Upcoming Events

at the New Castle Historical Society

Exhibition: Glimpses of New Castle's Past

Preview Party Friday, Apr. 19

Exhibition Wednesdays & Saturdays, Apr 20 - July 20

Lecture by Dr. Kenneth T. Jackson: Crossroads of the World: The Rise, Decline, and Rise Again of New York since World War II

Sunday, Apr 28, 3pm at the Quaker Meeting House

Wednesdays and Saturdays 11am - 3pm

Suggested donation $5 members / $10 non-members

Our enchanting spring exhibition features an assortment of paintings and drawings by twentieth-century artists portraying landmarks and special events in our community. Paintings from the New Castle Historical Society and Chappaqua Library collection will be on display in the Horace Greeley House and transport viewers across the places and community events of New Castle.

Featured artists include James Renwick Thomson who was an architect that designed what is now the Robert E. Bell School as well as many local homes. But he was also a talented artist, whose mastery of transparent watercolor technique gives his works an atmosphere of airy spaciousness. W. Stuart Archibald, by contrast, used more opaque colors to create a painterly series of building portraits.


Favorite subjects of several artists include the former Sutton Farm, the Quaker Meetinghouse, and the Memorial Day parade. Charles Lindenthaler evoked New Castle’s past with views based on old photographs. Louis Raymond captured the spirit of local events such as the first Community Day and the Garden Club flower show. One of the most dramatic works is an aerial view of Chappaqua Village in winter by illustrator Kenneth Fagg.

Lecture by Dr. Kenneth T. Jackson Crossroads of the World: The Rise, Decline, and Rise Again of New York since World War II

Sunday, Apr 28, 3pm at the Quaker Meeting House, 420 Quaker Road, Chappaqua

Followed by NCHS Annual Meeting Honoring Eric Nicolaysen

Eminent historian, Columbia Professor of History, and New Castle resident, Kenneth T. Jackson. His popular New York City history course was often the largest class in the university and famously included an all-night bicycle ride through Manhattan and Brooklyn. His book Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States, won major prizes as the best book in American History in 1985 and has since been reprinted more that forty-five times. He is also editor-in-chief of the monumental Encyclopedia of New York City, which is now in its second edition. A frequent guest on television, he has lectured around the world and has served as president of the New-York Historical Society, the New York Academy of History, and the Organization of American Historians.

Jackson-Now-2 image

Sgt. "Pops" Santagata Talk Captivates Crowd

Over 150 people crowded into the Chappaqua Library on February 25th to listen to Sergeant Dominic "Pops" Santagata share his stories from his service in WWII. Many of Pops' remembrances brought a teary eye to the rapt audience.

This talk was covered by News Channel 12, made the front page of The Examiner News, and will be featured in the May issue of Inside Chappaqua.

Make a Card for Pops' 100th Birthday!

The New Castle Historical Society is collecting birthday cards for Pops who will be turning 100 this year. We will be collecting cards for him throughout April and will send them along. Please mail or drop-off your cards to us at 100 King St., Chappaqua, NY.

Grafflin Second Graders Eagerly Explore and Engage during Class Tours

“If Horace Greeley ran for president, why isn’t he on the $1 bill?” “My favorite thing was the oil lamp.” Questions and comments tumbled from almost 100 Grafflin second-graders as their classes toured the Greeley House on four days in March. The eager students learned why Greeley was famous, and how people lived without electricity and running water 150+ years ago.

A kitchen scavenger hunt for such curiosities as an icebox and an apple cider press is always a favorite activity during these tours, which are held for all of the second grades in the three Chappaqua elementary schools.

"How did you get to school without cars or buses?" Walking, or a horse and wagon. An 1867 map of New Castle showed the location of the early one-room district schools, and next to it was a poster with photos of the little schools and their students. 

A special treat for the Grafflin classes was having Dr. Michael Kirsch as one of the docents. He was the principal of Grafflin for 38 years, and several of the current second grade teachers remembered him fondly. At the end of one of the four tours, he led the class in singing the “Grafflin Song,” with its rousing finale: “Grafflin is the greatest!” Additional docents were Fran Davidson, Vanessa Hallett, Suzanne Keay, Toni Kelly, Sandi Klein and Marian Williams.

Tea for Two... or 150!

During the months of March and April, the NCHS will have welcomed over 160 Daisies and Brownies to the Horace Greeley House for our 'Victorian Tea and Craft' workshop. Troops have registered from across the county.

These Daisies were SERIOUS about their craft and showed off their Victorian scrapbooks.

The Most Influential Woman in New Castle History

by Gray Williams, Town Historian

Gabrielle Greeley was the youngest and last surviving daughter of Horace and Mary Greeley, and she became the sole heir to their 78-acre farm, which occupied much of the village of Chappaqua. Her generosity had an enormous impact upon its present form.

  • In the 1880s, she granted the town the right-of-way that became South Greeley Avenue, providing a direct connection between the village and the road to Pleasantville.

  • In 1901, she gave the land for the present railroad station, together with the semicircular park next to it and the road leading to it.

  • In 1906, she provided the land, and her husband The Reverend Dr. Frank M. Clendenin the building, for the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin.

  • Perhaps most important of all, in 1926, she either donated or sold at a bargain price the site of Chappaqua’s first comprehensive school, originally named the Horace Greeley School and now known as the Robert E. Bell Middle School.

Gabrielle Greeley Clendenin

Gabrielle Clendenin in Rehoboth

Historic Places of New Castle:

Chappaqua Friends' Meeting House

The historical society is most grateful to the Chappaqua Friends’ Meeting for enabling us to hold our April 28 annual meeting at the most historic building in New Castle.

In 1753, the Purchase Quarterly meeting granted permission to Quakers in “Shapiqua,” who had been meeting for worship in private homes, to build a new meetinghouse. Richard Cornell, Moses Quinby, and Abel Weeks were appointed to oversee the work, which was completed the following year. The site was on two acres that had been donated in 1747 by Robert Reynolds for a burying ground. The original building was quite small – just 16 by 28 feet – but was enlarged in stages so that it reached its present dimensions by the end of the century.

The building conformed to a common Quaker model. In contrast to Christian churches, its exterior resembled a residence, with no traces of its religious function, such as a prominent entrance, ornamental windows, a bell tower, or a steeple. The interior, similarly, contained no features like an altar, a cross or crucifix, fixed pews, or a pulpit. Benches faced a stepped area at the end, where officers of the meeting, senior members, and visiting dignitaries were seated. A distinctive feature was a panel installed temporarily down the middle of the chamber, used to separate the periodic business meetings of men and women. Outside and inside, the Chappaqua meetinghouse has remained almost entirely unchanged from its original form. 

The Quakers were pacifists who had strict rules against taking part in war. Nonetheless, in 1776, following the Battle of White Plains, the meetinghouse was temporarily used as a hospital for wounded Patriot Soldiers. The Quakers may have had no choice in the matter, or they may have considered this an impartial act of charity. A plaque on Quaker Road commemorates the event. 

In 1829, a schism led to the formation of two separate meetings: the Hicksites, following Long Island leader Elias Hicks, and the Orthodox. The Hicksites continued to occupy the original meetinghouse, and the Orthodox built a separate meetinghouse at the northern end of the property. A carriage house was constructed that served both meetings, and both buried their dead in the graveyard.

In the 1880s, the Orthodox meetinghouse was disassembled and its timbers reused in the construction of a new meeting house on King Street, near the center of Chappaqua village.

By the middle of the 20th century, membership in both meetings had declined sharply, and in 1961, they merged into a single meeting at the original meetinghouse. Also, by that time, the graveyard had formally closed, although occasional burials still occurred there, and a cenotaph memorial wall was constructed to commemorate departed members.

Today, the Chappaqua Friends’ Meeting House continues to operate, as it has done without interruption ever since it came into service. It is one of the very few places of worship in this country that can make that claim. The building retains its plain character, without and within a major monument to New Castle’s Quaker past.

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Welcome spring with our new charming Chappaqua tea towels, part of our Museum Store collection of locally inspired products.

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