Tag Archives: Rensselaer County

Shaker Exhibition Opening At NYS Museum


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ModeofWorshipThe New York State Museum will open a new major exhibition about the history and culture of the Shakers on November 15, 2014. The Shakers: America’s Quiet Revolutionaries will feature over 150 historic images and nearly 200 Shaker artifacts, including artifacts from three Shaker historical sites: the Shaker Heritage Society, Hancock Shaker Village and the Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon.

In the late 1700s, the Shakers sought religious freedom in America, but their unique culture and spiritual practices set them apart from society. Their devotional routines as well as their product innovations and views towards gender equality seemed revolutionary. Continue reading

Harvest Faire At Fort Crailo September 13th


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Crailo Historic SiteOn Saturday, September 13th, Crailo State Historic Site and the Friends of Fort Crailo present Harvest Faire, an outdoor event free to the public (a nominal donation is asked to enter the museum exhibit), and part of the Hudson River Ramble. In case of inclement weather, the event will be held on Sunday, September 14th. The festivities run from 11 am to 4 pm.

Crailo’s grounds set the scene for 17th- and 18th-century re-enactors, music, and demonstrations. Among the re-enactors are 17th-century Dutch settlers, a rope-maker and tinsmith, and Native Americans with a recreated wigwam. This year will also include demonstrations of wheat threshing. Continue reading

New Exhibit: The Edgar Holloway Art Collection


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Edgar Holloway's Narrowest HouseThe Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) will debut a new, rotating exhibit, Prospect of America: Selections from the Edgar Holloway Art Collection, on Monday, September 8th at 7pm at the 87th Annual Meeting. The exhibit series runs through December 20, 2014. The exhibit is sponsored in part by the McCarthy Charities.

In the early 1970s, Rev. Thomas Phelan was inspired to raise awareness of Troy and the surrounding area’s amazing architectural and industrial heritage. Valuing the power art has to move people to action, Rev. Phelan commissioned English artist Edgar Holloway to spend three summers, from 1973 to 1975, in Troy to document the historic buildings and street scenes. His three years in New York resulted in over 80 watercolors and 15 etchings that have become a historical record themselves of the way Troy, Cohoes, and other outlying areas looked in the mid-1970s. Through Holloway’s art, people began to see the inherent beauty in these often neglected buildings. Advocacy groups formed and several buildings were preserved through the actions of individuals inspired by art. Continue reading

Summer Sampler History Camp at Crailo


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Crailo Historic SiteCrailo State Historic Site has announced its annual Summer Sampler History Camp for kids. This year’s Summer Sampler takes place August 4-8 from 10 am to 12 pm each day.

Participants can pick and choose the days to attend, from just one day up to all five. Each day will include activities, crafts to take home, and a snack.  Historic reproductions, interactive games and exploration of the river’s edge will bring a different theme related to Crailo and the area’s rich history to life each day: Continue reading

Yankee Doodle Band Concert at Crailo


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Crailo Historic SiteCrailo State Historic Site has announced that the historic Yankee Doodle Band will be performing in Crailo’s riverside park in Rensselaer, NY on July 10 at 7:00 pm.  Bring chairs or blankets and a picnic dinner and join us for the patriotic and stirring songs of the Yankee Doodle Band as the sun sets over the Hudson River.  This event is free to the public.

Organized in 1928 the Yankee Doodle Band has played all over the country from Miami to New Orleans to Hawaii.  Members of the band range in age from their teens to their 90’s and will play a blend of Sousa marches, Broadway show tunes, popular hit songs, and music from the movies. Continue reading

New York Tenant Farmers: Little-Used Resources


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Wheat imageProfessional genealogist Jane E. Wilcox of Forget-Me-Not Ancestry in Kingston will present a talk on New York tenant farmers at the New York Public Library in New York City on Tuesday, May 20 at 5:30 p.m.

Wilcox’s presentation, “Looking for Your New York Tenant Farmer: Little-Used Resources,” will focus on the tenants of the major colonial manors and patents of the Hudson Valley between Westchester and Rensselaer and Albany counties. Wilcox will discuss the types of records that were created in New York’s manorial lease-holding land system and will explain how and where to find documents that recorded the lives of the tenants. Included with the talk will be a handout with genealogical resources. Continue reading

Historic Cherry Hill to Conserve Rare Receipt books


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MVR receipt bookHistoric Cherry Hill has been awarded funding from the Pine Tree Foundation of New York for the conservation, rehousing, and select digitization of the museum’s collection of Van Rensselaer family receipt books and related clippings.

In all, there are 13 receipt books and numerous clippings and recipe fragments (in both manuscript and printed form) dating from the mid-eighteenth century through the early 20th century. The receipt books belonged to members of the Cherry Hill household.  Continue reading

New Online Collections Related to New York History


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heathHere’s a quick look at some of the latest New York history resources to hit the web:

The University of Rochester has posted an online archive of over 6,000 AIDS information/activism posters. “The posters provide a visual history of the first three decades of the HIV/AIDS crisis from 1981 to the present. Depending on their audience, creators of the posters used stereotypes, scare tactics, provocative language, imagery, and even humor to educate the public about the disease.” The project was launched in 2011 and includes posters from 124 countries in 68 languages and dialects. It’s available online at http://aep.lib.rochester.edu/. Continue reading

Schaghticoke: An American Revolution Militia Rendezvous


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sgtkesauthierAt 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

Halloween History: New York’s Anti-Mask Law


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murray249The approach of Halloween together with recent news that the last scheduled criminal case stemming from the arrests of hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protestors had been dismissed, has swung the spotlight of history back on New York’s anti-mask law.

It was one of the first tools used by New York City police to break up the Occupy Wall Street protest when it began in September, two years ago. Within days of donning Guy Fawkes masks, demonstrators were charged by police for violating the anti-mask law, section 240.35(4) of the New York Penal Law. Its origins go back to a statute passed in 1845 to suppress armed uprisings by tenant farmers in the Hudson Valley who were using disguises to attack law enforcement officers. Continue reading

New Board Members at Rensselaer County Historical Society


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image001(3)The Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) announces the appointment of Douglas Bucher, Phyllis Conroy, Christina Kelly and Robert Matthews to the Board of Trustees. They were elected to their terms at the 86th Annual Meeting held on September 9, 2013.

The Rensselaer County Historical Society and Museum, located at 57 Second Street in Troy, is a not-for-profit educational organization established in 1927 to connect local history and heritage with contemporary life. Continue reading

The Troy Draft Riot and Father Peter Havermans


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havermanWhen what has been described as “the second most destructive draft riot in the nation” broke out in Troy on July 15, 1863, worried city residents, especially African-Americans, wondered if the Dean of the Roman Catholic churches in Troy, Father Peter Havermans, would, or could, do anything to calm the rioters and curb anticipated violence.

The bulk of the two to three thousand angry protestors in the streets were Catholics who worked in the city’s mills, factories and iron works. Continue reading

Hidden History: Knickerbocker Mansion, Crailo Events


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The Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) announces their September and October Hidden History programs. Which will focus on the Knickerbocker Mansion, Schaghticoke, NY (on Tuesday, Sept 5) and Crailo, the Museum of the Colonial Dutch, in Rensselaer, NY (Tuesday, October 30).

The Rensselaer County Historical Society and Museum is a dynamic not-for-profit educational organization established in 1927 to connect local history and heritage with contemporary life. We strive to enrich the present and advocate for the future by bringing the region’s past to life, recognizing every face and every story.  RCHS is located at 57 Second Street, in Troy.

Reservations can be made by calling 518-272-7232 x12 or email ilenefrank@rchsonline.org

Knickerbocker Mansion, Schaghticoke, NY
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
4:30pm
$15 per person, $12 for RCHS members
The Knickerbocker Mansion located in Schaghticoke was built by Johannes Knickerbaacker III around 1780. The house was lived in by generations of the Knickerbocker family but fell into disrepair in the 20th century. A dedicated group of volunteers began restoration and after decades of work the building has been almost completely restored. Join Rensselaer County Historian, Kathryn Sheehan, on this special tour of one of Rensselaer County’s oldest buildings.

Crailo, Museum of the Colonial Dutch, Rensselaer, NY
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
4:30pm
$15 per person, $12 for RCHS members
Rensselaer County Historian, Kathryn Sheehan, will lead our visit to Crailo, a State Historic, which tells the story of the early Dutch inhabitants of the upper Hudson Valley through exhibits highlighting archeological finds from the Albany Fort Orange excavation and guided tours of the museum. Originally part of the vast landholding called the Manor or Patroonship of Rensselaerswyck, the Crailo farm was named after the Van Rensselaer’s estate in the Netherlands, variously spelled Crayloo or Cralo in the 17th century, and meaning “crows’ wood” in Dutch. Tour includes viewing the award winning short-film, Keeping Order: A Fort Orange Court Record.

Rensselaer County Historical Society History Walks


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The Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) offers walking tours of historic downtown Troy on Saturday mornings this September and October. Tours depart from and return to the Market Table at the Troy Farmer’s Market at 10:30 am. Each week brings a different theme for the tours, which are led by RCHS staff and frequently incorporate historic photographs and readings from letters and diaries.

September’s History Walks are part of the Hudson River Ramble. The Hudson River Valley Ramble celebrates the trails, the river and the historic and cultural resources of the Hudson River Valley Greenway and National Heritage Area. For more information about the Ramble visit www.hudsonrivervalleyramble.com
Cost: $5 per person/ RCHS members free. Reservations can be made by calling 518-272-7232 x12 or email ilenefrank@rchsonline.org . For more information, visit www.rchsonline.org

Saturday, September 8 Green Island Bridge
Discover this historic Hudson River crossing point and the various bridges that have been built at this site.

Saturday, September 15 Uncle Sam’s Life in Troy
This tour takes you to sites associated with Samuel Wilson, the “real” Uncle Sam. You’ll also visit the RCHS museum, which includes artifacts from Samuel Wilson’s life and images of our national symbol.

Saturday, September 22 Amazing Architecture
Stroll the streets of downtown Troy and find a rich built environment. Tour showcases Troy’s architectural gems as you explore the range of styles found in Troy.

Saturday, September 29 The Marquis de Lafayette Visits Troy
For much of 1824 & 1825, Lafayette, the hero of the American Revolution, made a triumphal visit to the US, including visiting Troy twice. Follow in his footsteps as he was shown the bustling city that Troy had become.

Saturday, October 2 Underground Railroad
Troy was a hotbed of abolitionism. Walk to where history was made including the site of the rescue of Charles Nalle.

Saturday, October 13 Amazing Architecture
Stroll downtown Troy and you’ll find a rich built environment. This tour showcases Troy’s architectural gems and range of styles.

Saturday October 20 Monumental Troy
Join us as we look at the many monuments that remind us of wartime sacrifice, famous events and the people who left their mark on Troy.

Saturday, October 27 Murder and Mayhem
Who knows what ghosts might haunt the streets of Troy? You will, after taking part in this walk through the more colorful stories of Troy’s past

RCHS is located at 57 Second Street, Troy NY 12180.

Daughter of Troy: Lily, Duchess of Marlborough


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When Sally Svenson, an summer resident of Lake Luzerne and occasional contributor to Adirondack Life magazine, was writing Adirondack Churches: A History of Design and Building (2006, North Country Books) , she stumbled upon the life of Eliza Warren Price, known as Lily, Duchess of Marlborough.

Lily, who was born in Troy, NY in 1854, was reported in an old history to have provided the funds for a chapel at st. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Lake Luzerne. That turned out to be a questionable assertion, but Svenson found Lily’s obituary in the New York Times and was hooked on her incredible life story which is told in Lily, Duchess of Marlborough (1854-1909): A Portrait with Husbands (2011, Dog Ear Publishing). Continue reading

New Exhibit on the Great Fire of Troy


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On May 10, 1862, as the nation was consumed by the ravages of the Civil War, Troy NY faced a devastating fire. As a train crossed the Hudson River on the Troy-Green Island Bridge, a spark from the engine ignited the wooden bridge. The fire spread rapidly, ultimately destroying over 600 buildings in the heart of the city in only six hours. Newspaper accounts, personal letters and even artist renderings depict a city in chaos as people struggled to save their homes and businesses. The Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) has opened a new exhibit commemorating the 150th anniversary of Troy’s Great Fire. The exhibit runs through August 18, 2012.



Stacy Pomeroy Draper, RCHS Curator, said, “The Great Fire is one of Troy’s most significant events as it dynamically altered the look of the city. As many local towns learned after the hurricane and tropical storms of last year, natural disaster can dramatically change a location in the blink of an eye. The story of Troy’s rise after the fire is one that can inspire us today to rebuild after a tragedy.”

Advances in fire fighting technology, such as the use of steam-powered fire engines were applauded for their role in saving the city, and citizens joined together to re-emerge from the catastrophe. Well known architects designed new buildings in the latest styles and new building codes were introduced mandating the use of fire resistant building materials.

The exhibit focuses on four main themes; Troy in the 1860s, Mid-19th Century fire fighting techniques, the event itself known as The Great Fire of May 10, 1862 and the aftermath, including personal impacts, changes to city code and fire safety. A number of early photographic images, several recently discovered, show the city just before the fire and document the devastation.

Artifacts on display include firefighting equipment such as fire buckets, a rare fireman’s jacket and helmets. Accounts of the event from local newspapers and eyewitness descriptions found in personal letters, several of which came to light as research was undertaken, tell the story firsthand. A number of fire related artifacts from public institutions and private lenders will also be on display for the first time, including a toy steam fire engine from the FASNY Museum of Firefighting in Hudson, New York.

Programming during the exhibit will include a trip to see the extensive fire collections at the FASNY Museum of Firefighting. RCHS will lead a walking tour of the district impacted by the fire on Saturday, May 12 at 10:30am. The tour departs from the Market Table at the Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market. Tour is $5 per person, free for RCHS members.

Stacy Pomeroy Draper, RCHS curator, is available to give illustrated lectures about the fire.

The exhibit is sponsored in part by B-Lann Equipment Co., John G Waite Associates and the Troy Uniformed Firefighters Association.

Illustration: Grandma Moses, “The Burning of Troy in 1862″ (1943)


Underground Railroad Conference This Weekend


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The 11th Anniversary Conference on the Underground Railroad Movement, sponsored by the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region Conference, will be held at Russell Sage College in Troy, April 13-15th. This year’s conference, “The Underground Railroad Turned On Its Head – Old Themes, New Directions,” focuses on new research on the Underground Railroad, slavery, abolition and the 19th century. Old assumptions such as “There is little documentation of the Underground Railroad”, “The UGRR was a string of safe houses to Canada” and numerous other ideas are challenged by new research and interpretations.

The conference will feature:

Friday, April 13, 2012

An Educators’ Workshop

Opening Address – Manisha Sinha, PhD
“Fleeing for Freedom: Fugitive Slaves and the Making of American Abolitionism”

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Keynote Address – Barbara McCaskill, PhD
“A Thousand Miles for Freedom: A New Take on the Old Story of William and Ellen Craft, the Georgia Fugitives”

Artists in Residence – Miles Ahead Jazz Quartet

Spectres of Liberty
Experience history – step into the recreated Liberty Street Presbyterian Church of Henry Highland Garnet

Over 20 Workshops, plus Vendors & Displays

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A bus tour of UGR Sites in Rensselaer County by Kathryn Sheehan, Rensselaer County Historian.

The Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region researches, preserves, and retells New York’s regional history of the Underground Railroad, highlighting the role of African-American freedom seekers and local abolitionists.

More information can be found online.