On a summer day in 1998, I stood on Grand Street, waiting. First Lady Hillary Clinton’s press bus had broken down on I-87 and she was now several hours late.
When she finally arrived, she gave an impressive speech and pledged funds ($128,205) through the Save America’s Treasures program to stabilize the upper gallery of an A.J. Davis designed masterpiece, the Dutch Reformed Church.
At 14 years old, I was just beginning to take an interest in historic preservation. I was already aware that Newburgh possessed a vast array of historic structures, but Clinton’s visit was an inspiring notion that the ruins I had grown up around in the post-urban renewal era were finally getting the attention they needed and deserved. The work done with the grant stabilized the building and prevented what would have been an imminent collapse. Things were looking up for Newburgh’s historic district. Continue reading
The Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands has announced the appointment of Candace Schuster as its new Executive Director.
Beginning this week, Schuster will oversee the administrative functions of the organization, which is headquartered at the Crawford House, 189 Montgomery Street in Newburgh. She will be available in person at the Crawford House on Mondays and Fridays, 2-5 pm, and on Sunday afternoons 1-4 pm during the house’s open season (through October). Continue reading
At first glance, the inside of the Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburgh, Orange County resembles a large warehouse of movie poster memorabilia as faces of Steve McQueen, James Garner, Peter Fonda and Elvis line the immense walls. There’s even a poster of – can it be? – of Barbara Streisand astride a motorcycle from the movie, “For Pete’s Sake.” Continue reading
The Newburgh Historical Society will welcome members and guests on Sunday, April 3, for an opening day that will include a slide presentation entitled “Monumental Newburgh.”
Starting at 2 pm, a panel led by Society member Tom Knieser will showcase the many sculptures and memorials installed in the city, with a story behind the motivation and creation of each public monument. Continue reading
Jonathan Hasbrouck III will forever be known as the Hasbrouck who lost the “Old-Headquarters” home (Washington’s Headquarters in 1782-1783) in Newburgh by foreclosure. The State of New York took control of the home and in 1850 made it the first publicly owned historic site in the nation.
Jonathan Hasbrouck III hoped to save it the home from foreclosure, and even proposed a monument on the grounds over four decades before the current Tower of Victory was erected. Today, that tower is in desperate need of restoration. Continue reading
There’s a crisis in historical societies and historic house museums across the nation. Membership dues and visitation are in decline. The costs of maintaining buildings and collections is exhausting resources.
Volunteers are under pressure to digitize archives and make resources more widely available to the public without having the expertise or budgetary supports that would be necessary to do so. Exhibits and programming are stagnant while trustees work tirelessly to triage the symptoms. And the public is largely unaware of the treasures that these institutions have to offer. Continue reading
Heritage tourism is a new name for an old concept. As an archaeology student in Greece, I remember seeing Lord Byron’s name carved on the Temple of Poseidon. His mark among the hundreds of forgotten names reminds us of the well-established motif of traveling to the classical world as part of the Grand Tour. The German word “Bildungsreisen,” used among the nineteenth century elite in Europe, described travel for educational and cultural enlightenment. Continue reading
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has cut down the Balmville Tree, a historic and unusually large Eastern Cottonwood tree that has been growing since before 1699 in Balmville, a hamlet in Town of Newburgh, Orange County. The tree sat at the intersection of River Road, Commonwealth Avenue and Balmville Road at a place commonly known as the Balmville Tree Circle. It was believed to be the oldest eastern cottonwood tree in America.
DEC issued a statement to the press saying the tree was deemed “an immediate threat to passing traffic” by DEC and Newburgh officials, “due to its deteriorated condition and a greatly expanded crack”. The statement said DEC consulted with a professional arborist who inspected the tree and found it to be an extremely high risk to public safety and recommended removal. Continue reading
Kalmar Nyckel will sail up the Hudson River into Newburgh for the first time in its history this July 24-26, for a weekend of day sails, guided deck tours, and more.
Kalmar Nyckel is a recreation of the original ship that brought the earliest settlers from Sweden to Delaware in 1638, just a couple of decades after the Mayflower. During the same period when the Dutch were settling New Amsterdam in what is now Manhattan, Kalmar Nyckel made four successive round trips to supply the colonists of New Sweden. Continue reading
The Newburgh Historical Society invites the public to celebrate 200 years of Newburgh’s favorite son, Andrew Jackson Downing, as it kicks off its 2015 season on Sunday, April 12th, between 1 and 5 pm.
This opening day event will begin with a presentation introducing Downing and how the memorial urban park in his name came to be. Following the talk members offer guided tours of the historic Captain David Crawford House and an opening reception for the Artist’s Choice exhibition featuring the work of fifty local artists. Continue reading