Back when the Dutch came to the fertile territory bordering the Esopus Creek (a mere 354 years ago!), they constructed dwellings from the abundantly available material of the region: stone. Many of these dwellings still stand. And for the last 65 years, the historic village of Hurley has held Open House in a few of the 25 remaining structures to let the public get a glimpse of the past. Stone House Day is held each year on the second Saturday in July, when contemporary residents welcome visitors into their homes to imagine what it might have been like occupying them in pre-Colonial times.
This Saturday, six of the centuries-old, privately owned homes will welcome visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can meander through the houses on Main Street, which will be blocked to traffic, or take a free shuttle bus to the ones nearby. The time that you spend in each house is at your discretion, and Colonial-dressed guides will be on hand to talk about the historical background and folklore attached to each one.
This year’s lineup includes the Van Etten/Dumond (Spy) House, built prior to 1685, the oldest Colonial stone house in the Town of Hurley; the Jan Van Deusen House, built in 1744 as a rural Georgian cottage, the parlor having served as the meeting room for the New York State Committee of Safety before the state’s participation in the Revolutionary War; the Richard Ten Eyck House, a two-story stone structure built as a wedding present for Dr. Ten Eyck’s wife Jenett Baker in 1786; the Jonathan Crispell House of 1725, used by the family until it was sold in 1836 to the Hurley Reformed Church to be used as a parsonage; the Colonial Jonathan Elmendorf House, built from 1783 to 1790, now housing the Hurley Heritage Society Museum with exhibits presently noting both the area’s bluestone industry and the Revolutionary War period; and the Matys Ten Eyck House built in the early 1700s, reachable by a four-minute shuttle-bus ride.
Visitors can also see a working blacksmith demonstrating his trade and a cross-stitch crafter; enjoy a performance about Sojourner Truth, performed by Debra Zuill; and stop by the Third Ulster Militia encampment to witness musket fire and chat with Militia, Seneca and Mohawk Indian reenactors. Add to all this baked goods, craft sales, two antique shops, the Hurley Historical Society Museum, the Hurley Library book sale, the Ulster County Genealogical Society…and don’t fail to refresh your appetite with homemade food available at Schadewald Hall at the Hurley Reformed Church.
Tour tickets cover all events, stone house tours, shuttle bus and parking. Check out Stone House Day, rain or shine!
Stone House Day, Saturday, July 11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $2/$15/$20, Main Street, Hurley; (845) 331-4121, www.stonehouseday.org.