Newburgh unity In our grandparents’ days

History classes taught us that the First World War consumed soldiers like a fire-breathing dragon striding across Europe. The trench-style warfare, the use of poison gas and machine guns, the extreme weather conditions and lack of sanitation and re-supply, caused men to die in numbers not known since the Civil War. That comparison may be the key to local involvement in that early 20th century war.

Preview: Mansion on the Hill

Society member Joe Santacroce enjoys producing and sharing films about Newburgh's rich history. His last film about the 1909 Hudson-Fulton Celebration was televised on PBS in 2015. Joe offers a 5 minute preview of his latest project due out soon, "The Mansion on the Hill," that captures the history and heritage of Newburgh's significant Washington's Headquarters.

Historian Puts a ‘Premium on Empathy’

Unlike most visitors whom may have been motivated by nostalgia, Dr. Burke as a professional historian is equally interested in how the historical record becomes the starting point for a conversation. In a conversation we shared, Kevin discussed how his experience and roots in Newburgh influences how he encounters history. I gained insight into how although our memories can obscure the truth, being equipped with the facts and empathy may reveal new perspectives and a greater connection to our past.

The price of beauty: birds, feathers, eradication and conservation

The price of beauty commonly refers to an individual’s cost of attractiveness. It frequently becomes the punch line as we force ourselves to accept discomfort. The “price” can also refer to the large amount of money one spends on maintaining attractiveness, how health may be affected by certain beauty practices or, more broadly, society’s role in it all. Sometimes, however, the demand for attractiveness goes beyond individual sacrifice and takes a toll on the environment enough to lead to extinction, murder, prison and inspire acts of conservation.

Celebrating the Life of David Crawford

Here, in the middle of that new water highway was Newburgh just waking up from its sleepy little status as a regional market town after the Revolutionary War. In the fall of 1824, our community’s memories of the Revolution were refreshed by the visit of the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington’s trusted advisor and friend. Lafayette returned here to the place where he witnessed the great revolution come to an end and where a lasting peace was declared by Washington from the lawn of the Hasbrouck farm. Lafeyette was curious as to how the young republic had fared. The 10,000 visitors who descended on little Newburgh (a village of fewer than 6,000 in 1824) for Lafayette’s reception caused its civic leaders to see the crucial historical, political and geographical connection this village had to American history and to begin to capitalize on it. Thus when the cannon volleys rang out over the Hudson in October 1825 to signal the new connections the Erie Canal made possible, a few creative Newburghers were planning amid their rejoicing for a greater downtown Newburgh.

Connecting Highways for Newburgh Prosperity

It began with the Cochecton Turnpike (today’s Route 17K) that opened western markets for the little port of Newburgh. Cochecton is a town in Sullivan County along the Delaware River. It was the seasonal “hunting home” of the Munsee Indians who populated our side of the Hudson Valley before white settlers came. At Cochecton, a Munsee word (K’schiechton) meaning “a place where land is washed by water” was a spot where the Delaware River washed its shoreline into a little valley with good river landings and abundant natural resources. Having a road to connect The Hudson to the Delaware meant having a way to trade with the western territories at the turn of the 19th century. Before Newburgh was settled in 1709, farming towns had developed inland and along the Wallkill River that runs from New Jersey north through Orange and Ulster Counties.

A Need for Water

People care about where their water comes from. If there was some sort of contamination at a water source, chances are you’d want to know if it affected your faucet, especially considering the potential health risks. This is why learning about the history behind the water you drink is important beyond simple fascination or being able to impress friends with trivial facts. Tracing a local water supply provides comfort from knowing the details of its sources and routes.