Preservation group leads walking tour of Algonquin Park

As an industrial complex for the manufacture of black powder throughout most of the nineteenth century, Orange Mills in Newburgh was designed to withstand destruction by accidental explosion. Workers in the wooded acres along Powder Mill Road carefully combined volatile ingredients that were refined into gunpowder which they packed and shipped around the country. Machinery, powered by the Quassaick Creek that winds through the property, was carefully operated from a slight distance. Wood and copper tools were used to avoid unwanted sparks, and stone structures were built with thick walls intended to redirect explosive forces. Accidents were unavoidable and the mill survived twenty explosions over the course of its operation. Many of those explosions were heard and felt miles away. Now, over a century since it closed, Orange Mills is being reclaimed by nature. Continue reading

High School Students Visit Crawford House

On November 2, 2017, a group of 83 students from the Newburgh Free Academy visited the Crawford House. Led by Ginny McCurdy and other NFA teachers and chaperones, the student explored the 1830 “rich people’s house” up and down. Historical Society board members Warren Cahill and Jim Hoekema explained the history of the house, it’s architectural style, and the many artworks and furnishings inside. This was the final stop in a day of visits to historic sites, but the field trip was only one part of a program to increase students’ awareness of the Hudson Valley and its history. Continue reading

History Talk on Renaissance Man Albert J. Myer

Albert Myer was an inventor, a reinventor, a medical doctor, and a US Army general during the Civil War. He was the sole survivor of six children; so, it may seem that destiny played a part in his productive life. The Historical Society, together with Orange County Community College, arranged for historian Bob Gilbert to bring his presentation about the ingenious Newburgh-born General Myer to SUNY Newburgh’s Kaplan Hall on April 11, 2016. The lecture was entitled “Renaissance Man: General Albert Myer, Founder of the International Weather Service and the U.S. Signal Corps.”
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‘Please don’t call it a War Memorial’

On April 3, opening day for the Historical Society’s 2016 season, a number of local experts and community volunteers gathered to present a program on “Monumental Newburgh” about the monuments and public sculptures in the city of Newburgh. Photographer Tom Kneiser led with a slide show of photos showing the variety of such monuments. Other speakers then expanded on the topic with additional presentations.

Speaking of the Orange County Veterans Memorial at the corner of Liberty Street and Leroy Place, David McTamaney, a veteran support advocate and once a combat photographer in Vietnam, declared, “It is not a memorial to war. It’s a memorial to those who’ve died at war!” Continue reading

Picture Gallery: A Wine Taste of History

More than a dozen historic sites participated in the 2015 Taste of History, a Columbus Day Weekend “food history” trail organized by the Mid-Hudson Historic Destinations. The main idea, which was to develop an event that incorporated a food experience, was loose and welcomed at the Crawford House. Newburgh was once a thriving nineteenth-century port along the Hudson River and freight forwarders like the original owner of the historic house, Captain David Crawford, found success at building a business and a small fortune. Continue reading