Tag Archives: Orange County

Minnewaska Carriage Road Project Begins


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A contract to restore the Millbrook Carriage Road in Minnewaska State Park Preserve (Shawangunk Ridge) is scheduled to begin this week. The project is expected to take 90 days to complete, though that time frame is largely weather dependent. The Millbrook Carriage Road and Gertrude’s Nose footpath will be closed for the duration of this project. Millbrook Mountain will be accessible via Millbrook Footpath for hikers only. Additionally, numerous pieces of heavy equipment will be utilizing Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road from the main parking areas to the entrance to Millbrook as this is the only access route for Millbrook Carriage Road. Patrons should be aware of construction vehicles on Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road and should yield to construction vehicles in an effort to speed project completion. Multiple signs will be placed in appropriate locations to notify patrons regarding the project, trail closures, and trail detours

Restoration and maintenance of the Minnewaska State Park Preserve carriage roads is an important undertaking that will ensure the preservation of historic pieces of this country’s heritage for future generations. The Preserve offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy the peaceful and natural environment that still remains undisturbed by modern technology. The carriage roads offer guests easy access to the majestic scenery surrounding the lakes, steep ravines, and scenic lookouts. The intention of the carriage roads was and still is to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional, while providing a safe and comfortable journey to previously inaccessible and rugged terrain. The resulting network of carriage roads continues to provide people with the same participatory experience in nature envisioned by the Smiley brothers more than a century ago. Preservation and restoration of this historical system of carriage roads is much easier if the process begins before nature has erased all identifiable attributes.

While some of the 35 miles of carriage roads at Minnewaska receive dedicated funding and are maintained to the highest standards for heavy use, many of them are in a serious state of decline and face restrictions of access and eventual closure unless incremental improvements are completed.The damage from floods, ice storms, and foot, horse, and bicycle traffic has led to the point where deferral is no longer an option, and reduced services are becoming more commonplace every year.

The Palisades Parks Conservancy has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Fund administered through The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The Palisades Interstate Park Commission, the Mohonk Preserve, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation have launched an urgent joint initiative to rebuild the historic Smiley family carriage road network in New York State’s Shawangunk Mountains. Many of the 83 miles of hand-built broken stone are in stages of disrepair, some causing closure. This grant will continue to fund an existing network-wide planning and restoration campaign, as well as address the immediate needs of one significant stretch of carriage road, the Millbrook Mountain Carriage road.

Help is needed to support the Palisades Parks Conservancy reaching their goal of restoring the entire historic carriage road network at Minnewaska State Park Preserve for the enjoyment of future generations and protection of natural resources. They need over four million dollars to restore the 35 mile carriage road network at Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

Photo: Historic Carriage Road at Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

Washington’s Headquarters Volunteer Fair


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Looking for an opportunity to be part of the community and help your neighbors? Attend the Newburgh Volunteer Fair at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site on April 30th from 11am – 3pm. Many of Newburgh’s community organizations will be there to share information about volunteer opportunities – opportunities for teens through seniors.

At the same time, music and refreshments will be offered, along with free tours of Washington’s Headquarters. The Volunteer Fair, organized by Washington’s Headquarters, the Newburgh Free Library, and Safe Harbors of the Hudson, is made possible by support from Wells Fargo Bank and the Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands.

For more information, please call 845-562-1195.

Fort Montgomery 2011 Special Events


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Fort Montgomery State Historic Site is located at 690 Route 9W, Fort Montgomery, NY, 1/2 mile north of the Bear Mountain Bridge Traffic Circle. The site is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 AM – 5 PM. For more information, please call (845) 446-2134.

The site is part of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, which administers 28 parks, parkways, and historic sites for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in New York as well as the Palisades Interstate Park and parkway in New Jersey.

Fort Montgomery State Historic Site 2011 Special Events Calendar

Saturday, May 7th, 10 AM: Appalachian Trail History Hike

The Appalachian Trail is well known, but its history is not. Starting at the fort’s visitor center, participants will hike to the trail’s newly rerouted section on Bear Mountain, learning about its history, but stopping along the way to take in items of natural interest including indigenous plants, animals, trees, and geology. This is an intermediate/difficult hike, so bring your boots, water, and a snack.

Saturday, May 14th, 10 AM – 4 PM: British Brigade Academy

British regulars, German mercenaries and Loyalist troops will be on site to give visitors a view of the non-rebellious side of the American Revolution.

Saturday, May 21st, 10 AM – 4 PM: 5th New York Regiment Muster Day

Fort Montgomery’s own 5th NY Regiment will be garrisoning the fort and preparing for the campaign season by establishing a camp, conducting military drills and camp life activities, and firing the fort’s three cannons. Be prepared to be immersed in the action!

Saturday, June 4th, 10 AM – 4 PM: Colonial Trades and Skills Day

Trades people will be on hand demonstrating coopering, blacksmithing, broom-making, fishnet-weaving, hornsmithing, quilting, cider-making, Native-American skills and more! Try your own hand at one or more of these trades and help preserve history!

Sunday, June 5th, 9 AM: Birding at the Battlefield

Ever look out your back window and wonder to yourself “What kind of bird is that?” Find out once and for all by joining noted birder David Baker for a beginner bird walk through the ruins of Fort Montgomery. Discover which of our winged friends garrison themselves in the fort year-round and which ones are just on temporary posting.

Saturday, July 2nd, 12 PM: Declaration of Independence Day Cannon Firing Program

In 1776 John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail “The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” Join us as we celebrate in true John Adams fashion the actual date that American Independence was declared, by firing the fort’s artillery, including “George”, the 32-pounder cannon.

**Monday, July 4th: Fort Montgomery will be CLOSED for Independence Day**

Saturdays and Sundays in July and August: Musket Demonstrations at Noon and 3 PM, Artillery Demonstration at 1 PM**

**Monday, September 5th, Labor Day: Fort Montgomery will be CLOSED**

Saturday, October 1st, 10 AM – 5 PM: Twin Forts Day

Join us for the annual commemoration of the bloody October 6th 1777 assault on Forts Montgomery & Clinton with military drills, living history demonstrations, cannon firings and reenactment of the battle.

**Monday, October 10th, Columbus Day: Fort Montgomery will be CLOSED **

Saturday, October 29th, 6:30, 7 & 7:30 PM: Lantern Tour of Fort Montgomery

Tour the ruins of Fort Montgomery at night! Hear dramatic tales from the battle and bring yourself back to October 1777. Witness the fort come alive as re-enactors depict various scenes from the fort’s dark, dramatic history. Tours leaving from Fort Montgomery Visitor’s Center at 6:30 PM, 7:00 PM & 7:30 PM. Reservations required. Call 845-446-2134.

Fort Montgomery 2011 Lecture Series


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This Thursday Night Speaker Series, sponsored by the Fort Montgomery Battle Site Association, is seating by reservation only and is limited to the first 50 requests. You may reserve seats by calling 845-446-2134. Please leave your name, phone number, and number of people in your party.

Fort Montgomery is located at 690 Route 9W, one quarter mile north of the Bear Mountain Bridge. Call 845-446-2134 for more information.

Indians in the Ramapos
April 7 at 7 PM

Archaeologist Ed Lenik sifts through the layered evidence of human history in the Ramapo Mountains region to detect patterns that bear witness to the Native American presence there. Using archaeology, historical accounts, and oral tradition, Lenik develops a story that testifies to their presence, persistence, and survival.

From Mahicantuck to the Millenium:
400 Years of Hudson River Natural History
April 28th at 7 PM

Recently, the Hudson Valley celebrated the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s sail up the river that now bears his name. DEC Education Coordinator Steve Stanne will discuss the ecosystem that Hudson saw, it’s alterations since 1609, its biological richness today, and the challenges it faces in the future.

Claudius Smith: Revolutionary Rogue or Robin Hood?
May 19th at 7 PM

Due to demand “the Scourge of the Ramapos” is back! Author Patricia Edwards Clyne will present once more the harrowing tale of Claudius Smith, hailed by some as a champion of charity during the American Revolution, but eventually hanged as a thief and a profiteer. Come to your own verdict after this popular lecture. Book sale and signing to follow lecture.

Sterling Gardens
June 16th at 7 PM

Acclaimed educator and local historian Doc Bayne will present the little known tale of the Sterling Gardens, the world class botantical establishment that once thrived in Sterling Forest. Doc will chart the start of the gardens in 1960 and the changes it had to undergo to hold the public’s interest.

So Many Brave Men:
A History of the Battle at Minisink Ford
July 21st at 7 PM

For the first time in years a new history has been written about the only Revolutionary War battle to take place in the Upper Delaware River valley. Many participants of the Battle at Minisink Ford were veterans of the fight here at Fort Montgomery. This presentation by author Peter Osborne explores the history of the battle and the effect it had on the lives of the settlers who lived in the valley.

The Highland Adventures of William T. Howell
August 11 at 7 PM

Perhaps no one loved the Hudson Highlands as much as William T. Howell. Born in Newburgh in 1873, Howell tramped through the region one hundred years ago and witnessed improvements such as Route 9W and Bear Mountain State Park. Today his massive collection of photos and commentary, provided via a slide lecture by Lynette Scherer, offers the modern lover of the Highlands an interesting peek into life in the lower Hudson valley at the turn of the last century.

Sober, Industrious Women:
Wives of British Soldiers in America
September 29th at 7 PM

More than ten percent of the British Soldiers who fought in the American Revolution brought their wives and families with them to America. As nurses, laundresses, and sutlers the wives shared in the hardships and adventures of an army on service far from home. Historian Don Hagist will present an overview of the roles and experiences of British army wives in America.

New Windsor Cantonment Revolutionary War Encampment


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New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site will host a weekend of Revolutionary War military firing demonstrations and period activities on Saturday April 16, 10 AM – 4:30 PM and Sunday April 17, 1 – 4:00 PM. The event is presented by the Brigade of the American Revolution, an international organization dedicated to recreating the life and times of the common soldier of the War for Independence, 1775-1783.

A battle demonstration takes place at 2:00 PM each day with colorfully uniformed soldiers firing muskets and maneuvering to the music of fifes and drums. The soldiers will also set up tents, prepare cooking fires and demonstrate other aspects of 18th century life. For more information please call (845) 561-1765 ext. 22. Admission is free.

At 3:00 PM, on Saturday April 16, historian Norm Fuss will present a talk on The Battle of Great Bridge: the South’s Bunker Hill. At 3:00 PM, on Sunday April 17, historian Barnet Schecter will give a talk on his latest book George Washington’s America: a Biography through His Maps. After the presentation he will have copies of his book for sale. At 10:15 AM on Sunday April 17, Norm Fuss will give a presentation on Surviving Military Uniforms in North American Repositories. At 12:30 PM, on Sunday April 17, Eric Schnitzer, Park Historian, Saratoga National Historical Park, will present A primer to using artwork for living history clothing documentation. All lectures are open to the public. Members of the Brigade of the American Revolution use this weekend to teach the latest knowledge in recreating life from that era. The presentations are an enjoyable experience, something to be long remembered. Through lectures and demonstrations, a wide variety of 18th century period life is revealed. New Windsor Cantonment site staff is present to perform blacksmithing, woodworking and military medicine Saturday April 16, 10 AM – 4:30 PM and Sunday April 17, 1 – 4:00 PM.

The New Windsor Cantonment is co-located with the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor at 374 Temple Hill Road, Route 300, in the Town of New Windsor, four miles east of Stewart Airport and three miles from the intersection of I-87 and I-84 in Newburgh, New York.

Photo: Brigade of the American Revolution.

Headquarters Pays Tribute to Martha Washington


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What better way to commemorate the culmination of Women’s History Month than with a celebration honoring Martha Washington on Saturday, March 26, at 1:00 PM at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site. The program will feature a presentation entitled “From Petticoats to Breeches: Unveiling 18th Century Clothing.”

Following the lecture and a “First Ladies” Trivia game, the eighth annual “Woman of History Award” will be presented to Ms. Mara Farrell, owner of Mara Farrell Communications, a Beacon-based public relations and marketing firm who was the co-founder of the historic preservation advocacy group, Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot.

The non-profit advocacy organization is committed to the permanent preservation, stringent archeological review, and protection of the historic lands comprising the Fishkill Supply Depot, which is listed on the National Register. At present, she is a Senior Advisory Board Member of the same organization, actively involved in the major preservation initiatives of those lands, located within the Hudson Highlands ecosystem. Ms. Farrell is working on a master site plan entitled “Fishkill Living Historic Park” that would honor the Hudson Valley and its strategic importance during the Revolutionary War, while also paying homage to the heritage of Native Americans in the area.

This program is FREE; donations are accepted.

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site is a registered national landmark. It is located at the corner of Liberty and Washington Streets, within the city of Newburgh’s East End Historical District.

For event information or directions, please call: (845) 562-1195.

Being Green in the 1700s at Fort Montgomery


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“Green” in the 1700s at Fort Montgomery: Eco-lutionary: Unintentionally will be a free program presented on Saturday, February 26th, at 1:30 PM at Fort Montgomery State Historic Site, 690 Route 9W in Fort Montgomery, NY (Orange County).

In this slide presentation and hands-on show and tell, Fort Montgomery State Historic Site Interpreter Peter Cutul will present some of the numerous and innovative ways our colonial ancestors reduced, re-used, and recycled. Cutul will demonstrate how the colonials were on the cutting edge or even ahead of the curve of many of today’s green practices. The program will conclude with practical tidbits we can start at home, as well as those practices perhaps better left in the past!

For more information, please call the site at (845) 446-2134.

Continental Army Encampment for Washington’s Birthday


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During the winter of 1782-83, the soldiers of the northern Continental Army anxiously waited, in New Windsor, for news of the peace treaty. Though peace might be announced, Washington still ordered his soldiers to train for battle. On Sunday February 20 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM and Monday February 21, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, on Presidents’ weekend, soldiers will bring to life the Continental Army’s final winter encampment with musket and cannon firings, blacksmithing, medical demonstrations and other aspects of daily life at New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site in Newburgh.

On Sunday at 1:30 & 3:30 PM and Monday at 11:00 AM, 1:30 & 3:30 PM see muskets and cannon fired. Following these firings, children enlist in the Continental Army, drill with wooden muskets and get paid in Continental currency for their service. New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site is co-located with the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor on Route 300, 374 Temple Hill Road, in New Windsor, NY, just three miles south of the intersection of I-87 and I-84. For more information please call (845) 561-1765 ext. 22.

Following the capture of British forces by the allied armies of France and America, at Yorktown, Virginia, in the fall of 1781, the northern Continental Army returned to the Hudson Highlands. The destruction of the principal British field army in the south broke England’s will to continue the struggle. In the fall of 1782, near New Windsor, 7,500 Continental Army soldiers built a city of 600 log huts near New Windsor. Along with some of their family members, they braved the winter and kept a wary eye on the 12,000 British troops in New York City, just 60 miles away.

Nearby, Washington’s Headquarters, at 84 Liberty Street, in Newburgh, has a full schedule of activities for the Presidents’ weekend to honor our nation’s founding fathers and the soldiers who fought for our independence. Washington’s Headquarters is open Saturday February 19, Sunday February 20 and Monday February 21 from 12:00 to 4:30 PM each day. For more information please call (845) 562-1195.

Photo: Continental Army Soldiers Michael McGurty, from Montgomery, in front and Grant Miller, from New Windsor, in back, Drill in the Snow.

Washington’s HQ: Dutch Ramble Weekend


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Ever wonder what it was like to be a guest at General and Mrs. Washington’s headquarters? Come to Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site on Sunday, September 12th and find out what an 18th century visitor could expect when you accompany Cornelia Tappan Clinton on tour. These special tours by reservation only are scheduled at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM.

Mrs. Clinton, wife of New York’s first governor, George Clinton, will guide you through the Hasbrouck house rented by her dear friends, the Washingtons. In the course of this First Person Experiential Tour, Mrs. Clinton will not only touch upon her friendship with Martha Washington, but also on her own life. This was a lady who witnessed the burning of Kingston, the smallpox epidemic that followed, and the migration of survivors to safer grounds. In her Dutch-tinted accent, Mrs. Clinton will explain how her family survived. To her way of thinking, surmounting these problems was not that difficult as long as the family was able to stay together.

Coming from an old and prominent Dutch family, Cornelia Tappan married George Clinton, a lawyer from Little Britain, and the couple set about to establish themselves in Orange County, to live, work, and raise their family. In time, Mr. Clinton became an officer in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and Cornelia was called upon to keep the family together, save whatever crops from her farm she could salvage and keep her children safe. She rose to the occasion admirably.

It is as Martha’s friend that she is visiting the home the Washingtons will be renting from Mrs. Hasbrouck, in Newburgh. Join Mrs. Clinton as she walks through the rooms speculating on what use the Washingtons will make of this small house on the Hudson River.

Admission for this Special Event is $4.00 per person. Please call by September 11th for reservations. Contact 845-562-1195 6 to reserve a place on one of the tours.

Photo: The Hasbrouck House, Orange County.

Fort Montgomery Fall Lecture Series


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Fort Montgomery State Historic Site is offering an evening lecture series sponsored by the Fort Montgomery Battle Site Association. All lectures will be held at the Fort Montgomery State Historic Site Visitor’s Center, located at 690 Route 9W in Fort Montgomery, NY. For more information, please call (845) 446-2134.

Fort Montgomery State Historic Site is part of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, which administers 28 parks, parkways, and historic sites for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in New York as well as the Palisades Interstate Park and parkway in New Jersey.

Thursday, September 16th , 7PM – Claudius Smith: Revolutionary Rogue or Robin Hood?

Claudius Smith was a controversial figure during the American Revolution, hailed by some as a champion of charity, but eventually hung by others as a thief and a profiteer. Come to your own verdict after author Patricia Edwards Clyne’s, evening lecture “Claudius Smith: Revolutionary Rogue or Robin Hood”; Patricia Edwards Clyne is the author of Hudson Valley Faces and Places; Hudson Valley Tales and Trails; and Caves For Kids in Historic New York. Book sale and signing to follow lecture.

Thursday, September 30th ,7 PM – The Hudson Valley’s Provincial Corps: Loyalist Troops in Sir Henry Clinton’s 1777 Highlands Expedition

Our Patriot forefathers are often remembered, but what about the day’s conservatives, the loyalists? Learn more about those that decided not to rebel and their military campaign against Forts Montgomery and Clinton. Evening Lecture by Todd Braistead, loyalist scholar, and member of the 4th battalion, New Jersey Volunteers.

Thursday, October 28th , 7PM – Haunted Hudson Valley

Join Linda Zimmerman, author and ghost hunter, on a tour of some the valley’s most haunted historic places! In addition to hearing about Linda’s latest investigations, find out what Linda discovered during her investigation of Fort Montgomery! Book sale and signing to follow lecture.

Thursday, November 4th, 7 PM – A British Soldier’s Story

Roger Lamb was one of over 50,000 British soldiers who served in the American Revolution. During his eight years in America he served in two major campaigns, was captured twice, and twice escaped captivity to rejoin the British Army. This is his story as told by Historian, Don Hagist. Slide Presentation followed by book sale and signing.

Twin Forts Day Features Am Rev Reenactment


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On October 6, 1777 a force of British regulars, Loyalists and Germans assaulted Forts Montgomery and Clinton while Royal Navy warships on the Hudson River bombarded the forts as well as American warships defending the Great Chain. Outnumbered 3 to 1, the Continental Regulars and Militia fought a brave and bloody action until at last their forts were overrun, the Continental boats were burned by their own crews and the Great Chain removed. Over half of the garrison was captured or killed.

The Fort Montgomery State Historic Site in the Hudson Highlands will commemorate this bloody battle on October 2-3. This year, the traditional Twin Forts Day will be expanded into a two day Brigade of the American Revolution event with different programs each day. On Saturday, visitors will witness the battle reenactment, cannon firings, and living history demonstrations throughout the day. Sunday will feature the aftermath of the battle, with the “Twin Forts” now under the control of the conquering Crown Forces. British and German troops will be on hand to establish guard posts and put their prisoners to work, while the Loyalist forces try to recruit wavering Continentals.

Fort Montgomery State Historic Site is located at 690 Route 9W, in Fort Montgomery, NY.

Schedule:

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 30
7:00 PM – FREE LECTURE – Todd Braisted “The Hudson Valley’s Provincial Corps: Loyalist Troops in Sir Henry Clinton’s 1777 Highlands Expedition.” – Fort Montgomery Visitor Center

SATURDAY OCTOBER 2
9:00 AM – Camp Opens
9:30 AM – Troop (formation) – Visitor Center Lawn
10:00 AM – Memorial Ceremony at Fort Clinton’s Redoubt
11:00 AM – People of the Twin Forts – Visitor Center Terrace
1:00 PM – Artillery Firing – Grand Battery
1:30 PM – Military Music Demo – Grand Battery
1:30 PM – Ladies Program – Visitor Center Terrace
2:00 PM – British Formation & Drill – Visitor Center Lawn
4:00 PM – Battle Reenactment – Fort Interior
5:00 PM – Camp Closes

SUNDAY OCTOBER 3
10:00 AM – Camp Opens to the Public
11:00 AM – Troop (formation) – Visitor Center Lawn
11:00AM – 2:00PM Crown Forces Occupation – Fort Interior
2:00 PM – Artillery Firing – Grand Battery
3:00 PM – Camp Closes

Presented by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; Palisades Interstate Park Commission; Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area; Fort Montgomery Battle Site Association; and The Brigade of the American Revolution

The Brigade of the American Revolution has a nearly 50-year relationship with New York’s State Historic Sites, and has been at the forefront of the fight to keep them open during the recent state budget difficulties.

www.palisadesparksconservancy.org/historic/18/

www.brigade.org

nysparks.state.ny.us/historic-sites/28/details.aspx

www.hudsonrivervalley.com

Washington’s Headquarters Annual Kite Event


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If you feel like flying a kite, or watching one in flight, come to Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site, Saturday, August 28th from 2:00 until 4:00 PM for the free annual “Kites Over The Hudson.”

For the first 150 children, ages 15 and under, there are free kites and prizes in various categories. If you are over 15, enjoy the scenery and breezes blowing off the Hudson River. For all, there are free refreshments.

Admission to Washington’ Headquarters, the first historic site in the nation, will be underwritten by the Central Hudson Gas and Electric Company. The kites, refreshments, prizes and entertainment for the day all are being provided through the gracious patronage of the Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands.

Guided tours, conducted by costumed historic interpreters, will address not only the history of the house and the role it played during the Revolutionary War, but also touch upon its importance in light of historic preservation. From its inception as a designated state historic site, it set the example for over 7,000 similar locations to follow.

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site is a registered national historic landmark. It is located at the corner of Liberty and Washington Streets within the city of Newburgh’s East End Historic District.

‘You Are Needed at Headquarters’ at New Windsor Cantonment


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“You Are Needed at Headquarters” a special presentation on the important role of the Continental Army military headquarters in Newburgh and New Windsor, will be held at the New Windsor Cantonment on September 25, 2010. The event includes special tours of the Edmonston House, headquarters for Major General Arthur St. Clair, Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Site and Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site.

Once the British captured New York City, in 1776, the natural defenses of the Hudson Highlands sheltered the Continental Army for the remainder of the war, except for a few weeks, in the fall of 1777. Many of the homes in the valley were used as military headquarters. Typically, the soldiers stayed in tents during mild weather and constructed log huts for the winter. The highest ranking officers vied with each other to stay in the most comfortable houses available. In the sparsely populated Highlands, there were few places large enough to accommodate the generals and their retinue, without being a major burden on the property owner, who often continued living in the house. Learn about the role of these headquarters and the interaction between the army and their often reluctant hosts.

The formal presentation, at the New Windsor Cantonment, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM, will give visitors the background of the American military presence, in the Hudson Valley, during the Revolutionary War. General George Washington made his headquarters at the home of the widow Hasbrouck, south of Newburgh. The modest fieldstone home was used for 16 months, the longest occupation of any headquarters by Washington. Constructed in 1754, the elegant John Ellison house was the military headquarters for Quartermaster General Nathanael Greene and artillery commander General Henry Knox, in 1779. Knox returned in 1780-81 and over the summer of 1782. Appointed commander of the army at New Windsor, in October 1782, General Horatio Gates, victor of the Battle of Saratoga, resided there from November 1782-April 1783. First billeted at the Edmonston House, Gates complained directly to Washington that “your Excellency’s dog kennel at Mount Vernon, is as good a Quarter as that I am now in.” If the Edmonston House was any where near as bad as Gates intimated, it was fortunate that the New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Maryland Detachment commander, at the New Windsor Cantonment, General Arthur St. Clair, the next occupant, spent much of the winter of 1782-83 home on furlough.

From 2:00 to 5:00 PM, visitors are invited to visit Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site on Liberty Street, in Newburgh, New York, Knox’s Headquarters, at the intersection of Route 94 and Forge Hill Road, in Vails Gate and Edmonston House, located on Route 94, west of the Vails Gate intersection with Routes 32 and 300. There is a small fee to tour Washington’s Headquarters and the Edmonston House. For more information please call New Windsor Cantonment at (845) 561-1765 ext. 22. New Windsor Cantonment is co-located with the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor on Route 300 (374 Temple Hill Road) in the Town of New Windsor, four miles east of Stewart Airport. It is three miles from the intersection of I-87 and I-84 in Newburgh, New York.

Fort Montgomery to Host 18th Century Music


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Fort Montgomery State Historic Site will host an evening of music performed in Late Eighteenth Century America on Saturday, August 28th, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

Visitors will hear music popular during and after the American Revolution, performed by members of the Fort Montgomery State Historic Site staff and friends. This vocal, violin, and harpsichord performance will include music by Arne, Handel, Webbe, Linley the Younger, and others. Listeners will experience a concert similar to entertainments enjoyed by America’s founding fathers. The event is free.

The Fort Montgomery Visitor Center is located at 690 Route 9W,1/4 mile north of the Bear Mountain Traffic Circle in Fort Montgomery, NY 10922. For more information, call (845) 446-2134.

Event: Last Encampment of the Continental Army


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On Saturday August 14, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM visitors to the New Windsor Cantonment in Orange County can experience by candlelight the recreated dramatic last days of the encampment at New Windsor, before most of the Continental Army returned home after 8 years of war. Costumed historians will interact with visitors as if they were in 1783 at the re-created huts, owned by the Town of New Windsor and administered by the Last Encampment of the Continental Army, on the west side of Route 300 and on the north side of Causeway Road.

After 8 years of war, most of the army was finally allowed to go home, but some soldiers had to remain under arms until the British evacuated New York City. There was tension in the air. Knowing that their time was short, soldiers lashed out at their officers. One, they hung in effigy. Causing further resentment, the soldiers would not receive their long overdue pay, only certificates for three months pay, redeemable in six months.

Visitors will here tales of past glories, suffering, and share their hopes and aspirations for an uncertain future and tour the encampment grounds by the glow of tin lanterns and experience the tense days before the army left New Windsor, with the soldiers and civilians who once made their homes in the area.

The “residents” have no knowledge of any events past June 1783, like the fact that their beloved General Washington will one day be the President of the United States, with strong powers enumerated in the 1787 Constitution.

Visitors will meet few, if any, names that they recognize from history, but instead humble souls whose efforts combined with thousands of others, helped forge a nation. This type of presentation, called “first-person living history,” has developed into a very exciting way to make history more meaningful to visitors. This technique is used at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts and Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.

The event is co-sponsored by the National Temple Hill Association and New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site. The National Temple Hill Association administers the Last Encampment of the Continental Army for the Town of New Windsor and owns the historic Edmonston House.

Photo: Two Soldiers of the Massachusetts Line, in a Hut, at the Last Encampment of the Continental Army, New Windsor, New York

Wild, Wild East: NY’s Westward Expansion Lecture


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New York’s early frontier was America’s first “Wild West” with Westward Expansion, blocked by two “obstacles”: Native Americans and Nature. Combining dramatic images and fresh research, Robert Spiegelman details this forgotten New York, where settler dreams encounter native lifeways during a free lecture on Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 7 pm at the Fort Montgomery Historic Site.

Spiegelman will explore a “magical crossroads” where immigrants change into nomad farmers, neighbors into rivals, colonists into fighters, soldiers into settlers, land speculators into “second creators,” Indian Country into military tracts named for Roman conquerors, and untamed forests into real estate grids.

Participants will revisit Syracuse and Buffalo’s emergence from the ashes of attempted Indian removal and controversial land treaties that have shaped today’s Empire State. Then grasp Manhattan’s rise to prominence via the Erie Canal, which in turn, inflames a religious upheaval across Central New York that America calls “The Burnt Over District.” The lecture will end with an appreciation of how – against all odds – indigenous New Yorkers retain a toehold in their deforested ancestral homelands.

The Fort Montgomery Visitor Center is located at 690 Route 9W,1/4 mile north of the Bear Mountain Traffic Circle in Fort Montgomery, Orange County, NY 10922. For more information call (845) 446-2134.

Washington’s Headquarters Open for the Season


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Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, Orange County, has opened its doors to a new season of guided tours, entertaining programs and special events. The site will be open each Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday, 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM, and closed every Monday and Tuesday, until October 31st. There is a small admission fee for tours and programs.

Throughout the season, guest speakers will periodically offer presentations dealing with the Hudson Valley’s historic importance, not only during the Revolutionary War, but prior to it and after, in the period of national expansion. The 2010 schedule follows.

August 7th: Badge of Military Merit Day

August 28: Kites Over The Hudson

September 13: Cornelia Tappan Clinton: A First Person Experience (as part of the Dutch Ramble)

September 19: Tryntje Hasbrouck: First Person Experience (as part of the Revolutionary War Ramble)

October 15 and 16: A Night At The Headquarters

December 12: Warm up at the Washington’s (as part of the Newburgh Historical House Tours)

December 27 through the 30: Winter Welcome Week

For more information about visiting Washington’s Headquarters, contact the Museum office at 845-562-1195.

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site is part of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, which administers 28 parks, parkways, and historic sites for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in New York as well as the Palisades Interstate Park and parkway in New Jersey. For more information about New York State parks and historic sites, visit www.nysparks.com and for more information about the Palisades Interstate Park parks and historic sites, visit www.palisadesparksconservancy.org

Mastodon Tusk May Be Largest Ever Uncovered in NYS


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Research under way at the New York State Museum indicates that a huge mastodon tusk, recently excavated by Museum scientists in Orange County, may be the largest tusk ever found in New York State. The nearly complete but fragmented tusk, measuring more than nine feet long, was one of two excavated this past summer in the Black Dirt area of Orange County at the confluence of Tunkamoose Creek and the Wallkill River, on the property of Lester Lain of Westtown. Museum scientists believe that the other less complete tusk, about 5-6 feet long, came from the same mastodon, which has been named the Tunkamoose mastodon.

Glen Keeton of Mount Hope, N.Y. and Chris Connallon of Hampton, N.J. came across the tusks in November 2008 as they were canoeing down the Wallkill River. Keeton contacted the Orange County chapter of the New York State Archeological Association, which then contacted the State Museum. Weather conditions delayed the excavation until this past
summer.

Since then, Dr. Robert Feranec, the Museum’s curator of vertebrate paleontology, has been researching other mastodon excavations in New York State. Feranec believes that the Warren Mastodon tusk, which is 8 feet, 8 inches long, is the longest one uncovered to date. It was discovered in New York State in the 1800s and is on exhibit at the
American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The tusk of the Cohoes Mastodon, on display at the State Museum, is about 4-5 feet long.

Based on the age of similar fossils, Feranec suspects that the tusks are about 13,000 years old. However, carbon dating results to determine the exact age, will not be available until later this year. In the meantime, the tusks have been taken apart to be cleaned and conserved for their long-term survival. It is hoped that eventually the tusks can be made available for scientific research and exhibits at the State
Museum and at a museum in the area where the tusks were found.

Abundant mastodon fossils have been found in Orange County, especially in the rich Black Dirt area which Keeton calls “a gold mine for these fossils.” Other fossils have also been found including those of giant beavers, stag moose, ground sloths, peccaries and reindeer. Several Museum scientists will be involved in an integrative research
project in the Black Dirt area where they will investigate the ancient environment in which the mastodon lived, as well as how that environment changed over the last 13,000 years.

“From my perspective, this is a significant find,” said Feranec. “These fossils will tell us more about the ancient history of New York. We hope to be able to reconstruct the environment in which the mastodon lived, as well as to try to understand why they went extinct.”

In 2007, Feranec oversaw the relocation of the Cohoes Mastodon from the State Museum lobby window to its new location in the Museum’s Exhibition Hall, where temperature and humidity levels are more stable and more conducive to the skeleton’s long-term preservation. The iconic Museum treasure is now the centerpiece of an expanded exhibition.

Discovered in 1866 near Cohoes Falls, the Mastodon once stood about 8 ½ feet tall, was about 15 feet long, and weighed between 8-10,000 pounds. Its tusk weighs 50 pounds.

Photo: During the excavation process in Orange County, Dr. Robert Feranec, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the New York State Museum, poses next to part of the tusk of a mastodon. (Photo courtesy of NYS Museum)

Conference: Merchant Jews in The New World: 1500-1800


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The first of three annual conferences focusing on a lesser-known role played by merchants, especially Jewish merchants, in the Caribbean and major ports of Colonial America in the establishment of the United States, will be held at the ‘Center for Jewish History’ in New York City on Sunday, October 18, 2009.

The initial one-day gathering, “Merchant Jews in The New World: 1500-1800″ is being organized by ‘The Gomez Foundation for Mill House’, an organization focused upon the pioneer experience in America. The aim of this conference is to highlight current research and foster further study in this long neglected corner of New World and Colonial American history. Represented on the panels will be noted scholars in the field, including Keynote Speaker, Dr. Jonathan Ray of Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

Gomez Foundation for Mill House manages and operates one of the oldest, continuously occupied dwellings in North America, the 300-year-old ‘Gomez Mill House’ in Orange County, New York. On the National Register of Historic Places, the house was named after a Jewish merchant named Luis Moses Gomez. Other pioneers, patriots and significant owners who came after him are also honored at the house.

Gomez was born in Spain, fled with his family to Southwestern France, and came to New York by way of England and the Caribbean. His aim in building his trading post (now the house) was to help open up the Hudson River to increased trade.

The conference is open to those with both academic and non-academic backgrounds, particularly those who share an interest in the economic birth, maturity and modern expansion in the New World and early America. For further information on the conference, visit www.gomez.org.