One way to trace how the mid-Hudson Valley has changed over the centuries is to examine the types of places where travelers stayed. The talk “Welcome to Red Hook” at the Red Hook Historical Society this Sunday, March 18 does just that, focusing on the hospitality industry, beginning with an era in which the term was equivalent to sleeping communally with strangers in the unheated upstairs room of an inn.
Claudine Klose, who is president of the Historical Society, and bed-and-breakfast proprietor Beth Pagono will deliver a PowerPoint presentation that examines the history of the old hotels, inns, B&Bs and boardinghouses in Red Hook, focusing primarily on four properties that span two centuries. The oldest hostelry in town was the Elmendorf Inn, a former stagecoach stop and inn located on today’s Route 9, which dates from 1750. The Grand Dutchess was a boardinghouse that attracted families who were escaping the heat and unhealthy atmosphere of the dirty, overcrowded Manhattan metropolis in the late 19th century; it was representative of the trend by local farmers to rent out rooms in their homes in the summer to City folks who journeyed up to the area by train. (Travelers could disembark at Barrytown, although Klose noted that in 1875 a railroad spur brought them directly to Red Hook.) The Red Hook Hotel, torn down in the 1960s after a fire, had its heyday in the 1940s and 1950s, when the Taconic Parkway was temporarily routed through Red Hook, bringing lots of traffic to town and causing a tourism boom. The Red Hook Inn, formerly called the St. Regis Hotel, is the fourth accommodation that will be chronicled.
The talk starts at 3 p.m. The Historical Society is located on North Broadway in Red Hook. For more information, call (845) 758-1920 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.