John Adams predicted Americans would celebrate the Second of July, the day Congress voted in favor of independence, “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of the Continent to the other.” He got the date wrong, but he was right about the festivities in commemoration of Independence Day. And yet July Fourth events have changed a great deal since 1776. [Read more…] about Celebrating the Fourth: Some History
Community Christmas trees are an American tradition that bring people together regardless of income, faith, political persuasion, or pretty much anything that divides us. Whether sponsored by a city, town, church, or civic organization, community trees are placed in an outdoor public setting for anyone to enjoy.
It’s a rare treat to share something so nonpartisan: whatever you might personally like about the holidays is what you’ll take away from viewing the tree or sharing in song and merrymaking with fellow citizens. And it’s nice to know that America’s first community Christmas tree, the one that spawned a movement still going strong more than a century later, was an Adirondack balsam. [Read more…] about Community Xmas Trees: Historically Rooted in the Adirondacks
Have you ever wondered where the Christmas traditions of stockings, presents, and cookies come from?
What about jolly, old Saint Nicholas? Who was he and why do we often call him Santa Claus?
In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History Peter G. Rose, culinary historian of Dutch foodways in North America and author of Delicious December: How the Dutch Brought Us Santa, Presents, and Treats (SUNY Press, 2014) joins us to discuss the origins of Santa Claus and edible goodies such as cookies in the United States. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/218
The Newburgh Historical Society is set to hold their annual holiday house tour on Sunday, December 16th from noon to 5 pm. The property will be decorated with 19th century style fresh flowers, fruit and greens, and at 4 pm, hear carols sung by a members of the Newburgh Chorale.
This year, the Socieety will be open for an additional weekend to give the community another opportunity to see the Crawford House decorated “to the nines” for the holidays. [Read more…] about Newburgh’s 1830 Capt Crawford House Holiday Tours
The collection of letters to Santa that appeared in this space last week epitomized life in the rural regions of northern New York a century ago. At Christmastime, children from families living a common, low-income existence asked Santa for the simplest of items: a pencil and notepad, candy and nuts, or clothing to keep them warm in the winter. Toys and playthings were often secondary requests if they appeared at all.
But the simple desires from long ago reflected something other than just poverty. A good number of rural folks were self-sufficient, and all family members, even young children, took part in the daily chores of life: working the fields and garden, milking cows, collecting eggs, adding logs to the fire, and so on. An early understanding of the effort behind daily sustenance was evident in children’s annual humble Christmas yearnings for pencils, books, and treats for the tummy, suggesting an appreciation for things in general, and gifts in particular.
Among those who came to the Adirondacks and developed a deep admiration for this rustic lifestyle was Samuel Coplon, who embraced the people, reciprocated their generosity, and in time became a nationally known hero of North Country Christmases, earning him the title Santa Claus of the Adirondacks. [Read more…] about Sam Coplon: Santa Claus of the Adirondacks
Clermont State Historic Site’s holiday season continues on Saturday, December 16 with a free Open House from 11 am to 4 pm.
Visitors will be able to enjoy the mansion’s rooms lavishly decorated for the holidays, warm up with hot mulled cider in the Visitor Center or toasted marshmallows by a roaring bon fire. [Read more…] about Holiday Open House at Clermont Dec 16th
The Newburgh Historical Society is holding their annual self-guided Candlelight Tour on Sunday, December 10, between noon and 5 pm.
The 1830 Captain David Crawford House, the Society’s headquarters located at 189 Montgomery Street, is the starting place for the Tour.
The house tour features a diverse assortment of public and private spaces within and beyond the City of Newburgh’s East End Historic District. These include city and suburban houses homes in the rehabilitation process and some of Newburgh’s most important landmarks. [Read more…] about Newburgh Historical Society Candlelight Tour Planned
In conjunction with the City of Johnstown’s Colonial Stroll holiday activities, Johnson Hall State Historic Site will hold a Holiday Open House on Friday, December 1 from 5 to 8:30 pm.
The Hall will be decorated for the holiday season and will feature live 18th century music performed by Liaison Plaisantes in the second floor hall. Mulled cider and ginger cookies will be served at the Slave Quarters fireplace. [Read more…] about Johnson Hall Holiday Open House Dec 1st
The St. Lawrence County Historical Association will hold their annual Holiday Open House on December 1st from 4 to 8 pm. Festive floral arrangements, refreshments, holiday music, and family history will fill the air at this holiday event which is open to the public. The Canton Garden Club provides fresh greens, floral arrangements, and early American Christmas tree decorations like gingerbread, dried apples, and lace.
The Holiday Open House will include live seasonal music provided by a variety of local musical talent: the Canton Central School Vocal Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Kimberly Busch; R. Merrie Song & Friends, performing early American carols; local musician John Danis; and the Noteworthy Handbell Choir. [Read more…] about Old-Fashioned Holiday At Silas Wright House