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

Cemetery Care Workshop offers chance to visit Temple Beth Jacob's Big Rock Cemetery
Thank you to those who volunteered at the 2nd in a series of cemetery workshops during the 2017 season

I've glimpsed down Carter Street in Newburgh many times over the years and wondered about the classical temple that is visible at an angle from the cross street. A few times I've put my phone through the fence to take a picture of the sun setting over Snake Hill in the distance and shining light through the cemetery rows.

In Jewish tradition the family is part of the ceremony to bring a body underground after death. But a century ago when graves were dug by hand it meant that in the winter months the ground was too frozen for the complete ceremony to take place. A solution
was to lower the casket into a cold storage facility below this temple during the family ceremony and then bury the casket in the spring.

The building was entirely restored a few years ago including the replacement of broken stained glass and the refinishing of the oak floor panels. On Sunday, representatives from Temple Beth Jacob toured volunteers through the building and talked about the traditions that led to its design.

At the 2nd in a series of cemetery care workshops that are being sponsored by the Office of the Orange County Historian, the Town of Delhi Historian Maryanne Greenfield led the group through the process of cleaning headstones.


The next cemetery workshop will be held on Saturday, August 12th from 11am to 1pm at the Washingtonville Presbyterian Church. Please contact  if you would like to participate, space is limited.  

Community Updates
A group from the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society visited Orange and Dutchess Counties during the annual Celebrate Hamilton event series. Pictured above touring Madam Brett Park in Beacon on Thursday to see the nearby site of a house this Founding Father stayed in during 1781. While living there, Hamilton penned a letter containing his ideas about the new nation's financial system--many of which he put into practice when he became the first U.S. Treasury Secretary.  #CelebHAM

Every Sunday at Noon, Tour Guide Paul Huber is hosting a walking tour of Newburgh's historic architecture. Here he is pictured with Chester Town Historian Clif Patrick who attended last week. More info on
Every Saturday at 2PM through July, Tour Guide Tashae Smith is hosting a walking tour of Newburgh's African-American history. Here she poses in front of the music and dance hall built by the Alsdorf brothers. More info on
Upcoming Events, Training & Conferences
William of Orange Walking Tours: "In Washington's Shadow": African-American history of Newburgh

Saturday, July 22nd & Saturday, July 29th, 2 PM to 3 PM

New York State once had more slaves than Georgia, with the largest concentration of those slaves located in the Hudson Valley. "In Washington's Shadow" follows the story of the Alsdorf family, starting with George Alsdorf, who was a slave until he was freed in 1827. After gaining his freedom, Alsdorf and his family opened a series of businesses in the city, and also aided runaway slaves as superintendents in the Underground Railroad.

Recent Manhattanville graduate Tashae Smith leads residents to the site of George Alsdorf's home where he hid slaves, the music and dance school his grandsons opened, the colored school his son Dubois helped shut down by fighting for his sons' educational rights, and the AME Zion Church, the oldest African American church in Newburgh.

Cost of the tour is $10, Children under 12 are free. Meet at the AME Zion Church, 109 Washington Street, Newburgh to begin the tour.

Visit WALK NEWBURGH for more information about the summer schedule and to find out about booking group tours. 

William of Orange Walking Tours: A.J. Downing's Newburgh: Architecture of the Historic District

Sunday, July 23rd & Sunday, July 30th, Noon to 1 PM

Newburgh's east end historic district is the largest contiguous historic district in New York State. It was designated to include Montgomery, Grand and Liberty Streets in 1977 then expanded all the way south to Washington's Headquarters on the other side of Broadway in 1985. It encompasses 445 acres, extends a mile long and contains 2,400 contributing structures.

Join guide Paul Huber to learn about and view the work of seven architects who left their mark on Newburgh's Montgomery-Grand-Liberty historic district. Including A. J. Davis, A. J. Downing, Calvert Vaux, Frederick Clarke Withers and more.

Cost of the tour is $10, Children under 12 are free. Meet at the corner of Montgomery Street and Clinton Street in front of the Crawford House, 189 Montgomery Street, Newburgh. 

Visit WALK NEWBURGH for more information about the summer schedule and to find out about booking group tours. 

Take a Walk Through Warwick's History

Beginning July 5th

WARWICK - Beginning Wednesday, July 5, the Warwick Historical Society will open many of Warwick's historic properties such for self-guided tours.

Some of the destinations will be Baird's Tavern, the Old School Baptist Meeting House and the Lehigh & Hudson River Railway Caboose. 

"As we walk the streets of Warwick the history will unfold with every stop along the tour," Lisa-Ann Weisbrod, the historical society's executive director, said in the press release detailing the program. "The town will transform before your eyes as the railroad brought prosperity of new culture and ways of life to the area."

* The self-guided tours will be offered every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the second and fourth Sundays from noon to 2 p.m.  

* Begin at the A.W. Buckbee Center where you will be given a brochure and map and find a list of the buildings that will be open. Experienced docents will be available at each building for questions

* Tours are free for members of the Warwick Historical Society and children 12 and under; non-member price is $10.

* For more information, call 845-986-3236 ext. 106 or visit .

Battle of Minisink Remembered

Saturday, July 22nd at 11AM

Join the DAR in remembering the Battle of Minisink. Regent Kathleen Alevras and members of the Minisink Chapter invite the public to a commemoration of the 238th Anniversary of the Battle of Minisink in Goshen.
The guest speaker will be Sue Gardner deputy historian for the Town of Warwick and secretary for the Friends of the Hathorn House Historical Society. She will talk about Col. John Hathorn of Warwick, who was commanding officer of the Warwick militia that met up with the Goshen militia, led by Lt. Col. Benjamin Tusten, and fought at the Battle of Minisink. Also participating in the commemoration will be local members of American Legion Post 377 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1708 who will take part by providing the color guard and rifle volley.
Take a lawn chair and meet by the Minisink Battle Monument across from the 1841 Courthouse, 101 Main Street.

Aiming to Please

Saturday, July 22nd at 12PM to 4PM

Come celebrate Henry Knox's birthday by talking about his favorite subject: artillery. There will be Revolutionary War cannon firing every half hour from 12PM to 4PM. Learn about the artillery encampment at New Windsor Cantonment on 1780-81.
New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site
374 Temple Hill Road, New Windsor, NY 12553
2017 Orange County Archaeological Society Chapter Picnic

Sunday, July 23rd at 12PM to 4PM

 Even on the hottest days, Town of Mount Hope Park pavilion is perfectly situated on a bluff, to keep us shaded and comfortable with a nice breeze! Join us for good food, good company, wonderful discussion and artifacts.

Email Steph to let us know what you are bringing

Bring a smile -- bring a friend --

340 Finchville Turnpike
Otisville, NY 10963

Remember the Ladies! Songs for Women Suffrage

Sunday, July 23rd at 1PM to 2PM

Hudson Valley singer/songwriters, Lydia Adams Davis, Pat Lamanna & Sharleen Leahey, will perform traditional and original folk songs for this unique program on women's suffrage.
Gomez Mill House
11 Mill House Road
Marlboro, NY 12542

Principles and Pragmatism: Loyalist Experiences

Thursday, July 27th at 7PM to 8:30PM

In this evening lecture Fort Montgomery State Historic Site Interpreter Dan Stimpfle will present the stories of prominent and common people who opposed independence from the crown and discuss the factors which contributed to loyalist sentiment in the Hudson Valley.
Fort Montgomery State Historic Site
690 Route 9W
Fort Montgomery, NY 10922
Bannerman Island Residence Opening Celebration

Saturday, July 29th at 3:30PM to 6:30PM

 For the first time ever, visitors will be allowed to go inside the residence on Bannerman Island, and explore the island's history through photographs and documented information. Join Bannerman Castle Trust for a party celebrating the occasion! The vent includes round trip cruise departing from Beacon, a guided tour and refreshments. Tickets are $50. Visit for more information.
Casablanca on the lawn at Washington's Headquarters

Saturday, July 29th at 8:30PM to 11:30PM

 Come watch the classic Casablanca on the most beautiful film venue in the Hudson Valley. Free event, bring your chairs and blankets.

Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site
89 Liberty Street
Newburgh, NY 12550
History in the News
Record Online: 845 Life
Interview by John DeSanto

Occasionally, something small can change the whole direction of a life.

"My sophomore year at Burke Catholic, I was one of the delegates selected to go to Milan, Italy, to help present the Da Vinci horse," says Johanna Yaun, now 33, and the Orange County historian.

The 24-foot-tall bronze horse sculpture, based on drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci, was cast locally by the Tallix Foundry in Beacon and unveiled on Sept. 10, 1999 at the Hippodrome de San Siro in Milan.

"I travelled to Italy with my grandmother, Ida Mauriello, who was born in Rome," says Yaun, who was 15 at the time.

"I met planners, tourism and academic people and museum staff along the way. It was my first realization that history could actually be a career."

Yaun, a Newburgh native, graduated from Burke in 2002 and enrolled at Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland, near the Italian border.

Two years later, she had her associate's degree in European history and was planning on staying in Europe.

But a scholarship offer from SUNY New Paltz brought her back home.

"Of course, I needed a job, so I went over to Washington's Headquarters and was surprised to find there was a full-time opening for historical interpreter," she says.

Story continues on the website. Click here to for article and video link.
Orange County Historian | Goshen, N.Y. |  845-545-7908 |  jyaun