Tag Archives: New Paltz

AJ Schenkman: The Hasbrouck Ledger

One of the problems in researching the life of Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck is that there are so few primary sources written by him left to us. We are fortunate that at least one of the treasures that give us a peek into his life, one of his account ledgers, has been preserved. It is a rich source for a researcher of not only Hasbrouck, but of others from his time period as well.

Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck was born in 1722 in Ulster County just outside of New Paltz, New York. He later relocated in 1749 to what would become Newburgh, where his mother Elsie Schoonmaker purchased 99 acres of land.
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A.J. Schenkman: Old Graveyards in Ulster County

Many years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet the late historian Kenneth E. Hasbrouck, Sr., who at that time was the Executive Director of Historic Huguenot Street located in New Paltz, New York. I requested a meeting with him to inquire about a house that my aunt owned at that time. Continue reading

Historic Farm Tour Focusing on New Paltz Area

CIRCA, a tour of historic farmhouses this Sunday, June 10th, aims to highlight the rich and varied architecture that remains from the late 18th and 19th centuries, when the New Paltz area was part of the Nation’s breadbasket.  

CIRCA will feature six local homes, all of which have strong ties to this pivotal period in America’s history. Also included on the tour is an 18th century Dutch-style barn, today home to Adair Vineyards, and an artist’s studio created from a unique early 19th century stone barn.


It was the bounty of the Hudson Valley and the industrious nature of our 18th and 19th century farmers that helped feed our young country – especially burgeoning cities such as New York.

Farming in this era involved individuals of all social strata, from the wealthiest of gentleman farmers, to the hardworking tenant farmers who made it possible for the prosperous to extract wealth from the huge tracts of land they controlled.

Among the homes included on the tour is early 19th century home of Thaddeus Hait. Hait, from a well-to-do Westchester County family of the time, moved to the then newly-formed town of Plattekill. By 1828, he had accrued 153 acres, some of which is still farmed today. His home is an interesting example of how the refined Neoclassical style was interpreted in a decidedly rural setting. The result is an otherwise modest home that endures as an example of the optimism and aspiration of its builder. Outside, the home features an unusual second floor “Juliet” balcony. Inside, high style mixes with exposed stone walls and brick floors. The current owners have lovingly preserved the home and the surrounding outbuildings.

Two short miles away, as Hait staked his claim, Josiah Hasbrouck and his wife Hylah Bevier lived in a striking Federal-style showpiece they completed in 1814. This home, known today as Locust Lawn, was at the heart of a massive 1,000 acre gentleman’s farm. Josiah and Hylah, who each were descended from the earliest Huguenot settlers of the area, presided over a home truly remarkable for its time. Lived in by three generations of their family, the home was shuttered in the 1880?s – in effect turning it into a time capsule of one family’s unique history. A preserved museum home today, the home has been closed to the public for the past two years and is normally open only by appointment.

On the other end of the spectrum is a humble home owned by DuBois Hasbrouck and dating to the late 18th century. This home, built for tenant farmers, represents the lives of the families who toiled to get a toehold on the American dream. This simple one-and-a-half story home, expanded over time, still sits along a gentle stream with views of the fields all around.

Capping off the tour will be a reception at the Maplestone Inn, a substantial stone house built by John L. Jenkins and Mary Catherine Broadhead in late 18th century. Innkeepers Sean and Patty Roche have generously agreed to open their renovated streamside barn for the reception.

CIRCA will be held on Sunday, June 10th, from 11am to 5:30pm. Advance tickets are $25 and can be purchased at www.casaulster.org or by calling (845) 339-7543. Day of tickets are $30 each. The event is presented by Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA), which works to ensure that foster care is temporary and that all children can grow up in safe, loving and permanent homes. CASA was founded in Ulster County in 1987 and is one of over 950 CASA programs across the country. More information about CASA can be found at www.casaulster.org.

Women’s Writes: A Reading and Writing Workshop

The weekend of March 3rd and 4th, Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) is presenting Women’s Writes, a reading and writing workshop featuring two popular authors, Nava Atlas and Kate Hymes. The weekend kicks-off on Saturday, March 3, at 3pm with a guided tour of HHS’s Deyo House, which is set and interpreted in the Edwardian period, a popular time for many celebrated women authors.

At 4pm, Nava Atlas will read from her latest book, The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life, which explores the writing life of twelve celebrated women writers, including such renowned authors as Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Madeleine L’Engle, Anais Nin, George Sand, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf through their journals, letters, and diaries. On Saturday evening at 7, the Wallkill Valley Writers will read from their anthology which includes personal essays, poems, and stories.

Sunday, March 4 will feature two three-hour Wallkill Valley Writers Workshops led by Kate Hymes. Session 1 is from 9– 12pm and Session 2 is from 1-4 pm. Anyone with a desire to write, whether a beginner or experienced, is invited to attend these workshops which will be held in a safe environment. Sources culled from the HHS archives and other local history will serve as an inspiration for writing throughout the weekend.

Saturday includes a book signing and refreshments. Fees are as follows: Saturday Deyo House Edwardian tour and reading with Nava Atlas: $15. Saturday evening reading with Wallkill Valley Writers: $5. Sunday per session: $40. Full weekend including one workshop on Sunday: $50.

To register or for more information, call 845-255-1660, x103 or email Jan Melchior at jan@huguenotstreet.org.

About the Presenters

Nava Atlas is the author and illustrator of visual books on family themes, humor, and women’s issues, including The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life (2011), exploring first-person narratives on the writing lives of twelve classic women authors, and commenting on the universal relevance of their experiences to all women who love to write. Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife (2009) is a satiric look at contemporary marriage and motherhood through the lens of a faux 1950s cookbook. Nava Atlas is also the author and illustrator of many books on vegetarian cooking, a book on leafy greens will be on the shelves in the spring of 2012. An active fine artist specializing in limited edition artist’s books and text-driven objects, her work is shown and collected by museums and universities across the U.S.

Kate Hymes, a poet and educator living in the Hudson Valley, leads weekly writing workshops and writing retreats. She has over twenty years experience as an educator with experience teaching writing on college level, and over ten years leading workshops for people who make writing an artistic practice. Kate is certified to lead workshops using the Amherst Writers and Artists method. She has co-led trainings with Pat Schneider and other AWA instructors to teach others how to lead workshops. Kate and Pat also lead the workshop: If We Are Sisters: Black and White Women Writing Across Race. Kate serves as Executive Director of the Hudson Valley/Catskill Partnership: Regional Adult Education Network providing technical assistance and staff development to adult educators in a ten-county region of New York State. Kate currently serves as a member of the Dutchess County Arts Council and as panelist for Special Project, New York State Council on the Arts. She has a Master of Arts in American Literature from SUNY Stony Brook.

September on Huguenot Street

What is known today as Historic Huguenot Street began in 1678 when twelve French-speaking Huguenots settled on the banks of the Wallkill. Today, steps from downtown New Paltz, HHS features seven stone houses dating to 1705 and a reconstructed 1717 stone church on park-like grounds and offers unique programming to the local community and visitors alike. For more information, visit www.huguenotstreet.org or call 845.255.1660 or 1889. Historic Huguenot Street is a National Historic Landmark District and is incorporated as Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, N.Y.

Saturday, September 17, 4pm. Art of the Street: Walking Tour with artist Kevin Cook. Join local landscape painter and Huguenot Street resident Kevin Cook for a unique tour of the site highlighting the fine art found in the museum houses, including works by Asher Durand, DuBois Fenelon Hasbrouck, Julia Dillon and others. Who better to present these fine period works than an artist who is himself especially inspired by the romantic work and ideals of the nineteenth century? Tour begins at the DuBois Fort | 81 Huguenot Street.

Wednesday, September 21, 10am to 3pm: Home School Day. With the general rising trend in home-schooling, HHS has set aside a day especially for home-schooled students to come to The Street and experience our history through tours and document-based lessons. We are offering a special new program called A Walk Through Time: One Street, Many Stories for this day. Travel back through time with six individuals whose lives were part of the fabric of the Hudson Valley. Working in small groups, students will use physical artifacts and primary documents to piece together the lives of a Lenape woman, a Revolutionary War soldier, a colonial school girl, a run-away slave, a Civil War soldier and a 19th century student at the Poughkeepsie Academy. Please call ahead with reservations to Susan Stessin-Cohn Director of Exhibits, Educational, and Public Programs @ 255-6738 or contact susan@huguenotstreet.org.

Friday, September 23, 7pm. Local Color: An intimate look at Landscapes with photographer Robert Goldwitz. A Fine Art Photography Opening. At HHS, the preservation of the past is our concentration, while the preservation of the moment is where Robert Goldwitz turns his eye. Robert Goldwitz captures images at opportune instants that speak to the heart of his subject. With a keen eye for composition, light and detail, Rob’s subjects range from the purely realistic to the evocatively abstract. An award-winning photographer, Goldwitz has been featured in one-man and group shows in New York City, Key West and elsewhere. In the DuBois Fort | 81 Huguenot Street. Light refreshments will be served. This event is also an opportunity to meet the new Executive Director of Historic Huguenot Street, Tracy Doolittle McNally.

Sunday, September 25, 11am and 2pm. Ulster Resident’s Day. This day caps off Ulster County Heritage Week, which is designed to highlight the rich culture and tradition that our county has to offer. Historic Huguenot Street is marking the occasion with a special &#8220pay what you wish&#8221 day on the Street. Ulster County residents, with proof of residence, can enjoy either our 11am or 2pm guided museum house tour for whatever they wish to contribute. No reservations necessary. Tours begin at the DuBois Fort Visitor Center | 81 Huguenot Street.

Sunday, September 25, 3pm. Certainly Not Silent: Women of the Huguenot Street Archive with Laura Rose. This enlightening presentation breathes life into several women whose paths crossed Huguenot Street whether during their lives or after. The stories are touching, sad, funny &#8212- even shocking. Join historical detective Laura Rose as she shares some of the most delectable tales she’s found. In Deyo Hall | 6 Broadhead Avenue.

New Leadership at Huguenot Street

Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) has announced the appointment of Tracy Doolittle McNally as the new Executive Director, effective August 29, 2011. Tracy is an 11th generation descendant of the Huguenot founders of New Paltz. “Ms. McNally has a proven track record professionally in both corporate and non-profit organizations with strong expertise in marketing, development, special events, public relations, and financial management” HHS Board Chair Mary Etta Schneider said in a prepared statement.

McNally has a B.A. from St. Lawrence University and an MBA from SUNY New Paltz School of Business. Most recently McNally was head of the Greene County Chamber of Commerce and was widely recognized as one of Greene County’s top businesswomen. When asked what she thought might be the greatest opportunity in her new position, Tracy said, “Many people think Historic Huguenot Street is about stone houses and a quiet street, but it is so much more than that. We need to continue to make the exciting stories, extensive archives and valuable collections come alive in unique ways. I look forward to working with the Board in accomplishing this.”

Historic Huguenot Street has also announced that Susan Stessin-Cohn has joined the organization to fill the newly created position of Director of Exhibits, Educational and Public Programs. Susan has been involved with HHS for several years in a variety of curatorial, research and education-related roles. Ms. Stessin-Cohn has a Masters of Science in Elementary Education and a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education and Anthropology from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Susan has an extensive background as a professor, exhibit curator, archives specialist, curriculum developer and historical consultant as well as being an active volunteer in the community.

Rejoining HHS is Rebecca Mackey, Manager of Programs, Tours, Volunteer Care and the Museum Shop. Rebecca, who has both a B.A. in Women’s Studies and in History, will be responsible for the implementation of educational and public programs.

Jan Melchior will be stepping up from her role as Communications, Design and Development Coordinator to an expanded role as Manager of Promotion and Marketing. Jan brings over twenty five years of experience in marketing, advertising, development and promotion of non-profits.

Mary Etta Schneider, who has been acting as Interim Executive Director, will be resigning that position and will continue in her role as President and Board Chair of HHS.

Preservation Secured for Historic Huguenot Land

The Open Space Institute (OSI), Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) and the Thomas and Corinne Nyquist Foundation have announced the preservation in perpetuity of the Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary, a 56-acre nature preserve located on Huguenot Street in the town and village of New Paltz.

OSI, through its land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, acquired the Sanctuary for $110,000 on June 21st from Historic Huguenot Street. HHS owns and maintains a National Historic Landmark District which includes a number of historic houses dating to the early 18th century set on ten acres in downtown New Paltz.

HHS acquired the property known as the Harcourt Sanctuary from Hastings Harcourt in 1976 and subsequently established the wildlife sanctuary. In 2009, HHS entered into a Conservation Easement with the Wallkill Valley Land Trust. According to a statement issued to the press, HHS has been focusing its efforts on the historic properties on Huguenot Street and has been searching for a buyer for the Harcourt property. Mary Etta Schneider, President of HHS comments, “It was especially important that we find a buyer that would honor Mr. Harcourt’s original intent to keep the land open to the public and in its natural state. We are delighted to collaborate with OSI and the Nyquist Foundation to make this happen.”

On July 6th, OSI sold the parcel for $55,000 to the Thomas and Corinne Nyquist Foundation. The sale included a restriction requiring the property to be made available to the public in perpetuity for recreational use. Thomas E. Nyquist, chair of the Foundation says, “The acquisition of the Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary reflects a long-existing appreciation of the beauty of the mid-Hudson Valley by the Nyquist family. Through the foundation, the Nyquists are pleased to serve as stewards of the newly-named Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary.”

The Sanctuary contains the “oxbow,” a complex of ponds and wetlands remaining from a tightly curved meander cut off when the Wallkill River straightened its course hundreds of years ago. It has over 1,300 feet of frontage on the Wallkill River and adjoins the Jewett and Khosla farms, two historic Huguenot farms totaling more than 180 acres that were protected by OSI and the Wallkill Valley Land Trust in the “Two Farms” campaign in 2007. The Sanctuary also adjoins land owned by the village of New Paltz containing the Gardens for Nutrition, a community-supported public gardening area.

“With the generous participation of the Nyquist Foundation, we are thrilled to be able to preserve the Harcourt Sanctuary,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “Like the other properties we’ve protected along Huguenot Street, it exemplifies both the rich history and natural resources of New Paltz and the Wallkill River.”

The property has relatively open areas dominated by grasses and herbaceous plants, which provide rich and varied habitat opportunities for a wide range of plants and animals. In 1987 the Town of New Paltz Environmental Conservation Commission created the Huguenot Path, an improved nature trail which loops through the Sanctuary and the adjacent Village-owned property.

The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats, and sustain community character. OSI achieves its goals through land acquisition, conservation easements, regional loan programs, fiscal sponsorship, creative partnerships, and analytical research. OSI has protected more than 110,000 acres in New York State. Through its Northern Forest Protection Fund and Conservation Finance Program, OSI has assisted in the protection of an additional 1.8 million acres in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Georgia. Please visit www.osiny.org for more information.

The Thomas and Corinne Nyquist Foundation is a family foundation founded in 2004 to provide financial support for local initiatives and programs of nonprofit organizations and groups in New Paltz and in Roosevelt County, Montana with emphasis on the communities of Bainville, Culbertson and Froid.

Historic Huguenot Street (HHS), located on the banks of the Wallkill River, is the place where the spirit of individualism that New Paltz is known for today began. Here a small group of French-speaking Huguenots settled in 1678. Just steps from downtown New Paltz, the site features seven stone houses dating to 1705, a burying ground and a reconstructed 1717 stone church – all in their original village setting. HHS offers ten acres of landscaped green space and public programming to the local community and visitors from around the world. For more information about Historic Huguenot Street, visit www.huguenotstreet.org or call (845) 255-1889.

Village Historic House Tour In New Paltz

Many know New Paltz for its unique heritage. Founded by French-speaking Protestants in 1678, the town has a long history. Much of it is preserved at Historic Huguenot Street.

And yet, historic homes, and history are not limited to the famous street. The village’s evolving history is documented in homes throughout the community. Last year, local resident Hollise Tirendi came to Historic Huguenot Street with the idea of creating a tour that will allow people to see some of the village’s most interesting homes – private homes not often open for the public to see.

From this idea came the New Paltz Village Historic House Tour. Offered on Sunday, June 12th from 12 to 5pm, the event offers a glimpse into nine of the community’s most unique private residence, as well as a “work in progress” peak into the Jean Hasbrouck House at Historic Huguenot Street. The house is currently undergoing restoration and reinterpretation, and is closed to the public.

Among the houses featured is the Benjamin Hasbrouck, an 18th century stone house across form the SUNY New Paltz campus that continues to be a private residence.

Capping off the event is a reception at the grand Philip Elting House. The owners of this stunning house, once a summer residence for members of the Elting family, will be sharing their home, along with their clock and classic car collections.

Tickets for the event are $25 in advance of $30 on the day of. Tickets will be held, and can be picked up at the DuBois Fort Visitor Center, 81 Huguenot Street in New Paltz, starting at 11:45 on Sunday, June 12th. To register, visit www.huguenotstreet.org or call (845) 255-1889.

Photo: Benjamin Hasbrouck House by Richard Heyl de Ortiz.

Candlelight Tour of Historic Huguenot Street

On Saturday, April 30th at 7:30pm, as the sun sets over the ‘Gunks, Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz will offer a special evening tour. Imagine a walk through time. Imagine getting the chance to see how people really lived 100, 200, even 300 years ago. Regular people like your own great, great, great, grandparents. How did they keep warm in the winters? How did they light the dark nights? Where did they take their meals? The iconic houses on the famous street are filled with stories and many original items that help to tell the tales. Now imagine experiencing all of this by candlelight – in the same place, at the same time of day, by the same kind of light as those who came before us.

With bright electric light at our fingertips today, it is easy to forget just how different life was in the years before electricity and in the formative years of the new technology. We’ll start with a glass of wine or sparkling water in the DuBois Fort and then we’ll move through the eras &#8212- the Jean Hasbrouck House, where Jacob and Esther lived by the light of the fireplace, betty lamps or a few candles- the LeFevre House, where Ezekiel Elting’s prosperous family takes advantage of oil lamps- and the Deyo House, where Abraham Brodhead’s New Paltz Electric Company brings the &#8220miracle technology&#8221 to late 19th century homes. This is better than reality TV. It’s real.

The DuBois Visitor Center is located at 81 Huguenot Street in downtown New Paltz. Tickets are $14 per person or $12 for friends of Huguenot Street. Advance reservations are suggested. For more information or to register, call 845.255.1660 or visit www.huguenotstreet.org.

Women’s Rights: Race, Class and Ethnicity

This Saturday, April 9th, at 7:00 pm, Historic Huguenot Street will host another in its Second Saturdays Lecture Series. The featured speaker will be Harriet Davis-Kram, Professor of American History at Queens College in New York City. The title of her talk is “Women’s Rights: A Struggle of Race, Class and Ethnicity.”

The quest of American women for equal rights dates back to the 18th century. One need only read the letters Abigail Adams sent to her husband John at the Constitutional Convention, warning him, &#8220You’d better not forget the ladies.&#8221

By the early 19th century, women’s voices were often heard in the debate over the abolition of slavery, and a number of educated women began to see similarities between their own social, economic, and political status, and that of the slaves they were fighting to emancipate. A small group of abolitionists would go on to found the movement for women’s equality. Davis-Kram will explore this history and the internal tensions that were part of the fight for women’s equality.

New York women were very much a part of this movement. Sojourner Truth is well known for her leading role in advocating for the end of slavery. Less well known is the key role she played as an African-American woman in the later struggle for women’s rights. She was a contemporary of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, among others. So too was Lydia Sayer Hasbrouck, the Middletown woman who made her mark as a dress reformer and as the publisher of “The Sybil,” a 19th century women’s rights periodical. Saturday’s talk is a prelude to the reinterpretation of the Abraham Hasbrouck House at Historic Huguenot Street. When this house reopens in 2012, the story told will focus on the lives on women in early New Paltz.

Davis-Kram, who has been teaching for over 30 years, specializes in the areas of American Women’s History, American Labor History, Immigration, and New York City History. Dr. Davis-Kram also guides walking tours in New York City focusing mostly on the 19th-century up through 1920. Her talk is made possible through Speakers in the Humanities, a program of the New York Council for the Humanities. Speakers in the Humanities lectures are made possible with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Legislature, and through funds from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

The talk will be held in the LeFevre House, located at 54 Huguenot Street in downtown New Paltz. There is a suggested donation of $5. For more information, call 845.255.1660 or visit www.huguenotstreet.org.