Tag Archives: Rockland County

Hook Mountain Saved 100 Years Ago


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One hundred years ago this month, less than a year after the Harriman gift of $1,000,000 and 10,000 acres was leveraged to raise an additional $4.5 million in private and state funds, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission began its purchase of the five quarries that were steadily eating away at the stately Hook Mountain ridge between Nyack and Haverstraw, New York.

The first quarry purchased belonged to the Manhattan Trap Rock Company. Its facilities, including the concrete power house used to crush the rock before being loaded onto barges from the wharf, were eventually dismantled or converted by the WPA to recreational facilities. The power house, a beautiful dutch colonial sandstone building that sits at the foot of the mountain, was transformed into a bath house when swimming in the Hudson was still permitted. This magnificent example of adaptive use is now experiencing a second wave of interest by the community as the anchor of Nyack Beach State Park.

The River Trail, one of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Trails, runs north from Nyack Beach for almost five miles. A magnet for runners, cyclists, bird watchers, fishermen, lovers, and artists, it is the only trail along the lower Hudson in New York that does not share its waterfront with a train line or highway. The Long Path parallels this trail high above atop the cliffs.

Rockland County: St. Johns in the Wilderness


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In a quiet corner of Rockland County, just a few miles from downtown Haverstraw, NY, stands St. Johns in the Wilderness Episcopal Church. Today it is a reminder that there was once a small but thriving community there, long since grown over.

Located near present day Lake Welch in Harriman State Park, St. John’s was constructed in 1880 through the patronage of Mrs. Margaret Zimmerman, a wealthy New Yorker, as a memorial to her husband John who had died suddenly while they were honeymooning in Palestine. Mrs. Zimmerman (who never remarried) had a retreat estate in Tuxedo Park and enjoyed hiking throughout the area, ultimately buying the land where St. John’s now stands.

In June of 1880, the cornerstone was laid and named for St. John the Evangelist and on November 23rd of the same year, the church was dedicated and officially opened for services. Three years later, Mrs. Zimmerman and Mrs. Carey, director of this church, founded a parish school for orphaned boys from New York City.

That Much Good Might Be Done: St. John’s-in-the-Wilderness, the Legacy of Ada Bessie Carey and Margaret Furniss Zimmerman, is a historical biography of these two 19th century women who devoted much of their lives operating the school and the chapel for the poor families of the Ramapo Mountains. The book details both their efforts and the history of the church.

The author, Odessa Southern Elliott, was caretaker at St. John’s for 30 years. She collected data locally and from around the world. She obtained the memoirs of Dora Ruth West, Mrs. Carey’s adopted daughter; and Sean Furniss, the great-great-great nephew of Mrs. Zimmerman shared his family research with her.

Copies of the book are available at the Harriman Park Visitor’s Center located between exits 16 and 17 on the Palisades Parkway for $15. For more information, call: 845-786-5003.

231st Anniversary of the Storming of Stony Point


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On the seemingly calm night of July 15, 1779, an unusual chill drifted through the summer air at Stony Point. The British garrison stationed there was confident in their position on the Hudson River and unaware of American plans to invade. Just before midnight, the stillness of the fort was broken as Brigadier General Anthony Wayne and his Light Infantry took the British by storm with a surprise attack. By 1 A.M., the garrison had surrendered, marking an important triumph for America and the last major battle in the north.

Visit Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 16th-18th, to celebrate the 231st anniversary of this bold victory as reenactors from British, American, and Loyal American regiments recreate soldier and family life during the Revolutionary War.

The Battlefield will come alive with demonstrations of 18th century warfare and performances of tactical demonstrations and mock skirmishes. Musket and artillery drills are planned throughout the weekend, showing visitors how weaponry was used in combat. Learn about the kinds of currency circulating through the colonies from our camp paymaster and witness a demonstration of the mail system by our colonial postmaster. Reserve a place on the Battlefield Lantern Tour Saturday evening and witness a recreation of the midnight assault while you take a guided walking tour through the battleground.

A range of activities are planned which will provide fun for the whole family. Children will love enlisting in Washington’s army at the camp recruitment table (where they will receive a certificate signed with a quill pen) and anyone can collect a reward for discovering the renegade hiding in the camp. Enjoy a Tea Party with staff dressed in colonial costume and learn about 18th century fashions and etiquette. Talk to our working blacksmiths to discover how tools were repaired or created to meet the needs of the army.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, Tom Hanford will present a family show of 18th century entertainment with music, stories and dramas from life “In the Good Old Colony Days.”

There will be a $5 parking fee. For more information and directions, please call the site office, 845-786-2521.

Illustration: Storming of Stony Point by J. Rogers (ca. 1770-ca. 1880).

Managing Your Historical Photographs Workshops


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The New York State Archives is offering two new workshops on managing historical photographs. The first, offered at three locations around the state in October is intended to present strategies for taking physical and intellectual control of photographs to ensure their long-term access and use. Participants will hear methods of organizing and making accessible photographic material, and preservation guidelines for photographs, along with reference, exhibition, and outreach strategies will be outlined. The workshops are free and open to the public. The second workshop in the two part series, “Digitizing Your Historical Photographs,” will be available next year.

Schedule and Registration

October 13, 2009, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Hanford Mills, East Meredith, NY
Presenter Ray LeFever, Coordinator of Archival Advisory Services, NYS Archives Register by downloading a registration form from Upstate History Alliance

October 20, 2009, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
New City Library, New City, NY (Rockland County)
Presenter Ray LeFever, Coordinator of Archival Advisory Services, NYS Archives
Register by emailing Dianne Macpherson at Greater Hudson Heritage Network.

October 20, 2009 9:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Schenectady County Library Schenectady, NY
Presenter Denis Meadows, Regional Advisory Officer, NYS Archives Region 4
Register online with the State Archives.

For more information e-mail ARCHTRAIN@mail.nysed.gov.

Photo: Bart Warren and helper in his blacksmith shop, West Sand Lake, NY c. 1900
@greaterhudson.org>

Barnabas McHenry’s Greater Hudson Heritage Award


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The Board of Trustees of Greater Hudson Heritage Network (GHHN) will confer special regional recognition to Barnabas (Barney) McHenry through presentation of the Greater Hudson Cultural Heritage Award on October 2, preceding a Historic Site Futures Forum at Bear Mountain, New York.

For 40 years Barney McHenry has worked to protect the Hudson River Valley, its heritage, culture and landscapes. As counsel to DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, founders of Reader’s Digest, he was the principal architect of the Wallace Funds, which have contributed to the arts, education, humanities and the environment throughout the Hudson River Valley.

Barney McHenry demonstrates his commitment to the region as Chair of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council, Co-Chair of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and Member of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, while offering valued trustee-leadership to regional historic sites through his service on the boards of Friends of the Hudson Valley and the Open Space Institute, and as Chairman of Boscobel.

A long time patron of museums throughout the Greater Hudson Heritage Network, Mr. McHenry has served on the boards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, The New York Commission on the Restoration of the Capital and the Empire State Plaza Art Commission.

“Greater Hudson’s vision of ‘communities that value the exploration and preservation of their heritage and cultures, and are empowered to save and interpret them to future generations,’ has been furthered by the work of Barney McHenry,” affirmed Dr. Jacquetta Haley, President of the GHHN Board.

Greater Hudson Heritage Network (formerly Lower Hudson Conference of Historical Agencies & Museums), is a museum service organization that has grown over 30 years to encompass an area and cultural constituency from the Battery to Albany- engaging and informing staff, consultants and trustees of cultural heritage organizations as a catalyst to strengthen professional capacity, define and meet mission, and connect them through best practices in stewardship.

Greater Hudson’s Annual Meeting and Historic Site Futures Forum will take place on Friday, October 2, 2009 at Overlook Lodge, Bear Mountain, NY from 10am – 3pm.

The Hon. Richard Brodsky, NYS Assemblyman, 92nd District (Westchester) will address an audience of museum and historic site professionals on issues of “Smart Stewardship,” as he introduces the morning Historic Site Futures Forum and panel speakers.

The Cultural Heritage Award presentation and Futures Forum will be followed by a buffet luncheon, election of GHHN trustees, and the afternoon presentation of 14 Awards Towards Excellence for organizations and projects selected from submitted nominations by a peer jury, chaired by Greater Hudson trustee Jennifer Plick.

The Greater Hudson Heritage Network’s Awards Towards Excellence program seeks to recognize and commend exceptional efforts among GHHN members. Awards are made to projects and organizations that exemplify creativity and professional vision resulting in a contribution to the preservation and interpretation of the historic scene, material culture and diversity of the Greater Hudson region- from the Battery to Albany.

2009 Awards Towards Excellence are presented to:

BOSCOBEL HOUSE & GARDENS, Garrison, NY (Putnam) for the exhibition, Home on the Hudson: Women and Men Painting Landscapes, 1825-1875. This award is in recognition of the continued effort to explore the works of Hudson River School painters particularly those done by women artists and for incorporating the research of doctoral students in the exhibit catalog.

CLARKSTOWN TOWN CLERK, DAVID CARLUCCI, New City, NY (Rockland) for the preservation of the Town of Clarkstown’s historical records. This award is in recognition of the Town Clerk’s program to preserve, digitize and make accessible over 250 years of town records that, in many cases, are too fragile to be handled.

CONSTITUTION ISLAND ASSOCIATION, INC., West Point, NY (Orange) for the film, “Constitution Island: American Landmark.” This award is in recognition of the endeavor to raise awareness of the historic and cultural significance of the site and its use as an educational tool.

SAMUEL DORSKY MUSEUM OF ART, New Paltz, NY (Ulster) and NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY, New York (NY) for the exhibition and publication, The Hudson River to Niagara Falls: 19th Century American Landscape Paintings from the New-York Historical Society. This award is in recognition of a collaboration that re-interprets the landscape collections of the New-York Historical Society by exploring the importance of the region as a cultural site in the 19th century through the works of Hudson River School artists.

HISTORIC HUGUENOT STREET, New Paltz, NY (Ulster) for the exhibition Before Hudson: 8,000 Years of Native American History and Culture. This award is in recognition of the exhibit and public programming that advances regional history by exploring the history of the native inhabitants of the area using archaeological findings.

KATHLEEN EAGAN JOHNSON, Historic Hudson Valley, Tarrytown, NY (Westchester) for the publication, The Hudson-Fulton Celebration: New York’s River Festival and the Making of a Metropolis, co-published by Fordham University Press and Historic Hudson Valley. This award is in recognition of the extensive research and in-depth study of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration of 1909 and its impact on New York City.

LYNDHURST and WESTCHESTER COUNTY, Tarrytown, NY (Westchester) for the public program and community collaboration, Hudson River Fest: A Search for the Past, Present, and Future. This award is in recognition of a collaborative program that celebrated Westchester’s historic ties to the river and land, and explored the respectful stewardship of these important but fragile resources.

MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE – A LIVING MEMORIAL TO THE HOLOCAUST, New York (NY) for the creation of an on-line collection resource. This award is in recognition of an innovative program that invites the public to browse artifacts in a dynamic and user-friendly environment. The online Collection offers information unavailable in the Museum.

NEVERSINK VALLEY AREA MUSUEM, Cuddebackville, NY (Orange) for the exhibit, “The Star is Born: A History of the Movie Star in America from Florence Lawrence and Valentino to Heath Ledger” and a program on women in early films. This award is in recognition of new audience-driven local history programming.

NEW CASTLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY and EAGLE SCOUT MICHAEL MARTINEZ, New Castle, NY (Westchester) for documentation of the Chappaqua Friends’ Graveyard. This award is in recognition of the extensive research, detailed documentation and creation of a searchable database for over 1,000 markers in the local graveyard dating back to 1745.

THE OLANA PARTNERSHIP and NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF PARKS, RECREATION, AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION, Hudson, NY (Columbia) for a new gallery, inaugural exhibit, “Glories of the Hudson: Frederic Edwin Church’s Views from Olana” and its exhibition catalog. This award is in recognition of a public-private effort to broaden the scope of the historic house museum, and a valuable collaborative marketing concept.

THE KNICKERBOCKER ICE FESTIVAL OF 2009: TIMOTHY ENGLERT, CO-FOUNDER & PROJECT DIRECTOR, ROBERT PATALANO, CO-FOUNDER & ICE SCULPTOR, CHRISTIAN NIELSEN, ROCKLAND LAKE STATE PARK SUPERINTENDENT, MARIA RODD, 2009 EVENT PLANNER, ROSEMARIE MONACO, 2009 PR/MARKETING DIRECTOR, GRETCHEN WEERHEIM, 2009 HISTORIC EDUCATION DIRECTOR & HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF ROCKLAND COUNTY DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION, HEATHER DUKE, ROCKLAND COUNTY DIRECTOR OF TOURISM This award recognizes the collaborative efforts of a dedicated group of professionals to create and excite the public about local history.

LAKEVILLE-IRONWORKS EDUCATIONAL TRAIL and MATTHEW SHOOK, Sterling Forest, Tuxedo, NY (Orange) This award is in recognition Matthew Shook’s dedication, leadership and collaborative skills in bringing together the PIPC, State Historic Preservation Office, NY/NJ Trail Conference, and Rutgers University to preserve, interpret and make accessible to the public a neglected historical resource.

PUTNAM COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY & FOUNDRY SCHOOL MUSEUM, DR. TRUDIE GRACE and DAVID DEARINGER, Cold Spring, NY (Putnam) for the exhibition catalog accompanying the exhibition, George Pope Morris: Defining American Culture. This award is in recognition of the extensive, scholarly research undertaken into the life of George Pope Morris of Cold Spring, and his contribution to 19th century American publishing, music and poetry.

For registration information about Greater Hudson Heritage Network’s October 2, 2009
Annual Meeting, Futures Forum, and Awards presentations at Overlook Lodge, Bear Mountain, please see: www.greaterhudson.org, or contact GHHN: 914.592.6726; info@greaterhudson.org.

Hudson River ‘Brickers’ Focus of New Exhibit


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There will be an opening reception of the Haverstraw Brick Museum’s new exhibit, Moving Bricks on the Hudson, on September 20, 2009 between 1 and 4 pm at the museum at 12 Main Street in Haverstraw, Rockland County, New York. In celebration of the Hudson River and the Hudson Fulton Champlain Quadricentennial, the exhibit highlights sloops, schooners, towboats, tugs, and barges that transported bricks on the Hudson in the 19th and early 20th centuries. At its peak the brick industry was the dominant industry on the Hudson River and diverse boats carried one billion bricks annually. Visitors will learn about the brick boats and their boatmen and women, the dangers of river transport, and the shipyards that built and repaired the “brickers.”

The exhibit was inspired by the donation of the papers of the Reilly & Clark brick company to the museum. This collection, along with documenting the manufacturer, contains extensive records for the schooners that carried the firm’s bricks to market between 1885 and 1905. Items range from hundreds of receipts for tows, dock fees, and night watchmen to detailed accountings of the number of bricks carried each trip. The exhibit’s curator, T. Robins Brown, has a personal connection to cargo-carrying sailing ships as her great-grandfather, William T. Robins, was the owner and captain of the schooner Ella Worden on the Chesapeake Bay.

Moving Bricks on the Hudson is open on Sunday, September 13 from 11 am to 4 pm for the Annual Haverstraw Street Fair and until January 31, 2010 during the museum’s regular hours Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 1-4 pm. It is also open by appointment by calling 845-947-3505 or emailing haverstrawbrickmuseum.org.

The mission of the Haverstraw Brick Museum is to collect, preserve, research and exhibit materials and cultures of the brick making industry within the Hudson River Valley.

Photo: On Minisceongo Creek, a “bricker,” a brick-carrying schooner, awaits its cargo of bricks from the Shankey brickyard. On board are brickyard workers as well as the brick boat’s crew. The two women, the wives of the captain and first mate, were likely part of the boat’s crew. They lived aboard and cooked, watched tides, pumped bilge water, and performed other tasks that required less strength. Photograph from de Noyelles, Within These Gates.