Category: History

Winter Celebrations: The Lights of Many Cultures at Martin Van Buren’s Home, Dec 6

Winter celebrations around the world are as varied and vibrant as the cultures they epitomize. One common thread through many of these celebrations is the presence of light. Light in its many forms is used to represent the hope for spring’s return, the importance of the sun in agricultural cycles, to welcome guests and remember loved ones, and symbolize the resiliency of the human spirit. Light brings people together.

The staff at Martin Van Buren National Historic Site invites the public to join them for “Winter Celebrations: The Lights of Many Cultures. The Garden Club of Kinderhook will decorate the first floor of Van Buren’s home. Park staff and volunteer docents will be available to explain both the history of the site and the meaning behind the decorations. The house will be open for tours from 12:30 to 3:30 both days, with a tour beginning every half hour.

The America of Martin Van Buren’s time was a rich tapestry of cultures with their own traditions, learning from each other and at times combining to form new traditions. The America of today is the same. Our celebrations represent the brightest parts of that tapestry – the ability to see our differences not as barriers, but as many lights illuminating the darkness.

The Friends of Lindenwald will provide light refreshments.

Friday, December 6, 2019 / 12:30pm – 3:30pm

Check in at the park visitor center fifteen minutes before the beginning of your tour.

Due to limited space, visitors are asked to reserve a spot on a tour in advance. Visitors may make reservations online at any time at or by phone Monday-Friday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm by calling 518-758-9689.

Martin Van Buren National Historic Site
1013 Old Post Road
Kinderhook, NY 12106





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Columbia County Historical Society Free Lecture, “Steamboat Days on the Hudson River”, Nov 20


The Columbia County Historical Society presents a Free Lecture – “Steamboat Days on the Hudson River” with Captain Stanley Wilcox, on Wednesday, November 20.

In those (Steamboat) days, it was a special occasion to take the eight hour trip from New York City to Albany on a magnificent vessel adorned with chandeliers, oil paintings, and brass rails.

Multi-level, three and four hundred foot long vessels churned up the Hudson River at nearly twenty miles an hour with paddle wheels slapping, steam billowing from their stacks, with thousands of people gathering at the rails to view the passing scenery. While these grand boats have long since vanished from the Hudson, they epitomized an era that for many made the Hudson River the center of the universe.

A story filled with greed, frustration, and courtroom drama may be found between the first steamboat’s appearance on the Hudson to the era of grand and opulent vessels. It began with the New York Legislature granting Robert Livingston a 30-year steamboat monopoly and ended with a decision from the US Supreme Court argued by none other than Daniel Webster.


U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Master Capt. Stanley Wilcox holds a Coast Guard Master’s license and has served as Senior Captain on the Spirit of Hudson for the past 12 years. He is co-author of Capt Stan’s Hudson River Book, with foreword by Riverkeeper. The book, now in its fourth edition, has stories and history on more than 120 sites along the Hudson River, with 200+ color photos. The Albany Times Union review described it as “..a beautiful book”. Capt Stan has taught “Hudson River Boating and Seamanship” for many years at Columbia-Greene Community College, and has been guest speaker on American Cruise Lines.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019: 7pm – 9pm

Free and Open to the Public

Van Buren Hall
6 Chatham St.,
Kinderhook, NY 12106


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Legends by Candlelight Ghost Tours at Clermont, Oct 25 & 26

Tour the Clermont Mansion at its creepiest and meet ghosts from Clermont’s history at the Legends by Candlelight Ghost Tours.

The highlight of Clermont’s fall season! Guests will find themselves traveling back in time, as the house is filled with ghosts from throughout the mansion’s 250-year history. Tours followed by roasted marshmallows. Each year features dozens of hand-carved, flickering jack-o-lanterns.

Friday, October 25 & Saturday, October 26, 2019
Evening Tour times: 6:00, 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30, 9:00

Adults $12 / Friends of Clermont $10, Children (12 and under) $5
Reservations required. Call (518) 537-4240

The Clermont Mansion
87 Clermont Avenue,
Germantown, NY 12526



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Hudson Hall Lecture Series: The History of Hudson’s Merchants & Whalers at Hudson Library, Oct 17

Postcard image from the Hudson Area Library’s Hudson City Postcard Collection

UPDATE – SOLD OUT! Please note there will be a wait list for the event beginning at 5pm on October 17.  To get on the day-of wait list go to the Hudson Area Library at 5:00pm and you will be given a number. Return to the Library at 5:45pm to fill any empty seats. You must be present when your number is called to get a seat.

The History of Hudson’s Merchants & Whalers by Carl Whitbeck, part of the Hudson Area Library’s Local History Speaker series and being done in collaboration with Hudson Hall as part of their Hudson’s Merchants & Whalers series, will cover the commerce of Hudson from the time of its inception as a city in 1785 to the early 1960’s and through to the present. Mr. Whitbeck, a local resident whose family has deep roots in the area, will be displaying and discussing items from his own extensive local history collection.

Established by whalers and merchants from Nantucket, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island, Hudson has had many incarnations: as a safe harbor for maritime commerce, an industrial city with foundries, mills, cement plants, and factories; and now as a vibrant, artistic city who values its historic architecture, working with its diverse community to decide how it should be defined now and into the future.


DATE/TIME: Thursday, October 17, 2019 / 6pm

COST: Free
Reservations suggested (518-822-1438)

LOCATION: Hudson Area Library
51 N 5th Street
Hudson NY 12534



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Columbia County Historical Society Awarded a Preserve New York Grant

Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse

The Columbia County Historical Society (CCHS) is one of this year’s Preserve New York (PNY) grantees. Their grant of $10,000 will allow the CCHS to work with Walter Wheeler of Hartgen Archaeological Associates to complete a Historic Structure Report (HSR) of the Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse in Kinderhook.

The HSR project will assess the current condition of the building, make recommendations for repair and restoration and serve as a guiding document for continued interpretive use and future preservation. The schoolhouse is not currently listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, and the Historical Society hopes that the research provided through the HSR process will create a strong case for a future nomination.

Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse_1900s

The Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse was initially constructed in 1850 at the intersection of Route 9H and Fisher Road as the District #6 Schoolhouse for the town of Kinderhook. Although the structure was moved just 200 yards from its original location in 1974, it remains an excellent and intact example of a rural, one-room schoolhouse with a gable roof, clapboard siding, and a single pent-roofed entrance.

Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse Interior.jpgThe interior consists of a large classroom with two adjacent cloakrooms – one for boys, and one for girls. The building was never modified to have heat or hot water and still retains its original 1929 wood burning stove, wood flooring, chalkboards, and double-hung sash windows. Several condition issues are present that must be addressed in the near future: the condition of the metal roof and the stability of the structure, as the building still rests on the steel girders that were used to move it in the 1970s.

“We are thrilled the Preservation League of New York has endorsed our commitment to the Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse with this grant.” said CCHS Executive Director, Lori Yarotsky, “The iconic literary character is an important part of Columbia County heritage and we want to preserve its namesake schoolhouse–including its architecture–for future generations and visitors. Thanks again to the Preservation League for their recognition and support.”

“NYSCA is proud to support the vitality and character of our communities through our Preserve New York partnership, which provides key resources to historic sites, buildings, and cultural centers statewide and underscores the importance of architecture and landscape design in community revitalization and economic development,” said NYSCA Executive Director Mara Manus.

“Thanks to the League’s record of making effective preservation grants through Preserve New York and TAG, our program partner, the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), has increased regrant funding significantly over the past several years,” said Erin Tobin, Vice President for Policy and Preservation and the Preservation League, “At the same time, in response to growing demand, the League has successfully lined up additional support to leverage NYSCA funding and League resources. NYSCA and the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation make these grants possible through their program partnership and financial support.”

The 2019 PNY grant cycle was the most competitive in the program’s 26-year history. An independent jury met in June to review over 70 applications. After two days of deliberations, $262,498 was awarded to 31 projects across 25 counties.
Preserve New York is a regrant partnership between the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the Preservation League of NYS. PNY enables the Preservation League to support projects in all of New York’s 62 counties.

The Preserve New York grant program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation has provided additional support for projects in Nassau, Suffolk and Bronx Counties.


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