soup-to-nuts in this non-competitive program that explores all aspects of story and dramatic arts through the fun and magic of live theater. During this week-long “full process” experience, participants will create original scripts, design and construct sets and props, and stage a performance for family and friends at the end of the week. The theme of the play will derive from exploration of a painting by Hudson River School landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church. While using their imaginations in the inspiring Olana landscape, participants will work on public speaking and expression. Parents of past participants have summed up their children’s experience in River School as an “educational, dramatic arts exposure,” where children gained “confidence, and public speaking experience, and a sense of mastery and achievement.”

Registration forms for children ages 7-14 can be downloaded from Olana’s website. For more information on these programs, please contact Sarah Hasbrook, education coordinator for The Olana Partnership, at shasbrook@olana.org or (518) 828-1872 ext. 109.

Olana’s Wagon House Education Center offers public programs for children, families and the community. The Education Center is located at Olana State Historic Site, 5720 State Route 9G, Hudson, New York. After entering the site, take your first right after the lake and continue down to the Farm Complex parking lot.

Wagon House Education Center programming is made possible in part through support provided by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency; the Hudson River Bank & Trust Foundation; the Educational Foundation of America; the John Wilmerding Educational Initiative, and the members of The Olana Partnership.

Olana Hosts Artists’ Handmade Houses Book Event


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The Olana Partnership and Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios will offer a book talk and signing with author Michael Gotkin and photographer Don Freeman to celebrate the publication of Artists’ Handmade Houses on Saturday, June 18 at 4:00 p.m. on the East Lawn at Olana State Historic Site, 5720 State Route 9G, Hudson, New York. This event is free and open to the public (a vehicle use fee applies). Light refreshments will be served. Please call (518) 828-1872 ext. 103 or e-mail rsvp@olana.org to reserve.

Artists’ Handmade Houses is a collection of private domains handcrafted by the finest artists and craftsmen in America. This diverse selection of artists includes familiar names such as George Nakashima, Sam Maloof, Frederic Church, and Russel Wright, as well as those deserving wider recognition. Constructed between the late-nineteenth century and the mid-twentieth century, these homes were designed and built by artists as expressions of their art and craft. A few of the featured homes have been awarded National Historic Landmark status and several are open to the public, while others have sadly fallen into disrepair or are in the hands of new owners. In some cases, the photographs in this book represent the last record of the house as created by the artist.

Michael Gotkin’s text places each house in the context of its owner’s life and career, providing anecdotes and insights about its development over time and its place in the oeuvre of the artist. With brief histories about each artist and house, and spectacular new photography by Don Freeman, Artists’ Handmade Houses offers a rare glimpse into the personal living and work spaces of some of the greatest American artists and craftsmen.

Don Freeman’s photographs appear regularly in the pages of World of Interiors, Vogue, House Beautiful, and Vanity Fair, among other magazines. Michael Gotkin works as a landscape architect and city planner in New York City, where he is also an advocate for the preservation of postwar design. He has organized design exhibitions with the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Municipal Art Society of New York.

The hardcover book published by Abrams retails for $60.00 and has 240 pages, with 230 color photographs. Copies of Artists’ Handmade Houses will be available for sale at the event and online.

Hudson River Viewshed Symposium Saturday


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The Olana Partnership will celebrate the Hudson Valley’s extraordinary natural and designed landscapes in a symposium on Saturday, April 16, 2011. Framing the Viewshed: The Transformative Power of Art and Landscape in the Hudson Valley will take place at Columbia-Greene Community College, just outside of Hudson, New York. The panel discussion will feature three leading experts in the fields of art history, conservation, and landscape design who will discuss the Hudson Valley’s unparalleled viewsheds and their cultural context.

Olana, now the Olana State Historic Site, was the home and creation of Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), one of the most significant artists of his day, and a leader of the Hudson River School, America’s first native school of painting. As a young artist, Church studied under Thomas Cole who lived just across the Hudson River. Church fell in love with the area and, when he became successful he bought a farm, which eventually became one of America’s most important designed landscapes.

Frederic Church designed Olana, planting trees, building a lake, and orchestrating the paths and carriage drives that lead up to the iconic Persian-inspired castle at the top of the hill. From this vantage point, with Church’s 250-acre Picturesque style landscape in the foreground, and the larger, borrowed landscape stretching to the horizon, today’s visitor can enjoy a vista largely unchanged in the 110 years since Frederic Church died.

This vast area comprises the Olana viewshed. (Fittingly, Columbia-Greene College, site of the symposium, is itself part of this viewshed.) “Olana represents a rare American convergence of art, conservation and landscape themes,” said Mark Prezorski, trustee of The Olana Partnership. “It makes perfect sense for the Olana Viewshed to serve as a backdrop for a broader Hudson Valley discussion.”

The panel discussion will be moderated by David Schuyler, the biographer of Calvert Vaux, who assisted Church with the design of the house. Art historian Linda S Ferber will speak on the four Hudsons of Wallace Bruce, the author of a 1901 travel guide: the Hudsons of Beauty, History, Literature and Commerce. Vassar Professor Emeritus Harvey K. Flad will discuss the “Art of Protecting Scenic Views: Nineteenth-century Artists and the Preservation of Modern-day Landscapes.” Landscape architect Laurie Olin, whose designs for public and private landscapes have won him international acclaim, will speak on the use of contemporary design in historic settings.

The concept of viewsheds is one in which many organizations are involved, several of which are participating in this symposium by either helping sponsor the conference or having representatives on hand to talk about their work. Sara Griffen, President of The Olana Partnership, said, “Partnerships are key to understanding and preserving views. The Olana Partnership is pleased that the Hudson Valley Greenway and National Heritage Area are sponsors of the symposium, and that representatives of Scenic Hudson, the Open Space Institute, and the Columbia Land Conservancy will be available to describe their respective roles in the preservation of views. The Olana Partnership also acknowledges the critical work of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation as well as the Estuary program of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of State, and the support of our partners at the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Cultural Landscape Foundation.” WDST is the media sponsor of the symposium.

Citing some reasons why his organization with its partners have preserved more than 2,000 acres in the Olana viewshed, Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said, “These vistas are good for the soul and the economy. The land that inspired Frederic Church’s art today lifts the spirits of all who see it. Keeping this treasured landscape intact helps Olana bring $8 million to the local economy each year and contributes strongly to Columbia County’s tourism industry, which generates $105 million in spending annually and is responsible for 1,500 jobs. I applaud Olana for holding this symposium to have more people appreciate and support preserving the valley’s natural beauty.”

The symposium will be held from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at Columbia-Greene Community College, 4400 Route 23, Hudson, NY. Registration starts at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 each for members of The Olana Partnership, $50 for non-members. Continuing Education Credits, LACES 3.5 Non-HSW (NYS) will be available for registered landscape architects. From 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon, Olana is offering tours of the Bell Tower (which is not usually open to the public) to symposium participants. The tour is free to members, $40 for non-members; space is limited so guests must pre-register. For additional information or to reserve tickets, go to the Olana website, www.olana.org or call (518) 828-1872, extension 103.

Another feature of this symposium is a collection of statements on the subject of viewsheds that will be provided to attendees. In addition, these statements are posted on Olana’s website, along with an opportunity for the public, through Facebook, to create their own statements about views.

Following the symposium, participants can enjoy the sunset by attending a Viewshed Benefit Party with wine and hors d’oeuvres, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Oak Hill in Hudson, NY (town of Livingston). Oak Hill was built around 1793 by John Livingston (1750-1822), son of Robert Livingston, the third Lord of Livingston Manor. Grandly sited on a Hudson River bluff, it commands intimate river and mountain views, as well as a singular view up toward Frederic Church’s house and painting studio. Oak Hill is one of more than a dozen family homes built along the Hudson River and has remained in the Livingston family since it was built. Sponsor tickets for the benefit are $250, members $90 and non-members $100 and are available by calling (518) 828-1872, extension 103 as well as via Brown Paper Tickets.

Photo: Peter Aaron/Esto.

New Season at Boscobel House and Gardens


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Whether you crave chocolate or relish history, Boscobel has a special event just for you. The early 19th-century house museum on 45 acres in Garrison (Putnam County) swings its gate open for the 2011 season this April 1st, and the entire month promises a variety of unique offerings.

New this year will be special Themed House Tours. In April, think quickly for the April Fool’s: What’s Wrong in This Room? house tours. Join in on the search for off-period items in Boscobel House. Would Elizabeth have one or two sugar cubes in her tea? Did Peter wear a wrist watch on his left or right arm? Careful – Boscobel is trying to fool you. Daily tours throughout the month of April will include a wrong-era object in each room. See the Boscobel website for special themed tours in July & November, too. There is no additional cost for themed tours. (Regular house admission rates apply.)

Eagerly anticipating chocolate from the Easter Bunny? No need to wait that long…come to Boscobel Saturday, April 2 for a luscious lecture and tasting: Wine & Chocolate Pairings with Oliver Kita. According to Chocolatier and Chef Oliver Kita, wine & chocolate are a natural combination. Both have complex flavors and notes, and both have similar components and nuances. Join us for this tasty lecture, and learn how to team up wine and chocolate together in a variety of delicious ways. A sampling of wines and chocolates will be offered. Unique chocolates will also be available for sale, as well as Oliver’s line of “Great Estate Chocolates” which include Boscobel. (Great gifts for Mother’s Day and Easter!) Wine & Chocolate Tasting Plus a Tour of Boscobel House: $35/person at 1pm. Wine & Chocolate Tasting Only: $25/person at 2:30pm. Space limited. Reservations Required. (21 years+) Tickets can be bought online at Boscobel.org. Look for a link on the April event page.

This year’s Seminar Series sponsored by the Friends of Boscobel is titled, “18th & 19th Century Industries in the Hudson Valley.” It all starts April 9 with Ms. Ina Griffin-Guilzon, Museum Teacher at Columbia County Historical Society who will present, “Whaling Industry Based in The Hudson.”

The series will continue on April 16 with Travis Bowman of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation who will give an illustrated talk on “Bobs’ Folly,” how Robert Fulton & Robert Livingston introduced the first steamboat service on the Hudson River.

Finally, on April 23 stop by for: Dr. Tom Carroll, Professor at RPI and associated with “Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway” who will give a modified version of “The Hudson as Silicon Valley of the 19th Century” with coverage of the West Point Foundry and Burden Mining near Linlithgo. All lectures are free and do not require reservations; space is limited. House tours are additional.

Are you a garden buff? Rest your spade, and come to Boscobel on Friday April 29 at 2pm for a Garden Tour & Book Signing by the authors of “Gardens of the Hudson Valley.” This stunning, new coffee table book focuses on the Valley’s historic landscape and how gardens have been integrated into it. Photographers Steve Gross and Susan Daly selected twenty-five gardens between Yonkers and Hudson that included famous estates, including Boscobel, as well as private gardens that combine sweeping views and lush plantings. Writers Susan Lowry and Nancy Berner describe each of the gardens in full detail with focus on the history of the site and the strategies for design and plant materials. Join us at Boscobel on Arbor Day where Ms. Lowry and Ms. Berner will lead visitors on a guided garden tour, discuss their book and sign copies purchased in the gift shop. Grounds admission applies.

Due to popular request, Costumed House Tours at Boscobel have been expanded are being offered all day long on the last Friday of every month. Step back in time when Boscobel’s docents dress in period costumes and guide visitors through Boscobel House on an interactive, interpretive tour. They will explain life and times of the 1800s and perhaps share “inside stories” of the Dyckman family. There is no additional cost for costumed tours; regular house admission rates apply.

Live in Orange County? Be sure to visit Boscobel on Sunday, April 17 when it’s Orange County Day. Simply show your proof of Orange residence and your grounds admission is free. It’s a terrific way to discover Boscobel and take in some breathtaking views. Check Boscobel’s website calendar for your free county day.

For a fabulous spring opening sale on many unique home & gift items in the Gift Shop at Boscobel, stop by the first two weeks in April. There’s even a 50% off table sure to please the bargain shopper in you.

For further details on all events and programs, including rain dates & pricing, visit Boscobel.org or call 845.265.3638 after April 1. Boscobel is located on scenic Route 9D in Garrison New York just one mile south of Cold Spring. From April through October, hours are 9:30am to 5pm., the last tour at 4:00pm. The house museum and distinctive Gift Shop at Boscobel are open every day except Tuesdays, May 15, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.