Local History

D&H Canal launches virtual programs

D&H Canal launches virtual programs

Where is Our Historian? follows staff historian Bill Merchant’s exploration of the remains of the 108-mile D&H Canal from Honesdale, PA to the Rondout in Kingston. The D&H Canal Virtual Museum is a tour that highlights the exhibits in the current museum. You can ask questions every Sunday at 2 p.m. on the D&H Facebook Live show, Sunday Afternoons With Our Historian.

Historic Huguenot digital initiatives

Historic Huguenot digital initiatives

Joining other institutions, Historic Huguenot Street has launched a new online programming initiative that includes videos, hands-on activities, special deals from the museum shop, and new ways to participate and explore its exhibitions, archives and collection.

Distance-learning in the ‘50s

Distance-learning in the ‘50s

This is not the first time that Highland Central School District has been closed for a pandemic and had to turn to “distance learning” to keep their students engaged in their schoolwork. During a pandemic in 1957 that closed their schools for a period of time, a two-cent stamp and a postcard served as their distance learning tools during the closure.

How the Hudson River Chain slowed British domination during the Revolutionary War

How the Hudson River Chain slowed British domination during the Revolutionary War

The Great Chain could be dismantled and pulled ashore in winter, when the Hudson wasn’t navigable anyway, to protect it from being smashed apart by tide-tossed icebergs. Its placement in the river could also be adjusted using a pulley system. Just downriver, a second barrier of wooden booms was floated, making it nearly impossible for a ship to get up enough momentum to break through the chain – although the notorious traitor Benedict Arnold had advised the British that they could, when he handed over the plans to the fortification at West Point. They never tried.

Preservationists seek to restore Staatsburg Calvert Vaux mansion that prefigured Central Park

Preservationists seek to restore Staatsburg Calvert Vaux mansion that prefigured Central Park

The abandoned mansion is off the beaten path, seemingly stuck in a time when the Hudson Valley was a sleepy backwater. The Point, as it is known, is sequestered at the end of a winding road in a forested section of Mills-Norrie State Park, located in Staatsburg. It’s set at an angle on a high promontory of the Hudson River, which glimmers through the thick growth of trees. The windows are boarded up, the roof of the large stone portico at the entrance has half collapsed, the porch is gone and the bare lawn is surrounded by a utilitarian chain-link fence; yet the Gothic-style building, with its tall gables graced by carved verge boards, bay windows and squared-off, compact mass, exudes an echo of fairytale magic. Constructed of bluestone, whose soft, faded gray tones blend in with the site, the house has a cottagelike intimacy.