It was from the Hasbrouck House in Newburgh that General George Washington commanded the final 16 months of the American Revolution. And it was from that house that he set out to quell a mutiny that was brewing amongst his officers. He triumphed in both of those instances. Read more
Six short weeks later, the Autumn 2012 issue of The Hudson River Valley Review was out to great acclaim, and just a few even shorter days after that I received my first correction. It was about that image, and it was from Jean Libby, who had been cited in the article as the curator and author of the
?In Poughkeepsie, the most elaborate memorial may be the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Little Market St. Across from that monument is Adriance Memorial Library, where two original cannon from the USS Monitor are on display. Most of us learned about the battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack in grade school. Some of us have learned since that the USS Merrimack was converted by the Confederate navy into the ironclad CSS Virginia. Larger than the Monitor and with more guns, it decimated the wooden fleet at Hampton Roads on the first day of the battle, March 8, 1862. But the Monitor arrived overnight and was able to use its shallow draft, low freeboard, and revolving turret to devastating effect the when the battle was rejoined the next day. It was a decisive victory for the Union and a turning point in naval technology.?
But how did we get from Poughkeepsie Library to Hampton Roads, Virginia, and why is Archeologist and conservator David Krop, of the
?One of the four champions and financiers of the Union’s first ironclad was John Flack Winslow. At the time, he was co-owner of the Albany Iron Works, living near Troy, NY. Once he successfully obtained the approval of the President himself and a contract with the Navy, he and his partners oversaw an accelerated construction project and the launch of their unique ship on January 30, 1862. Years later, Winslow would retire to a sylvan estate on the banks of the Hudson, on the north end of present-day Marist College Campus. Once here, he got involved in local railroads and presided over the bridge company that would eventually construct the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge: today’s
So here, amongst our region’s embarrassment of historic riches, is the nearly-lost tale of a local entrepreneur and patriot who was once heralded as a “benefactor of the nation.” All of it took to place Poughkeepsie at the heart of one of the most important naval battles in history was to read the plaque accompanying a cannon outside the local library.
Consider two examples of Capitol architecture. The 1899 New York State Capitol is heralded as a triumph. The
But I would also recommend another nearby capitol, the Orange County Government Center. Equally grand, drafty, challenging, and detailed, it was designed by Paul Rudolph and opened in 1970. It is the last remaining work by an internationally renowned modern architect in the county, but when the Government Center appears in the news, it is most often being condemned as outdated, costly, and impractical,an architecturally inappropriate eyesore. Rather than imported granite and marble, it was constructed of cast concrete. Where the State Capitol is celebrated for a 56 foot high Assembly Chamber, The Government Center is faulted for the wasted space around open staircases and the thermal loss of its clerestories and large windows.
Paul Rudolph was unique among modernists in successfully winning a number of public contracts, but the fate of his creations is typical. The ideological, aesthetic, and engineering chutzpah of these architects who advanced the art through the Twentieth Century is now derided as kitsch, impractical, or failed. And our historic preservation laws do not provide umbrage for such youngsters: not yet 50 years old, their buildings must fend for themselves against nature and man.
If a building falls down due to poor design in less than 50 years, so be it. But the backlash against modern architecture is often about creating a new legacy by removing a previous one. At Gettysburg National Military Park, the National Park Service tried to destroy celebrated modernist Richard Neutra’s 1961 Cyclorama. They replaced it with a new visitor center, built to look old, on previously undisturbed ground, claiming it to be more appropriate to the site.
Fortunately, while many fail to appreciate plywood, plate-glass, and concrete with the same fervor that they exude for timber, stained glass, and marble, there are a few organizations addressing the importance of our latest inheritance. Learn more about the Recent Past Preservation Network and their efforts to preserve the Cyclorama
The RPPN’s blog post about the Orange County Government Center is
The mission of
The social, political, and engineering context that these buildings represent is a significant part of our national identity. While the nature of the movement and its pioneering use of engineered materials may condemn some of its experiments to rubble, there are enduring examples as well. Take a moment to consider what you haven’t yet,maybe your children’s children will thank you one day!
Photo: Orange County Government Center. Courtesy the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, via the
Chris Pryslopski is Program Director of Marist College’s
Founded in 1984 at Bard College as The Hudson Valley Regional Review, it almost went out of print in 2001. HRVI negotiated to assume publication in 2002. We changed the name and added a number of features, but it continues in the spirit that it was founded. In addition to a wide variety of topics covered in the open issues, we have produced journals covering the American Revolution, the Civil War, Landscape Architecture, the recent Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Celebration, and innovation and commerce. We have also worked with guest-editors to produce issues dedicated to the writings of Edith Wharton and John Burroughs as well as to the legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt.
While the thematic issues stand well as overviews of certain aspects of the region, it is often more fun to assemble the open issues, comprised of those submitted articles that pass peer review on any variety of topics in a range of disciplines. Our Spring 2006 issue included articles that discussed the seventeenth-century Leislerian Rebellion, the nineteenth-century voyage of a Dutch visitor from Brooklyn to the Catskill Mountain House (including a portion of his translated journal), and the Twentieth-Century creation of Black Rock Forest as an educational preserve.
Whenever a new issue is released, we place a PDF of the introduction, History Forums, New and Noteworthy books, and full reviews on our website. We do not post the main articles until the issue goes out of print.
You can find a list of the last ten years of back issues online at:
We have an online index of articles going back to 1984 which we update with every new issue that comes out as well:
We also received copies of most of The Hudson Valley Regional Review when we took over publication, and have many of those as well as our own back-issues still available. There is a list of out-of-print issues on our subscription page:
Chris coordinates projects and programs associated with the core mission of the Institute, the “educational arm of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area,” and also coordinates the development of the HRVI’s
He is a specialist in regional studies and is the author of “Cultivating the Greenhouse Complex at Mills Mansion,” The Hudson Valley Regional Review, March 1999, “A Thoroughly Modern Conundrum: Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Governor Center” The Hudson River Valley Review Autumn 2004, and “Getting to “The Point-” Design No. 26: The L. M. Hoyt House at Staatsburg,” Dutchess County Historical Society Yearbook, 2009. He is co-editor of America’s First River: The History and Culture of the Hudson River Valley.
In addition to contributions from Chris, we’ll begin featuring highlights of new issues of the The Hudson River Valley Review here at New York History as they are released.