Long before the information age brought entertainment on demand, people found their amusement at neighbors’ homes. Guests took part in dramatic readings of prose and poetry, and sang together accompanied by small parlor instruments.The Newburgh Historical Society is recreating this scene by hosting a parlor event on Saturday, May 12th at the 1830 Captain David Crawford House, located on 189 Montgomery Street in the City of Newburgh. Starting at 2 p.m. the Music for Mother’s Day concert will feature a selection of nineteenth century music performed live by Christopher Brellochs, Cynthia Peterson, and Elizabeth Gerbi. The trio specializes in music of nineteenth century America, developing programs that capture the unique history of each mansion where they perform. The Crawfords were well known for their evenings of entertainment and David and Fanny designed their home with spaces for visitors to gather. Surviving letters between the Crawford daughters and friends give us a glimpse into the 1840s Newburgh social scenes. One letter describes the daughter Mary Elizabeth,“floating like a swan though mazes of the dance, or pouring forth in notes of sweetness.” Old newspaper accounts reveal that the Crawford home, up on its knoll of Montgomery Street, could be seen with lights ablaze as guests filled the rooms with song and story.
“It is wonderful that music can once again fill the Crawford House,” said saxophonist Christopher Brellochs.
The Saturday afternoon event offers the opportunity to see a rare and beautiful antique pianoforte made in Newburgh by the Carman & Fancher company about 1860. The piano manufactory was once located on the corner of Broadway and South Colden Street. A brief history of the old piano and its origins will be given. Admission for the concert will go toward the repair and tuning of the antique instrument.
Reservations can be made online at newburghhistoricalsociety.com or by calling (845) 561-2585. Space is limited. Members save $5 off the regular $20 admission. Refreshments will be served.
The Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands was launched unofficially when the Hasbrouck House (Washington’s Headquarters Newburgh) was in danger of demolition after the Revolutionary War. The current Society, incorporated in 1884, has always been an advocate for Newburgh’s history. The Society’s headquarters, 1830 Captain David Crawford House, was purchased in 1954 to save it from demolition and symbolizes their dedication to preserving and protecting Newburgh’s assets.
The Crawford House, an historic house museum and Society’s headquarters, located at 189 Montgomery Street within the City of Newburgh’s Historic District is open for tours by appointment. For more information about admission, tours, or programming please call (845) 561-2585.