On April 9 the Rockland County High School Local History Conference was held at the Comfort Inn in Nanuet. The conference was organized by Clare Sheridan, president, the Historical Society of Rockland County, Trustee Larry Singer, Trustee Judge William Sherwood and two local North Rockland High School social studies teachers, Kevin Metcalf and Steve Shepardson.
All the public school systems in the county participated as well as a private school. Also speaking at the conference (which I did attend) were Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, State Senator David Carlucci, and Rockland County Historian Craig H. Long. During the conference the high school students present their research topics and received a certificate of achievement from the Historical Society. Read more →
The NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) Palisades Region and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) will hold a public hearing regarding the preparation of a Draft Master Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Rockland Lake, Hook Mountain, Nyack Beach, and Haverstraw Beach State Parks (The Park Complex). OPRHP and PIPC encourage the public to participate in the planning efforts for The Park Complex and welcome all comments related to the DRAFT MASTER PLAN and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Read more →
On 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 →
New York State has approximately 17,000 highway bridges. They are essential for traveling around our state and connecting our communities. About 37% are “functionally obsolete” or “structurally deficient,” according to DOT, a reminder of the need for continuing investment to maintain valuable resources.
Bridges – old and new – are part of community and state history. The story of three historically significant bridges shows various connections to history. Read more →
From time to time I receive notices about the activities various organizations have undertaken, sometimes from New York History itself. Some of these activities stand out as going beyond the routine. The good thing is they can be replicated. Read more →
The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) Palisades Region and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) will hold a public information meeting regarding the preparation of a Draft Master Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Rockland Lake, Hook Mountain, Nyack Beach, and Haverstraw Beach State Parks (together, the Rockland Lake Park Complex) on the west bank of the Hudson River in Rockland County, New York. OPRHP and PIPC encourage the public to participate in the planning efforts for the park complex and welcome all comments and suggestions. Developed and opened to the public in the early 1960s, the parks are part of the Palisades Interstate Park system.
The public meeting will be held at Rockland Lake State Park Championship Golf Course Clubhouse on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 7:00 PM. Park staff will make a brief presentation about the master planning process and the park after which the meeting will be open to receive public comments.
All persons interested in the Rockland Lake Park Complex are urged to attend- those who cannot may view the Public Information Meeting Packet on the OPRHP website.
Written comments and suggestions may be submitted by April 27, 2012 to:
Mark Hohengasser Park Planner Agency Building 1, 17th Floor Empire State Plaza Albany, NY 12238 Rockland.Plan@parks.ny.gov
Upon inclement weather conditions, please visit the OPRHP website for a meeting cancellation notice and updated information.
For additional information and directions to the meeting, contact the park office at 845-268-3020.
The historic Bear Mountain Inn at Bear Mountain State Park, which had been closed for renovations for over six years, will reopen its lodging facilities to the public this Saturday, February 18, 2012.
Originally built in 1915, the Inn has been extensively renovated to include 15 luxury guest rooms and suites designed by Thomas Hamilton and Associates, and over 20,000 square feet of flexible event space. Room rates will range from $189 to $450/night. The Inn also welcomes guests to the 1915 Cafe, which features a local and sustainable menu, and the Bear Mountain Trading Company, where visitors can find park souvenirs, crafts, local food items, and jewelry. Bear Mountain Inn is an historic landmark, listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places. Upon its opening, The American Architect declared the Bear Mountain Inn to be one of the “finest examples of rustic Adirondack architecture in America.” Park employees constructed the Inn using natural materials, including stone and wood found in the park. The Inn’s interior is outfitted in the rustic style with handcrafted chairs, sofas, tables, light fixtures, and other accessories to complement the building’s design and woodland setting.
The Inn has hosted such dignitaries such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. It has also welcomed the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, New York Knicks, Green Bay Packers, champion boxer Jack Dempsey, and entertainment headliners Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, and Kate Smith to name a few.
Bear Mountain State Park is considered the flagship of the Palisades Interstate Park System. The park is 45 miles north of New York City, in the Hudson Highlands. Facilities include playing fields, picnic groves, rowboat docks on Hessian Lake, swimming pool and bathhouse, nature trails including the first segment of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, an ice-skating rink, basketball court, Trailside Museums and Zoo, Iona Island Estuarine Reserve and Bird Refuge, Perkins Memorial Drive and Tower, the Bear Mountain Merry-Go-Round and pavilion as well as four stone lodges, Cliffhouse and the Overlook Lodge.
Event catering is under the leadership of award-winning Executive Chef Michael Matarazzo. The Bear Mountain Inn is managed by Guest Services, Inc., of Virginia, a private hospitality company that has provided food, hotel, resort and leisure services since 1917.
More information about Bear Mountain Inn can be found online.
Join costumed staff and visiting reenactors for a family program of music, games and story telling on Friday, July 15, 2011 at 7:00 PM. Performers Tom Hanford and Nancy Finlay will draw guests into the convivial world of an 18th century tavern, and host John Muller will share his expertise of the period at this unique event. Light period refreshments will be served. Note: No alcohol will be served. Advanced reservations required. Please call the museum office at 845-786-2521 for reservations and further information. Adults $15, Seniors and Children $12.The historic site is located at 44 Battlefield Rd., accessed from Park Rd. off Route 9W in Stony Point.
The Battle of Stony Point, one of the last Revolutionary War battles in the northeastern colonies was where Brigadier General Anthony Wayne led his corps of Continental Light Infantry in a daring midnight attack on the British, seizing the site’s fortifications and taking the soldiers and camp followers at the British garrison as prisoners on July 16, 1779.
The site features a museum, which offers exhibits on the battle and the Stony Point Lighthouse, as well as interpretive programs, such as reenactments highlighting 18th century military life, cannon and musket firings, cooking demonstrations, and children’s activities and blacksmith demonstrations.
The Stony Point Battlefield State Historic site is located at 44 Battlefield Road, accessed from Park Road, off Route 9W in Stony Point. For more information and directions and to reserve your spot, call the site office at 845-786-2521. Saturday, April 23rd at 7:45 AM: Spring Bird Walk Spring Bird Walk with Della and Alan Wells of the Rockland Audubon Society. These experts will lead a walk through the diverse bird habitats found at the Stony Point Battlefield. First time birders welcome, and experienced birders will enjoy exploring the location of a wonderfully accessible birders paradise. Bring binoculars, or borrow an extra pair from the group. This program is free to the public. Site entrance gate will be open from 7:45 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. only to admit Birding Ramblers, so please be on time. No parking fee for this early bird special!
Evening Lighthouse Lantern Tours Friends of the Stony Point Battlefield & Lighthouse present an evening lecture and slide show on the history of lighthouses along the Hudson River, followed by a lantern tour of the oldest lighthouse on the Hudson River. Reservations required for this program, due to space considerations, call the museum. Please bring a flashlight and bug spray. Admission $4.00 adults, $3.00 seniors and children 10 to 18 years. Program not appropriate for children younger than age 10. This program will be offered on a TBD Saturday in June, July, and August. Friday, July 15th at 7 PM: Tavern Night at the Battlefield Join the Friends of the Stony Point Battlefield & Lighthouse, the site staff and visiting reenactors to celebrate the site’s anniversary weekend at the first annual Tavern Night. Get ready to travel into the convivial world of an 18th century tavern as performers Tom Hanford and Nancy Finlay lead the night with music and story-telling. There will be 18th century games to learn and play and light refreshments will be served, including delicious beverages from 18th century recipes created by Tavern Keeper, John Muller. This program offers entertainment for the whole family. NOTE: No alcohol will be served. Admission to this fundraising event is $15.00 for adults and $12.00 for seniors and children. Rain or shine – the event will be held in the picnic pavilion if inclement weather.
Saturday, July 16th and Sunday, July 17th (11 AM – 4 PM): Celebrate the 231st Anniversary of the Storming of Stony Point Visit our 18th century military encampment as we commemorate American Brigadier General Anthony Wayne’s daring nighttime assault on the British fortifications at Stony Point. Battle scenarios will be re-enacted each day at 3:00 and a special Saturday evening presentation on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Watch as American troops advance on the British camp and experience what the soldiers might have felt in a midnight raid. There will be musket, rifle and artillery demonstrations, cooking demonstrations, blacksmithing, along with colonial games and wooden musket drills for children. $5.00 daytime parking fee. Rain or shine. Evening battle program is free.
Saturday, August 13 at 8 PM: Evening Battlefield Lantern Tour Presented by the Friends of the Stony Point Battlefield & Lighthouse. Experience the story of the Storming of Stony Point as you follow in the footsteps of the American Light Infantry soldiers who captured the British fort. Tour the historic grounds with a guide by lantern light as the battle unfolds around you. Reservations required for this program, call the museum. Please bring a flashlight and bug spray. Admission $4.00 adults, $3.00 seniors and children 10 and older. Program not appropriate for children younger than age 10.
Sunday, September 17, 8 AM- 1030 AM: Hudson River Birding Ramble Hudson River Birding Ramble with Della and Alan Wells of the Rockland Audubon Society. These experts will lead a walk through the diverse bird habitats found at the Stony Point Battlefield. First time birders welcome, and experienced birders will enjoy exploring the location of a wonderfully accessible birders paradise. Bring binoculars, or borrow an extra pair from the group. This program is free to the public. Site entrance gate will be open from 7:45 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. only to admit Birding Ramblers, so please be on time. No parking fee for this early bird special!
Saturday, September 17th & Sunday, September 18th, 1 PM and 2 PM: Hudson River Ramble Walking Tours Enjoy a guided walk to the Lighthouse at 1 PM or a guided tour through the Battlefield at 2 PM- followed by the site’s artillery demonstration at 3 PM. This program is free to the public.
Saturday, September 17th at 11 AM: Historical Gardening Talk Michael Hagen, Horticulturalist and 18th century reenactor, will give a tour of the new soldier’s scratch garden at the Battlefield’s living history camp area. Come and learn about planning, planting and growing food in an 18th century military camp. The garden is brimming with plants and our camp cook will prepare recipes from the period. This program is free to the public.
Saturday, September 24th, 12 Noon- 4 PM: Lighthouse Day Celebrate the history of lighthouses on the Hudson River and their important connection to the maritime economy of New York State in the 19th century. Tours of the lighthouse will be given throughout the day along with talks on the history of lighthouses, the history of the economic importance of the maritime trade on the river, artists interpretation of Hudson River lights. 19th century maritime music and storytelling will be performed by Balladeer, Linda Russell and Storyteller Jonathan Kruk throughout the afternoon. A family arts and crafts area featuring lighthouse projects will be available.
TBA Saturday in October, 5-7 PM: Lighthouse Cruise Spend an evening aboard the historic vessel Commander enjoying a two hour Cruise along the Hudson. While on-board, discover the fascinating history surrounding Haverstraw Bay, the Lower Highlands, Lighthouses along the Hudson and the Stony Point Lighthouse as told by local history narrator, Scott Craven. Enjoy spectacular views of the illuminated Stony Point Lighthouse as we sail along the river. The cruise departs Haverstraw Marina at approximately 5:00 p.m. Presented by Friends of Stony Point Battlefield and Lighthouse and Hudson Highlands Cruises, Inc. By advanced reservation, please contact the museum. Admission: $30 Adults, $25 Seniors (62+), and $15 Children (5-12).
One hundred years ago this month, less than a year after the Harriman gift of $1,000,000 and 10,000 acres was leveraged to raise an additional $4.5 million in private and state funds, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission began its purchase of the five quarries that were steadily eating away at the stately Hook Mountain ridge between Nyack and Haverstraw, New York.
The first quarry purchased belonged to the Manhattan Trap Rock Company. Its facilities, including the concrete power house used to crush the rock before being loaded onto barges from the wharf, were eventually dismantled or converted by the WPA to recreational facilities. The power house, a beautiful dutch colonial sandstone building that sits at the foot of the mountain, was transformed into a bath house when swimming in the Hudson was still permitted. This magnificent example of adaptive use is now experiencing a second wave of interest by the community as the anchor of Nyack Beach State Park. The River Trail, one of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Trails, runs north from Nyack Beach for almost five miles. A magnet for runners, cyclists, bird watchers, fishermen, lovers, and artists, it is the only trail along the lower Hudson in New York that does not share its waterfront with a train line or highway. The Long Path parallels this trail high above atop the cliffs.