Peter Feinman: A Fork In The Path Through History

PathThroughHistoryOn January 25, I attended the Mid-Hudson regional meeting of the Path through History project. What follows is my report on the meeting which may, or may not, be the experience and take-away of others who attended (or what is happening in other regions). The Mid-Hudson Valley region includes the Hudson River counties of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Ulster, Orange, and Rockland, along with Sullivan County in the Catskills. Read more

The State of NY History: The Westchester Experience

January is the traditional time for looking forward and backwards according to the two-faced Roman god Janus. In that spirit, I wish to start 2013 with a look back on some developments in local and state history by focusing on Westchester County both because I live there and because I happen to go through an old folder of Westchester material as I was cleaning up. Read more

Bruce Dearstyne: Connecting History And Public Policy

Four recent developments remind us of the opportunities to tie history to other initiatives here in New York. Doing that successfully will continue to require leadership, persistence, and imagination.

*New York pride&#8230-and history? The New York State Economic Development Corporation is running ads in business journals to attract businesses to the state. The ads link to the Development Corporation’s Web Site. The ads say, among other things: Read more

Peter Feinman On New Yorks Ruin Porn

Ruin porn is in. Ruin porn is hot. Ruin porn is sexy. Ruin porn is the term coined by Jim Griffioen, who writes a blog about his life as a stay-at-home dad in Detroit.

As part of that effort he periodically posts photographs he has taken of the more than 70,000 abandoned buildings in his city. Such images included (as reported in the New York Times) &#8220&#8216-feral’ houses almost completely overgrown with vegetation- a decommissioned public-school book depository in which trees were growing out of the piles of rotting textbooks&#8221. The term has become a familiar one in the city not without some misgivings by the locals as they watch tourists take souvenirs of their city back home. Read more

Conservancy Seeks Tower of Victory Contributions

The Palisades Parks Conservancy has announced the launch of a capital campaign to raise funds for the restoration of the Tower of Victory at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, NY.

For 125 years The Tower of Victory has stood as the nation’s only monument to the lasting peace that came after the end of the Revolutionary War.  Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of the President and then Secretary of War, commissioned John Hemingway Duncan, one of the nation’s most renowned architects at that time, to design the massive stone arched structure that hosts bronzes sculpted by William Rudolf O’Donovan, the pre-eminent monumental sculptor of the day. It stands on the property where General Washington created the “Badge of Military Merit” now called the Purple Heart.

&#8220Unfortunately for the Tower, time and weather have not been kind,&#8221 a statement to the press says &#8220Without intervention to restore the stone structure, replace the roof, and eliminate water penetration, this piece of the Hudson Valley’s – and the nation’s – history could be lost for good.&#8221

To fully restore the Tower, the Conservancy is hoping to raise $1.5 million dollars. Already, the Conservancy has secured $450,000 through grants and individual donations, but is now seeking the public’s help. You can donate to the campaign by mail or by e-mail.

To donate by mail, print and mail the attached form to the Palisades Parks Conservancy, P.O. Box 427, 3006 Seven Lakes Drive, Bear Mountain, NY 10911.

To donate online, do so at www.palisadesparksconservancy.org/donate. Put the words Tower of Victory in the subject line.

The fundraising campaign is co-chaired by U.S. Congressman Maurice D. Hinchey and PIPC Commissioner Barnabas McHenry.

Nominations for the 2013 Woman of History Sought

Each March, Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site recognizes a woman who has distinguished herself in the field of Hudson Valley history by bestowing upon her the “Martha Washington Woman of History Award.” Appropriately, the award emanates from where Martha Washington resided with her husband, General George Washington, during the last months of the Revolutionary War. That the ceremony takes place in March, during Women’s History Month, is indeed fitting.

The Woman of History award acknowledges Martha Washington’s important place in history as a devoted patriot in support of the American Revolution and the ensuing new nation. This is the eleventh year the award has been given, continuing the site’s mission to educate the public about the history of our great state and national heritage.

There are many women who are dedicated to sharing and preserving our history. Perhaps you know of a woman who shares her love of history with children by taking them to historic places during her free time? Is there a woman who has done research about the Hudson Valley and has shared her findings to encourage others to do the same? Do you know a woman who has used her private time or resources to preserve a landmark of historic significance? These are just a few examples of what could qualify a woman to be a recipient of the award. The nomination field is open to any woman who has cultivated interest and awareness of Hudson Valley history, either locally or nationally.

Nominations must be completed and submitted by January 4, 2013. To download a nomination form, go to the Conservancy website or call (845) 562-1195. The award will be given during a ceremony in March.

Photo: Women of History Award winners Mary McTamaney (2007), Betsy McKean (2009), Stella Baily (2012), and Mara Farrell (2011), with Washington’s Headquarters Site Manager, Elyse Goldberg.

New Washington Irving Treasury Box Set Published

Three time-honored stories by Washington Irving, classic tales told again and again, have been released together in the cloth-bound box set A Washington Irving Treasury (Universe Publishing, 2012). The high-spirited stories of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow present memorable folk characters that have become part of America’s literary lexicon, while Old Christmas preserves the nostalgia, warmth, and joy of English Christmas traditions. Read more

Exhibit: Side-by-Side Hudson River School Imagery

Many of the iconic landscape scenes painted by Hudson River School artists, now hanging in major museums all over the world, are the breathtaking views surrounding the Hudson River Valley. Thanks to preservationists and conservationists, several of these vistas remain remarkably similar to their 19th-century appearance and are instantly recognizable. Read more

Hudson Valley Greenway, Conservancy Joint Meeting

The Boards of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council and Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley will meet on October 17, 2012 at the historic Cornell Boathouse at Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY.

The meeting will feature a presentation by Mara Farrell, a Founder of the Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot, the major staging area for Revolutionary War soldiers in the North, who also serves on the board of directors of Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance. Ms. Farrell will speak on a preservation project in the Village of Fishkill.

The meeting will also feature Hudson River Valley Greenway and National Heritage Area business, as well as Greenway Conservancy, Greenway Compact and Greenway Communities grant awards. A meeting of the National Heritage Area Management Committee immediately to follow.

The meeting will begin with networking at 9:30 am (meeting starts at 10). Questions or concerns can be directed to the Greenway office at 518-473-3835 or hrvg@hudsongreenway.ny.gov.

Photos: Above, The Cornell Boathouse was once part of a Regatta Row- Below, the Boathouse today (courtesy Marist Collge)

Hudson Valley Student Writing Contest

To celebrate the National Day on Writing, October 20, THV invites students to write about places they love in the Hudson River Valley. With “Writing about Place,” THV joins the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Writing Project, and others to encourage
our desire to write.

The “Writing about Place” contest is open to K-12 students who live and/or attend school in the 11-county Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. Elementary students may submit poems in any style. Secondary students are invited to write essays or other creative nonfiction- middle school submissions may be up to 500 words and high school writing up to 750 words.

All writing will be considered for publication on THV’s blog and will be shared with staff at the place written about. Samples from last year include a story called Lost in Muscoot, poetry, and an essay about the Sloop Clearwater called Tug of War.

Three students&#8211one each from an elementary, middle, and high school&#8211will receive up to $750 to help cover the cost of visiting the place they love with classmates. Additional prizes are offered by the contest’s cosponsors: Cary Institute, Hancock Shaker Village, Hudson River Recreation, John Jay Homestead, New Castle Historical Society, Olana State Historic Site,
Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Scenic Hudson, and the Sloop Clearwater.

Student work will be read by teachers, site staff, THV’s coordinator, and representatives of NYS DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program, Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites, and the Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College. Readers will look for evocation of place, a
vivacious voice, and use of conventions appropriate to each student’s age and development.

Writing must be received by October 31. Word documents or PDFs, along with signed submission forms, should be e-mailed to Info@TeachingtheHudsonValley.org. More information about the “Writing about Place” contest, including the submission form, is available online.