On Thursday, November 19, Historic Huguenot Street hosted a visit from French Heritage Society (FHS), a non-profit dedicated to preservation, restoration and promotion of French heritage throughout the United States and France. For over a decade, FHS has supported preservation projects at Historic Huguenot Street (HHS), encompassing 30 buildings across ten acres that was the heart of the original 1678 New Paltz settlement.
After touring the settlement to see both the completed preservation work and areas in need, FHS and HHS gathered in Deyo Hall for a grant ceremony commemorating the organizations’ partnership and a luncheon. About 25 French and American representatives of FHS were in attendance, including FHS chairman of the board Elizabeth Stribling, president Denis de Kergorlay and executive director Isabelle Lefebvre-Vary, along with HHS president Mary Etta Schneider, vice president Sanford Levy and other HHS trustees. Also in attendance were Village of New Paltz mayor Tim Rogers, Town of New Paltz supervisor elect Neil Bettez, Ridge Harris (representing U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson) and Elaine Fernandez (representing NYS Assemblyman Kevin Cahill).
Schneider addressed the connection between the two nations, stating, “There is so much of America that feels very aligned now to France, and I’m hoping we can continue to keep those connections growing stronger so that people learn much more about the importance of French heritage in this country.”
Prior to presenting HHS with an award of recognition for its dedication to historic preservation, Stribling said, “There’s always something more to discover in your own country that serves as an inspiration. Especially at this moment when we are thinking about France and our western heritage here in the United States, we can reconnect our identities, and the fact that you have this living identity here is very inspiring.”
Harris presented FHS and HHS with special Congressional recognition for their important work.
Most recently, French Heritage Society’s Atlanta and New York Chapters have pledged support for yet another project — the restoration of the Jean Hasbrouck House timber-framed roof, a current preservation priority for HHS. With additional funding in the pipeline, this project is anticipated to begin in 2016.