Almanac Weekly | History

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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.

Sojourner Truth Life Walk ends with slideshow by two sculptors of famous activist

Sojourner Truth Life Walk ends with slideshow by two sculptors of famous activist

Saturday, Feb. 22: This year’s Sojourner Truth Life Walk goes from Port Ewen to Kingston, and you can catch the bus from Dietz Stadium. The Hudson Valley heroine’s image is being added to a 15-foot-tall bronze statue planned for Central Park that includes Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. A statue of Truth by herself is soon to be erected near the Highland entrance to Walkway over the Hudson. The sculptors creating both – Meredith Bergmann and Vinnie Bagwell, respectively – will give a joint slide presentation and talk.

Building “a prison without walls”

Building “a prison without walls”

When it opened in 1932, inmates at Wallkill Correctional Facility lived in four housing wings, each containing 42 cells, with bathrooms and recreation rooms on each wing, much like a college dormitory. They were allowed to keep the keys to their own rooms.