For nearly six decades, a Battle of the Stone House Days raged annually between the mid-Hudson’s two towns most renowned for their Colonial Era stone dwellings, New Paltz and Hurley. Both communities had serious historical bragging rights: New Paltz’s Huguenot Street has long been considered the oldest continuously occupied street in America with its original houses, while Hurley, originally called Nieuw Dorp, was settled about a decade earlier and has some older structures. Fortunately, each town’s special day took place on a different date, and serious heritage tourists could easily attend both.
More than ten years have passed since the last Old New Paltz Stone House Day was held on Huguenot Street. A special revival of the formerly annual event has been scheduled for Saturday, September 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., celebrating the 340th anniversary of the settling of New Paltz by 12 French Huguenots – a/k/a the Duzine – in 1678. Seven historic stone houses will be open for public tours or viewing.
Co-sponsored by Historic Huguenot Street and the Reformed Church of New Paltz, this new Old New Paltz Stone House Day will have a stronger focus on the diversity of Hudson Valley history by highlighting the many cultures that have had an impact on New Paltz and Ulster County, including African, Dutch, English, Esopus Munsee and French.
Interpreters in period garb, reenactments, performances, Colonial games and vendor demonstrations will bring history to life throughout the day. A Revolutionary War Era encampment by the 5th NY Regiment and the 1st Ulster County Militia will include demonstrations of musket-firing, candlemaking, sewing and blacksmithing. Other Colonial crafts to be demonstrated include chair-caning, weaving on a four-harness counterbalance loom, cooperage and open-fire cookery.
The 77th NY Regimental Balladeers will perform songs of the Antebellum and Civil War period on fiddles, guitars, banjos, harmonicas, tin whistles, harp, bodhran, bones, bass, trumpet and dulcimer. The Ministers of Apollo will present a program of Early American Music in 18th-century dress. And, just to show that there are no hard feelings, the Hurley Heritage Society has been invited to set up an information booth where visitors can learn about Huguenot Street’s connection to Hurley and its history.
Admission to Old New Paltz Stone House Day costs $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, students, youth aged 13 to 17, active military members and veterans, $10 for kids aged 6 to 12 and is free for children 5 and under. For all the info, including a map of the Huguenot Street Historic District pinpointing where each performer and activity will be found, visit www.huguenotstreet.org/old-new-paltz-stone-house-day-information.