Ed Ford, who was city historian for 35 years and died at age 103 on April 29, leaves a legacy that succeeded in permanently establishing Kingston as a city of history, noteworthy for its restored 18th-century stone houses and city hall as well as significant historic sites. The city would be a much-diminished place were it not for the inspiration, knowledge, and persistence of Ed Ford.
Ford, who served as city historian for 35 years, helped found Friends of Historic Kingston, save the old city hall, and most recently, preserve an African burial ground.
The City of Kingston Common Council voted unanimously to apply for the Underrepresented Communities Grant with the National Parks Service in the amount of up to $50,000 for the study of the early history of African-Americans in Kingston and Pine Street African Burial Ground.
The ‘‘Our towns’’ column is compiled each month by Carol Johnson of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries have been copied from the April issues of the New Paltz Independent. To get a closer look at these newspapers of the past, visit the staff of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection at the Elting Memorial Library at 93 Main Street in New Paltz, or call 255-5030.
After it was dedicated it was the most popular attraction in New York City (only rivaled by the Statue of Liberty), but is now widely forgotten from public memory except for the Groucho Marx gag, “Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?”
The ‘‘Our towns’’ column is compiled each month by Carol Johnson of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries have been copied from the March issues of the New Paltz Independent. To get a closer look at these newspapers of the past, visit the staff of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection at the Elting Memorial Library at 93 Main Street in New Paltz, or call 255-5030.
Today, title to the site of the African burial ground on Pine Street in Kingston was transferred to the African-American heritage organization, Harambee, from the Kingston Land Trust (KLT) with a conservation easement granted by Harambee to the KLT to protect the site in perpetuity.
A true Renaissance man, Evers’ first big success as an author was in the field of children’s books, illustrated by his wife, Helen Bryant Baker. Together they published some 50 of them over a 23-year period, which came to an end in the early 1950s with the advent of the mass-produced (and much cheaper) Little Golden Books. By then Evers, who first moved to Woodstock in 1931, had begun writing articles on historical subjects on a regular basis for local newspapers and the New York Folklore Society, which eventually caught the attention of Ellin Roberts, a senior editor at Doubleday. It was she who recruited him to write a comprehensive history of the Catskills. It ended up taking him nine years, but the legwork paid off: The book is still considered the go-to source on its subject.
The Saugerties Historic Preservation Commission budget for the coming year is zero, down from $15,000 last year.
The Historical Society of Woodstock will present an interview with noted author, poet and composer Ed Sanders on Thursday, February 18 at 7 p.m. to discuss his recently completed biography on the life and work of noted historian Alf Evers.