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

The Hudson Valley Writing Project
held at Museum Village Wraps Up an Inspiring Week of Creativity

July 24 - July 28, 2017
by MJ Goff

by one the students stood and read from their written works.  It was a warm day in one of the old buildings at Museum Village, and the weeklong Hudson Valley Writing Project (HVWP) was winding down.  The kids had been working on various writing assignments throughout the past week, and today, Friday, was the finale where they read their works to the teachers, to their peers and family members; their artwork graced the windows and blackboard, and muffins and fruit were laid out a back table, a simple celebration to conclude a most productive and inspiring week.   

Johanna Yaun, Orange County's Historian represented the County to thank the teachers and congratulate the participants.  "W riting is the most important skills that will prepare you for working in any profession," she said, and added that "it can also be rewarding when created in a collaborative group, and most definitely in an inspiring setting, like Museum Village where each exhibit is thought-provoking"  Also on hand was Orange County's Poet Laureate, Robert Milby, who has been enjoying representing the County at various literary, community and historical events.  Milby had worked with the students earlier that day on a spontaneous poem exercise where after he provided a prompt (AKA opening line), each student, one by one, added their own line and when done had a complete poem about one of the County's mastodon skeletons displayed on the property. 

Though the HVWP has been inspiring new writers since its inception in 2001, this is the first time it's been held at Monroe's Museum Village. "The selection of Museum Village as a project site was introduced by Washingtonville High School social studies teacher, Dawn Vandervloed," says Diane Rawson, coordinating director of Youth Programs for the HVWP.  Vandervloed shared that she is a history buff and hoped the workshop at the historic Museum Village would spark the students' writing.  Exercises such as "what would it be like to stare into the face of a 15,000 year old mastodon skeleton," or providing historical toys and objects, for the students to examine and imagine how life was like hundreds of years ago, though seemingly simple tasks will develop writing and critical thinking skills that the students will carry into young adulthood and beyond, says Rawson. 

The works read this day included fictional stories about George Washington and Claudius Smith (no relation to Roscoe; this Smith was a reputed marauder during the Revolutionary War); a short autobiographical story about a walk on the beach; a letter from the future to a pivotal moment in American History; and silly stories based on an inspiring conversation.  Each piece of writing was unique, where one highlighted dialogue, another rich description, but all showed a clear focus of theme. In addition, they were read with confidence, providing an opportunity for the kids to practice public speaking. 

Milby pointed out the many literary heroes called the Hudson Valley for a time, like Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen Crane, Langston Hughes, and Allen Ginsberg.  "There's so much history here, and mixed with the natural beauty, this place is really inspiring," he says. "In particular, this is an opportunity for the kids to look around, see nature outside these huge windows, and put down technology for a while."

The Hudson Valley Writing Project is a program through SUNY New Paltz, and is held at various sites around the area.  Its purpose is to improve the teaching of writing and to promote literacy development in all disciplines and at all levels of education: preschool through college. HVWP teachers help students become successful writers, learners, and participants in their communities. The programs have been a success since the early days, says Rawson, through encouragement of the teachers in our area and word of mouth of past participants.  "The classes  always fill up," she adds, "and in some cases, there are waiting lists...we hope this happens next summer at Museum Village."
For more information, visit
Community Updates
Newburgh Restoration reports on the demolition of 182 Fullerton Avenue, Newburgh:

The white house that was on the corner of Fullerton Avenue and South Street is no more. Tax records confirm rumors that Central Hudson bought the property to build some sort of control station. The purchase price was $35,000 in December 2015. Last week while driving by it was striking to see the house being torn down, floor by floor. An old  Zillow listing shows the house was vacant with boarded windows and peeling paint. The listing details that water removal was likely needed in the basement.

It's still yet to be determined what the replacement structure will be. However, look at the comparison of what was there, and what we are left with. Corner properties are gateway entrances into neighborhoods. Instead of seeing a quaint white house (granted in need of repairs) with a large tree, what you will see is a barren lot, probably to be replaced with a cold concrete structure with a chain link fence.

Upcoming Events, Training & Conferences
Opening Weekend of the New York Renaissance Faire

Saturdays, Sundays & Labor Day Monday
August 5 - October 1, 2017

Welcome to the 40th Anniversary Season of the New York Renaissance Faire! Where Fantasy Rules, and Imagination takes flight! Open NINE weekends!

Join us as we celebrate four glorious decades of art, music, dance & theater; extraordinary crafts, irresistible food & drink; camaraderie, creativity and joy!

Headquarters at Night

Saturday, Aug 5 from 7:30 to 9PM

See how the Headquarters of General Gates and St.Claire looks by candle light then stop by the and visit the Last Encampment of the Army parklands (across the street from the Cantonment) to see the soldiers camp at night.

Edmonston House
1042 State Route 94, New Windsor, New York 12553
The Neversink River and the D&H Canal

Wednesday, August 9th at 7:00 PM

Join Steve Skye, the historian at the Delaware and Hudson Museum of History and Innovation as he explores the role that the Neversink River played in the success of the D&H Canal. Crossing the southern corner of the 17-mile long Summit Level at Cuddebackville, the Neversink helped ensure a continuous flow of water into the canal. The river was the backbone of an extensive network of reservoirs that the canal managers relied on to supply water to the canal's highest section. Whilst some of the reservoirs emptied directly into the canal, many of the D&H "ponds" poured their waters into the Neversink River and thence into the canal. Without the agency of the river to connect the reservoirs to the canal, there woul d not have been enough water to keep the canal boats afloat during periods of drought. Today, the reservoirs built by the canal company support summer vacation communities. In this way, the D&H "ponds" continue to be a boon for the local economy.

This History Talk will be held August 9, 2017, at 7:00 PM at the D & H Canal Park Visitor's Center, 58 Hoag Road, (just off Route 209) Cuddebackville, NY. Suggested donation is $5.00 for members and $7.00 for non-members. 

The Neversink Valley Museum is open Sundays from noon until 4:00 pm through October 28 and by appointment. For more information about the museum, its mission to preserve local history or any events, call (845) 754-8870 or check the website: Or email at
Moodna to the Megaliths

Thursday, August 10th at 1:00 PM

At 1:00 Bob McCue will present his program "Moodna to the Megaliths, which will cover Cornwall Landing to Schunemunk Mountain for futher information contact Valerie Cordero 534-3178

Munger Cottage
183 Main St, Cornwall, New York 12518
Badge of Military Merit Weekend

Saturday and Sunday, August 12th and 13th

Come to Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site, in Newburgh, on Saturday, August 12th, 11 AM - 5 PM and Sunday, August 13th, 1 PM - 5 PM, and make your own Badge of Military Merit. This special drop-in craft is offered to celebrate the creation of the Continental Army's first award given to enlisted men. General George Washington created the Badge of Military Merit, August 7th, 1782, during the last days of the Revolutionary War while at his headquarters in Newburgh. When you visit, take a guided tour of the Headquarters and explore the Museum's exhibits, too.

If you're visiting on August 12th, there will be a presentation "From Badge of Military Merit To Purple Heart," at 2:00 PM, explaining about the Badge's history and detailing the exploits of the Badge's three recipients.

The craft is included with Museum admission. For more information, call 845-562-1195.

Washington's Headquarters
83 Liberty Street, Newburgh, NY 12550
William of Orange Walking Tours: A.J. Downing's Newburgh: Architecture of the Historic District

Every Sunday, 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

Summer -long

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 .

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