Gilded Age Tea & Talk Series

Mills Mansion SHS Photo Provided

Staatsburg, N.Y., January 3, 2017) – This winter, Staatsburgh State Historic Site, the former Hudson River estate of Ogden Mills and Ruth Livingston Mills, will offer an elegant and entertaining refuge from the cold by presenting its third Gilded Age Tea & Talkseries of programs. The series this winter features a new lineup of speakers and topics.

On Sunday, January 29, at 1 p.m., the first talk in the series presents curators from the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites, speaking on how the collections of Staatsburgh and Olana State Historic Sites were created. “What’s Worth Collecting? Exploring the Collections of Staatsburgh and Olana,” presented by Valerie Balint, Curator at Olana, and Amanda Massie, Curator for the Bureau of Historic Sites, will focus on why the families who lived in these exceptional 19th-century homes chose particular decorative objects and how they obtained the pieces that still grace these historic homes today.

Guests enjoy scones, tea sandwiches and the site’s unique and delicious tea, blended by renowned tea purveyors, Harney & Sons, while listening to a brief talk on a Gilded Age history theme, delivered by staff and guest presenters.  Each program in the Gilded Age Tea & Talk series begins at 1pm on a Sunday (in case of bad weather, the tea program will be postponed to the following Sunday).  Individual tea programs are $30 per person (or $25 per person for Friends of Mills Mansion members).  Reservations are required so please call 845-889-8851 or email staatsburghshs@parks.ny.gov to reserve.

 

The site and the Ogden Mills & Ruth Livingston Mills Memorial State Park are located on Old Post Road in Staatsburg, off Route 9 between Rhinebeck and Hyde Park. The historic site is one of six sites and 15 parks administered by the Taconic Region of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. For more information please call 845-889-8851 or visit our websites at www.nysparks.com/historic-sites/25/details.aspx, www.facebook.com/StaatsburghSHS and www.staatsburghstatehistoricsite.blogspot.com .

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Show and Tell!

M.E. Church Modena, NY-PHS

The first Plattekill Historical Society meeting of the year will take place on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 1 p.m. All are welcome to join us at the Modena Memorial United Methodist Church’s Hasbrouck Hall for a “Show and Tell.” Bring an item of historical interest to share with the group and learn more about the Historical Society’s extensive collection. In addition, PHS officers and board members will discuss upcoming projects and programs for the year. 

The Modena Methodist Church Hall (Hasbrouck Hall) is located on Route 44-55, just east of the intersection of Route 32 and Route 44-55. Program is free and refreshments will be served.

For more information, please call (845)883-6118 or visit the Plattekill Historical Society page on Facebook. 

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A DAY OF WOMEN IN TECH 

Stone Cottage at Val-Kill - NPS

HYDE PARK, NY — Saturday, January 28, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hudson Valley Tech Meetup and AT&T will present A DAY OF WOMEN IN TECH in the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home. This program is a celebration and showcase of women in New York’s Hudson Valley who are making significant contributions in the field of technology. A DAY OF WOMEN IN TECH, which welcomes everyone regardless of gender identity, will feature speakers and discussions on a diverse number of timely tech topics as well as Eleanor Roosevelt’s own use of technology to reshape the role of First Lady.

Admission is free. Lunch and a light breakfast will be provided by AT&T. Registration is required. Visit www.meetup.com/hvtech to register. Please respond by Wednesday, January 25, 2017.

Confirmed distinguished speakers and topics of discussion include New York State Senator Sue Serino delivering opening remarks; Manuela Roosevelt, editorial director at Callaway Arts & Entertainment, presenting on Eleanor Roosevelt as a technology pioneer and champion of women’s leadership; Marissa Shorenstein, New York president, AT&T, discussing AT&T’s ongoing efforts to help bridge the gender gap in the tech industry and what needs to be done on a global level — as well as thoughts about AT&T’s long standing commitment to a diverse workforce and dedication to providing tech related education and resources to high school aged girls to help ensure they are prepared to compete in the future innovation economy; Kate Bradley Chernis, Founder & CEO of Lately speaking on the launch of a new tech startup in the Hudson Valley — from an idea to recently closing their first major round of investment; Eileen Uchitelle, Senior Systems Engineer at Github discussing performance, Active Record, and contributing to Rails; Teresa Garrett, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Vassar College with Ariane Garrett, Engineering Student, University of Connecticut speaking on attracting and retaining diverse talent in STEM fields; and Amanda Kievet, Software Engineer & Consultant at Stride Consulting sharing her journey into the tech industry after she finished college and the mentors and role models that helped and motivated her along the way.

Organized and created by Hudson Valley Tech Meetup – a monthly meetup that supports, promotes and creates community around “all things tech” in the Hudson Valley of New York — A DAY OF WOMEN IN TECH will be hosted by Sabrina Schutzsmith, co-founder of Hudson Valley Tech Meetup and Digital Empire and Shauna Keating, Co-Organizer, Hudson Valley Tech Meetup.

AT&T’s support for A DAY OF WOMEN IN TECH is part of the company’s legacy of supporting educational programs focused on STEM disciplines in New York through AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature $350 million philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism and mentoring. Aspire is one of the nation’s largest corporate commitments focused on school success and workforce readiness by creating new learning environments and educational delivery systems to help students succeed and prepare them to take on 21st century careers. The event also aligns with AT&T’s commitment to closing the gender gap in the technology industry by supporting education and community based programming and events that encourage both girls and women to study STEM related fields and peruse technology related jobs, while celebrating women that are and have left their mark on technology and innovation.

For more information and to register for this event, please visit www.meetup.com/hvtech or contact Sabrina Schutzsmith at (914) 629-1405 or Shauna Keating at (201) 669-1525.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
Designed by Franklin Roosevelt and dedicated on June 30, 1941, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is the nation’s first presidential library and the only one used by a sitting president. Every president since FDR has followed his example and established a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration to preserve and make accessible to the American people the records of their presidencies. The Roosevelt Library’s mission is to foster a deeper understanding of the lives and times of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and their continuing impact on contemporary life. This work is carried out through the Library’s archives and research room, museum collections and exhibitions, innovative educational programs, and engaging public programming. For more information about the Library or its programs call (800) 337-8474 or visit www.fdrlibrary.org.

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Show us your Antiques

The Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society (TOLHPS)  starts the New Year in its traditional manner – with its popular annual Antiques Show Us Your Antiques Night on Monday, January 9, 2017 at 7:00 pm in the Vineyard Commons Theater in Highland.  Anyone with a favorite item they would like to know more about is invited to bring it for an expert opinion of its background and current value.  Even if you have nothing you want appraised, the evening is always fun, watching as others offer up their treasures, sometimes beautiful and valuable and sometimes curiosities.

NEW: Attendance is free, but there will be a charge of $3 for each item reviewed.  All money supports the ongoing conservation of the old Deyo homestead on Vineyard Avenue in Highland into an historical museum.  It’s helpful  if you can send a picture of your item in advance to vwadlin@aol.com. 

Last year, two audience members brought dishes that they learned were excellent examples of very valuable dinnerware produced in the mid-1800’s.  Others found out their items were out of fashion to collectors now so had primarily sentimental value.  When that’s the case, the appraisers break the news gently, calling such an item “invaluable.” After all, it could become a sought-after collectible a few decades from now.

TOLHPS’ team of appraisers includes antiques dealers Charles Glasner and Walter Marquez and collector Vivian Wadlin.  They will do their best to review every item brought, as time allows.  If you want an appraisal, it’s helpful to send a picture of your item in advance to vwadlin@aol.com.  That will give the appraisers more time to research your piece.

Glasner, who is president of TOLHPS, has been a Hudson Valley antiques dealer for 35 years. He has a strong knowledge of local vernacular antiques and fine arts, with a passion for Hudson River paintings.  Marquez owns the Antiques Barn at the Water Street Market in New Paltz, which has been named “Best Antiques Center” by Hudson Valley Magazine.

Wadlin has been a collector of antique toys and post cards for more than 30 years. She has organized antique and collectibles shows at the former Vintage Village in Highland.  She is vice president of TOLHPS. Vineyard Commons, where the January program will take place, is at 300 Vineyard Avenue, about a mile and a quarter from the Hamlet of Highland on Route 44/55, just south of the Hudson Valley Rehabilitation Center.  To reach the theater, turn into Vineyard Commons and follow signs to Building 6.  Early arrivers get the best parking spaces.  Free refreshments will be available.

For more information, call 845-255-7742, visit the TOLHPS website at www.tolhps.org, or look for Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society on Facebook.

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THE GUNKS: RIDGE AND VALLEY TOWNS THROUGH TIMe LECTURE

The Shawangunk Mountains (The Gunks) are renowned for stunning landscapes on and off the ridge in a region that has remained a favorite destination for visitors since the middle of the 19th century.

A highlight of the book are nearly a hundred pairs of photographs taken approximately a century apart.   In addition to presenting information about the fabled Lake Mohonk and Lake Minnewaska hotels, the book puts a spotlight on the economic and social changes over the past century in the towns of New Paltz, Gardiner, and Rosendale in the Wallkill Valley and to a lesser extent locations in the Rondout Valley.

A book signing will follow the talk and all proceeds from the sale of the book on site will be split between the New Paltz Historical Society and the Mohonk Preserve.

A companion website can be visited at http://www.gunksthroughtime.com/

New Paltz Historical Society

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

7:00 pm

at the

New Paltz Community Center

3 Veterans Drive

New Paltz, NY

(Behind the old New Paltz Town Hall building.)

About the Author and Photographer:

Ronald G. Knapp is a historical-cultural geographer at State University of New York at New Paltz, where he taught from 1968 to 2001. For the past forty-five years his research has focused on China’s frontier history and Chinese vernacular architecture, with many books that celebrate these traditions.

Michael Neil O’Donnell, a landscape photographer, pairs a modern aesthetic with classic principles to create simple, bold, ethereal interpretations of the Hudson Valley’s natural beauty. His images have been seen at exhibitions throughout the Hudson Valley and he is a contributor to the publications of the Mohonk Preserve, Open Space Institute, and Riverkeeper.

Posted in Covered Bridges, Historic Sites, Landmarks, Lost Landmarks, Museums, Picturing the Past, Press Releases, Shawangunk Mountains, Ulster County | Leave a comment

Eleanor Roosevelt and her love of Christmas

The Roosevelt family at Christmas

Eleanor Roosevelt with her daughter Anna and grandchildren

There are many facts about Eleanor Roosevelt that everyone knows. She was our longest serving First Lady, a UN diplomat, a Civil Rights activist, a writer, and a champion for all people in need everywhere. But one fact that we might not consider when thinking of Eleanor Roosevelt is that she loved Christmas! This time of year and its traditions were very important to the Roosevelt family who devoted their lives to serving the country. They could have understandably taken this brief time to surround themselves with family and loved ones and not focus on the needs of others but for Eleanor Roosevelt that would simply not do.

Eleanor wrote 27 books, over 500 articles, and over 7000 of her daily column, My Day. She also wrote about how a typical Christmas was spent with her family in her Christmas Book. It becomes clear in her writings that before the Roosevelts were in Washington, Christmas was quite normal and almost always spent at Hyde Park. Today, being Christmas Eve, Eleanor, Franklin, and his Mother Sara would hold a party for all of the staff of the Hyde Park estate and their families. Sara would hand out envelopes with checks while the eldest children would distribute gifts to the staff and their children. There were cornucopias filled with candies and candy canes on the tree which the staff could take home. The staff dining room was filled with cake and ice cream for them to enjoy before heading home. Once the guests had gone, Franklin would read from A Christmas Carol for a while to the younger members of the family.

On Christmas morning, Eleanor admitted that it was almost impossible to get FDR to go to church. He had never really liked the idea of getting up early for church so she decided not to fight over the matter and would attend the midnight service on Christmas Eve, usually alone. Christmas morning all of the children and FDR would go sledding down the hill just behind the house after breakfast. They would stay out until lunch time and after lunch open presents from under the tree. The stockings were generally filled with things Eleanor considered useful like new toothbrushes, washcloths, and soap. In Eleanor’s younger years she made many of the gifts she gave. She enjoyed knitting and embroidering but as the years went on and life became more hectic she admitted to buying many more gifts than they had in the past.
When the Roosevelts made it to the White House in 1933, they found it harder to get home to Hyde Park. In fact, of the 12 Christmases they had while serving, only the last two, 1943 and 1944 were spent at home. Eleanor knew her priorities as First Lady even on Christmas

“When Christmas is spent outside one’s own home, particularly in government surroundings such as the White House, you divide your Christmas in two parts. One covers your official obligations; the other, as far as possible, is the preservation of the home atmosphere and the home routine.”


On Christmas Eve, Eleanor had to attend parties for various charities like The Volunteers of America, and The Salvation Army. Then it was back to the White House for the tree lighting and a party in the East Room for the White House Staff. By the time the Roosevelts were in Washington there were now Grandchildren added to the mix so Christmas morning in the White house was filled with little children wanting to see their grandparents and dig through their stockings for gifts. By the afternoon, Eleanor was out in the slums of Washington where she visited the Alleys to see the Christmas trees and wish the people well but,

“I always went back to the White House with an added awareness of the inequality of our earthly blessings.”


As FDR’s time in office dragged on, a war began and that would inevitably alter Christmas times of the past. The sons all went off to war; dignitaries like Churchill became Christmas guests instead of family. Eleanor was becoming more aware the pain and terror of war torn and occupied nations that could no longer feel the joys of Christmas. She even felt the need to write a Christmas story about a fictional family in occupied Holland who refused to give up their faith in a scary and miserable world. A little Dutch girl and her mother have lost their husband and father to war, the little girl also learns that St. Nicholas will not be coming to their home. The little girl is even confronted by a Nazi who tells her that it is foolish to believe in the legend of Christ. But she refuses to let power and cruelty alter her beliefs. Eleanor Roosevelt’s Christmas 1940 will most likely never be a classic story to sit around the fire and read to the kids on Christmas Eve. However, Eleanor’s idea of never letting go of one’s faith and trying to keep tradition alive can still hold true no matter the time or circumstance.

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A Wicked Christmas

1881 Library of Congress

If you can believe it, History & Heritage has been around for three years. During that time our readership has continued to grow. We have expanded in ways that we could not imagine when  first starting this blog. During this season, we, here at History and Heritage  would like to thank our readers, for without you this blog would have folded a long time ago. Lastly, we would like to thank The Times Herald Record for hosting this blog, and believing in our vision.  HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE HOLIDAY SEASON and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

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The Curious Case of Pvt. David L. Wells

David L. Wells Grave Pine Bush Cemetery

There is an interesting headstone in the Pine Bush Cemetery in Rochester, N.Y. on Route 209. If you are not looking for it, you will definitely miss it. It is unassuming, and partially overshadowed by the gas station next door. A closer look  reveals a remarkable story and the Civil War solider who lived it.

His name was David L. Wells, the son of a carpenter named Charles Wells. He was 18 when he enlisted in Company C of the 120th Infantry Regiment, also known as the Ulster Regiment, as well as Washington’s Guard. It was under the command of  Colonel George H. Sharpe. Wells enlisted in Rochester in Ulster County April 12, 1862.

According to the New York State Military Museum, Welles was mustered in the late summer of 1862. He could not have imagined the turn of events that would shake  his life to the core in a little over a year after living Kingston, New York. During battle in James City, Virginia, on October 10, 1863, Welles was captured by Confederate forces. He would spend the rest of the war in some of the Confederacy’s worst prisons.

Belle Isle, Va.-Library of Congress

When captured, the private was sent first sent to Pimberton, then to Libby, and still later Belle Isle, in Richmond Virginia. According to Richmond newspapers, Belle Island was overcrowded. The Richmond Sentinel announced on December 30, 1863, “It will not be long ere many of the Yankee prisoners, now in confinement on Belle Isle, will have an opportunity of breathing the salubrious air farther South, the Government having made selection of a spot in Georgia, near Andersonville…”  Robert H. Kellog summed up Andersonville quoted here from the Civil War Trust’s webpage:

“As we entered the place, a spectacle met our eyes that almost froze our blood with horror…before us were forms that had once been active and erect—stalwart men, now nothing but mere walking skeletons, covered with filth and vermin…Many of our men exclaimed with earnestness, ‘Can this be hell?’”

David L. Wells spent the remainder of the war in Andersonville until he was released in Vicksburg, Mississippi on April 22, 1865. He was later mustered out of service June 3, 1865 in Annapolis, Maryland, eventually returning to Kerhonkson. It was here where he took his father’s occupation, carpentry. Wells also married Mary Ostrander, and the couple had three sons. He was remarried by 1884 to Melinda Woods. The couple would have a daughter in 1896. Four years later, the 1900 Federal Census,

120 NY Regiment 1912 Renunion Kingston, NY-Wikipedia

listed their place of residence as Rosendale. He owned a house, could read, write, and his occupation was listed as a teamster. A teamster was a person who drove a team of draft animals by wagon.

Andersonville Prison 1865 Library of Congress

Why Wells and his wife eventually left Rosendale was for a factory job. He left the state, and went to Waterbury, Connecticut where he lived in a rented house on Maple Avenue. In the factory, he was a press hand.

Between 1911 and 1921, David L. Wells and his wife disappear from the record only to reappear briefly  in 1914, when his wife Melinda died. She is not buried in the Pine Bush Cemetery, but the Old Pine Grove Cemetery in Waterbury, Connecticut. What is odd that in the Connecticut, Hale Collection of Cemetery Inscriptions and Newspaper Notices, 1629-1934 Melinda is listed as deceased, and her husband is also listed, but not as deceased, but holding a plot in the same cemetery. In the comprehensive inventory of the Pine Bush Cemetery in 1929, by Poucher and Terwilliger, he is not listed which odd. A possible explanation is the headstone was already unreadable.

Wells planned on being buried in Connecticut next to his wife. The headstone in Waterbury, has her name, birth, and death dates. It is above her name that David L. Wells is listed with his birth year, 1845 with a dash indicating he was still alive when the stone was set. David L. Wells died March 22, 1922 at the age of 77. Records for the Pine Bush Cemetery state that he was buried in the cemetery. Some 57 years after his death, in 1979, the VFW 8959 erected a new headstone as a testimony to this man’s Civil War service.

 

Posted in Cemeteries, City of Kingston, Civil War, Education, Strange Stories, Town of Rochester, Town of Rosendale, Town of Wawarsing, Ulster County | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Light Shines Bright again this December in Ellenville!

Photos by: Sonam Zksang

Ellenville Public Library & Museum proudly presents The Vanaver Caravan, Arm-of-the-Sea Theater, Barely Lace Singers and local youth performing “Into the Light!”, a beautiful holiday pageant with live music, festive dance, and puppetry for the 4th year running. “Into the Light!” tells the story of  young Lucia, who journeys through the world’s communities to learn how light is kept glowing through the darkest time of the year. This heartfelt celebration of many cultural traditions — including Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, and Dewali — is a delight for the whole family.

Ellenville Public Library & Museum, with support from an Arts Mid-Hudson Decentralization Grant, offers dance and music classes to local children at the library that are taught by The Vanaver Caravan, a Hudson Valley based dance company. Participating children then have the opportunity to perform with the company.
The Vanaver Caravan is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1972 by Artistic Directors, Livia and Bill

Photos by: Sonam Zksang

Vanaver.The internationally renowned company offers concerts, classes, workshops and Arts Education programs. Arm-of-the-Sea Theater fuses visual storytelling with live music in contemporary works of masks and puppet theater. Founded in 1982 by Marlena Marallo and Patrick Wadden, the company tours original shows throughout the eastern US, and conducts community-based artist residency projects. Both performance companies are known for their high quality work and support of cross-cultural understanding through the arts. They each receive funding from NYSCA, the New York State Council on the Arts Program with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo & the NYS Legislature.

This year, more than 15 “CaravanKids in Ellenville” will join with other Ulster County CaravanKids and these professional companies for a very special performance. Don Odum and a tech team from WELV, the Ellenville High School TV and radio station, will help produce the show, which will take place on Saturday, December 17 at 3:00pm in the High School Auditorium, 28 Maple Avenue in Ellenville.
“‘Into the Light!’ is the culmination of a wonderful collaborative effort by regional organizations. Working on this project together depends on the warmth of spirit that the show hopes to create for its viewers,” said Asha Golliher, Outreach Librarian at Ellenville Library.
Open seating tickets are available the day of the performance — there is a $5 donation at the door. Children under 10 are free; recommended for ages 3 an up. For more information, please call Ellenville Public Library at (845)647-5530 or visit eplm.org.

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Historic Huguenot Street Receives Major Grant

Historic Huguenot Street-Photo Provided

NEW PALTZ, NY (December 12, 2016) – Historic Huguenot Street has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections Planning Grant for 2016-2017 in the amount of $49,170. The purpose of this federally-funded grant is to support a team of experts in collections preservation and environmental management to comprehensively review twelve historic structures at HHS. Over the course of several months, the consultants will visit the site and work closely with HHS’ staff, Board, and committee members to recommend sustainable improvements to these sensitive environments. The project entitled “Sustainable Preservation of Collections and Architectural Assets at Historic Huguenot Street” has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.

“The overarching goal for this project is to identify practical strategies to improve environmental management for both our historic houses and the collections displayed within,” said Josephine Bloodgood, HHS Director of Curatorial and Preservation Affairs. “We are fortunate to be working with two outstanding professionals in the preservation field on this project. Their recommendations will guide immediate and long-term preservation planning at the site for years to come.”

“The HHS Board is committed to professionalizing our operations and protecting the valuable assets entrusted to our care,” added Board Chair Mary Etta Schneider. “We are grateful to Josephine for her work in securing this significant grant.”

Consultant Michael C. Henry is Principal Engineer/Architect and founding partner of Watson & Henry Associates where he has practiced for the past 33 years, consulting to institutions, cultural heritage stewards and architects/engineers throughout the United States and in India, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Africa, and Tunisia. Henry’s work includes sustainable environmental management and monitoring for museum collections and archives; investigation, monitoring, analysis and assessment of historic buildings; and preservation of significant historic structures, especially unconventional or technically challenging buildings.

Consultant Richard L. Kerschner specializes in museum environments and preventive conservation for collections in historic buildings. He is Conservator Emeritus at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont where he established the Conservation Department, managed preventive conservation, and directed the treatment of folk and decorative art objects, paintings, textiles, and works of art on paper for 32 years. He holds an M.A. and Certificate of Advanced Study in Conservation from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, and is a Fellow and past treasurer of the American Institute for Conservation and Fellow and past council member of the International Institute for Conservation.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this report do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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    AJ Schenkman

    A.J. Schenkman is the author of numerous books and articles. He is Consulting Historian for Historic Huguenot Street and Town of Gardiner Historian. Read Full

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    Elizabeth Werlau is an English teacher in the Hudson Valley and is the historian for the Town of Plattekill in Ulster County. She has authored and contributed to several books on regional history, including her most recent publication, Murder and ... Read Full

    Debra Conway

    A former Features writer/Columnist for the Times Herald-Record and Director of Fort Delaware Museum of Colonial History in Narrowsburg, Debra Conway is currently the Executive Director of The Delaware Company, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ... Read Full

    Matthew Colon

    Matthew Colon enjoyed nearly a decade in public history working and volunteering for organizations including Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site and the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands. Read Full

    Shannon Butler

    Shannon Butler is a Park Ranger of Interpretation and Education at Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Site in Hyde Park New York. She has also interpreted the Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston New York. Read Full
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