The Saugerties Historic Ramble offers a self-guided tour of approximately 50 different places of significant historical value across the Town and Village on Saturday, September 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “We’re taking a moment to celebrate the history of Saugerties,” said Stefan Yarabek, Chairperson of the Saugerties Town Historic Preservation Commission.
He recommends history buffs start their day at 41 Market Street, the former office of the late attorney and town justice Dan Lamb, where a keepsake map showing all the sites will be offered. The sites can be seen in a loop drive in 1.5-2 hours or enjoy a full day by stopping to hear a selection of different stories told here and there both indoors and outdoors.
Saugerties has no shortage of historic resources, as a 2005 survey done with a grant from the Preservation League of NY documented 155 historic resources.
The event is coordinated with various historic sites, the Saugerties American Legion Post 72, Opus 40 and local churches like Trinity Episcopal Church at the sharp 90-degree turns on U.S. Route 9W at the south end of the Village. “There are spectacular examples of 19th-century stained glass inside,” Yarabek said. “One of them was the first stained-glass window commissioned by an American client by the William Morris Company.” It was commissioned by the Vanderpoel family back in 1874. The other was once attributed to famed stained-glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany, but that was proven false in 2019 by Town Historian Audrey Klinkenberg. Instead, it was a very unusual Tiffany-inspired triptych “three-piece” window created by Geissler Ledderly that does not depict a religious scene.
The church’s windows were featured in a selection of Hudson Valley stained-glass windows done by the Hudson River Greenway, which was championed by the late longtime U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-Saugerties) who also helped to make the Hudson Valley a National Heritage area. Yarabek said Hinchey also helped to promote other historical trails like the General Knox trail that traced General Henry Knox’s journey to lug cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston early in the American Revolution.
Yarabek also recommends American Legion Post 72’s military museum and historic park, which will be open to the public on September 18. “Their museum will be open to the public showing the various wars Saugerties was involved in,” he said. “I found it fascinating of all the wars represented, there was quite a large collection of WWII memorabilia.”
Yarabek said while popular belief often says Saugerties lost more people in WWII than any other war, it was actually the Civil War.
Other significant sites include the site of the Diamond Mills Hotel, once home to the Martin Cantine Paper Mill.
The Ramble will also include numerous stone houses built from the 18th through the 20th century, including 68 that date from the colonial period.
“All are original,” Yarabek said. They include the Saugerties Historical Society’s historic Kiersted House at 119 Main Street in the Village, which will be open for tours and also stone houses in more rural settings like the Hamlet of Asbury, which the Commission is seeking to have designated a Historic Landmark District by State and Federal officials.
Yarabek said this multi-layer history brings in a good crowd of out-of-towners, estimating that 70 percent of those taking the tour come from out of the area. “The bottom line is, people come and spend money, shop the restaurants and bookstore and say Saugerties is a nice village and come back.”
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