Almanac Weekly | History

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Feat of clay: Looking back at the once-mighty Hudson Valley brick industry

Feat of clay: Looking back at the once-mighty Hudson Valley brick industry

At the turn of the 20th century, the Hudson Valley was the brickmaking capital of the world, producing more than a billion bricks a year and employing nearly 10,000 people in more than 120 brickyards. By the late 1970s, the once-mighty molded-brick industry was no more. One by one, the great yards had closed their gates, leaving behind a small-but-colorful legacy of people who remember the industry in its prime. 

Campaign to commemorate WWII’s “Indestructible Man” in Beacon

Campaign to commemorate WWII’s “Indestructible Man” in Beacon

Thursday, January 11: “Captain Dixie” Kiefer was a US naval commander during World War II who saw so much action that his men joked that the ship’s compass needle always pointed to him, on account of all the shrapnel in his body. While awarding him a medal, the Secretary of the Navy dubbed Kiefer “the Indestructible Man.” But shortly after the war ended, Kiefer perished, along with five other Navy men, in an airplane crash on Mount Beacon. A group called the Mount Beacon Eight is working to attain recognition for those who died alongside Kiefer in the 1945 plane crash.

“Hudson Valley Ruins” talk in Rosendale

“Hudson Valley Ruins” talk in Rosendale

Saturday, Dec. 2: There will be a presentation by Tom Rinaldi and Rob Yasinsac, explorer/author/photographers who together created the book Hudson Valley Ruins: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape. The pair have focused their research on lesser-known historical sites where, “in spite of their significance, these structures have been allowed to decay, and in some cases, to disappear altogether.”