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

Vroom V room...
A Visit to the Motorcyclepedia Museum, Newburgh

by M.J. Hanley-Goff
At first glance, the inside of the Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburgh resembles a large warehouse of movie poster memorabilia as faces of Steve McQueen, James Garner, Peter Fonda and Elvis line the immense walls. There's even a poster of --- can it be? -- of Barbara Streisand astride a motorcycle from the movie, "For Pete's Sake."
Visitors to the museum on Lake Street need not be aficionados of the motorcycle, per se, since owner Ted Doering has created a clever way to use the bike as a vehicle (pun intended) to illustrate the American way of life, how we used to get around, and what entertained us over the past century. But, if you happen to be a lover of the bike, then you're in for one sweet treat.
Members of the Cornwall Historical Society

The Cornwall Historical Society had its June meeting at the Motorcyclepedia Museum.


I joined the Cornwall Historical Society on a recent evening tour, and thanks to the enthusiastic volunteer guides, we were thoroughly engaged by the stories that accompanied each and every bike.  

Doering inherited his love for the motorcycle from his father, and between the two, they purchased the former lumber warehouse to display their over 400 bikes for the world to enjoy. But they didn't stop there. High on the walls or hanging beside the bikes are signs of the times, advertisements from the old days, covers of comics that depict motorcycles, pictures of movie stars, album covers, books, and all sorts of
motorcycle-themed items. Motorcyclepedia Museum, considered the Smithsonian of motorcycles, is an experience that fires on all cylinders. And, it's here in our back yard. How cool is that. 
Among the stories we heard, some raise goose bumps more than others, like the bikes that witnessed history: the 1964 Harley Davidson that rode in President Kennedy' s motorcade* on November 22, 1963 and later featured in the Kevin Costner movie, JFK.
The 13th motorcycle in JFK's motorcade.

The 13th bike in the JFK Motorcade.



Or the bike that Charles Lindbergh traded in for his plane, the Jenny.
Of course there are samples of law enforcement bikes from the NYPD and the City of Newburgh, and icons from the '60s: the replica of Peter Fonda's legendary bike from Easy Rider, and the beat up one James Garner rode in the TV show Nichols. There are the bikes with so much bling, they dazzle; others so chopped up and put back together, one is amazed they don't just fall apart.  
Bill Nugent explains the bike rode by James Garner
Volunteer, Bill Nugent, explains how Hollywood used bikes.  Here is one that James Garner used in a TV show.
Wandering the two large floors, we see that the bikes are divided up by era, by legendary motorcycle designers, or collected by a shared design. We learn that motorbike designers changed up their bikes and accessories to keep current, like when the sidecar was added as an answer to the automobile so it could, too, carry more than one rider, or the leather caps and scarves riders would wear to compete with the look of glamourous pilots. 
Gottlieb Daimler, the well-known high-end car manufacturer was actually behind the creation of the first motorcycle or the riding wagon (reitwagen). We can view "an outstanding full size replica," built in his backyard in Germany, before he partnered with Carl Benz to form the legendary Mercedes Benz. But credit goes to Steve McQueen who gave the motorcycle its sexy boost. A few of his beloved bikes are on display, collected by Doering at various auctions after McQueen's death.  
Steve McQueen gave the bike its sexy boost.
The actor Steve McQueen raced motorcycles throughout his career.
It seems fitting that the museum, opened in 2011, be here in Orange County since as the minute the snow melts, the bikes come out, hitting the scenic Hudson Valley roads that  riders love so much.
*Bill Miller, an investigator of the Kennedy assassination and Warren Commission verified this as one of the motorcycles. This motorcycle took the first call on the sniper shooting.

The Motorcyclepedia Museum, located at 250 Lake Street, Newburgh, is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: 10:00am-5:00pm
ADMISSION: Adults: $11.00 (tax incl.) Ages 3 -12: $5.00 (tax incl.) Under 3: Free
Visit for more information.
Orange County Historical Community
The Battle of Minisink Monument

The Battle of Minisink Monument which could be found on the steps of Goshen County Courthouse has been returned to its home down the street at the Goshen Public Library.  "In 1976," writes GPL Director, Matthew Gomm, "the 1822 Minisink Monument was loaned to Orange County and placed on display at the Government Center where it remained until February 13, 2012," when the Paul Rudolph building was closed for renovation, it was relocated to the 1841 Courthouse. Since that time the 1841 Courthouse has also undergone renovation causing the monument to be blocked off from public view while crews worked on the property. On April 12, 2016, the monument was returned for display at the Goshen Public Library and Historical Society. 

We thank the Goshen Public Library and Historical Society for the long-term loan, and for the continued care given to this monument.  For more information on the monument, its history and the names of those honored, visit the GPL at    
Upcoming Events
Where You Can Explore New York's Rich Heritage
June 18 and 19, 2016
Experience a Revolutionary War battle, discover some of our state's and nation's greatest natural wonders or relive some of sports greatest moments. From U.S. presidents to leaders of the suffragette movement to innovators in industry, technology and art, it all happened in New York State. You can visit over 500 destinations across our great state. Choose from 13 themes to create your own Path Through History for an experience you and your family will always remember.  
Hudson River Brickmakers Filmscreening in New City

Thursday, June 16 from 7:30 PM (SHARP) to 9 PM

Back by popular demand...The Historical Society of Rockland County Invites You to Join Us for a Special Second Screening of  Hudson River Brick Makers f ollowed by a discussion with the filmmaker Jim Ormond

In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, the Hudson River Valley was the undisputed world capital of brick making. At its height, more than 130 brickyards teemed with workers from Haverstraw to Albany. The growth of the brickyards coincided with the explosive growth of building i
n New York City.

This 30-minute film demonstrates how bricks, so ubiquitous in New York City that they go unnoticed, are a prism through which we can view larger issues, including immigration, industrial innovation, labor relations and urban planning. The last Hudson River brickyard closed in 2002, ending three-and-a-half centuries of brick making on the Hudson.

About the filmmaker: Jim Ormond started Local History Channel in 2012. Since then, his local history segments have been seen on Cablevision in the New York metropolitan area and, more recently, on PBS. Ormond is a former reporter and print editor; together with a talented team of actors, narrators, researchers, videographers and video editors he effectively tells important stories about local history.

20 Zukor Road, New City
Price: $FREE (reservations required)
Murders & Villians Path Through History Program in Monroe

Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19 11 AM to 4 PM 

Join us for "Path Through History" weekend on June 18-19, 11am-4pm, where you can learn about the Murderers and Villains of Hudson Valley, New York!

Michael Keene, author of numerous books on 19th Century NY folklore and legend, will join us for a presentation Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19, 2016. Some of his titles include: "Question of Sanity", "Mad House", "Visions and Murder" and "Mayhem and Madness". There will also be opportunities to purchase his books and have them signed.

Presentations will also be given on Claudius Smith who was related to Roscoe W. Smith, the founder of Museum Village. Claudius came to Orange County in 1747 with his father David Smith. Claudius was often referred to as the Robin Hood of his gang who robbed the local constituents of the stocks and valuables. He was a friend to the British Loyalists and was eventually caught and hanged in Goshen, NY.

We will have costumed Interpreters in our buildings and Snack Bar & Gift Shop will also be open!

Adults - $12.00; Seniors (65+) - $10.00; Children (4 - 12) - $8.00

1010 Rt 17M 
Monroe, NY 10950
Newburgh Illuminated Festival

Saturday, June 18 Noon to Midnight

The Newburgh Illuminated Festival aims to highlight all the things that make Newburgh the charming, culturally diverse city that it is.  
Sample a veritable world of food from local purveyors, and enjoy live music all day on multiple stages. There is something for all ages!  Newburgh and Hudson Valley vendors will be on hand selling locally-sourced and handmade goods. Discover pop-up art shows, child and family-friendly events, and a trolley tour of historical Newburgh, and a Colorfest! See you June 18!

'The Importance of Main Street' on WTBQ Radio

Monday, June 20 from 9 AM to 10 AM

Tune into WTBQ Radio to hear Orange County Historian, Johanna Yaun, fill in for the Orange County Executive's regularly scheduled show. The Historian and her guest, David Plotkin (producer at 1010 WINS), will discuss his efforts to restore downtown Pasadena, CA and the importance of Main Street in local community revitalization here in the Hudson Valley.
Webinar: Collections Care What You Can Do And What To Leave To The Conservators

Monday, June 22 1PM

Join us on June 22 for "Collections Care YOU Can Do and What to Leave to Conservators." This webinar is for paid and unpaid staff, from organizations of all sizes including all-volunteer, who care for collections. We'll discuss specific preventive conservation practices you can perform and those you should leave for a conservator. 

Cost: $25 StEPs Organizations/ $40 AASLH Members/ $115 Nonmembers

Learn more & register:

Museums hold collections in trust for the public. With that trust comes the duty of care. But with the duty of care comes the requirement that we not endanger collection items through improper practices or treatment. Where, however, is the line between what  we can and can't do? 

Here's your chance to ask those nagging questions you have regarding collections stewardship and preventive conservation practices. 

Our guest speaker is Scott Carrlee, Curator of Museum Services, Alaska State Museum. For almost ten years, Scott has provided information and technical support to local history organizations in Alaska so he is very familiar with challenges faced by small museums. He is also a trained conservator, having worked at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of the American Indian. Scott was active in the piloting of AASLH's Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations (StEPs) and contributed to the Small Museum Toolkit. 

This webinar is part of the StEPs Lab series of online continuing education offered to both StEPs program participants and others interested in the webinar topic. StEPs Labs provide an in-depth look at a topic central to operating a museum, historic house, site, or related organization. A few minutes of each lab are dedicated to connecting the webinar topic to national museum standards and the StEPs program performance indicators. 

Applying what you learn in a Lab to your organization's policies and practices means you are making meaningful progress. The more progress you make, the more boxes you can check off in the StEPs workbook. The more boxes you check off, the more Bronze, Silver, and Gold certificates you earn. And that translates into more credibility, more support, and an organization that is a valuable asset to its community for many more years to come.

Learn more & register:

Tavern Trail Series: Iron Forge Inn

Friday, June 24 5:30 PM to 7 PM

Join the ongoing journey to Orange County's most historic inns and restaurants as the 2016 Historic Tavern Trail of the Hudson Valley visits the Iron Forge Inn, 38 Iron Forge Road in Warwick, New York on  Friday, June 24 at 5:30 p.m.   The Iron Forge Inn is located in a ca. 1760 house 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.

 event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with a "history happy hour." "We are thrilled at the response these Tavern Trails have been gathering, and the number of people who've been joining us at these events," says OC Historian, Johanna Yaun. "This year's signature cocktail, the Apple Jack Downing, has been well received, and we know that those attending are leaving more appreciative and knowledgeable about Orange County history.  We also know that this upcoming event at Warwick's Iron Forge Inn will be just as successful.  Our suggestion is...get there early." ays Orange County Historian Johanna Yaun.  At 6:00 p.m. the
 evening's e ntertainment will include a short talk on Bellvale's history by local historian Richard Hull, who will answer the question, "Just how important WAS Bellvale before the railroads came to Warwick?"  
Guests wishing to stay for optional dinner at 7:00 p.m. must RSVP directly with the Iron Forge Inn at (845) 986-3411 or Chef/Owner Erik Johansen, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America offers an ever-changing Modern American menu featuring seasonal local ingredients.  The Iron Forge Inn website address is: and the menu is posted at:
Before the 5:30 Tavern Trail event, all are invited to attend a 4:00 p.m. "Early Bird Tour" of the historic Baird Tavern, 105 Main Street, Warwick,  New York.   In 1766, Francis Baird built this limestone building as an inn and store that was visited by George and Martha Washington.  For more information call the Warwick Historical Society at  (845) 986-3236  or visit:  
For more information about this and other upcoming Historic Tavern Trail events, visit Facebook at:, call the Orange County Historian's office at (845) 360-6978, or
Sunday at the Mill House

Sunday, June 26 11 AM


On Sunday, June 26, at 11am, after a bagel breakfast at 10am, Andrée Aelion Brooks, journalist and author, will talk about how emancipation and full citizenship in the 19th Century became a double-edged sword, why many Jews left central Europe, and why their earliest experiences in America were so different from later Eastern European Jewish immigrants. She will reference Wall Street titans like Gugggenheim and Loeb; Jews who came here from central Europe in the early and mid-19th Century- with a very different background and outlook from the later Russian and Polish Jews. 

The exploration of Jewis h life, especially merchant life, echoes the theme of the Gomez Mill House Historic Site, which is named after an international merchant of Jewish origin, Luis Moses Gomez. Born in Spain, Gomez first participated in the lucrative Caribbean trade, then moved to New York City in the early days of the colonies, and later became one of the first Jews to buy land in Northern Orange and Southern Ulster Counties, where he established a trading post and operations near the Hudson River. 

Ms. Brooks was formerly a contributing columnist and news writer for The New York Times. She now specializes in writing and teaching about the uncommon stories of Jewish history. Her work has won many awards. She is also a Gomez Foundation House trustee. More information on Brooks can be found at her website, 

The presentation follows a bagel breakfast from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. A special tour of the Gomez Mill House will be offered to attendees following the presentation. Admission to the event is free. 

Sunday at Mill House is an ongoing program of presentations on subjects related to the history of the Gomez Mill House. 

The mission of Gomez Foundation for Mill House is to preserve the 300 year old Gomez Mill House-the oldest standing Jewish dwelling in North America and home to Patriots, Preservationists, Artisans and Social Activists-as a significant regional- and national-ranked museum, and to educate the public about the contributions of its former owners to the multicultural history of the Hudson River Valley

The Gomez Mill House and Historic Site is located at 11 Mill House Road off 9W, in Marlboro, NY. General admission to the Museum (includes Gallery admission) is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors 55 or older, and $4 for students with ID and children age 7 to 17; children under 7 are admitted free. Groups of 10 or more receive discounted rates and reservations are required.

For more information contact: Gomez Mill House and Historic Site at (845)236-3126 or via Email:

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