Tag Archives: Dutchess County

Tree Removal Planned for Vanderbilt Mansion NHS


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The National Park Service (NPS) will soon begin work to remove hazardous trees along Route 9 at the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site in Hyde Park (Dutchess County).

After a public comment period and agency reviews, the NPS made the decision to remove only trees that have been identified as high or severe risks to public safely. 100 trees will be removed out of the approximately 700 trees in this area. Once tree removal has been completed, 200 white pine trees will be planted in the understory, with the goal of re-establishing a visual barrier between the highway and estate grounds.  

During the project, the park will remain open to the public, but the work area will be closed for safety reasons. Some minor traffic delays may occur on Route 9 when trees leaning over the highway are removed.

NPS Historian Talk on FDR, Hyde Park Memorial


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National Park Service Historian, Dr. Dennis Montagna will present a talk entitled “A Designing President—FDR and his Enduring Memorial” this Sunday, April 15 at 2:00 PM. The talk will be held at the Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Center located at the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, New York. It is free and open to the public.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt left detailed instructions regarding his burial in the rose garden at his Hyde Park estate. He also designed the monument to mark the site. Dr. Montagna will share information about the reasons behind FDR ‘s burial decisions and how some of his last wishes were not instituted.


After the presentation, there will be an informal ceremony in the Rose Garden to mark the 67th anniversary of FDR’s burial.

The talk coincides with the opening of a new exhibit in the Roosevelt Carriage House entitled: “Enduring Memorial: FDR’s Final Resting Place”. Beginning April 15, the exhibit is open daily 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The Carriage House is located behind the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Guest Essay: The State of Dutchess County History


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What follows is a guest essay by Peter Feinman of the Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education (IHARE).



Over the last few months, IHARE has initiated a Dutchess County History Conference and a series of brown-bag lunches in different parts of the county. Based on the these events, I would like to make the following comments on the topic.



1. Dutchess County Historian

Numerous people raised the issue of the lack of a Dutchess County historian. This statutory-required position is seen as the leader of the Duchess County history community. Therefore the absence of such an individual directly contributes to the fractured community which exists at present. The up-coming election for County Executive provides an opportunity to redress this condition. Drew Nicholson,

Village of Pawling Municipal historian is preparing a job description identifying the scope and activities relevant to the position. He is drawing on the Putnam County notices for a new county historian. If you have any ideas you would like to share with him, he can be reached at dan.ddn@comcast.net. One of the participants in the recent programs expressed interest in becoming the County Historian should the new

County Executive seek to fill the position.

2. Dutchess County Archives

See above. The absence contrasts with Westchester County which just reopened its redesigned archive center. This is a major project which will require outside funding. Presumably, the new County Historian would play a leading role in this process.

.3 Dutchess County Heritage Days

In April, the County Legislature designated the ten-day period from October 23 to November 1 each year as “Dutchess County Heritage Days.” This is related to the upcoming 300th anniversary in 2013 of the creation of the county on October 23, 1713. The chairman of the legislature is authorized to appoint an ad hoc county committee to

plan appropriate program activities for the celebration. The committee is to consist of the county historian and a fair representation of the various land patents and town historians. Furthermore, the legislature expressed the hopeful expectation that schools, historians and community groups would actively promote and encourage appreciation for the many aspects of Dutchess County’s past.

Presumably the legislature also is expressing the hopeful expectation that a county historian will be appointed.

There is no obligation to wait until 2013 to celebrate the County’s history. With the new school year fast approaching, now [meaning in a few weeks after vacations] is the time for schools, municipal historians, and historical societies to begin planning events at the local level for the Heritage commemoration beginning this October.

4. Heritage Ramble for Dollars

The recent release of the Ramble schedule for 2011 reveals some of the strengths and weakness of heritage planning in the County. While there are many events in scheduled in the County, they are not done so in a way which maximizes the revenue from them or which enhances a sense of place, a sense of community, a sense of belonging in the

county. Consider, for example, the events scheduled for Beacon:

9/10 9:00 Denning’s Point Kayak Tour

9/10 10:00 Madam Brett Sites Ramble

9/10 1:30 Bannerman Island Cruise and Walking Tour

9/11 1:30 Bannerman Island Cruise and Walking Tour

9/11 12:00 Woody Guthrie Sail

9/17 1:30 Bannerman Island Cruise and Walking Tour

9/18 1:30 Bannerman Island Cruise and Walking Tour

9/24 10:00 Denning?s Point Walk and Talk

9/24 11:00 Kayak and Paddleboard Demo Day

9/24 1:30 Bannerman Island Cruise and Walking Tour

9/25 9:00 Mount Beacon Fire Tower Restoration Project

9/25 9:00 Beacon Incline Railway Hike 3 hours

9/25 1:00 One River Many Streams Folk Festival

9/25 1:30 Bannerman Island Cruise and Walking Tour

with no Beacon Main Street Walking Tour listed.

How exactly can the Dutchess County Tourism Department, [representatives presented at the Dutchess County History Conference and attended two of the brown-bag lunches] go to MetroNorth or bus tour operators or market visiting Beacon with such a haphazard

schedule of events? Some events are simultaneous, some are overlapping, some are days apart because they are created individually at the organization level without overall coordination or planning. What opportunities are being missed for tourist revenue, sales taxes, and promoting community spirit by such a schedule? Similar listings

could be created for other communities in the county as well. The point is not to focus criticism on one municipality here but to use it as a case study for a county-wide issue.

With Heritage Days October 23- November 1 and New York Heritage Weekend May 19-20, 2012, each community to will the opportunity to develop to create a more focused celebration of its heritage.

5. Mid-Hudson Social Studies Council (MHSSC)

This annual conference for social studies teachers takes place on Election Day in Cornwall. I have requested that a session in the conference be devoted to Dutchess County History and that organizations be allowed to exhibit display tables with their school programs. Even if the Board accepts my proposals, the logistical challenge of going back and forth to Cornwall for a day will discourage many teachers in the county from attending, assuming they even know about it in the first place. This raises the issue of what are the best venues for reaching teachers about local and county history including for professional development and college credit.

I will be sending a version of this essay to the county schools and teachers as we get a little closer to the new school year.

200 Years of Landscape History at Hyde Park


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Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites will be offering historic landscape and garden tours, free, on the third Sunday of the month offered by the National Park Service and their partner, the Frederick W. Vanderbilt Garden Association.

On July 17, August 21, September 18 and October 16, participants can meet at 1:00 pm at the Vanderbilt Mansion visitor parking area for the “200 Years of Landscape History” tour led by an NPS Ranger. The tour concludes at the Formal Gardens where visitors may join FWVGA volunteers between 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm for an additional 30-minute tour.

Interpreter-guides will discuss the history of the gardens, Vanderbilt ownership and the on-going work by the Vanderbilt Garden Association which was formed in 1984 to rehabilitate and maintain the garden plantings.

Park in the Vanderbilt Mansion visitor parking lot and follow the gravel path on the south side of the mansion. Tours will be cancelled if it rains. Please call 845-229-7770 or 845-229-6432 for status if the weather is questionable.

Wilderstein Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit, Reception


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A strong tradition of patronage by the Suckley family during their tenure at Wilderstein combined with the natural beauty and architectural majesty of the estate makes it an ideal setting for showcasing the arts.

The first of its kind at Wilderstein, Modern Art & The Romantic Landscape, features outdoor contemporary sculptures by a talented group of emerging Hudson Valley artists. Participants include Emil Alzamora, Andy Fennell, Sarah Haviland, Malcolm D. MacDougall III, Arnaldo Ugarte, and Craig Usher. The exhibit opens may 21st with a reception at 4 pm.

The exhibition is made possible in part through a grant from the Dutchess County Arts Council. Additional support provided by Central Hudson, Charles Hewett, and Duane & Linda Watson.

Wilderstein is open daily between 9 am and dusk through the end of October.

Wilderstein Opens for the Summer


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Overlooking the Hudson River in Rhinebeck, Wilderstein Historic Site is an exquisite Queen Anne mansion and Calvert Vaux designed landscape, widely regarded as the Hudson Valley’s most important example of Victorian architecture.

Visitors to Wilderstein learn about the history of the estate and its inhabitants, explore the grounds and walking trails, and experience the mansion’s unique architecture and lavish 1888 interiors.

Tours are available May – October, Thursday – Sunday, from noon – 4 PM. Group Tours are welcome by reservation during and outside regular tour hours.

Visit Wilderstein’s website for heir calendar of events, and find them on Facebook.

Dutchess County History Conference May 7


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The Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education (IHARE) has announced the fourth of five county history conferences in the Hudson Valley to be held this spring. The history of Dutchess County will be the focus of the conference, which will be held May 7, Greenspan Dining Room, Drumlin Building, Dutchess Community College.

Each Saturday conference brings together scholars, municipal historians, historic organizations, teachers, and lovers of history to share in the experience of the history of a region in the Hudson Valley, address the challenges in preserving that legacy, and to hear about teaching local history in our schools. We look forward to

seeing you at the next conference.



Lunch is $10 (mail check payable to IHARE to POB 41, Purchase, NY, 10577). To pre-register or for more information contact info@ihare.org

9:00 Welcome – D. David Conklin, President

Dutchess Community College [invited]

9:15 Students take a Trip in a Time Machine Back 7,000 Years

Stephanie Roberg-Lopez and Tom Lake

Dutchess Community College

Examine the legacy of the first human settlers in what would become Dutchess County. Explore the mysteries of Bowdoin Park. See what the students have uncovered as part of their archaeological training over the past decade. The discoveries of Native American culture dates to at least 7,000 years ago.

Stephanie Roberg-Lopez is an Associate Professor in Behavioral Sciences at Dutchess Community College where she teaches Anthropology and Archaeology. She also does cultural resource management consulting throughout New York. She has a BA in Anthropology from Columbia University and an MA in Archaeology from Yale.

Tom Lake works for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program as its Estuary Naturalist, where he shadows eagles, teaches the ecology of the estuary, and edits the Hudson River Almanac, a natural history journal now in its 18th year. He is an Adjunct lecturer at Dutchess Community College.

10:15 It Really Is Our History:

Dutchess County And The American Civil War

Pete Bedrossian, National Purple Heart Hall of Honor,

New York State Office Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation

Everyone knows that the Civil War occurred in the South – that’s where all the National Park Services sites are located excepted for Gettysburg! But it was the people from the North who fought in those battles and marched in those campaigns and no state contributed more than New York State. Units tended to be based on communities and the soldiers from Dutchess County were no exception to this practice. Come here the story of the 150th New York, the Dutchess County regiment.

Peter Bedrossian has studied the Civil War for 20 years as a Civil War Living Historian and re enactor. He is the military commander of the 150th New York, which is an education association chartered by the Board of Regents. His areas of focus are the 150th New York, “the Dutchess County Regiment” and Civil War Medicine and Surgery. He has made presentations at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park, the Antietam National Battlefield Park, St. Paul’s National Historic Site, local libraries and historical societies as well as providing school programs throughout the region. When not in the 19th century, he preserves our history as Program Director at the National Purple Heart

Hall of Honor.

11:15 The Home Front at Roosevelt’s Home Town

Carney Rhinevault, Hyde Park Town Historian

The Home Front at Roosevelt’s Home Town tells an almost entirely forgotten story in wonderful, personal detail: the myriad ways in which people in small town America coped with the challenges, hardships and inconveniences of world war and threw themselves – every man, woman and child of them – into the effort of winning the war by

means of civic enterprise. A selection of chapter titles spells it out: “airplane spotters,” “blackout drills and civil defense,” “home front industries,” “rationing and shortages,” “victory gardens,” “recycling.” This book presents Anytown USA in wartime. It also tells us about the lifelong home town that was much loved by the

Commander-in-Chief. The Roosevelts pass in and out of the narrative with sufficient frequency to add celebrity flavor and worldwide resonance to the initiatives and privations of his “friends and neighbors.”

Carney Rhinevault is the Hyde Park Town Historian, a position once held by FDR. Rhinevault discovered a previously unpublished account of daily doings in Hyde Park and Staatsburg during eighteen months in the middle of World War II written by a career newspaper reporter Helen Myers.

12:15 Lunch

1:15 Preserving the Past in Dutchess County

Saving the Fishkill Supply Depot: A Call to Action

Lance Ashworth, President, Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot

Over the past forty years, the overall site has been considerably damaged and fragmented by commercial development. A combination of general contemporary pressure to seek revenue from properties, regulatory, legal and procedural gaps, and historical accident have combined to produce a situation in which the 70 acres of National

Register of Historic Places-designated Fishkill Supply Depot land, or at least some parcels within it, have never come under the care of effective custodianship.

Key open space parts of the Fishkill Supply Depot complex are currently up for sale, primed for future commercial development. Still, the opportunity remains for respectful preservation and subsequent interpretation of remaining open space. The preservation of essential properties at the core of the Depot site can happen in our

time. It is to this end that we are dedicated.

The Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot is a not-for-profit organization that advocates the permanent preservation of undeveloped acres within the Fishkill Supply Depot and Encampment, a Revolutionary War site that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mission of The Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot includes

permanent protection of the Continental Army Burial Complex within the boundaries of the Fishkill Supply Depot, stringent archaeological review of development projects that may affect the site, preservation of archaeological resources associated with the Fishkill Supply Depot during the Revolutionary period, and the future interpretation of the historic site for public benefit.

Restoring the Beacon Railway

Anne Lynch, Mount Beacon Incline Railway Restoration Society

Founded in 1996, the Mount Beacon Incline Railway Restoration Society consists of members from across the Hudson Valley and beyond. This diverse organization is united in its efforts to restore, operate and preserve an integral piece of American industrial, engineering, transportation and leisure history. Incline railway service to the summit of Mount Beacon will offer the public unparalleled vistas and scenic beauty. The Incline Railway will serve as a living museum and centerpiece asset in the restoration of the Mount Beacon summit as a scenic, historic educational and recreational resource.

Anne Lynch is the president and CEO of the Mount Beacon Incline Railway Restoration Society

2:15 Dutchess County: A Community Experience

Dutchess County: A Community of Pots and Transportation

George Lukacs, Poughkeepsie City Historian

Upper Landing: Bridging our Past and Future in Poughkeepsie

Jolanda Jensen and Nancy Cozean

Restoring a Village Green, Renewing a Community

The Pawling Green Project

Nancy Tanner, Bill McGuinness, and Karen Zukowski

Historic Resource Surveys:

Planning Tool for Communities in the 21st Century

Kathleen Howe, New York State Historic Preservation Office

Historic resource surveys help raise awareness about historic and cultural resources, provide useful information for municipal planners, developers and property owners, and help protect these resources, providing critical baseline information about historic resources in a specific area. Learn about the State Historic Preservation Office’s

(SHPO) recent efforts to enhance survey efforts throughout New York State.

Kathleen Howe is the Survey and Evaluation Unit Coordinator for the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), part of the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). She holds a M.A. in Architectural History and Certificate in Historic Preservation from the University of Virginia. After graduation, she worked in the planning unit of the Peak National Park in the United Kingdom as part of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)

internship program. Before joining the SHPO staff, Ms. Howe worked for ten years at Bero Architecture in Rochester, New York preparing historic structure reports and surveys. She also worked for a non-profit preservation organization in Rochester as curator of two historic house museums. She began working for the SHPO in 1999 as

National Register representative for the New York City territory, working with property owners and interested citizens in listing properties to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Under Ms. Howe’s guidance over 200 listings (both individual properties and historic districts) were added to the Registers

encompassing over 4,100 properties from skyscrapers and industrial complexes to brownstone row houses and synagogues. She has shepherded through a number of State and National Register nominations that represent the diverse architectural and cultural landscape of New York City including historic districts for the Lower East Side, Chinatown and Little Italy, Gansevoort Market, Garment Center, Sugar Hill, and

Wall Street, among others. She completed the nomination of over 65 subway stations in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the NYC Subway System. Ms. Howe has recently spent time evaluating several properties from the recent past including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Look Building, the TWA Terminal, and the World Trade Center site. She is a frequent guest lecturer at Columbia University’s Historic Preservation graduate program. Since February 2011, Ms. Howe has been head of the SHPO’s newly formed Survey and Evaluation Unit which is responsible for the identification and evaluation of historic properties in New York State as required by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and the New York State Historic Preservation Act of 1980.

3:45 Municipal Historian Roundtable: Education and Cultural Tourism

Mary Kay Vrba, Dutchess County Tourism

Mary Kay Vrba CTP, Director of Tourism for Dutchess County has more than 25 years of tourism experience and has the responsibility for marketing Dutchess County as vacation destination. Mary Kay’s job responsibilities include sales and marketing for all publications printed by DC tourism, she oversaw the visitor profile study, grant

writer for tourism agency, new product development and the day-to-day-aspects of the agency.

Mary Kay currently serves as President of Hudson Valley Tourism and past President of the NYS TPA Council, Instructor at NYU at the Tisch Center for Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Management, and serves on Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Valkill Board of Directors

Mary Kay has a master degree from George Williams College in Downers Grove Illinois in Leisure and Environmental Resource

4:15 Dutchess County School/Historic Organization Collaborations

Peter Feinman, Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education, moderator

Teaching Dutchess County History: A High School Experience -

Shaun Boyce, Arlington High School

Shaun Boyce has been teaching social studies at Arlington High School since 2000. Although he has developed course curricula at Dutchess Community College and Marist College, Hudson River Heritage is his first truly original course for a high school audience. He?ll discuss the challenges and rewards of teaching about the Hudson River Valley.

Trunks to Interns: Teaching Local History

Betsy Kopstein, Executive Director of the DC Historical Society

Memories of a Community: Seniors to Seniors Oral History Project

Sandra Vacchio, President

Wappingers Historical Society

The Wappingers Historical Society, in collaboration with Robert Wood, Instructor of The Roy C. Ketcham High School Broadcast Arts Class, has documented stories of the past as told to us by long time Wappingers residents. Each Monday night, throughout March, a different program featuring the reflections of lifelong Wappingers residents was presented. “his has been an incredible opportunity for the students here at RCK,” says, Robert Wood, art educator. “This has truly been a cooperative educational experience and a terrific interaction between students and community. Students filmed and edited these interviews. All involved are very excited about the final products.” An ongoing effort to save history through various mediums, additional video and audio interviews are now in production. One can visit the website at www.wappingershistoricalsociety.org to see photo, post card and glass negative galleries.

41st Annual Rhinebeck Car Show


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The 41st Annual Car Show, for everyone in the old car hobby Spring officially arrives on the first weekend of May with the Rhinebeck Car Show. Rhinebeck 2011 will be held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds on May 6, 7 and 8. Gates will open at noon on the 6th for spectators to go through the vendor’s sites. This event is a sure cure for “cabin fever” and hobbyists from all over the Northeast have been celebrating spring for over forty years by converging at Rhinebeck to participate in this popular event. Rhinebeck is one of the biggest car shows in the Northeast and hundreds of cars and thousands of spectators will be filling the Fairgrounds for this spring celebration of automotive history.

Rhinebeck 2011 will be fun for the whole family. Mom and Dad will be reminded of that first date in one of these special vehicles or that first new car their family had. Many car collectors are fulfilling old dreams in the car that they really wanted but were out of reach when they were younger. The kids and grand kids will enjoy the cars too but should also enjoy the old toys displayed and for sale by vendors. In addition to all of the cars on display, the family can wander through the Swap Meet looking at automotive memorabilia. Plenty of food vendors will be offering an interesting variety of food choices and, as usual, Fosters Coach House will be open at the Fairgrounds for those who prefer to sit down to relax and enjoy their meal.

This year we will be featuring a display by the Saratoga Automobile Museum on our show field. They are planning to bring several cars and motor cycles for your viewing enjoyment following is a bit about the activities they plan this year:

The Saratoga Automobile Museum displays Autos from May to October, there are over 20 lawn shows that feature cars from Alfa and Auburn to Stutz and Volkswagen. In early May, the Saratoga Spring Invitational is a showcase for a select group of breathtaking automobiles from the Brass Era to Classics from the Golden Age of Motoring, to today’s most modern and exotic Supercars. On the same weekend is our traditional Spring Car Show, while later in the summer we are pleased to host Hemming’s Sports & Exotics Show.

When fall and winter come, the Museum is still active with lectures and technical sessions, our unique “Living Legends” interview sessions (this year featuring racers A.B. Shuman, Jack DeWitt and automotive journalist Ken Gross). Add in the young people’s exhibits at SAM’s Garage, our educational programs (last year’s building of a Model A Huckster and this year’s upcoming “Build a Hot Rod”), our onsite school-age programs (for elementary to college level students), the “…fun for kids of all ages…” racecar simulators, and it is apparent that the Saratoga Automobile Museum is your place to be for year round automotive entertainment.

Saturday’s show spotlights the creativity and ingenuity of the owners and builders of some of the finest hot rod, custom cars and sport compacts in the country. 800 Cars are expected to be on the show field for your enjoyment. These vehicles feature amazing paint schemes including fancy flames and cool graphics. They include incredible custom body designs with chopped tops and channeled bodies.

Monster motors built without caring that they get less than 10 miles per gallon; and fine custom interiors you’ll wish you could live in. The Atlantic Coast Old Time Racing Club will take a break from their racing competition to show off their antique racers at Rhinebeck. The Sport Compact cars have special sounds systems, low rider wheels, unique exhaust systems and special paint schemes. The guys who customize these cars are very creative and develop truly unique and fun vehicles. Sunday’s show focus is on restored antique and classic cars.

Over 1100 old cars from all automotive eras up to 1986 are expected. These vehicles are some of the finest restorations to be found anywhere. Owners and restorers pride themselves restoring their vehicles to “showroom” condition. Actually, many of these vehicles are restored too much better condition than when they left the showroom.

Sunday’s show will include early antique vehicles, cars from the roaring twenties, thirties classics, fabulous forties cars, and plenty of vehicles from the fifties, sixties and seventies. Many of the cars on display disappeared from showrooms years ago. Antique trucks, motorcycles, plenty of sports cars, and other foreign cars will be there too. Many
of last year’s award winning vehicles will be on display in the “Winners’ Circle” on both Saturday and Sunday.

Anyone looking for a way to get started in this great hobby will find plenty of opportunity in the Rhinebeck Car Corral. A wide variety of over 500 collectable cars will be for sale there.

In the Swap Meet area, about a thousand vendors will be selling plenty of auto hobby related material. There will be lots and lots of old car parts, tools, restoration supplies, and automotive literature. Many of the vendors will be selling both old and new toys.

The Dutchess County Fairgrounds is located on Route 9, just north of the village of Rhinebeck. The gates open at 6:00 AM on Saturday and at 8:00 on Sunday. Admissions are $10.00 but children 12 and under are admitted free. For additional information, call 845-876-3554 from 7 to 9 PM.. This year we also have early birds day Friday with gates open at 12:00. Weekend passes are available at the gate to those who plan on attending more than one day at $17.

Rhinebeck 2011 is sponsored by the Hudson River Valley Antique Automobile Association Inc. which is an association of six local car clubs whose members volunteer hundreds of hours each year to organize and run this event.

Daffodil High Tea At Wilderstein


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Put on your fancy hat and head to Wilderstein Historic Site’s annual Daffodil High Tea on Saturday, April 16 at 1 PM. A treat for tea enthusiasts, this event offers a glimpse of what tea time was like during the Victorian era.

Guests enjoy a festive afternoon featuring fine tea, homemade cakes, cookies, and delectable finger sandwiches. Scheduled on the early side for a high tea, this allows more time for touring the Wilderstein mansion, taking in the site’s Hudson River views, and strolling the Calvert Vaux designed landscape while the daffodils are in bloom.

Cost per person is $30 for adults and $20 for children. Included in the ticket price for the high tea is a special tour of the mansion.

Advance reservations are necessary, as limited seating tends to fill-up quickly. Please call Wilderstein at 845.876.4818 to RSVP and for additional information.

Great Estates Consortium 7th Conference


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The Great Estates Consortium will be presenting the seventh annual Great Estates Conference — “Inspiring Individuals: A Legacy of Leadership in the Hudson River Valley” — on Saturday, March 19, 2011. Speakers will discuss the life and times of Margaret Beekman Livingston, Frederic Church, and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and their roles as inspiring Hudson River Valley personalities.

Optional afternoon tours of the Great Estates — including a tour of the Historic Colonel Oliver Hazard Payne Mansion in Esopus, New York, home to Marist College’s Raymond A. Rich Institute for Leadership Development — will highlight areas of the properties that are rarely open to the public.

The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home. Registration is $60 ($10 additional for the Payne Mansion tour). Registration forms are available online.

Morning sessions will include:

“The Old Lady of Clermont”:
Searching for the Truth About Margaret Beekman Livingston
Kjirsten Gustavson, Curator of Education, Clermont State Historic Site

“The Commanding Genius of that Day”:
Hudson River School Painter Frederic Edwin Church
Valerie Balint, Associate Curator, The Olana Partnership

Leaders and Land Owners: The Roosevelts and the Hudson Valley Connection
Jeffrey Urbin, Education Specialist, FDR Presidential Library and Museum

Continental breakfast and a morning coffee break will be served. Lunch will be provided by Gigi Hudson Valley and will feature local food. Laura Pensiero, RD chef/owner, Gigi Hudson Valley, will introduce the lunch and share with the participants how she uses local farm products for her business.

Following lunch, participants can choose to attend “behind the scenes” tours at participating historic sites, including the Historic Colonel Oliver Hazard Payne Mansion, home to Marist College’s Raymond A. Rich Institute for Leadership Development. Attendees may also take a special tour of Locust Grove’s third floor, or the servant areas at Staatsburgh or the Vanderbilt Mansion. This conference will once again coincide with the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, and participating “behind the scenes” tours sites will partner with nearby restaurateurs to present a small treat at the end of the tour.

Roosevelt Historic Site Celebrates FDR Birthday Sunday


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The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, NY will celebrate FDR’s 129th birthday on Sunday, January 30th at 3:00 PM in the Rose Garden. The event will include remarks by newly elected Republican U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson (20th District), the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s Honor Guard and Color Guard, a presentation of wreaths and flowers, and a birthday cake and refreshments to follow at the Wallace Visitor Center. In case of inclement weather, the program will be held in the Wallace Visitor Center. For more information, contact Fran Macsali-Urbin at 845-229-2501.

Glenn Curtiss Day at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome


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The Hudson River Valley Institute (HRVI) at Marist College and the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum come to Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area to pay tribute to Glenn Curtiss on Saturday, October 9. Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Air Shows President, Hugh Schoelzel expressed appreciation for the choice of the Aerodrome as a fitting venue and explained the special air show: “Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome’s replica of the 1911 Curtiss “D” Pusher…very similar to Glenn Cutiss’ Albany Flyer… will be on display to greet guests entering the Aerodrome courtyard.

At 2 PM, the Pioneer and Barnstorming Air Show will feature the Curtiss “D” Pusher in a taxi demonstration of its unique flight controls, flying exhibitions of an original Curtiss JN-4 H Hisso Jenny built for the Great War in 1918 and a Curtiss Wright Junior CW-1 built by Curtiss as an economical flying machine for recreational pilots in 1931.” The museum and grounds open at 10 AM with four hangars full of antique airplanes and related artifacts to browse through; biplane rides will also be available.

Following the air show, the Hudson River Valley Institute is sponsoring a lecture by Trafford Doherty, Executive Director of The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum of Hammondsport, New York. There will also be a special static display and photo opportunities of the Curtiss airplanes.

Old Rhinebeck Air Shows, The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, and the Hudson River Valley Institute have missions related to education and, with the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, all four are 501c3 non-profit organizations.

Photo: A “Headed” Curtiss Model D (Curtiss photo 1196) Pusher later “Headless” models incorporated elevators around the rudder in the tail (like most aircraft since). Courtesy Wikipedia.

Conference: Food and Dining in the Hudson Valley


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“Bon Appétit: Food and Dining in the Hudson Valley,” a conference organized by the Great Estates Consortium, will be held on Saturday, March 20, 2010 beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Henry A. Wallace Center at the Roosevelt Library and Home.

Bon Appétit, which celebrates the rich history of food in the Hudson Valley, has been planned to coincide with Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2010. This fourth annual event will take place between March 15 – 28, and will showcase this scenic New York State region as a premier culinary destination.

Heidi Hill, Historic Site Manager of Crailo and Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, will open the conference by exploring 17th century food. Using Dutch genre paintings paired with archaeological evidence, Dutch documents and 17th century artifacts from New Netherland and Indian lands, the speaker will illuminate the colorful and sometimes surprising daily life of both the colonists and Native Americans through the foods they ate and their table and cook ware.

Valerie Balint, Associate Curator at Olana State Historic Site will explore evolving mid-century dining tastes and trends using Olana and the daily practices of the Church family as an example. Drawing upon primary source materials from the museum’s collections Ms. Balint will focus on issues relating to emerging ideals about etiquette, domesticity and cosmopolitanism. In particular, she will examine the increased emphasis, even in middle-class homes on formalized table settings, exotic foods and elaborate floral decor.

After a brief coffee break Frank Futral, Curator of Decorative Arts at the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites, will explore the food customs of millionaires during the Gilded Age. Mr. Futral will be followed by Melodye Moore, Historic Site Manager at Staatsburgh State Historic Site. Ms. Moore will explore the behind-the-scenes work of the 24 domestic servants that needed to take place in order to present a “Dinner of Ceremony” in a Gilded Age mansion. The as yet unrestored servants’ quarters of Staatsburgh will illustrate where much of this work took place.

Lunch will be provided by Gigi Hudson Valley and will feature local food. Laura Pensiero, RD chef/owner, Gigi Hudson Valley, will introduce the lunch and share with the participants how she uses local farm products for her business and the current state of farming in Dutchess County.

Following lunch conference attendees will have the opportunity to visit participating Great Estates where they will be given an opportunity to engage in special food related tours and activities. Each site will pair with a restaurant offering visitors a Hudson Valley treat. While there is no additional cost for visits to the historic sites, participants must pre-register for the sites they expect to visit.

Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site – Servants To Stewards tour. Guests are assigned the character of a servant and learn about their role in the running of the household. This tour requires climbing 74 stairs and is not handicap accessible. Comfortable shoes are strongly recommended. Following the tour Twist Restaurant of Hyde Park will provide attendees with a Hudson Valley treat.

Staatsburgh State Historic Site – Visit the “downstairs” rooms of the mansion that until recently had served as offices for the employees of the Taconic Region of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. These rooms, including the kitchen, the sculleries, the pastry room, the Butler’s office and the male servant’s bedrooms, will soon be restored by the Friends of Mills Mansion. Leave with a special treat that might have been enjoyed by the servants from Terrapin Restaurant of Rhinebeck, New York.

Locust Grove Estate – You’ll have the chance to tour, in-depth, the kitchen, cook’s bedroom, dining room, and butler’s pantry at the historic Poughkeepsie estate. Learn more about service “below stairs” in a wealthy Hudson Valley home, and how the family upstairs expected their staff to cope with day-to-day living. You’ll also step behind-the-scenes into the china room – not usually open during tours. After your tour, enjoy a special treat from Babycakes Café in Poughkeepsie with Locust Grove’s Director.

Clermont State Historic Site – At Home with the Livingstons: A mansion tour highlighting the historic 1930s kitchen and dining room. View the cook books and secret family recipes of Alice Clarkson Livingston. Learn what quirk of Livingston dining etiquette irked the butler. Enjoy an exclusive look at the 19th century kitchen that nourished the Chancellor’s daughter, Margaret Maria and her family. Take away a scrumptious treat from Tivoli Bread and Baking in Tivoli, New York.

Space is limited, and meals and refreshments are included in the conference fee, so pre-registration is strongly recommended. The $60 per person registration fee includes coffee/tea in the morning, luncheon catered by Gigi Hudson Valley and afternoon Great Estates site tours. For additional information please call (845) 889-8851.

Conference attendees are encouraged to dine at fixed prices in nearby restaurants and stay in local hotels offering special rates for Restaurant Week. More information is available at www.hudsonvalleyrestaurantweek.com. For information on nearby Dutchess County restaurants go here. For information regarding lodging specials there is a pdf here.

Henry Hudson, New Netherland, and Atlantic History


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Dr. L.H. Roper, Professor of History at SUNY New Paltz and a scholar of international reputation in the field of Atlantic History has announced a symposium, ‘Henry Hudson, New Netherland, and Atlantic History‘, at SUNY New Paltz the weekend of 25-26 September, 2009. This host two-day international symposium on “The Worlds of Henry Hudson” is expected to be the premier intellectual event held in conjunction with the celebration of the quadricentennial of Henry Hudson’s exploration of the Hudson River. Leading historians from the Netherlands, France, and Germany, as well as the United States will present papers on a series of topics related to Hudson and his times.

The program will include panel discussions, teaching workshops, and two luncheon addresses over two days to be held on the campus of SUNY New Paltz., as set forth below. At each session, two-to-three presenters will give talks on topics closely related to the character of the European exploration and colonization of the Hudson Valley, which arose from Hudson’s voyage, and the historical significance of the issues generated by these phenomena.

The emergence of the transatlantic perspective during the last two decades is a major development in the study of the history of Europe, Africa and the Americas during the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The scholars invited to this conference are among the major figures in advancing this perspective. The conference program is designed to provide an opportunity for the further integration of their work, and its advancement through publication of the papers it generates and by providing a means for secondary and elementary school teachers to incorporate this scholarship into their own classrooms.

A second goal, equally important, is to further the integration of the African, American Indian, and European contexts (“the transatlantic perspective” or “Atlantic history”) into teaching and learning about exploration and “colonial America” in our schools. The conference structure provides for interaction in each session among leading scholars of early modern Africa and Europe and of American Indian societies and current and future elementary and secondary school teachers.

The cost of registering for this conference will be $20/day and $15 per luncheon session. Teachers who wish to attend, with the exception of those in Ulster, Dutchess, and Orange Counties, should register through the Center for Regional Research, Education, and Outreach at SUNY New Paltz. The costs for attending the symposium will be payable directly to CRREO.

Teachers in Ulster, Dutchess, and Orange Counties who wish to attend one or both days should register via MyLearningPlan. Teachers in other counties should register through the Center for Regional Research, Education, and Outreach at SUNY New Paltz. Professional development hours are available for approval. The first fifty teachers who sign up and who have been participants in the Ulster BOCES Teaching American History Summer Institute for at least one week will have their registration fee paid by the TAH grant. Ulster BOCES will notify those registrants that their fee has been paid.

For further information, please contact Lou Roper of the Department of History at roperl@newpaltz.edu.

Beacons To Commemorate British Departure


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The Hudson Valley Press Online is reporting on plans to mark the 225th anniversary of the evacuation of British troops on November 25, 2008 by lighting a series of five local beacons that “replicate the original signal locations used by the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.” The plan is a project of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, Scenic Hudson, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Palisades Parks Conservancy, and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission:

These vital systems summoned the militia in both New York and in neighboring New Jersey and warned residents of the approaching British Redcoats. The types of beacons varied from tar barrels on top of poles, to pyramids, to wooden towers filled with dried grass or hay that could be ignited. The beacons enabled quick and effective communication with troops throughout the lower Hudson River Valley.

Instead of lighting fires, Palisades, the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and Scenic Hudson will create a symbolic Xenon light display that will light up Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area from Bear Mountain State Park to Beacon. This project is also part of the larger interstate effort with national heritage area partners in New Jersey, the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area. Six additional Beacons will be lit in New Jersey. The total project area will stretch from Princeton, NJ to Beacon, NY.

The five locations will include:

Bear Mountain State Park, Bear Mountain, NY
Storm King Mountain State Park, Cornwall, NY
Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site, Newburgh, NY
Scenic Hudson’s Mount Beacon, Beacon, NY
Scenic Hudson’s Spy Rock (Snake Hill), New Windsor, NY

While we’re at it, here is a story about Saturday’s relighting of the lamp on top of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn. It has been for 87 years and commemorates those who died in the British Prison ships in New York Harbor during the American Revolution.

FDR Library ‘literally falling apart’


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From the New York Times, via the History News Network:

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum at Hyde Park, N.Y., the nation’s first presidential library, is literally falling apart. The roof leaks, the basement floods, asbestos is flaking from old steam pipes, an ancient electrical system could send the whole place up in smoke. This sorry situation is an insult to the person the library and museum honor: the founder of the New Deal, the greatest investment in our nation’s modern development….

While the library sits high above the river, its basement lies below the water table. Sump pumps installed in 1939 are supposed to keep it dry, but don’t. Storms have caused flooding in the basement where collections are stored and in restrooms and public areas. What’s worse, storm and sewer drainage run together, which means they mingle if there’s a backup in the basement.

The electrical system, which was also installed in 1939, has outlived the suppliers of replacement parts. Archivists turn the lights on and off using the original circuit breakers. And with the electrical vault in the flood-prone basement, the library’s director, Cynthia Koch, fears that a short in the system could set the place on fire and destroy the entire collection.