Recently, while researching the Old Huguenot Burying Ground in New Paltz, I consulted two excellent online resources, the New York State Historic Newspaper Project and Fulton History. Continue reading
Gardiner, New York, located in south-central Ulster County has some real historical gems within its borders. One of those gems is Locust Lawn which is situated on what used to be known as the Newburgh-New Paltz Road (now Route 32).
This frequently overlooked Federal style mansion, constructed by Josiah Hasbrouck, is a must-see, not only the magnificent federal-style mansion, but also the property’s scenic beauty. There is also the Evert Terwilliger house, perched on the banks of the Plattekill Creek which cuts through the property. Built in the 1730s, it’s an example of an early stone house, and is also connected to the history of the mansion. Continue reading
On September 19th and 20th, Historic Huguenot Street will host a two-day Gravestone Preservation Workshop in its historic 17th century burial ground led by monuments conservator, preservationist, and teacher Jonathan Appell, founder of the New England Cemetery Service.
The goal of this hands-on training workshop is to educate attendees on the various challenges and techniques of gravestone, monument, and historic stone preservation via an interactive working experience. Continue reading
Historic Huguenot Street will debut “1677 Huguenot Wheat,” a strong wheat ale inspired by the beers of the early 18th century, at a keg tapping and tasting on the DuBois Fort lawn (81 Huguenot Street) on Saturday.
Brewed by The Gilded Otter brewmaster Darren Currier, the ale recipe was researched by beer scholar Craig Gravina, co-author of Upper Hudson Valley Beer and one of the founders of the Albany Ale Project. Continue reading
The purpose of this project is to collect and preserve the stories of the New Paltz Huguenots, their descendants, the community, and all who have been impacted by Historic Huguenot Street. Continue reading
Historic Huguenot Street is seeking documentation of examples from museums, historic sites, and private collections of 18th-and early 19th-century Dutch-style cupboards known as grote kasten (singular kast).
The documentation and study of these kasten is expected to ultimately be part of an exhibit, symposium, and fully-illustrated compendium planned for 2016. Continue reading
Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz is introducing a new “Fourth Saturday” event series. The first event in the series, on Saturday, February 28, with feature a lecture by Dr. A.J. Williams-Myers, Professor of Black Studies at SUNY New Paltz.
Dr. Williams-Myers will be presenting a lecture entitled “There is a River: Social and Economic Contributions of Africans Along the Hudson, From the Dutch Period to the American Revolution.” In honor of Black History Month, this lecture will focus on the influence of enslaved labor on the economic development of the Hudson River colonies, and the societal impact of African participation in both the French & Indian War and the Revolutionary War. Continue reading
Historic Huguenot Street has announced that eleven historians have chosen to be part of its newly formed Scholarly Advisory Board. It’s expected that they will guide the interpretation of the National Historic Landmark District. The board is chaired by Dr. L.H. Roper, Professor of History at SUNY New Paltz.
The eleven historians share a knowledge for American, French, Dutch, Native American, New York, Atlantic, and Huguenot history – all of which are a part of the Historic Huguenot Street’s story. Continue reading
Historic Huguenot Street has announced its first events of the new year: a three-part lecture series with Ulster County Historian Anne Gordon. The lecture series will kick off on Saturday, February 7, at 4 pm.
In honor of Black History Month, this first lecture – entitled “From Isabella to Sojourner: A Slave in Ulster County” – will focus on the life of local abolitionist hero Sojourner Truth, from a childhood in slavery to her bold step into freedom. Continue reading
The Historic Huguenot Street Curatorial Department has developed a new exhibit in honor of the winter holiday season. On display now in the DuBois Fort Visitor Center, “Gifts of the Past” features a selection of historic children’s toys from the Historic Huguenot Street Permanent Collection.
Holiday gift giving has been a tradition for several centuries. Around the world, Christmas traditions are influenced by the legend of a gift giver rewarding children for their good behavior with toys and treats. Items on display include the first model Teddy Bear, a set of alphabet blocks, handmade wooden dominoes, and a bisque handmade doll. Continue reading
Historic Huguenot Street will host The Gathering, a weekend-long celebration of the Huguenots and their descendants on October 10 – 12. The event will bring together over 200 individuals who trace their heritage to the region, including descendants of New Paltz’ original 12 founders.
This is the first Gathering since the inaugural event in 2010. Vignettes depicting important moments of Huguenot Street’s continued history, special programs and performances, and children’s programming will continue throughout the weekend and are open to the public. Continue reading
Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz has appointed Dr. Taylor Stoermer, formerly of Colonial Williamsburg and Brown University, as Director of Strategy, Development, and Interpretation. According to a recent press release: “He is responsible for managing an ambitious strategic planning process over the next nine months to establish a new, sustainable foundation for Huguenot Street that strengthens its ties with the past, with modern guests, and with the broader regional community.”
Dr. Stoermer will also oversee historic interpretation, programming, marketing, fundraising, public communication, and political affairs. Rebecca Mackey remains at Huguenot Street in her recently announced role as Director of Operations, responsible for all administrative, site improvement and restoration, financial, and day-to-day operations of the site. Continue reading
On Sunday, February 26 at 4:00 pm, Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) is presenting a special talk, The Missing Chapter, about the lives and working conditions of African-Americans in the Hudson Valley region during the colonial and antebellum periods.
The award-winning presenter, Susan Stessin-Cohn, Director of Education at HHS, will discuss her current research on slavery including the personal stories of several local African-American families over the course of 200 years. The presentation will include information gathered from HHS’s archives as well as the Ulster County Hall of Records, the Senate House, and 18th & 19th century local and national newspapers. Susan will also discuss her virtual “Missing Chapter” exhibit which can be found at www.hrvh.org.
Susan Stessin-Cohn is currently the Director of Education at Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz. She was formerly an instructor at SUNY New Paltz and Vasser College and is a past trustee of the Elting Library and a member of the New Paltz Preservation Committee. She now serves on the board of the Ulster County Historical Society, the Southeastern New York Library Resource Council and the Hudson River Valley Heritage Digital Advisory Committee.
For more information, call 845-255-1660, x108 or email Jan Melchior at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The weekend of March 3rd and 4th, Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) is presenting Women’s Writes, a reading and writing workshop featuring two popular authors, Nava Atlas and Kate Hymes. The weekend kicks-off on Saturday, March 3, at 3pm with a guided tour of HHS’s Deyo House, which is set and interpreted in the Edwardian period, a popular time for many celebrated women authors.
At 4pm, Nava Atlas will read from her latest book, The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life, which explores the writing life of twelve celebrated women writers, including such renowned authors as Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Madeleine L’Engle, Anais Nin, George Sand, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf through their journals, letters, and diaries. On Saturday evening at 7, the Wallkill Valley Writers will read from their anthology which includes personal essays, poems, and stories.
Sunday, March 4 will feature two three-hour Wallkill Valley Writers Workshops led by Kate Hymes. Session 1 is from 9– 12pm and Session 2 is from 1-4 pm. Anyone with a desire to write, whether a beginner or experienced, is invited to attend these workshops which will be held in a safe environment. Sources culled from the HHS archives and other local history will serve as an inspiration for writing throughout the weekend.
Saturday includes a book signing and refreshments. Fees are as follows: Saturday Deyo House Edwardian tour and reading with Nava Atlas: $15. Saturday evening reading with Wallkill Valley Writers: $5. Sunday per session: $40. Full weekend including one workshop on Sunday: $50.
To register or for more information, call 845-255-1660, x103 or email Jan Melchior at email@example.com.
About the Presenters
Nava Atlas is the author and illustrator of visual books on family themes, humor, and women’s issues, including The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life (2011), exploring first-person narratives on the writing lives of twelve classic women authors, and commenting on the universal relevance of their experiences to all women who love to write. Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife (2009) is a satiric look at contemporary marriage and motherhood through the lens of a faux 1950s cookbook. Nava Atlas is also the author and illustrator of many books on vegetarian cooking, a book on leafy greens will be on the shelves in the spring of 2012. An active fine artist specializing in limited edition artist’s books and text-driven objects, her work is shown and collected by museums and universities across the U.S.
Kate Hymes, a poet and educator living in the Hudson Valley, leads weekly writing workshops and writing retreats. She has over twenty years experience as an educator with experience teaching writing on college level, and over ten years leading workshops for people who make writing an artistic practice. Kate is certified to lead workshops using the Amherst Writers and Artists method. She has co-led trainings with Pat Schneider and other AWA instructors to teach others how to lead workshops. Kate and Pat also lead the workshop: If We Are Sisters: Black and White Women Writing Across Race. Kate serves as Executive Director of the Hudson Valley/Catskill Partnership: Regional Adult Education Network providing technical assistance and staff development to adult educators in a ten-county region of New York State. Kate currently serves as a member of the Dutchess County Arts Council and as panelist for Special Project, New York State Council on the Arts. She has a Master of Arts in American Literature from SUNY Stony Brook.
What is known today as Historic Huguenot Street began in 1678 when twelve French-speaking Huguenots settled on the banks of the Wallkill. Today, steps from downtown New Paltz, HHS features seven stone houses dating to 1705 and a reconstructed 1717 stone church on park-like grounds and offers unique programming to the local community and visitors alike. For more information, visit www.huguenotstreet.org or call 845.255.1660 or 1889. Historic Huguenot Street is a National Historic Landmark District and is incorporated as Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, N.Y.
Saturday, September 17, 4pm. Art of the Street: Walking Tour with artist Kevin Cook. Join local landscape painter and Huguenot Street resident Kevin Cook for a unique tour of the site highlighting the fine art found in the museum houses, including works by Asher Durand, DuBois Fenelon Hasbrouck, Julia Dillon and others. Who better to present these fine period works than an artist who is himself especially inspired by the romantic work and ideals of the nineteenth century? Tour begins at the DuBois Fort | 81 Huguenot Street.
Wednesday, September 21, 10am to 3pm: Home School Day. With the general rising trend in home-schooling, HHS has set aside a day especially for home-schooled students to come to The Street and experience our history through tours and document-based lessons. We are offering a special new program called A Walk Through Time: One Street, Many Stories for this day. Travel back through time with six individuals whose lives were part of the fabric of the Hudson Valley. Working in small groups, students will use physical artifacts and primary documents to piece together the lives of a Lenape woman, a Revolutionary War soldier, a colonial school girl, a run-away slave, a Civil War soldier and a 19th century student at the Poughkeepsie Academy. Please call ahead with reservations to Susan Stessin-Cohn Director of Exhibits, Educational, and Public Programs @ 255-6738 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, September 23, 7pm. Local Color: An intimate look at Landscapes with photographer Robert Goldwitz. A Fine Art Photography Opening. At HHS, the preservation of the past is our concentration, while the preservation of the moment is where Robert Goldwitz turns his eye. Robert Goldwitz captures images at opportune instants that speak to the heart of his subject. With a keen eye for composition, light and detail, Rob’s subjects range from the purely realistic to the evocatively abstract. An award-winning photographer, Goldwitz has been featured in one-man and group shows in New York City, Key West and elsewhere. In the DuBois Fort | 81 Huguenot Street. Light refreshments will be served. This event is also an opportunity to meet the new Executive Director of Historic Huguenot Street, Tracy Doolittle McNally.
Sunday, September 25, 11am and 2pm. Ulster Resident’s Day. This day caps off Ulster County Heritage Week, which is designed to highlight the rich culture and tradition that our county has to offer. Historic Huguenot Street is marking the occasion with a special “pay what you wish” day on the Street. Ulster County residents, with proof of residence, can enjoy either our 11am or 2pm guided museum house tour for whatever they wish to contribute. No reservations necessary. Tours begin at the DuBois Fort Visitor Center | 81 Huguenot Street.
Sunday, September 25, 3pm. Certainly Not Silent: Women of the Huguenot Street Archive with Laura Rose. This enlightening presentation breathes life into several women whose paths crossed Huguenot Street whether during their lives or after. The stories are touching, sad, funny — even shocking. Join historical detective Laura Rose as she shares some of the most delectable tales she’s found. In Deyo Hall | 6 Broadhead Avenue.
Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) has announced the appointment of Tracy Doolittle McNally as the new Executive Director, effective August 29, 2011. Tracy is an 11th generation descendant of the Huguenot founders of New Paltz. “Ms. McNally has a proven track record professionally in both corporate and non-profit organizations with strong expertise in marketing, development, special events, public relations, and financial management” HHS Board Chair Mary Etta Schneider said in a prepared statement.
McNally has a B.A. from St. Lawrence University and an MBA from SUNY New Paltz School of Business. Most recently McNally was head of the Greene County Chamber of Commerce and was widely recognized as one of Greene County’s top businesswomen. When asked what she thought might be the greatest opportunity in her new position, Tracy said, “Many people think Historic Huguenot Street is about stone houses and a quiet street, but it is so much more than that. We need to continue to make the exciting stories, extensive archives and valuable collections come alive in unique ways. I look forward to working with the Board in accomplishing this.”
Historic Huguenot Street has also announced that Susan Stessin-Cohn has joined the organization to fill the newly created position of Director of Exhibits, Educational and Public Programs. Susan has been involved with HHS for several years in a variety of curatorial, research and education-related roles. Ms. Stessin-Cohn has a Masters of Science in Elementary Education and a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education and Anthropology from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Susan has an extensive background as a professor, exhibit curator, archives specialist, curriculum developer and historical consultant as well as being an active volunteer in the community.
Rejoining HHS is Rebecca Mackey, Manager of Programs, Tours, Volunteer Care and the Museum Shop. Rebecca, who has both a B.A. in Women’s Studies and in History, will be responsible for the implementation of educational and public programs.
Jan Melchior will be stepping up from her role as Communications, Design and Development Coordinator to an expanded role as Manager of Promotion and Marketing. Jan brings over twenty five years of experience in marketing, advertising, development and promotion of non-profits.
Mary Etta Schneider, who has been acting as Interim Executive Director, will be resigning that position and will continue in her role as President and Board Chair of HHS.
In 1689, when the founders of New Paltz hired Jean Tebanin as the first schoolmaster in the small settlement, they set a precedent for the community. This focus on education continues today at Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) in both the programs and scholarships offered by the New Paltz organization.
Earlier this month, the organization received a bequest from Lucille Stoeppler Baker. The funds were given with the stipulation that they be used for scholarship assistance. Ms. Baker’s intent was to provide financial help to undergraduate students majoring in historical anthropology.
Dr. Baker, who held degrees from the College of St. Vincent, Fordham University and Cornell University, was devoted to the field of education. She served for twenty-four years as Professor of Sociology at Tompkins Cortland Community College in the Finger Lakes region of New York. She was awarded the college’s first Professor Emerita status in March 1993. The Dr. Lucille S. Baker Learning Commons on campus is named in her honor. Dr. Baker’s interest in Huguenot history grew from a friendship with Kenneth Hasbrouck, the long-time director of HHS, and members of the LeFevre Family Association. She is interred at the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery.
The funds given by Dr. Baker will be used to create the Lucille Stoeppler Baker Memorial Scholarship Fund. With the creation of this fund, Historic Huguenot Street will now have five distinct scholarship funds. Scholarships are offered on an annual basis in collaboration with the Hasbrouck Family Association.
The deadline for scholarship applications is quickly approaching. Submissions must be received by August 31, 2011. More information and guidelines are available at www.huguenotstreet.org or by calling (845) 255-1660.
The Open Space Institute (OSI), Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) and the Thomas and Corinne Nyquist Foundation have announced the preservation in perpetuity of the Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary, a 56-acre nature preserve located on Huguenot Street in the town and village of New Paltz.
OSI, through its land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, acquired the Sanctuary for $110,000 on June 21st from Historic Huguenot Street. HHS owns and maintains a National Historic Landmark District which includes a number of historic houses dating to the early 18th century set on ten acres in downtown New Paltz.
HHS acquired the property known as the Harcourt Sanctuary from Hastings Harcourt in 1976 and subsequently established the wildlife sanctuary. In 2009, HHS entered into a Conservation Easement with the Wallkill Valley Land Trust. According to a statement issued to the press, HHS has been focusing its efforts on the historic properties on Huguenot Street and has been searching for a buyer for the Harcourt property. Mary Etta Schneider, President of HHS comments, “It was especially important that we find a buyer that would honor Mr. Harcourt’s original intent to keep the land open to the public and in its natural state. We are delighted to collaborate with OSI and the Nyquist Foundation to make this happen.”
On July 6th, OSI sold the parcel for $55,000 to the Thomas and Corinne Nyquist Foundation. The sale included a restriction requiring the property to be made available to the public in perpetuity for recreational use. Thomas E. Nyquist, chair of the Foundation says, “The acquisition of the Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary reflects a long-existing appreciation of the beauty of the mid-Hudson Valley by the Nyquist family. Through the foundation, the Nyquists are pleased to serve as stewards of the newly-named Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary.”
The Sanctuary contains the “oxbow,” a complex of ponds and wetlands remaining from a tightly curved meander cut off when the Wallkill River straightened its course hundreds of years ago. It has over 1,300 feet of frontage on the Wallkill River and adjoins the Jewett and Khosla farms, two historic Huguenot farms totaling more than 180 acres that were protected by OSI and the Wallkill Valley Land Trust in the “Two Farms” campaign in 2007. The Sanctuary also adjoins land owned by the village of New Paltz containing the Gardens for Nutrition, a community-supported public gardening area.
“With the generous participation of the Nyquist Foundation, we are thrilled to be able to preserve the Harcourt Sanctuary,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “Like the other properties we’ve protected along Huguenot Street, it exemplifies both the rich history and natural resources of New Paltz and the Wallkill River.”
The property has relatively open areas dominated by grasses and herbaceous plants, which provide rich and varied habitat opportunities for a wide range of plants and animals. In 1987 the Town of New Paltz Environmental Conservation Commission created the Huguenot Path, an improved nature trail which loops through the Sanctuary and the adjacent Village-owned property.
The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats, and sustain community character. OSI achieves its goals through land acquisition, conservation easements, regional loan programs, fiscal sponsorship, creative partnerships, and analytical research. OSI has protected more than 110,000 acres in New York State. Through its Northern Forest Protection Fund and Conservation Finance Program, OSI has assisted in the protection of an additional 1.8 million acres in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Georgia. Please visit www.osiny.org for more information.
The Thomas and Corinne Nyquist Foundation is a family foundation founded in 2004 to provide financial support for local initiatives and programs of nonprofit organizations and groups in New Paltz and in Roosevelt County, Montana with emphasis on the communities of Bainville, Culbertson and Froid.
Historic Huguenot Street (HHS), located on the banks of the Wallkill River, is the place where the spirit of individualism that New Paltz is known for today began. Here a small group of French-speaking Huguenots settled in 1678. Just steps from downtown New Paltz, the site features seven stone houses dating to 1705, a burying ground and a reconstructed 1717 stone church – all in their original village setting. HHS offers ten acres of landscaped green space and public programming to the local community and visitors from around the world. For more information about Historic Huguenot Street, visit www.huguenotstreet.org or call (845) 255-1889.
And yet, historic homes, and history are not limited to the famous street. The village’s evolving history is documented in homes throughout the community. Last year, local resident Hollise Tirendi came to Historic Huguenot Street with the idea of creating a tour that will allow people to see some of the village’s most interesting homes – private homes not often open for the public to see.
From this idea came the New Paltz Village Historic House Tour. Offered on Sunday, June 12th from 12 to 5pm, the event offers a glimpse into nine of the community’s most unique private residence, as well as a “work in progress” peak into the Jean Hasbrouck House at Historic Huguenot Street. The house is currently undergoing restoration and reinterpretation, and is closed to the public.
Among the houses featured is the Benjamin Hasbrouck, an 18th century stone house across form the SUNY New Paltz campus that continues to be a private residence.
Capping off the event is a reception at the grand Philip Elting House. The owners of this stunning house, once a summer residence for members of the Elting family, will be sharing their home, along with their clock and classic car collections.
Tickets for the event are $25 in advance of $30 on the day of. Tickets will be held, and can be picked up at the DuBois Fort Visitor Center, 81 Huguenot Street in New Paltz, starting at 11:45 on Sunday, June 12th. To register, visit www.huguenotstreet.org or call (845) 255-1889.
Photo: Benjamin Hasbrouck House by Richard Heyl de Ortiz.
On Saturday, April 30th at 7:30pm, as the sun sets over the ‘Gunks, Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz will offer a special evening tour. Imagine a walk through time. Imagine getting the chance to see how people really lived 100, 200, even 300 years ago. Regular people like your own great, great, great, grandparents. How did they keep warm in the winters? How did they light the dark nights? Where did they take their meals? The iconic houses on the famous street are filled with stories and many original items that help to tell the tales. Now imagine experiencing all of this by candlelight – in the same place, at the same time of day, by the same kind of light as those who came before us.
With bright electric light at our fingertips today, it is easy to forget just how different life was in the years before electricity and in the formative years of the new technology. We’ll start with a glass of wine or sparkling water in the DuBois Fort and then we’ll move through the eras — the Jean Hasbrouck House, where Jacob and Esther lived by the light of the fireplace, betty lamps or a few candles; the LeFevre House, where Ezekiel Elting’s prosperous family takes advantage of oil lamps; and the Deyo House, where Abraham Brodhead’s New Paltz Electric Company brings the “miracle technology” to late 19th century homes. This is better than reality TV. It’s real.
The DuBois Visitor Center is located at 81 Huguenot Street in downtown New Paltz. Tickets are $14 per person or $12 for friends of Huguenot Street. Advance reservations are suggested. For more information or to register, call 845.255.1660 or visit www.huguenotstreet.org.