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

Mildred Starin named 2019 Martha Washington Woman of History
Historic advocate and preservationist Mildred Starin is this year's recipient of the Martha Washington Woman of History Award. This award is given by Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site each year to a woman who has made a contribution to the history of the Hudson Valley through education, promotion, or preservation. The honor was inspired by Martha Washington, an outstanding woman in history who resided in the Hudson Valley with her husband, General George Washington, during the last days of the Revolutionary War.
                                                                              
Mrs. Starin, of Newburgh, is a member of the Newburgh Preservation Association and has dedicated a lifetime to preservation and promotion of historic landmarks in the Hudson Valley.
Mrs. Starin repaired and refurbished the Gomez Mill House, securing New York State registered status for the homestead; eventually the property was placed on the National Register. She has also lobbied for preservation of the Reuben Deyo Farm, the Chadwick Mansion, and the Dutch Reformed Church. One of her local claims to fame is that she saved the Chadwick Mansion's copper finial when it was being demolished.
 
The award presentation will take place at Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site, on March 24, 2019, during the Women's History Month program, The General's Lady. The public is welcome to attend the program, starting at 2:00 PM.
 
For further details or directions, call 845-562-1195.
Newburgh's Downing Park, A Short History
The recently-opened Shelter House Café in Newburgh's Downing Park, brings together several strands of the city's long and complex history. The brainchild and labor-of-love of restaurateur Stephen Sinnott, it builds on decades of effort by the non-profit Downing Park Preservation Committee to restore the historic park to its former prominence in the life of the city.

The single-story, stone-façade Shelter House was built in the 1934, under the Depression-era Works Progress Administration. It sits gracefully at the edge of a lovely pond, known as the "Polly" (for "Pollywog Pond") and was originally designed as a warm place for winter skaters to change to and from their skates and sip hot chocolate. Older locals still have fond memories of Oscar Decker who ran a souvenir stand and sold snacks inside the building.

Read More on the New York State History Blog
Help Preserve a Tradition
The Goshen Historic Track is seeking community support to preserve a tradition that began 181 years ago. On August 23, 2017, a horrific fire completely destroyed the quaint blacksmith shop, the historic BOCES Barn and the shedrow barn connecting them. Fortunately, all horses were rescued and there was no loss of life. However, the Track is now facing the upcoming racing season. "The Cradle of the Trotter," as it is called, is a Registered Historic Landmark and the oldest active harness racing track in the world. It must rebuild quickly or lose a matching grant of $100,000.
 
Working closely with preservation architects at LAN Associates, the Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame plan to replace the lost structures, preserving much of their original character, while providing the museum with safe housing for many of its valued artifacts. To achieve these goals, the two organizations are inviting everyone to be "Friends of Goshen Historic Track" and donate whatever they can to help them rebuild.
 
You do not have to be a harness racing enthusiast to enjoy a sport that is an American tradition and one of the highlights of every summer in Orange County. The Track, nestled in the picturesque Village of Goshen, features annual Grand Circuit and Matinee races, as well as concerts, car shows and other events that are family-oriented. Stop by the historic track any day of the week and you will see magnificent standardbred horses in training. The Harness Racing Museum nearby will also be open, free to the public. You will see why they fully deserve your support.
 
For more information, visit the Track's website at GoshenHistoricTrack.com.
2019 Heritage Development Grants
The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area has announced the availability of $55,000 in matching funds through its grant program. The grants will fund projects that support programming, interpretation, and marketing of the Hudson River Valley's heritage and historic sites.
 
Applications are due by May 10, 2019, and additional information on the grants, eligibility, and application details can be found by visiting www.hudsonrivervalley.com/grants.
Orange County Historian | 101 Main Street Goshen, N.Y. 10924 |  845-360-6978 |  jyaun @orangecountygov.com
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