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

Update on the 1841 Courthouse Cupola
In response to a question regarding the whereabouts of the original 1841 Courthouse cupola I went to check on it.

The cupola was removed in 2011 after Hurricane Irene damaged the already leaking frame that it sat on. It was replaced last month by a lightweight substitute. Concerns have arisen throughout the County about the inappropriateness of the modern and much smaller cupola because it is not true to the historical integrity of the building's design. From the perspective of the County officials who approved the change, the amount of money that it costs to fortify the structure to carry the weight of the original cupola far exceeds the budget allocated for the renovation of the Courthouse. 

In response to public outcry, DPW informs me that they are planning to assess a current projected cost for full restoration. They also mentioned that they are looking into the option of having an accurate (lightweight) replica made. Once these numbers are available the discussion can continue. 

At this time, the base and several boxes with the columns are in a pavilion at the Orange County DPW. The wood and tin work are in excellent condition.The bell is stored securely in an indoor location.The pieces were all carefully removed and numbered so that it can be restored if funding were to become available. 


Johanna Yaun
Orange County Historian

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Rededication of the Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor

Saturday, August 15th at 1pm

Please join us as we reopen and rededicate the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor on Saturday August 15th at 1:00PM.

All veterans and veteran's organizations, along with their family and friends, are extended an invitation to attend the event on the grounds of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. 

While being closed for several months, the Hall underwent a total renovation which transformed the facility into one that will welcome all veterans from every branch of service. With all new exhibits, video and state-of-the-art technology, all Purple Heart recipients, past and present, will enjoy this new world-class Hall of Honor.

We urge all veterans, families and friends to make a special effort to attend this auspicious occasion. Doors will open at 11:00AM and ceremony will begin at 1:00PM

Mustang Car Club Show at Museum Village in Monroe

Saturday, August 15th from 11am to 4pm

Presented by The Mustang Club of Orange County, NY! (Portion of Registration Proceeds to Benefit The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation)

Croquet Tournament at Downing Park in Newburgh

Sunday, August 16th from 1pm to 4pm

Come and enjoy as Newburgh's Historical Society challenges neighboring communities to show their local pride. All ages are welcome and the winning team will be added to the tournament trophy. Event is co-sponsored by the Downing Park Planning Committee and the Newburgh Preservation Association.

Lecture on the NYO&W's Port Jervis & Monticello Branches in Huguenot 

Sunday, August 23rd at 2pm

Joey Senese has put together a great, detailed presentation covering the NYO&W's Port Jervis and Monticello branches. There will be many pictures and much information to be heard and seen. Also, local railroad memorabilia will be on display and refreshments will be served. Hope you can all make it!

Farther Afield
Tour and Talk at Hoyt House in Staatsburg

Sunday, August 16th at 1pm

Join Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance President Alan Strauber for a view of the first major phase of renovation of the Hoyt House, a discussion of future plans as well as new information on the history of the property. Meet at the Hoyt House, Norrie Park in Staatsburg - $25 suggested donation (children free) to Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance 

Link to the Facebook invite or email for more information.
Ancients Alive: A Celebration of Classical Antiquity at Locust Lawn in New Paltz

Saturday, August 22nd & Sunday August 23rd from 11am to 4pm

Join us for a day of fun, Greek and Roman style. Along side the neoclassical elements of Locust Lawn's mansion, volunteers from the Mid-Atlantic Classical Society and Legio XIII Gemina invite citizens and barbarians of all ages.

Watch Caesar's soldiers drill and see what kind of foods were common two thousand years ago, learn about styles and fashion from slaves up to senators, cast your vote in a Greek ballot, listen to a dramatic reading of one of the great founders of theater, learn slinging and more! A special display of original Roman artifacts will be on loan especially for the weekend.

Local Opinion: What do you think is the most under appreciated historical resource in Orange County?

"It's the Family History Center at the LDS church in Newburgh.  The FHC has a group of dedicated volunteers who serve as research aides.  We have daytime and evening hours.  Most importantly, the FHC now has internet access to some very interesting subscription websites that can be used for genealogical and general research including Fold3 (military research), Find My Past (British research), Ancestry, World Connect and both an American and a British archival newspaper site. There is no charge to use the FHC; in fact, we are looking for customers.  The phone number is 567-4804 or researchers can contact me at 778-1369."  

Mary Ellen Matise 
Village of Walden Historian
Please email your answer to this question to be featured in a future issue.
On the Scene: 
The 35th Annual Herb Day at 
Hill-Hold Museum in Campbell Hall
Orange County Historian Johanna Yaun and Orange County Parks Commissioner Richard Rose joined the Friends of Hill-Hold and Brick House for their annual fundraiser on August 4th

The rededication of the D.A.R. Minisink Chapter Museum at Old Stone School House in Goshen
On August 8th, Hank VanLeeuwen received an award for a lifetime of public service from Ginger Moore of the Minisink Chapter of the D.A.R., in background Brendan Coyne representing the office of Assemblyman James Skoufis and Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus with his daughter Emma.

History in the News

After more than 400 years, New York's smallest designated State Forest and America's favorite old growth Cottonwood tree has met its end. The Balmville Tree (seen here with the Newburgh Wheelmen Club in the 1897) was cut down last week. Photo from the Crawford House Archives.

The Historic Tavern Trail of Orange County's latest stop at the Erie Hotel in Port Jervis was featured on the cover of the Epoch Times.

Helpful Links for Historians

A post from  "The Better Matters Blog" on how to approach using social media to promote your museum.

A unique approach to using the HistoryPin app to create a historical tour of a city. The project "Mapping Emotions in Victorian London" applies historical crowdsourcing to create a tour of London told by first hand accounts.
Orange County Historian | Goshen, N.Y. |  845-545-7908 |  j