News & Upcoming Events in
Orange County History & Heritage
15 July 2021
Weigand’s Tavern, a Newburgh Historic Landmark, Under New Management
by MJ Hanley-Goff

From a distance, the site looks like a pile of rubble with a raggedy wooden structure kept upright by a system of wooden and metal braces. One big breath and it might just come tumbling down. A closer look and you see the hard-working crew coming and going with buckets of lime mortar (an early version of concrete), power sawing through wood and metal, and climbing up and down new sturdy staircases built for this most extensive restoration project. This is Weigand’s Tavern, one of Newburgh’s many notable historic structure that with a two hundred plus timeline, is one of those “if only the walls could talk” kind of buildings.

Located at 326 Liberty Street, this may be its third location after Martin Weigand first built it further up on Liberty, near Broad Street, in the mid to late 1700’s. The initial tavern brought the pre-Revolutionary War community together, including militia leaders such as Col. Jonathan Hasbrouck and Col. Thomas Palmer to socialize, discuss the tensions between the colonists and the British, and, if war broke out, which side to take. Then famous officers such as General George Washington and General Anthony Wayne arrived with their troops to Newburgh and they too joined in the activities at the tavern.

Adjacent from the tavern is the Old Town Cemetery where many of Newburgh’s early settlers rest and on its website,, we learn that tavern was “a mere log-cabin with a frame addition” and the “upstairs rooms housed the court of the justice of the peace and town meetings.” While there’s so much more history to learn about this landmark, and somewhat conflicting stories about the building's timeline, that work will wait while the restoration continues so the structure can stand intact again.

It’s not so much of a renovation, says the owner and head project manager, Thomas “Burr” Dodd, but more of an “expensive repair” since he’s keeping the tavern’s original building material, i.e., bricks, wood, molding, siding, doors, everything possible, and strengthening it in an environmentally friendly manner and purchasing as little modern items as possible. Besides project manager and owner, Dodd is also an artist, painter, builder, investor, landlord, and I’m sure more titles will emerge as he continues to navigate this project since taking ownership in 2016. After successfully developing old buildings into new art-making spaces in Brooklyn with his company Brooklyn Fire Proof Inc., he and his wife and business partner, Pearl, discovered Newburgh on a visit the Ann Street Gallery. Dodd was hooked on the city’s historic and creative vibes and was drawn to the century’s old buildings and vacant lots. He purchased the Tavern under his Newburgh company, RipRap, LLC, taking the name from the stones found along the Hudson River that strengthen the shoreline, preventing erosion. Dodd is delighted to show visitors around the tavern construction and point out old-timey building styles, like the vertical cedar saplings with original strips of bark, and rather than replace them, he will “sister” them with 2 x 4’s; repurposed lumber from earlier versions of the Tavern, the bricks discovered in the walls as insulation were removed and will go back into the rebuilt chimneys. Despite its fragile appearance, but with good building weather here, Dodd anticipates a grand opening before the end of the year.

One must be careful walking around this work in progress as there are gaps in the flooring, uneven pathways, and a large gaping hole in the middle awaiting the foundation to be completed. Dodd is the eternal optimist about opening day plans considering the setbacks from Covid-delayed shipments of building supplies, dirt and stone walls collapsing from some plumbing work forcing the need for a concrete-reinforced cinder block wall, not to mention frequent check-ins from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and awaiting their continued approvals at each juncture. He’s had to reinforce the floors to hold up the weight of new foot traffic, and since it’s a commercially zoned property, an overhead sprinkler system will need to be installed. Don’t even mention the winters where all work had to be halted.
The Weigand Tavern story is one that Dodd knows will inspire the city of Newburgh and its one-of-a-kind place in the country’s history, where so much of America’s beginnings were planned - from government to industry, from transportation to commerce. In a July 2013 New York Almanack story, author A. J. Shenkman all but called the tavern and the interest to restore it as “one of the saddest stories.” He considered it “beyond repair,” as it went from owner to owner. After the tavern shut down as a business in the early 1900’s, records show it went from family to family, from the Smalls to the Crosses, and then to the Finnegans, and finally abandoned for most of the late 20th century, into the 21st.

With Dodd’s perseverance, energy and capital, the Tavern’s story will continue. What will it be? He’s still mulling that over. Maybe an art gallery. Maybe a workshop for artists to work, teach classes, celebrate Newburgh’s history. Seasonal events. Maybe, all the above. What he does know is that it will come alive again. He’s already held an impromptu art class for the local kids that he hopes to continue to provide opportunities for creativity right on their own block. On Fridays, he BBQs for his crew and will feed any hungry passersby, and like Martin Weigand created, have a place for the community to come together. There are endless possibilities.

But maybe that’s not even the point. Seeing Weigand’s Tavern up and running may, Dodd wonders, inspire a local entrepreneur, or other businesses to invest in the city, or start a new chapter. During the excavation of all that foundation dirt, Dodd amassed a 10-ton pile of dirt. He’s already uncovered a museum’s worth of artifacts throughout the years, including a WWII newspaper wrapped around piping, so he’s planning an archeological dirt-dig this summer not only because he welcomes the help, but for the community to uncover something together.
Join us in conducting archaeological fieldwork at 326 Liberty Street Newburgh between July 19th-July 22nd (rain Date Friday July 23rd). As the renovation and preservation of this humble dwelling, home, tavern has progressed we have found copious amounts of pottery, oyster shells, medicine vials, old keys, soup bones and other bits of life circa 1800 Newburgh. As part of a drive to share history, exploration and career opportunities BFP Creative will be sponsoring the dig. Volunteers are invited to participate but must sign-up for a specific date in advance. Volunteers will meet each day at 9:30AM and work from 10AM to 3:30PM with a break around Noon for lunch. We will limit digging to 5 volunteer slots each day, but ALL are welcome to come learn about the Tavern and the Archeological process. Participants should wear comfortable clothing that can get dirty and bring a refillable water bottle and plenty of sunblock. Please email for more information.
Late artist Martin Roth’s plant swaddled historic Hudson Valley building is blooming once again
In the heart of Newburgh, a small city in New York’s Hudson Valley with a rich architectural pedigree, stands the overgrown and gutted ruins of a historic mid-19th century building that’s future, for decades now, has been frozen in a state of limbo.

The once-stately structure at 120 Grand Street, decimated by fire in 1981 after having been spared from demolition during urban renewal projects of the 1970s thanks to local preservationists, is best known as the City Club building. Before being converted into a private gentleman’s club in the for the city’s movers and shakers in the early 190os, it served as the residence of Dr. William A.M Culbert, a homeopathic doctor who married into a prominent Newburgh family. Culbert commissioned landscape designers and architects Andrew Jackson Downing and Calvert Vaux to design the home, which stands as a noted early example of Second Empire architecture. The brick and sandstone building was completed circa 1850 and believed to be Downing and Vaux’s final collaboration. Downing, a Newburgh native who was also an acclaimed writer and horticulturalist and who is often credited as the father of American landscape architecture, perished in an 1852 steamship fire on the Hudson River at the age of 36; London-born Vaux, of course, went on to partner with Frederick Law Olmsted and design New York City’s most famous green spaces including Manhattan’s Central Park and Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

Plans to preserve and breathe new life into what remains of the old City Club building, which is part of Newburgh’s Montgomery–Grand–Liberty Streets Historic District, have come and gone.... CONTINUE READING HERE

Orange County Historian, Johanna Yaun, will be speaking at the City Club on Sat. July 17 at 4PM and Sun. August 22 at 11AM about A.J. Downing and Calvert Vaux's time in Newburgh.

Annual Commemorations of the
Battle of Minisink (1779)
Minisink Battle Run III
241st Anniversary of the
Battle of Minisink
July 18, 2021
11AM KSU 12:00PM

Meet at the Goshen Monument across from the 1841 Courthouse.

Ride with the Blue Knights NY XX to the battle sites in Barryville and Hawk's Nest.

Donation will be made to
Wreaths Across America

Contact Paul Brower at for more information.
D.A.R. Minisink Chapter Annual Commemoration of the Battle of Minisink
Minisink Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the Revolution will hold their annual commemoration of the Battle of Minisink on July 22 at 11AM at the monument on Main Street in Goshen. The speaker will be Frank Salvati, a local expert on the battle and its participants.
Gravestone Cleaning Workshops
Marianne Greenfield, proprietor of Gravestone Cleaning Service will instruct up to 16 participants on the proper techniques of caring for gravestones. She will begin with a quick talk about the only recommended method of cleaning and then the hands-on portion of the workshop will begin. Expect to get a bit dirty - the results will be worth it!
Each participant is asked to bring the following:

1. New, clean plastic pail.
2. New nylon or plastic bristle scrub brush (be sure it fits in your hand in the pail). Both pail and brush can be from the dollar store.
3. One pair of new, unused wooden chopsticks.
4. A gallon jug of clean water (used to clean the gravestones)
5. Own drinking water, insect repellent, bag lunch or snack, if needed.
Over the past year, many plans have changed due to the pandemic, but we are extremely grateful to still be able to offer our gravestone cleaning workshops. When you arrive at the cemetery, please remember to follow all current CDC guidelines.
Contact Nicole at if you have any questions and/or to reserve one of the 16 sponsored spaces.
2021 Cemetery Locations
May 22nd: 11AM to 1PM at Mt. Hope Plains Cemetery located at approximately 23 Mt. Hope Ave, Otisville, NY 10963 (near the intersection with Finchville Turnpike).
June 19th: 11AM to 1PM at the Magagkamack Churchyard Cemetery located at approximately 190 East Main Street, Port Jervis, NY 12771 (at the intersection of east Main Street and Jersey Avenue).
*** FULL*** August 14th: 11AM to 1PM at St. Andrew’s Cemetery located at 2-4 Plains Rd, Walden, NY 12586. *** FULL ***
September 18th: 11AM to 1PM at the Vails Gate United Methodist Church Cemetery located at 854 Blooming Grove Turnpike, New Windsor, NY 12553.
Documenting the Covid-19 Pandemic in Orange County

It has been one year since the pandemic began to alter our lives in so many ways. At this time of anniversary and reflection, please consider submitting a record of your thoughts and experiences so that it can be part of the permanent archive. Future researchers will thank you!

***Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, public access to the 1841 Courthouse in Goshen is by appointment only.***
Email if you have an inquiry!
All visitors to the building must wear a mask. Contact Nicole or Johanna we may be able to help you by email, phone or Zoom Video Conference.
Office of the Orange County Historian 101 Main Street Goshen NY 10924 845-360-6978