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

Over 4th of July weekend crowds enjoyed the New York Airshow at Stewart International Airport
Mary & Archie Stewart
Who were the Stewarts?

All eyes were on the sky above Stewart International Airport this weekend. Thousands of spectators turned out for this year's New York Air Show.
 
A demonstration by the Blue Angels, the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, headlined over 30 military and civilian aircraft that were on display in the air and on the ground. 
 
But how did the airport come to be named after the Stewart family?
 
In the 1840's a young immigrant from Scotland named Lachlan Stewart arrived in Newburgh. At first he took odd jobs including as a day laborer in the construction of the Newburgh Steam Mill in 1842. He worked on a merchant vessel eventually purchasing his own schooner to transport goods between Albany, Newburgh, New London and Long Island. In 1862 he sold his vessel to become foreman of Homer Ramsdell's docks in Newburgh. From 1865 to 1882, Lachlan operated his own lumberyard. The Newburgh Lumber Company remained in operation into the 1940's.
 
Lachlan also purchased 160 acres of land along the Cochection Turnpike to operate as a dairy farm. The property called "Stony Lonesome" was passed down to his sons. In 1930, Lachlan's grandson Thomas "Archie" Stewart, who worked in a family car dealership called Broadway Garage, convinced the family that a 20th century city would need an aviation infrastructure to continue to remain relevant. He enlisted his father to help persuade Uncle Samuel to donate his land to the government to build the airport.
 
As airport's website states, "In 1939, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point built the first airfield at Stewart for cadet aviation training, later dedicating it as the "Wings of West Point." In 1948, the airfield became Stewart Air Force Base. It was deactivated and acquired by the state of New York in 1970." Passenger service began in 1989 and the Port Authority assumed operations in 2007.
 
Archie and his wife Mary lived long enough to fly on commercial flights out of the airport he helped to create. 

View this video filmed by the Stewart family of the unloading of Buicks from New York Central Rail Road Freight yard on August 1, 1928. Note the scenes of Buicks driving up Water Street and Broadway before Urban Renewal changed the streetscapes.

Buicks Buicks Everywhere
Buicks Buicks Everywhere

Lost Newburgh Composer 
Willie Fullerton 
by Michael Green

Judge Fullerton's brick, Italianate home has quietly presided over the northern end of Grand Street in Newburgh, New York, since 1868, but the once-famous trial lawyer has long since been forgotten. Visitors sometimes inquire about ghosts or secret passageways or buried caches of coins. I tell them all the same thing: the real treasure is in the history. In this respect, I have been richly rewarded.

Hidden away beneath the visible architecture was a cornucopia of stories. Some took place on the historical stage; others on theatrical stages; some were once known to the world at large, at a time when telegraph wires strung along railroad lines turned locally-printed newspapers into "mass media"; others are deeply personal, private stories of success, failure and loss.

But above all, I found Willie.

Community Updates
Saturday morning workshop for history professionals on "Engaging Latinos in the history of the USA" discussion led by Sergio Villavicencio and attended by representatives from organizations in Orange, Dutchess, Rockland & Ulster Counties. Pictured here are (l to r) Sue Gardner (Warwick Library), Elinor Levy (arts Mid-Hudson), Sergio Villavicencio (the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society ), Johanna Yaun (Orange County Historian) & Richard Donnery (Rockland County Historical Society)
Celebration for 4th of July weekend at Fort Montgomery State Historic Site included fife and drum and canon firings. 
The Quassaick Chapter of the DAR hosted an event with Moffitt Library research librarian Matt Thorenz. The talk was presented at the New Windsor Cantonment.
Upcoming Events, Training & Conferences
William of Orange Walking Tours: "In Washington's Shadow": African-American history of Newburgh

July 8th, 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 9th, 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."

Consider:

* Visit the second floor of the Hasbrouck Barn and step back in time to Dr. Bradner's office complete with old chloroform bottles and medical apparatus of years gone by. 

* Hop aboard the Lehigh & Hudson River Railway Caboose and learn about it's dangerous past. 

All the properties are lined with history: stories and memories of the times that have formed the village we occupy now. 

* 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.

* Tours are also free for active military families as part of the Blue Star Museum Program. 

Reservations are not required, but are appreciated. 

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

'Utopians and Utopias in Warwick's past'

Tuesday, July 11th. 6:30-8:30 P.M.

This is about great visionaries from near and far who established radically new communities in Warwick that inspired, challenged and awakened the creative energies of its local inhabitants.  

With keen insight Professor Hull examines selected utopian experiments in Warwick over the last three centuries and assesses their motivations and impacts. Among the utopians were world famous baseball stars like Jackie Robinson, prominent architects, theologians, scientists, land speculators and entrepreneurs. They were of European, Asian or African birth or ancestry. Many were refugees from oppression and all were dreamers. And they looked to Warwick as a place to realize their dreams. This is a fascinating saga of the mind and spirit that inspires and elevates. A Public Lecture by Dr. Richard Hull. Members and Students free, Seniors $10, non-members $20. All proceeds support the historical society.

Warwick Historical Society's Old School Baptist Meeting House
Alexander Hamilton: Washington's Indispensable Partner

Thursday, July 13th. 2:00-3:30 P.M.

This presentation by AHA Society President Rand Scholet describes to what degree seven key Founding Fathers contributed to General, and later, President Washintgon's success during war and the Founding era. The analysis includes: Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Jay, Hamilton, Adams and Knox.

Hosted by the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society as part of their annual CelebrateHAMILTON event series. On Thursday, July 13th there are events from 10AM to Noon in Beacon, then 7PM to 9PM in Putnam Valley. 

Please pre-register at www.msmc.edu/desmond or call (845) 565-2076. Desmond Campus is located at 6 Albany Post Road in Newburgh. Fee is $15. 
Cemetery Care Workshop at Temple Beth Jacob's Big Rock Cemetery

Sunday, July 16th, 11AM to 1PM

The second workshop offered this summer will be at Temple Beth Jacob's Big Rock Cemetery in Newburgh. Entrance located at the corner of Hill Crest Place and Carter Street.

These will be "hands on" events with cleaning and repairs done by all participants. Attendance for each workshop is limited to 16 people. The sites for the cleanup event are: Circleville Presbyterian Church on May 27, Temple Beth Jacob Big Rock Cemetery in Newburgh on July 16, Washingtonville Presbyterian Church on August 12; and Gumaer Cemetery in Deerpark on October 14.

The workshops will be moderated by cemetery preservation expert Marianne Greenfield, a 20-year member and past board officer of the Association for Gravestone Studies. Greenfield presents cemetery preservation programs for groups across the Hudson Valley such as the New York State Association of Cemeteries, New York Historical Societies, as well as area libraries, and rotary clubs.

Greenfield lives in the Village of Walton, in Delaware County, and serves as the Delhi Town Historian.

"Orange County has a wealth of historic cemeteries, and some of them are in desperate need of proper maintenance," Yaun said. "Because the tombstones and markers are made from a variety of materials and have become fragile due to weather extremes, they require unique cleaning materials and repair methods. Marianne has done this work for years, and her guidance will ensure that the cemetery stones will receive proper care."

This event is free, however reservations are required due to limited to 16 participants. Contact Cher Vickers at 360-6978 or cvickers@orangecountygov.com
Most Obedient Servant: Tracking the Life and Legacy of John Hathorn and his Militia

Wednesday, July 19, at 7 PM

This is about great visionaries from near and far who established radically new communities in Warwick that inspired, challenged and awakened the creative energies of its local inhabitants.  
With keen insight Professor Hull examines selected utopian experiments in Warwick over the last three centuries and assesses their motivations and impacts. Among the utopians were world famous baseball stars like Jackie Robinson, prominent architects, theologians, scientists, land speculators and entrepreneurs. They were of European, Asian or African birth or ancestry. Many were refugees from oppression and all were dreamers. And they looked to Warwick as a place to realize their dreams. This is a fascinating saga of the mind and spirit that inspires and elevates. A Public Lecture by Dr. Richard Hull. Members and Students free, Seniors $10, non-members $20. All proceeds support the historical society. Suggested donation is $5 for members and $7 for non-members. For more information about the museum, its mission to preserve local history or any events, call 845-754-8870 or check the website www.neversinkmuseum.org. Or email nvam@neversinkmuseum.org.

Neversink Valley Museum of History & Innovation
D & H Canal Park Visitor's Center
58 Hoag Road, (just off Route 209) in Cuddebackville

History in the News

Barbara Bedell "Libraries Preserve Treasure Trove of History" Link to Article Here

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