It was questionable whether those who made reservations to join Sunday’s walking tour would stay home due to the heat or choose to be some place cooler. By the date of the event, July 12th, we accumulated exactly 100 reservations. Yes we were impressed, but there were concerns about the weather. Earlier in the week, rain was in the forecast, but soon after, the clouds cleared and high temperatures took their place.
“This weekend will feel like summer. It’ll be a good time to jump in the pool,” one meteorologist said through an ear to ear smile the Friday before.
No one was smiling here at the Society. Temperatures in the 90s would make the event difficult. Especially considering we were asking the public to walk a half mile. We planned to be under trees for most of the time, but the sun couldn’t be totally avoided.
Additional water was purchased and placed in multiple spots, including along the trail. We stocked up on cold presses and each of our five tour guides did not lead a tour without a list of emergency contacts.
Fortunately, that meteorologist’s prediction wasn’t exactly true (isn’t this usually the case). It was cooler than expected and a gentle breeze brought on a refreshing calm. A total of 108 visitors were unfazed by the threat of heat. The line from the admissions table nearly pushed through the main gate. Five full tours went out between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and discovered a rich history in the stories of some of Newburgh’s notable citizens. Our visitors truly enjoyed themselves.
Almost immediately after the tour, one visitor took to our website to leave an encouraging comment. “A friend & I took the tour at St. George’s Cemetery today & want to commend you on this wonderful event…well done!!”
Another said, “I have lived in and around the Newburgh area my entire life, and I had no idea so much history was associated with the cemetery…thank you.”
The Society’s mission is to preserve and promote the history of Newburgh and the region. During this event we met success with our co-coordinators, St. George’s Episcopal Church, who were interested in building awareness of the historic cemetery they oversee.
Thus far into the 2015 season, the tour was our most attended event. Eighty-seven of the attendees were non-members and we hope the event’s success inspired some to enroll. The Cemetery Committee found success with their picnic basket raffle, which was valued at over $400. They raised $2,052.50 from their efforts.
The conversation continued after the tour was over. “Pleaseeeee schedule another walking tour so I can take part in it!” one supporter posted to our event page on Facebook.
Unfortunately, a repeat of the tour may not happen before the end of the year. However, a related history talk about the Rev. Dr. John Brown will take place on August 2nd. Rev. Brown was our first point of interest during the walking tour. He was born in 1791 in New York City, but his story in Newburgh begins when he accepted a rectorship at St. George’s Church in 1815. Not only did he found St. George’s Cemetery in 1838, but he also founded the Newburgh Horticultural Society, and from his own garden developed the “Quality Row” houses on First Street between Grand and Liberty. He was also a founder of St. Luke’s Hospital in Newburgh with the Ladies of St. George’s Church.
Join members of the Newburgh Historical Society and St. George’s Episcopal Church for a featured history talk about the Rev. Dr. John Brown by Madelaine Piel, historian, genealogist and descendant of the Rev. John Brown. Make a reservation→