Tag Archives: Columbia County

Exhibit: Camps of the Mid-Hudson Valley


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summer camp kids postcardMud sliding, a plane dropping leaflets to open a camp’s “Color Wars,” a 14-year-old pitcher striking out a visiting Lou Gehrig, a polio epidemic, the controversial arrest of a popular camp owner, kids finding “lost” caves, folksinger Theodor Bickel entertaining campers.

These are some of the stories in the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society’s new exhibit on area camps, Swimming, Singing and S’mores: 120 years of camps in the Mid Hudson Valley. Continue reading

Artifacts From The Copake Iron Works Talk


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Sewing MachineFriends of Taconic State Park will presents “Artifacts from the Copake Iron Works” on Sunday, March 15th from 2 to 4 pm at the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society in Copake Falls, NY.

Jim Mackin, vice president of Friends of Taconic State Park, along with members of the group’s museum committee, will speak about the history of the Copake Iron Works and efforts to catalog the many artifacts uncovered in the Iron Works machine shop. Continue reading

New Illustrated History of Hudson, NY


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Hudson NYA new pictorial history authored by Lisa LaMonica, Hudson (Arcadia Publishing, 2014) features over 200 images depicting scenes of the City of Hudson and it’s surroundings’ history.

In vintage photographs, Hudson covers a history that includes the story of the Mohicans, whaling, and the multitude of factories in the Industrial Age, as well as the city’s modern-day transformation. Continue reading

Photos of Copake Iron Works Area Sought


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Postcard The Fish Pond Copake Iron WorksFriends of Taconic State Park, the organization working to preserve and stabilize the 19th century Copake Iron Works, are seeking historic photos for its interpretative signage project.

Anyone with access to, or possession of, images of the site (especially the centerpiece blast furnace and any houses or other buildings located nearby) is encouraged to contact them at info@FriendsofTSP.org. Continue reading

Furnace Fest at the Copake Iron Works on Saturday


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Have a blast Postcard 10-2014_001Friends of Taconic State Park invites history lovers to have a blast at “Furnace Fest at the Copake Iron Works” on Saturday, November 8th from noon to 2pm.  This year’s celebration will feature a display of 19th century ironmaking artifacts from the group’s museum project, a scavenger hunt on the Iron Works history trail, and lunch at the Iron Bar and Grill.

Since its establishment in 2008, Friends of Taconic State Park has carried out several preservation and stabilization projects at the Copake Iron Works including the construction of a protective shelter for the 19th century blast furnace, and extensive masonry repairs to the Engine House and Machine Shop. Continue reading

Columbia Co: Van Alen House Archeological Discoveries


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MenArcheSince acquiring the Van Alen House in 1964, the Columbia County Historical Society has sponsored many archeological investigations on the property. When Matthew Kirk, Principal Investigator and Vice President of Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc. began work at the 1737 homestead, the archeological record was thought to be irretrievably lost after the 1960s, when the landscape was significantly altered with a bulldozer to create a pond. Despite the damage, significant archeological discoveries were made that helped to better understand the family that lived there. Continue reading

Columbia County Magazine: The 1737 Van Alen House


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Columbia County History and Heritage MagazineThe Columbia County Historical Society in Kinderhook, New York has published the latest issue of Columbia County History & Heritage magazine. The Spring/Summer 2014 issue is subtitled “Celebrating Our Legacy The Luykas Van Alen House 1964-2014″.

In honor of the Van Alen House 50th anniversary, Executive Director and Curator Diane Shewchuk solicited articles from local authors and scholars Ruth Piwonka and Roderic Blackburn, who have been involved with the National Historic Landmark 1737 Van Alen House since the 1970s. Continue reading

Hudson Valley Heritage Area Awards Grants


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hudson river valley heritage areaThe Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and the Hudson River Valley Greenway highlighted five National Heritage Area Heritage Development Grants awarded to historic and cultural institutions in the Mid-Hudson Valley last week.

The National Park Service calls the Hudson River Valley “the landscape that defined America.” These small National Heritage Area Heritage Development Grants are expected to support a wide range of historic and cultural projects, including installations, demonstrations, and public outreach and education projects that will connect more people with the rich tapestry of heritage and cultural experiences in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Continue reading

Copake Iron Works Tours And Talk Planned


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Copake Iron Works cart and horseHistorian Jim Mackin will present “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Copake Iron Works But Were Afraid to Ask” at a lecture and slide show on Saturday, June 21st at 2pm at the Roeliff Jansen Community Library, 9091 Route 22 in Copake, Columbia County, NY, followed by a reception and tour of the Iron Works.

Mackin will also host guided tours of the Copake Iron Works Historic District throughout the summer, beginning on June 8th as part of New York State’s Path Through History Weekend. Continue reading

Mount Lebanon Heritage Herb Festival Planned


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PostcardHerbFest copyThe third annual Mount Lebanon Heritage Herb Festival celebrates the illustrious past of herbs in town history as well as the Native American and Shaker traditions in the heart of the Lebanon Valley of New York, considered the birthplace of the herbal pharmacy in the United States.

The event takes place on Saturday, June 7, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the historic grounds of Darrow School, at Mount Lebanon Shaker Village.   More than eighteen talks, walks and workshops explore the role of herbs in food, gardens, medicine and health from the early days of the Native Americans to current practices. Continue reading

Mount Lebanon Shaker Museum Adds 61 Acres


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new lebanon shaker museumThe Shaker Museum – Mount Lebanon, in New Lebanon, Columbia County, NY, has completed the acquisition of 61 acres of land adjacent to its North Family site, part of the Mount Lebanon Shaker Society National Historic Landmark District.

The parcel, known as the North Pastures, was purchased from the Darrow School, whose campus consists of the former Church and Center Families of Mount Lebanon’s former Shaker community. The purchase was achieved in a partnership with the Open Space Institute, a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to preserving scenic, natural, and historic landscapes, and also with funding from a 2012 grant from New York State. Continue reading

Columbia County: A Lecture On Copake History


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Pelholm barn with Ezra PellsLocal historian and author Howard Blue will present talk on the history of Copake, Columbia County, at the Roe Jan Historical Society in Copake Falls on Sunday, May 18 at 2:00 pm. Blue’s program is based in part on interviews of local residents from whose family albums he was allowed to copy old photos.

The presentation will focus primarily on the town’s and county’s first settlers, the Mohican Indians, and the 90-year-long, sometimes violent conflict between the Livingston family which at one time owned almost all of Copake and the family’s tenant farmers. Blue will also discuss Martin Van Buren’s role in Copake’s anti-rent movement, Copake in the Revolutionary war years, the existence of slavery in Copake, and Copake’s Civil War era bond issue that helped buy out from the draft some of Copake’s young men. Continue reading

Hidden History of Columbia County, NY


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Columbia County NY HistoryBordered by the Hudson River and the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, few know Columbia County is noted for a mastodon tooth that rolled down a farmer’s hill in Claverack changing the world’s understanding of prehistoric times. President Martin Van Buren lost his wife, Hannah, in Kinderhook and hardly mentioned her again. Hudson’s gallows were the scene of New York’s last hanging, as hundreds of ticket holders looked on. “Pondshiners” in the hills of Taghkanic made fantastic baskets.

Local author Allison Guertin Marchese explores these little-known stories of people and places in
Hidden History of Columbia County, New York (History Press, 2014). Continue reading

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