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

Tavern Trail Report: Iron Forge Inn in Bellvale

Another standing room only crowd gathered last Friday, June 24th, at the Iron Forge Inn in Warwick for the third installment in the Historic Tavern Trail of the Hudson Valley series.   It was a picture perfect night to enjoy the backyard patio of the Inn and hear a lively presentation on the hamlet of Bellvale by Warwick Town Historian Richard Hull.

We counted about 100 people who came for the talk, and then stayed for dinner.  And the proceeds of the raffle, totaling $335, will benefit the Warwick Historical Society to help fund their projects.

Before the tavern trail event, there was a tour at the nearby Baird Tavern, and according to the Warwick Historical Rep, "I know at least 26 people came to Baird's Tavern. I think I counted them all.  Very nice, very interested group." The 1766 limestone inn on Main Street in Warwick has many distinctions including hosting George and Martha Washington. It is now owned and operated as a historic site by the Historical Society. After the tour, the group arrived at the Iron Forge Inn which was  built around 1760 in the once-busy mill village of Bellvale, where Longhouse Creek once powered saw, grist and woolen mills, and a 1700s Colonial iron forge destroyed by the British.

These events are meant to promote Orange County history through the stories of these great old taverns.  We also get to promote local agriculture through the specialty cocktail created for the event, the "Apple Jack Downing," which features local ingredients. 

Orange County officials including Legislator Paul Ruszkiewicz and his wife Jenny as well as Legislator Barry Cheney and his wife Lynn were in attendance and assisted in presenting owner John Johansen with a plaque. John and his son Erik a Culinary Institute of America trained chef, shared their knowledge about the history of the restaurant and their inspiration for the outstanding menu. 

Our next event will be July 29th at Painter's Restaurant in Cornwall, and more details will be forthcoming.  Any questions, feel free to contact MJ Goff at our Goshen office, 845-360-6978 or write us at  Hope to see you there!!
(No reservations are needed for the historic presentations, held from 5:30 - 7pm, but you do need to call the restaurant if you'd like to stay for the 7pm dinner seating.) 

A big thank you to all of the partners on this project, especially Matt Kierstead at Milestone Heritage Consulting for handling the coordination of the series in Orange County, and to M.J. Goff who has been instrumental in running the events. 

We are indebted to Ellie Ohiso at Design by Ohiso for designing the logo, Stefanie Pearl at All Kinds of Signs for printing the bar posters, David Hayes-Cohen at FCC Gallery for creating the souvenir cocktail glasses, and Tom Faggione at T-Bone Design for designing our polo shirts. We thank sponsors Hank van Leeuwen, Dr. Hannah Brooks of Orange Regional Medical Center and Attorney Paul Ernenwein of Catania, Mahon, Milligram and Rider for providing us with funds to cover the merchandise which is raffled off to benefit the local Historical Societies each month. We couldn't be happier to thank Donnan Sutherland, mixologist at Orchard Hill Cider Mill, Soons Orchards, for designing our signature cocktail with local historical reference to showcasing the agriculture of the Hudson Valley. Most of all, we couldn't offer a program like this if not for the restaurant owners who have maintained the historic charm of their inns and taverns for all of us to enjoy.


                                                                                             Johanna Yaun
                                                                                             Orange County Historian
Over 100 attendees came to the Iron Forge Inn on June 24th to listen to the County Historian, Town of Warwick Historian and Restaurant owner discuss the location's history and enjoy a historically inspired cocktail in the stone garden.
Orange County Historical Community
Sands Ring Homestead has been stabilized, a new roof put on, and has been painted. The house will re-open to the public on July 2nd.
A Message from the "Preserve Algonquin Park" Volunteers

[On June 20] Les Cornell and Stephanie Wynkoop attended a meeting of County Legislators, to offer support to County Historian Johanna Yaun when she requested funding in order to hire a consultant for Algonquin Park. Those funds were granted, and this is a win for all who support the repair and restoration of the park. The consultant will explore the park, estimate repair costs, prioritize urgency of specific repairs, and offer expert opinions and suggestions on how the county should proceed. We exp ect the consultant to be selected and to begin work by the end of summer.

With this study, when Ms. Yaun and Park Commissioner Richard Rose collaborate to allocate funds for county owned historic structures, Algonquin Park will be eligible for those funds. 

A big thank you to Leigh Benton, Jim Kulisek, Chris Eachus, Commissioner Richard Rose and Johanna Yaun and the entire board for their support. 

A huge thank you to all of you who follow this page. Without you we wouldn't have gotten this far. This process is far from over; we ask that you continue to support us, both by keeping up with this page and by showing up to help with our park projects. Our vigilance is noticed and we need to continue on this path. 

Again, thank you all so much for supporting us!

Link to Facebook Page for more information about the "Preserve Algonquin Park" network.
Local Job Openings
The Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands, based in Newburgh, NY, seeks a Director to take full daily responsibility for the administration of the organization.

The Society's work promotes local history through public lectures and forums, displays, tours of its house museum, annual architectural tours and research assistance at its library, which is separately staffed. The Director will work with the Board of Managers and Society volunteer committees to plan and implement special events and will oversee routine work to maintain the building and furnishings of the Society's headquarters, the 1830 Captain David Crawford House.

To apply, please send cover letter and resume to As your subject heading, please use "DirectorSearch: Your Last Name."  More information on the Society website.
Upcoming Events
Re-opening & Re-dedication of Sands-Ring Homestead in Cornwall

Saturday, July 2nd at 11 AM

The Cornwall Town Board and the Trustees of the Sands Ring Homestead (ca. 1760) are cordially inviting the public to the reopening and rededication of the SRH Museum on Saturday, July 2 at 11am.  There will be a rededication ceremony, and tours.  The homestead, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was the one time home of the Sands family, then a general store, and now a museum.  The exterior has been painted, there is a new room, and the Trustees and Friends of Sands Ring Homestead have been busily cleaning the place for this reopening. For more information, contact  845-534-3760.  The SRH is located at 180 Main Street, Cornwall, NY.

Sands Ring Homestead Museum
PO Box 226, 180 Main St, Cornwall, New York 12518
Facebook Invite
Declaration of Independence Day at Fort Montgomery 

Saturday, July 2nd from 12 PM to 4 PM

In 1776 John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail "The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more." Join us as we celebrate in true John Adams fashion the actual date that American Independence was declared, by firing the fort's 6 pounder cannon "Ana" at NOON! Camp activities and military drills will take place throughout the day.

Fort Montgomery State Historic Site
690 Route 9W, Fort Montgomery, New York 10922
"Pontiac and His War" Lecture at the D&H Canal Museum

Wednesday, July 6th from 7 PM to 8:30 PM

In the spring of 1763, the Lenape (Delaware), Huron, Miami, Ottawa, and Shawnee tribes all used force to resist the British Colonists. Mislabeled 'The Conspiracy of Pontiac' by historian Francis Parkman, it was in reality a war brought on by the British who had very little respect for the Native Americans and who continued to violate treaty after treaty; breaking promise after promise made to the tribes.

Many chiefs played their parts in the ensuing conflict, but the greatest among them was the Ottawa chief Obwandiyag, whom the English called "Pontiac". He was an imposing figure, tall strong and heavily tattooed, in the custom of the Ottawa. He fashioned his straight black hair in a narrow pompadour and wore silver bracelets on his arms and a collar of white plumes around his neck. He was courageous and commanded respect far beyond his own people.

Pontiac was inspired by the words of Neolin, the Lenape Nation prophet, who warned his people "if you allow the English among you, you are dead. Maladies, smallpox, and their poison will destroy you totally." By May 1763 Pontiac was contemplating war. With the support of the neighboring Potawatomis and Hurons, he hatched a plan to capture Fort Detroit. When a spy revealed the plan to the British, Pontiac laid siege instead. Historians have called the conflict that followed a "conspiracy," "treason," or an "uprising." For Pontiac and his followers it was a war of liberation. They fought the red coats and terrorized the frontier until finally facing the inevitable and admitting defeat in July 1766. In the end, 450 British soldiers were killed, 2,000 American colonists were killed and another 2,000 colonists driven off their land. Total Indian losses are unknown.

The suggested donation for this lecture is $7.00 for non-members and $5.00 for Museum members. For more information please contact the Museum at 845-754-8870 or email us at

Delaware And Hudson Canal County Park
58 Hoag Rd, Cuddebackville, New York 12729
Colonial Hornworking at Fort Montgomery

Saturday and Sunday, July 9th and 10th from 11 AM to 4 PM

Animal horn was an important material in colonial America. It could be heated, cut and shaped to make combs, cups and spoons. A horn was also sometimes decorated and used to hold gunpowder. Watch a demonstration of the tools, materials and methods used to create useful items from horn.

Fort Montgomery State Historic Site
690 Route 9W, Fort Montgomery, New York 10922
Open House and Fundraiser at the Hoyt House

Saturday, July 9th 2 PM to 4:30 PM

Step inside the rarely open Hoyt House built by Calvert Vaux in 1855 to see a restoration work in progress. Spend the Saturday afternoon with us on the lawn along the Hudson River. 

Featuring a performance by the Hudson Valley Folk Rockers Julie Corbalis Band   Also, food prepared by Chef Michael Lemieux, drink, a silent film (Camille, 1927) with Julia Hoyt, preservation crafts demonstrations and more - $30 per adult suggested donation inclusive. Children under 12 are free. Come to Norrie Park and follow the signs to the Hoyt House.

Bring the family - Please Join Us! Brought to you by Darmstadt Overhead Doors, Cornell Street Studios, Hackett Farm Supply and Fox Run Vineyards

Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park
Rte 9 
Staatsburg , NY 12580 
Open House at Jacob T. Walden House in Walden

Saturdays, July 16th and August 20 at 1 PM to 3 PM

The house built around 1768 is a fine example of Hudson Valley Dutch Colonial architecture. It is constructed of cut stone and has walls about 2 feet thick, which are indicated by the depth of the window sills. The house is situated on land that was originally part of the Gatehouse patent land grant. It is believed that Samuel Erwin and his heirs enlarged the original home by adding this stone structure to a smaller frame house that no longer exists.

In 1813, wealthy New York City shipping merchant, Jacob Treadwell Walden, purchased a home from the heirs of Samuel Erwin, (during the time the village was called Kidd Town) and moved his family here. He built textile mills powered by the Wallkill River and Falls. He also purchased many plots of land near the falls on both sides of the river. The Jacob T. Walden house is located on North Montgomery Street, out of view but well within earshot of the raging "High Falls." The village was officially renamed for him in 1855.

This stone house is made from local shale and limestone blocks and still has the original Dutch double front door. It became one of the first Walden structures to be proudly named to the New York State and National Register of Historic Places. The Walden House is now the home of the Historical Society of Walden and Wallkill Valley.

We are a totally volunteer, non-profit, and operate almost exclusively on donated funds and memberships.

Jacob T. Walden House
34 N Montgomery St, Walden, NY 12586
History in the News

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