Historic house tour highlights Plattekill and its hamlets

18th century Dutch barn.

Small barn cupola.

The Wallkill Valley Land Trust (WVLT) will highlight the Town of Plattekill and its hamlets of New Hurley, Modena, Ardonia and Clintondale on its eighth annual Houses on the Land Historic House Tour Saturday, June 2 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The self-guided “Plattekill’s Rural Treasures: Houses, Hamlets, Crossings and Byways” will conclude with a wine-tasting reception at a private artist’s studio and home from 4:30-6 p.m. Tickets cost $45 ($40 for WVLT members) with advance purchase by May 31, or $50 ($45 for members) thereafter. The wine reception is included.

Land-locked Plattekill, located between Gardiner, Shawangunk, Marlboro and Lloyd, is one of the lesser-known areas of the region. The tour will reflect the rural nature of the town and its hamlets. Tour-goers will visit simple farmsteads and houses from the  Federal period, three-bay side-hall and five-bay center-hall structures. Seven of the town’s most interesting and unusual vernacular structures in a range of period styles dating to the 19th and 20th centuries will be featured, with the Greek Revival aesthetic and the diversity of its expression in the region a recurring theme.

Registration is done online in advance at www.WallkillValleyLT.org. Tickets are picked up on tour day at the tour’s starting point, the 1835 New Hurley Reformed Church on Route 208 in Wallkill. Tickets may be picked up from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (sharp), where a detailed guidebook and map will be provided. A navigation route is suggested, but tour-goers are free to choose their own path; two of the houses on the tour are within walking distance of the church. All along the way, more than 100 volunteer docents will be available in every room of each home to offer information and answer questions.

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Most of the homes have never been open to the public before. “The tour is going to be an adventure this year,” says Vals Osborne, WVLT board member and co-chair of the tour. “Nobody knows anything about these houses. The research was a huge challenge, but I’m very proud of what we accomplished. We were starting from scratch — not even the homeowners knew much about the history of the houses — and it was a pretty major effort.”

The Wallkill Valley Land Trust works closely with the Society for the Preservation of Hudson Valley Vernacular Architecture (HVVA) on the research for the tours. Osborne also credits major research contributions this year from her co-chairs, Carol Johnson, director of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection at Elting Memorial Library in New Paltz, and Elizabeth Werlau, Town of Plattekill historian. 

Proceeds from the tour benefit the nonprofit Wallkill Valley Land Trust, whose mission is to preserve the unique rural character of Southern Ulster County. The organization has conserved 37 public and private parcels of land totaling more than 2,500 acres since the organization was formed in 1987. Representing the towns of New Paltz, Gardiner, Shawangunk, Rosendale, Esopus, Lloyd, Plattekill and Marlborough, their efforts include conservation of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in New Paltz and Gardiner, the Rosendale Trestle, Joppenbergh Mountain, three CSA farms and a variety of agricultural properties and habitats that include wetlands and forests. 

“Our raison d’etre as a land trust is connecting people to the land,” Osborne notes. “To educate people about the land and hopefully encourage them to protect and preserve it.” Advance tickets for “Plattekill’s Rural Treasures: Houses, Hamlets, Crossings and Byways” may be purchased online at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3392958.

Clapboard and stone Neo-classical house, c. 1825.

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