Beginning in the mid-1800s, steamboats carried people between New York City and the Albany area on the Hudson River. Romantic images lull us into believing it was a quiet means of travel, but a crowded river, faulty equipment and the bravado of the captains resulted in at least one major catastrophe every year. Night boats collided and sank, carelessness caused boiler explosions, races put passengers at risk and fires would quickly swallow the wooden vessels.
The grand Empire of Troy suffered many collisions. The Swallow broke in two on a rock, Reindeer’s explosion took forty lives at once and the Oregon and C. Vanderbilt entered into an epic and dangerous race. Collected from eyewitness accounts, these are some of the most exciting and frightening stories of peril aboard steamboats on the Hudson River. Now, local historian J. Thomas Allison has written Hudson River Steamboat Catastrophes: Contests and Collisions (History Press, 2013). Allison provides an entertaining look at the romantic but perilous age of steamboat travel on the Hudson River, including tales of reckless captains racing each other and passengers’ eyewitness accounts of collisions, crashes, explosions, and fires. Continue reading
Wilderstein house museum in Rhinebeck, New York, has announced that its 2014 exhibition will explore the connections between the Wilderstein estate and American Presidents over two centuries. The exhibit will feature costumes, textiles, decorative arts, photographs, books, and more – all from the Wilderstein collections. Many of these objects will be on public display for the first time.
The exhibit opens with their regular tour season on May 1 and will run through the end of October, Thursday to Sunday, from noon until 4 pm. A preview party will be held on Saturday, April 26 from 4 to 6 pm. Tickets are $25. Please RSVP to 845.876.4818 or email@example.com. Continue reading
“The building can be redesigned. The Palisades and the Hudson River cannot.”
This simple statement closed an op-ed by four former New Jersey governors in the New York Times last week. In the piece, the governors — two Democrats and two Republicans — write about the threat LG’s proposed tower in Englewood Cliffs would pose to the Palisades, and they highlight a win-win solution: Continue reading
Using vintage images and postcards to highlight history is Arcadia Publishing’s Postcard History Series book Cohoes. The new book by the Spindle City Historic Society is releasing on March 24, 2014. It displays more than 200 vintage images and memories of days gone by.
This new pictorial history is a tour of landmarks of Cohoes through postcard images, taking readers through distinctive sections of the city including downtown, the mill district, the island and the hill. The book also features notable residents of Cohoes who impacted the city, including vaudeville performers, Revolutionary War officers, explores, industrialists, entrepreneurs, sports figures and daredevils. Continue reading
The Albany Institute of History & Art will host local historian J. Thomas Allison for a lecture about his book Hudson River Steamboat Catastrophes: Contests and Collisions. The lecture will be followed by a book signing. Allison will provide an entertaining look at the romantic but perilous age of steamboat travel on the Hudson River, including tales of reckless captains racing each other and passengers’ eyewitness accounts of collisions, crashes, explosions, and fires.
Hudson River Steamboat Catastrophes: Contests and Collisions focuses on nineteenth-century steamboat travel on the Hudson River. It points out that a crowded river, unreliable boat equipment, and the audacity of some steamboat captains created yearly catastrophes that put passengers and vessels at risk. Researched through eyewitness accounts, the stories are both exciting and frightening and give a real sense of the danger that traveled on the Hudson River. Continue reading
Beginning February 25th, Marilyn Sassi will present four lectures in a series entitled Early Mohawk and Hudson Valley Life: How Clothes, Arts and Architecture Changed, 1750-1814 on the evolving material culture of the Mohawk and Hudson Valley area.
Each week will focus on a different area of history and the changes seen during that period. Sassi is a teacher and historian specializing in material culture, architecture and area history. Continue reading
Ever wonder what pristine runs of migratory fish in Atlantic rivers looked like to early colonists? Some saw so many salmon, shad, alewives and other species that they said the waters “ran silver” with fish as they swam upstream to spawn.
John Waldman’s Running Silver: Restoring Atlantic Rivers and their Great Fish Migrations (Lyons Press, 2013) covers the biology, history, and conservation of shad, salmon, striped bass, sturgeon, eels and the others that complete grand migrations between fresh and salt waters. Continue reading
Applications are now available for the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Heritage Development Grant Program.
The due date for these applications is February 14, 2014. There is a total of $50,000 available for these 1:1 matching grants. Awards will range from $1,000 to $5,000. The program offers funding for projects that further the goals and mission of the HRVNHA: to recognize, preserve, protect and interpret the nationally significant cultural and natural resources of the Hudson River Valley for the benefit of the Nation. Continue reading
A 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
A new Sound and Story app is one component of A Year of Sounds and Stories: 365 Tales from Unexpected Places, a regional story campaign that aims to share, tell, and preserve the stories of everyday people in the Hudson Valley.
Using the app on your iPhone or iPad you can share your story while listening to new and archival stories from the Hudson Valley. Continue reading
Munsee Indian Trade in Ulster County, New York 1712-1732 (Syracuse Univ Press, 2013), edited by Kees-Jan Waterman and J. Michael Smith offers the full, annotated translation of a recently discovered Dutch account book recording trade with Native Americans in Ulster County, New York, from 1712 to 1732.
The ledger contains just over two-thousand transactions with about two-hundred native individuals. Slightly more than one-hundred Indians appear with their names listed. The volume and granularity of the entries allow for detailed indexing and comparative analysis of the people and processes involved in these commercial dealings in the mid-Hudson River Valley. Continue reading
The Hudson River Valley Greenway and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area (HRVNHA) have announced the availability of $50,000 in matching funds for the 2014 Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Heritage Development Grant Program.
The program offers funding for programming, interpretation and marketing projects that support the mutual goals of the HRVNHA and applicants. Grants will range from $1,000 to $5,000. Continue reading
This year marks the 350th anniversary of the Second Esopus War, which was fought primarily between the Munsee Esopus and the New Netherland colonists in 1663. The image of an “Indian” war most often conjures up scenes of the American West, yet this conflict took place right in the proverbial backyard of the Hudson Valley.
The Esopus Wars were centered around the settlement of Wiltwijck, a place we know today as Kingston. The conflict completely changed the power dynamic of the region, from one dominated by American Indians to European colonists. While from another angle, a look at the war’s participants offers a view of the diverse population that composed Dutch New York. Continue reading
The Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College has released a new edited collection of articles about the American Revolution, published by SUNY Press. Key to the Northern Country: The Hudson River Valley in the American Revolution represents nearly forty years of collected scholarship on the region’s role in the American Revolution.
This interdisciplinary anthology provides essays about political and social issues as well as battles, fortifications, and strategy. The range of perspectives and material make it an ideal textbook for classes on American, regional, and military history, as well as a source for education classes learning about local history and critical thinking. Continue reading
The third annual Sinterklaas Celebration will be held in Rhinebeck and Kingston with a variety of events over several days. The event honors the region’s Dutch heritage by recreating customs that the settlers from Holland brought to the Hudson Valley.
In the DUtch tradition, each year a town resident dressed up as Sinterklaas – elegantly garbed in a bishop’s tall hat, red cape, shiny ring, and jeweled staff. Mounted on a white steed, this Sinterklaas would ride through town knocking on doors late at night accompanied by the Grumpus (also known as Black Peter) who threatens to steal away the naughtiest children, and rewards the good children. Over the years, Sinterklaas’ ride turned into a parade still celebrated in Holland today. Continue reading
The first-ever “Walk For History: Save Our Hudson Valley Landmarks” is scheduled for Sunday, November 24 at 1 PM, at the Walkway Over The Hudson. Walk for History is being organized by Friends of Jackson House, a landmark structure in the Village of Fishkill that faces an uncertain future.
The purpose of Walk for History is to call attention to endangered cultural assets of the Hudson Valley like the Jackson House – irreplaceable assets that deserve the benefit of smart preservation policies. Preserving our cultural wealth enhances what makes the Hudson Valley a beautiful, profitable and well-traveled destination. Continue reading
At the juncture of well worn roads and trails, Schaghticoke became a hub of activity during September and October 1777. Schaghticoke is located east of the Hudson River in what was at the time Albany (now Rensselaer) County, opposite the hamlet of Stillwater. It was a stopping place for hundreds of militiamen who came and went to battle stations in the area.
Like other nearby communities, Schaghticoke was all but abandoned during late summer and fall of 1777. An 8,000 man British Army, invading the Hudson River Valley, was reason enough for most residents to flee to safer places. Many of these refugees went to Albany to escape the threats of war. This article describes the activities of New England militiamen in and around Schaghticoke during the Saratoga Campaign. Continue reading
Drifting: Two Weeks on the Hudson (SUNY Press, 2011) is a candid account of the author Mike Freeman’s two-week canoe trip down the Hudson River which offers an introspective and humorous look at both the river and recession-era America.
New to fatherhood and fresh from ten years in an Alaskan village, Freeman sets out to relearn his country, and realizes it’s in a far greater midlife crisis than he could ever be. With an eye on the Hudson’s past, he addresses America’s present anxieties—from race, gender, and marriage to energy, labor, and warfare—with empathy and honesty, acknowledging the difficulties surrounding each issue without succumbing to pessimism or ideology. Continue reading
In recognition of Archives Month and in celebration of Albany County’s 330th Anniversary there will be an Open House at the Albany County Hall of Records to see an exhibit of Albany’s earliest records on Thursday, October 31, 2013, from 10AM to 12 noon.
The highlight of the exhibits on display will be the Dongan Charter, the original charter that made Albany a city in 1686. Although the charter is faded, the signature of Governor Thomas Dongan is still visible at the bottom of the last page, as is Dongan’s seal which is attached to the page with red wax and a tan and blue cord.
The Hudson River Valley Ramble, now in its 14th year, brings people outside on four weekends – September 7-8, 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29 – to enjoy the Hudson Valley’s cultural heritage and scenic beauty.
More than 200 Hudson River Valley Ramble events include guided hikes, cycling and kayaking tours, historic site walks, festivals and river explorations. Some of the suggested events are below, add your own favorite in the comments below, or find more on the Ramble website. Continue reading