Historical Society hosts two part lecture on the Great War

Memorial Day remembrances this year take on deeper meaning as we mark a century since the end of “the war to end all wars.” World War I pulled most of the globe into fearful mobilization as men and women departed to foreign battlefields or devoted all their free time to support services to keep their family and friends as safe as possible. Today, it is hard to imagine the many ways a full-blown world war consumed community energy and fueled patriotic passion.

The Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands shares the story of Newburgh in the World War in two consecutive programs.

On Thursday evening, May 31st . military scholar Frank Licameli will present an illustrated lecture on our local Great War sacrifice, especially at the infamous Hindenburg Line where Orange County men finally broke through German fortifications and led the advance to the war’s end, but at an awful cost.

On the following Sunday afternoon, June 3rd , City Historian Mary McTamaney will tell the story of Newburgh’s amazing home front mobilization that supported those local troops off fighting in the trenches of Belgium and France.


One local soldier, Otto Diesserroth, described his arrival at Dijon, France with the tank corps. Tired, wet and hungry, he went with his buddies to the Red Cross station there. The supervisor, when he learned of their hometown, said to the soldiers “That must be a great little place. We handle more goods from the Newburgh Red Cross than any other chapter in the States except New York City.”

The first presentation by Colonel Licameli will be co-sponsored by SUNY Orange at the spacious Kaplan Hall on the Newburgh campus and will begin at 7 p.m. The second presentation by Mrs. McTamaney will take place at The Newburgh Heritage Center, 123 Grand Street and will begin at 2 p.m. Both are free to the public.

For more information, please visit newburghhistoricalsociety.com or call (845) 561-2585.

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.

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