The circa-1680 Bevier House Museum in Marbletown has a lot of ties to Ulster County history. The house served as a refuge for residents of Kingston fleeing the burning of their city by the British in 1777, and the museum holds an extensive collection of artifacts donated by local families, including the earliest known land grant map for Ulster County.
So it seems a fitting location for “Historic Ulster County in Gingerbread,” a unique holiday display that transcends the traditional notion of gingerbread houses as storybook cottages with gumdrop-thatched roofs. These colorful creations give a nod to local history by recreating familiar buildings using the gingery biscuits and all the trimmings in a fresh way.
“As far as we know, this is the first time that anybody has amassed such a collection of these historic sites done in gingerbread,” said Suzanne Hauspurg, director of Bevier House Museum. “We decided to do something different this year, and it turned out to be a great way to involve the community and other historic organizations, too. We’re very pleased at the diversity of people contributing.”
Some of the gingerbread buildings were created by individuals working on their own, said Hauspurg, with others made by local organizations. As of press time the buildings were still coming in, so there may be a few surprises by the time the doors open on the exhibit, but definitely on hand will be a model of the Depuy Canal House constructed by the grandson of the site’s restaurateur John Novi. The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild contributed a gingerbread Woodstock Playhouse and Historic Huguenot Street made a replica of the Abraham Hasbrouck House. Other recreations expected are of the Senate House in Kingston, the Wynkoop House in Stone Ridge and a church called “The Ark” that once existed in Lamontville. Participating organizations include the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, Hudson Valley Vernacular Architecture Society, Friends of Historic Rochester, The Inn at Stone Ridge, Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts Troop 16 and Girl Scouts Troop 175.
At least 14 gingerbread structures will be interspersed with the rest of the Bevier House Museum’s holiday decor on Saturday, December 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, December 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The site is otherwise closed for the winter season, so these two days offer the only opportunity to see the gingerbread display. Admission costs $10 for adults, $7 for students and seniors and $5 for members of the Ulster County Historical Society (UCHS), who are sponsoring the event. Visitors can also take part in gingerbread cookie decorating, peruse local history books available to purchase, enjoy an exhibit of model trains and bid on a number of silent auction items that range from gift certificates to local restaurants to gift baskets put together by the UCHS. Refreshments of hot cider, mulled wine and homemade cookies will be served.
“We’ve had a lot of fun doing this,” said Hauspurg. “Everything turned in so far looks just spectacular. People who thought they could never do this did a fantastic job.” In fact, she adds, “the original idea was to auction off the gingerbread structures, but everybody put so much time into working on theirs they’ve all decided to keep them afterward.”
The Bevier House Museum is located at 2682 Route 209 in Marbletown. For more information, visit www.ulstercountyhs.org.