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March 2024

All-digital Hurley Heritage Society Prologue

Welcome to the 2024

Hurley Heritage Society season!

Spring is  finally here, and our volunteers are busy sprucing up the museum preparing for the new season. We open on Saturday, May 4th with our returning exhibits, POST OFFICES OF HURLEY 1837 TO THE PRESENT and EAGLES NEST: EXPLORING THE MYTHS AND REALITY.  In addition, we are pleased to unveil a new display in the Dutch room featuring many new items generously donated by the family of Ron and Shirley Rifenburg.


 This year Hurley Heritage Society commemorates it’s 50th anniversary. In recognition, we are hosting 3 special events. On June 7th we will be holding the Hurley Rooster Art Auction at Cross Point Church. Hurley Heritage Day will return on September 21st with walking tours, music, food trucks vendors and much more. And on December 6th we are planning a fun, holiday themed Gala Evening of Dinner Theatre, which also honors Bruce and Gail Whistance for their countless contributions to HHS. Please read on for descriptions of these events and watch for updates as the events are finalized.


 A list of 2024 activities is included in this PROLOGUE.   Coming up next is the annual Spring Flower sale, details will be sent soon. Our rack card has been updated and will be available at the museum, the Town Hall and Ulster Tourism racks.  Thank you to our new member, Chris Yoo at THikit, Inc. printing in Hurley for the generous donation!


The museum is  open free of charge from 1-4 PM on Saturdays and Sundays from May through October.  Walking tours will be available on the fourth Sunday of each month. We continue to operate as an all-volunteer organization. If you have an interest in volunteering as a museum greeter, a tour guide, working in the gift shop, or any other capacity, please  visit our website at


In closing, THANK YOU to our members, volunteers and community. It is through your generosity and support that we continue to grow.


Diane Blakely


Hurley Heritage Society

[email protected]

(845) 943-0493  

Something to crow about

Hurley Rooster Auction Returns Friday, June 7th, 6pm

On Friday June 7th the Hurley Heritage Society will host the Hurley Rooster Auction at the Crosspoint Church on Hurley Avenue.

Local artists beautifully painted 23 hand-crafted metal roosters, the iconic symbol of Hurley. These metal roosters, made by Hurley resident Wayne Waligurski of Patentee  Manor, will be on display and available for bid at a live auction that will include food, refreshments and live music. Tickets will be available to attend as we get closer to the event date.

Viewing of roosters will begin at 6pm, and bidding will start at 7pm.

(photo: Rooster painted by Judy Howard, local Hurley resident and artist)

Hurley Heritage Day is Back!

Saturday September 21, 2024

After a four-year hiatus, Hurley Heritage Day is back and better than ever to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Hurley Heritage Society! This year’s event will take place on Saturday, September 21st, at the Hurley Heritage Museum and Hurley Library. Enjoy our historic exhibits, food trucks, live music and entertainment, demonstrations and exhibitions, food and craft vendors, children’s activities, and guided walking tours. We’ve even arranged for the opening of a few historic stone houses along Main Street! Support the Hurley Heritage Society in our mission to preserve the special history of the Town of Hurley while you celebrate with family, friends, and neighbors!

A Gala Evening of Dinner Theater at The Chateau

December 6, 2024

In keeping with the date, December 6, the Feast of St. Nicholas, and the mission of the Hurley Heritage Society, we are announcing a new and exciting upcoming event to celebrate 50 years of the Hurley Heritage Society.

We are very excited to be kicking off this very special evening with an award recognizing the multitude of outstanding contributions Bruce and Gail Whistance have made to HHS and the community.

Bruce and Gail have each served on the HHS Board of Trustees and curated several of our exhibits. Bruce is responsible for the current popular exhibit “Post Offices of Hurley –1837 to the Present” which opened in 2023, and Gail curated the outstanding exhibit “Winslow Homer’s Hurley – an Artist’s View” which ran from 2020-2022. Their dedication to HHS’s mission and to the history of the area is inspiring.

The theatre portion of the evening will consist of three ten-minute historical vignettes performed by professional actors and singers between courses of a gourmet meal. The vignettes will bring to life scenes from Hurley between the 17th and 20th centuries as families and neighbors prepare for the Dutch holiday amidst that time period’s social and political environment. Delight in the festive choral music, and join in the holiday sing-along at the end of the evening.

This is an event you will not want to miss! Experience the beauty of the season amidst The Chateau’s bountiful holiday decorations; enjoy appetizers and a delicious three course meal with family and friends, and delve into the world of our forebears, all while supporting a most worthy cause – the preservation and celebration of the Hurley Heritage Society.

Please join us as we honor Bruce and Gail and celebrate our 50 years.

Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for further information about the Gala!

Details and tickets will be made available later in the year.

Volunteers Are Needed

If you have a passion for Hurley and local history, are looking for a way to become more involved in the community, and meet new neighbors the Hurley Heritage Society offers many opportunities! Founded 50 years ago, our mission is to protect and preserve materials, documents and artifacts pertaining to the Hurley area, and raise awareness and educate the public of the town’s special heritage through events, lectures, programs, tours and community initiatives. 

Currently the HHS can use help on the following committees and initatives:

50th Anniversary Events - planning, set up

Docents, Greeters, Tour Guides



Grounds & Building Upkeep


Museum Shop

We are an all-volunteer organization, and sponsor a variety of activities including walking tours of historic main street, lectures on local culture and history, children’s activities in partnership with the Hurley library, and informative demonstrations. We also operate the Museum which remains free and open to the public, and houses the Dutch room, historical exhibits and a gift shop.


 Volunteers are still needed to greet visitors, volunteer in our gift shop, assist with events, and maintain our collections, the museum, and grounds. If you are interested, please go to the volunteer link on the HHS website: Hurley Heritage Society | Hurley Heritage Museum | Hurley NY.


We’re busy getting the museum shop ready for our May 4th opening! Volunteers are  repainting the shop  and we’re adding some new gifts, including Yankee candles. You’ll also find your old favorites—Hurley tee-shirts, hats, mugs and books. Later this year we plan on introducing new items with images of the hand painted roosters that will be featured in  the June 7th Rooster Art Auction. A special thank-you goes to Ellen Richards for all her help in “sprucing up” the shop!

New volunteers are needed to work at the shop when the museum opens in May. The shifts will be 1-4 on both Saturday and Sunday, May through October.  If you’re interested in helping out, please call or email Kathy McMahon ([email protected], 845-340-0051, home or 845-399-0317, cell) or go to the volunteer link on the HHS website: Hurley Heritage Society | Hurley Heritage Museum | Hurley NY.

We look forward to seeing you on May 4th!

Make Your Mark on History!

Become A Hurley Heritage Society

50th Anniversary Sponsor

This year, 2024, marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Hurley Heritage Society (HHS). During the year we will be hosting:

  • 50th Anniversary Rooster Auction on June 7th
  • Special Hurley Heritage Day on September 21st
  • Special HHS Dinner with Holiday Entertainment on December 6th

Help the HHS and the community celebrate this milestone and its mission by becoming a sponsor. Individuals, families, organizations and busineses can be a sposnor. Sponsors are recognized at each of the 50th events, online, and receive other forms of appreciation.

Learn what sponsorship options we have and help us make a mark on history!


Next Hurley Heritage Society Lecture

"When Archaeology and Development Collide: 

How New York State Evaluates Potential Archaeological Sites in areas of Proposed Development"

April 25, 7pm ONLINE(ZOOM)

Guest Speaker/Presenter: Joseph Diamond, Professor of Anthropology, SUNY New Paltz

What happens if you find an arrowhead in your backyard? What happens if a developer finds one on their planned site? What happens if a Planning Board determines that a project is a Type II Action (no effect), and a graveyard is bulldozed?  These and other questions will be discussed in the next HHS lecture presented by Joe Diamond, Associate Professor of Anthropology at SUNY NP and cultural resource management consultant for many local businesses and organizations throughout the Hudson Valley.



By: Don Kent

(Reprinted from 2017 HHS Prologue)

About 350 years ago, Dutch settlers moved into Nieuw Dorp. Then in 1664, British forces took over the entire Dutch settlements in the Hudson valley and in 1669 we became Hurley.

But the Dutch were stubborn. Though they were now English citizens they didn’t give up their language and it was commonly spoken for the next 150 years into the early 1800s. Many children were bilingual – Dutch at home, English in school and elsewhere.

Scores of Dutch words continue in use though and have become part of everyday English.

Some of you will remember when you sat on the front “stoop”. Dutch. (Now it’s the front porch.) “Kill”, of course is a stream: Wallkill, Plattekill, Catskill, but most of us never realized that Wall Street, comes from “Walstraat”, site of the Dutch-built defensive wall against possible Indian attacks. Then there’s “Roodt-Eylandt”, Rhode-Island, “red island”, Conye-lsland” (Rabbits Island), and Saugerties, from 1663 “Zager’s Kiletje” where early Dutch colonist Zager settled beside a small kill-a “kiletje” (This is debatable and some Sawyers will undoubtedly question it.) Closer to home Binnewater, from binnenwater, a small lake.

Scores of other place names come from the Dutch, according to highly respected Dutch linguist Nicoline Van Der Sijs. (Check out her) book, Cookies, Coleslaw, and Stoops: The Influence of Dutch on the North American Languages (Cookie-from Dutch koekje, koekie – small cake.)

The title words, “cookies, coleslaw, stoops” are only a tiny example of the thousands of words derived from the Dutch and in everyday use: “waffle (wafel), pot cheese (potkaas), cruller (krulletje), and coleslaw, koolsla with cold slaw as a variant, and brandy (brandewijn).

The author gives the background- sometimes paragraphs, on most of the words – and some are more eye-opening than others. But if you find such connections fun, you can’t do better than Cookies, Coleslaw, and Stoops.


Heritage Walk

Our Heritage walk on the front lawn of the Museum grounds is growing! Show your support for the HHS Museum by purchasing a brick in your family’s name or to honor someone close to you. For a $125 donation your brick will be added to the walk.


The inscription may be composed with as many as four lines of eighteen characters. If interested, please contact Wally Cook at (845) 338-2193 or send an email to [email protected].


If you would like to renew your membership or become a new member, you can join through our website.

As an all volunteer organization, membership dues enable us to maintain our museum building and continue to provide activities for the community and visitors to beautiful historic Hurley.

Please help by sending your tax-deductible donation to:


Hurley Heritage Society

PO Box 1661

Hurley, NY 12443


Dues and donations can also be made ONLINE:


Membership levels:

Single                       $30

Family                       $40         

Patron                     $175

Lifetime Supporter    $300

Donation                     ____


For timely email updates on HHS activities and our quarterly Prologue, please provide your email address.