News and Event Updates from the Office of the Orange County Historian

Newburgh's Urban Renewal Losses, a 50 year retrospective

In recent months there has been a lot of focus on revisiting the policies and politics behind the Urban Renewal Project in Newburgh that destroyed over 1,300 structures -- full neighborhoods of homes and businesses-- between the late 1950's to the early 1970's.

Over last summer Newburgh's City Historian Mary McTamaney collaborated with Cher Vickers of the Newburgh Restoration Blog to preserve the paper records from the agency by scanning the documents.

In January a three part article was featured on the blog written by Lynn Woods and illustrated with the pictures taken at the time by Tom Daley. It is essential reading for anyone who is interested in understanding the economic, social and architectural transformations that the City of Newburgh experienced through the 20th century.

Coming up this weekend on February 18th from 2PM to 4PM at the Newburgh Free Library 124 Grand Street, the Newburgh Preservation Association is sponsoring an event related to exploring this subject further. The City of Newburgh Historian, Mary McTamaney, will speak about "Urban Renewal: How It Changed Newburgh" and illustrate the presentation with images the urban renewal years of 1958-1970 by showing the changes in Newburgh landscape and demographics. Her presentation will outline the federal program's goals and failures. There will be time for questions and discussion.

Centennial Tour: The 107th NY Infantry Regiment in World War I

September 24 -October 2, 2018

Throughout Belgium and France, the influence of WWI can still be felt. As you visit memorials, trenches, and museums, you'll learn about the important role American forces played in the outcome of the war. Explore the locations that were the backdrops for pivotal battles and take time to honor the sacrifices made by the Allied soldiers.

On September 29, 1918, the 107th New York Infantry Regiment (Co. I from Middletown and Co. E & L from Newburgh) was ordered to attack the Hindenburg Line in an Allied attempt to pierce through the German's strongest defenses. They encountered fierce resistance and were engaged in the heaviest fighting on the line. The severe loss of men was compounded by the fact that, as a National Guard regiment, most of the men were from tight-knit communities back home. The impact of the Battle of St. Quentin Canal on Orange County specifically was so devastating, that the 40 men who died together that day are still remembered each year in a memorial service. For the centennial of this battle, join us as we travel in the footsteps of the 107th NY Infantry Regiment in Belgium and France.

DEADLINE: The tour company would like to have a preliminary count of participants by March 1st. If you plan to attend, please make the $450 deposit by that time.
Reminder for Municipal Historians in Orange County:

Please email or send your annual reports to our office if you have not already done so.


Johanna Yaun

Office of the Orange County Historian
101 Main Street
Goshen, NY 10924
Check the smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in your historic buildings!

On the snowy evening of January 16th the historic L.B. Kidd mansion on Grand Street in Newburgh's historic district was destroyed. A fire broke out on the 2nd floor and climbed the walls into a crawl space in the ceiling where it intensified beyond control. The owners were asleep on the 1st floor and didn't become aware of the danger until the house was already engulfed in flames. The residents were able to get out safely but when firemen arrived they struggled to get the flames under control as they had reached the 3rd floor which was only accessible through a narrow set of stairs.

I recently spoke with one of the firemen who was on the scene that night and he said, "This house would have been saved if the smoke detector batteries had been replaced."
The home was featured on John Foreman's New York Social Diary in 2014.
New Book: "Sarah, an American Pioneer: The Circumstantial and Documented Evidence of the Courageous Life of Sarah Wells Bull"

A new book profiles the remarkable life of an 18th century Hudson Valley woman was written by Julie Boyd Cole with Sarah Brownell.

Sarah, an orphan, was an indentured servant to a land speculator in Manhattan. He offered her 100 acres in the Hudson River Highlands if she would settle the land.
So at age 18, in 1712, Wells sailed up the Hudson on a sloop from New York City with two carpenters and three Native American guides.

They landed near New Windsor and traveled through the wilderness to reach the Orange County property, where Wells went on to settle and thrive for nearly a century.
She later married William Bull - the first recorded marriage in the Town of Goshen in 1718 - and had 12 children.

Her family descendants now number more than 76,000, and hundreds have gathered every year since 1868 at the Annual Bull Family Reunion and Picnic.

Their homestead, the William Bull and Sarah Wells Stone House in Campbell Hall, offers tours by appointment; visit for information.


LINK to Times Herald Record article


LINK to purchase book on Amazon


Hudson Valley Honor Flight is looking for World War 2 and Korean War Veterans to attend trip to Washington, D.C.

HVHF honors American veterans for their sacrifices and achievements by taking them to Washington DC to see their memorial at no cost. Guardians fly with veterans on every flight providing assistance and helping veterans have a safe, memorable and rewarding experience.

If you know of any veterans who would like to attend the trip in March, contact the coordinators

Cemetery Care Workshops in 2018?

Due to the success and popularly of the cemetery care workshops led by Town of Delhi Historian Marianne Greenfield here in Orange County last summer, we are planning to continue the series into 2018.

If you know of any cemeteries in Orange County that are accessible and could benefit from a professionally led workshop please let us know.

Orange County Historian | Goshen, N.Y. |  845-545-7908 |  jyaun