The Old Town Cemetery is situated between Grand, Liberty, and South Streets, where it has sat for over two hundred years. It has borne witness to an ever-changing Newburgh, from a sleepy village to a bustling city. Many people are unaware of this gem in the heart of Newburgh and how close they came to losing it forever, but thanks to concerned citizens in Newburgh, its future is looking brighter. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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.
“Unfortunately for the Tower, time and weather have not been kind,” a statement to the press says “Without 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.”
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
The fundraising campaign is co-chaired by U.S. Congressman Maurice D. Hinchey and PIPC Commissioner Barnabas McHenry.
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
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.
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.
Elyse B. Goldberg, Historic Site Manager, said in her welcoming address and conferring of the award, that though time did not permit her to list all the organizations and positions that Ms. Bailey has held over the years to be mentioned, Stella is at present the Executive Director and Financial Officer of the Fort Montgomery Battle Site Association, President of the Town of Highlands Historical Society, and the Highland Falls Town/Village Historian.
Tom Meyering, President of the 5th New York Regiment, James K. Burr, Adjutant, 5th New York Regiment, and Joseph D’Onofrio, Mayor of Highland Falls each independently nominated her for the honor and made remarks to commend Bailey for her commitment and dedication in preserving Hudson River Valley history.
Family and friends of Ms. Bailey were in the audience along with some previous recipients of the Woman of History Award. They included author/historian Patricia Favata, City of Newburgh Historian Mary McTamaney, City of Newburgh Records Management Director Elizabeth McKean, and community activist Mara Farrell.
Dressed in their Revolutionary War military attire, members of the 5th New York Regiment led the audience cheer at the completion of the award presentation and Bailey’s acceptance speech.
The event was sponsored by the Palisades Parks Conservancy and the Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands.
Photo: 2012 Winner Stella Bailey, third from left surrounded by past winners Mary McTamaney, Elizabeth McKean, and Mara Farrell along with Historic Site Manager Elyse Goldberg (provided).
“To be able to study the largest historic district in New York State is certainly fun, but to be entrusted with a role to use that understanding to help rebuild this city is an honor,” she said in a statement release to the press.
As director, Porr’s duties include fundraising, directing future research and programs, overseeing the remaining renovations to the Captain David Crawford House, creating useful networks in the fields of public history and academic history and increasing membership within the group the statement said.
“The Historical Society has been and will continue to be a resource for people who want to learn more about Newburgh’s history or those who are interested in restoring homes here,” she said.
Porr “wants to establish an inspiring new direction for the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands while maintaining everything Newburgh has come to love about the organization. Her goals are to keep up with the current trends in the academic world, exchange information and ideas with other historical societies in New York and beyond and to use the society’s resources to make Newburgh’s history
more relevant to today’s citizens,” the press statement said.
“It’s important to find the academics who are already doing the research and connect them with the people on the ground who have a better idea of the questions the public is interested in,” said Porr. “I’d like to see more serious focus on scholarly research being done in the Hudson Valley.”
Porr has been an historical interpreter at Washington’s Headquarters, where she has both volunteered and been employed for nearly a decade. She attended Franklin College in Switzerland where she studied European history, earned an M.P.A. from Marist College and recently spent time in Virginia doing archaeology at Historic Jamestown and historic-trades research at Colonial Williamsburg.
“Newburgh is a fascinating place,” said Johanna, who grew up in city. “We call it ‘History City’ because you can take any major movement and tie it back here somehow- you can always find a way to understand the scope of American history through the narratives that are available in Newburgh.”
The new director is the daughter of former Newburgh city manager Harold Porr and Joan Mauriello, who volunteered as a preservationist and historical activist while Johanna was growing up.
“This society is one of the earliest and we’ve been building a collection and archive since 1884,” Johanna said. “I’m proud to be part of such a strong institution, especially since the viability of Newburgh’s future is inseparable from its legacy.”
He writes about the history of Ulster and Orange counties (which he’ll be covering here on this site) and is the author of two books and numerous articles on Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh. He writes a monthly column for the Shawangunk Journal focusing on places such as Kerhonkson, Stone Ridge, Shawangunk, Rosendale, Ellenville, and Cragsmore.