A Visit to West Point

On July 28th, a small group went on a tour of nearby West Point. We were fortunate enough to have gotten some pictures of the grounds…

…to compare to these pictures that are about 120 years old! The first four glass negatives in our collection are of West Point, taken sometime between 1895 and 1905 (by our best estimate, which is based on the dates on the negative folders).

While we can thank Michael Bennett for the crisp, color photos we have no idea who took the black and white photos. One of the many mysteries at our little museum. Whoever it was had ties to Putnam Valley and Peekskill, some of the slides are of the Barger family. But that’s another post for another day.

Our American History will return in September – we’ll be at Town Day in September – another trek to Bannerman is on Sunday September 24th, our Annual Meeting is in October, and plans for our Halloween Event are being made. Some smaller, community focused events are also being put together – keep an eye out here and on Facebook for more details – as well as plans for next year, when we celebrate our 50th Anniversary.  In the meantime, visit the museum on Saturdays from 10:00AM – 2:00PM. You can check our our recent donations – 3 portraits of members of the Hadden family.

Alexander Hamilton, West Point, Bannerman Castle.

This past Thursday was the conclusion of the 2017 spring season of Our American History – and boy did we go out with a bang! It was our best attended session yet, with around 60 people in attendance. Many thanks to Rand Scholet for a wonderfully entertaining, informative, and exciting glimpse into the remarkable life of Alexander Hamilton.

We’d also like to thank the Tompkins Corners Cultural Center for lending us their space. The lawn outside was the perfect stage for our two lead actors to show us what (supposedly) happened that fateful day in Weehawken, New Jersey.

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Stay tuned for a video of the duel.

Our American History will resume in the fall, but in the meantime we have a tour of West Point to look forward to, on July 29th

West Point Visit

As well as registration for the fall tour of Bannerman Castle! If you missed it the first time around, or simply want to see it again – sign up soon! The spots filled very quickly last time.

Bannerman Island2

 

Mark your calendars (or add it to your phone)

There’s a change in our schedule for Our American History for July…instead of being held on the second Saturday (the 8th) at 10:00AM, it will be on Thursday July 13th at the Tompkins Corners Cultural Center (the former TC Methodist Church) on Peekskill Hollow Road, at 7:00pm. Join us that evening for a presentation by Rand Scholet on Alexander Hamilton – George Washington’s Indispensable Partner, enjoy some summer evening treats…and witness a reenactment of the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr that only Putnam Valley can pull off. You may be wondering who will be filling those famous shoes, you may have heard rumors – make sure you’re there to see it for yourself!

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Bannerman Castle and WWI

The next installment of Our American History is coming up on June 10th – The Great War and the Human Condition: Experiences of Soldiers during World War I, presented by William Broggy. 2017 is the 100th Anniversary of the United States entry into WWI (we declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917). WWI.jpg

Last weekend, the historical society took what is now likely our inaugural trip to Bannerman Castle. Another trip will be planned in the fall, details to follow later this summer, and likely again next spring.

Our annual membership drive mailings also went out last week. If you are interested in becoming a member and are not on our mailing list, you can contact us at putnamvalleyhistory@gmail.com, or stop by the museum on Saturdays from 10:00AM to 2:00PM. We’ve had visitors every weekend this month, some by appointment, and some from out of state!

Tour of Bannerman – Sold Out!

We’ve filled all our available spots for the tour on the 20th! If you couldn’t make it this time, we are discussing the possibility of doing another trip in the fall – we’ll let everyone know later on in the summer.

Exhibit Opening on Saturday

Our exhibit for 2017 is opening this Saturday, May 6th, at 10:00AM. Crossroads: The Cornerstones of Putnam Valley will offer residents both lifelong and new a glimpse into the general history of those well known corners in town. The original goal was to set everything up as a map that you could walk through but given the space constraints it had to be scaled back quite a bit. Equally challenging was narrowing down the photo selection. So many pictures, so little space! The photo on the flyer was one I knew I wanted to use, and I can’t remember if it’s been posted on here or Facebook yet. Do you recognize the corners?

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Crossroads Exhibit

May 13th is the next Our American History program, about slavery in New York.

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May 20th is our highly anticipated tour of Bannerman Castle. Spots are going quickly so if you are interested in going, make sure you register today!

Bannerman Island

The day following the tour (May 21st) is a special program presented by The Reform Temple of Putnam Valley, the Friends of the Putnam Valley Library,  and the Putnam Valley Historical Society at the library at 3:00PM featuring author Annette Libeskind Berkovits as she discusses In the Unlikeliest of Places – How Nachman Libeskind Survived the Nazis, Gulags, and Soviet Communism.

Unlikeliest.jpg

 

As you can see, we have a pretty busy month ahead of us. Hope to see you soon!

P.S. – We finally got our fire proof file cabinets, and boy are they heavy! They are in their new home in our back room, which is a mess right now with the exhibit prep. Starting May 7th, I’ll be diving right back into organization and scanning.

And we’re open for the season

The schoolhouse is now open for the 2017! We’ll be open this Saturday from 10:00AM – 2:00PM and doing a lot of spring cleaning, but you’re welcome to stop by. The exhibit won’t be fully up and running the opening until May 6th – there will be a post in the next week or two with more information.

Information about the Bannerman Island tour on May 20th will also be available in the near future.

Our next installment of Our American History is one week from this Saturday. See you there!

Special People

Coming soon…

So…what’s been going on.

Next month brings the return of our continuing Our American History series with Eleanor Roosevelt: The Development of a Woman Activist on Saturday March 11th, 10:00AM at the library.

eleanorroosevelt

There’s also a genealogy workshop on Saturday March 25th at 10:00 at the library. There is a $10.00 registration fee, but both members of the Putnam Valley Historical Society and/or Friends of the Library have a reduced fee of $5.00. Speaking from personal experience – genealogy is fascinating and you NEVER know what you will find piecing together your family tree.

genealogy-flyer

The schoolhouse will hopefully be reopening sometime in March, there will be a post here when we get a date. That post will also include information about the exhibit for 2017, and possibly the schedule of topics for Our American History.

Regarding the Where Are We houses – Some have been potentially ID’d by looking up tax notices in the newspapers from the 30s and 40s. This will be an ongoing project, as will the Who Are We pictures. Nobody has been identified yet, but some people in the photo collection that were labeled as “so and so’s grandfather” are now properly labeled with their own name. Again, another ongoing project.

We’ve been getting messages from people about helping out and volunteer opportunities. We’d love to have you! Once we reopen for the season, the house/people project will be ongoing, we are always scanning and transcribing documents…it may sound boring but I promise, it’s not. We are also interested in anything photo/document/story you may have that’s related to Women’s Suffrage or World War I AND is connected to either Putnam Valley or Putnam County. 2017 is the centennial anniversary of both Women’s Suffrage and the US entry into World War I. If you have anything, contact either us or the Putnam County Historian’s Office. We’d love to see what you have!

The response to the last picture post on Facebook was, in a word, awesome. Was not expecting that! We’ve gained 84 page likes since Wednesday morning – hello new people! Thanks for liking us!

 

Happy New Year!

We’re nearly a month into the new year – here’s what’s been happening behind the scenes.

  • Plugging along with the picture scanning. We are well past 2,000 and the more I dig through files, the more I find. I would not be surprised if when all is said and done, we end up with 4,000 – 4,500 digital pictures. This does NOT include the documents that have been scanned (more on that below). We don’t know yet if all of these images will be available online in the future, or if we’ll just have the database available with a smaller, rotating digital album. Stay tuned.
  • Genealogy files – another project that sounds simple,until you open the first folder (Adams, in case you were curious) and see that it’s not just genealogy papers inside. That’s been taking some work. Do we scan everything and call it a day? Do we just list what we have available for each name? How do we know what’s in there if we don’t list every individual name? Do we (way in the future – like, next year in the future) create family trees for each family? I’ve settled on a combination of scanning everything and making a very basic list for now.
  • Updating the site here. If you click around, specifically on the Historic Putnam Valley menu at the top, you’ll notice there’s a new posting about the History of Putnam Valley. It’s a brief but informative writing from our past town historian Mr. Crimmins. Another document that we have 400 paper copies of that is now available to everyone. It was written 31 years ago so there are some things missing, namely the high school.Within that post (or if you hover over the menu) is a link to Historic Lake Peekskill. This was an oral history given by Bertha Gragert to Gladys Gragert Muller in 1990. I’ve started inserting pictures into the two pages, and more will be coming in the next few months. Another one of our back projects is getting all the old VHS tapes of the senior interviews onto the computer, and I’d like to get some clips of those up here and create a separate personal history section. That’ll probably happen over the summer or fall.
  • Document scanning. We have everything from dental work receipts from when a “full upper and lower” was $30.00 and could be paid in installments (my guess is early 1900s) to original school tax receipts ($0.38 tax + $0.05 collector fee) and copies of wills. And that’s just in one genealogy folder! This will definitely end up being a later rather than sooner project, since the documents aren’t just in the genealogy folders but in our regular archives as well. And the scrapbooks of newspaper articles. So many newspaper clippings.
  • Working on our upcoming exhibit. More on that in a few weeks. The opening is May 6th at 10:00AM at the schoolhouse.

Snow Day!

The museum will not be open today due to the snowy, soon to be sleet-y and icy conditions. Today would have been our last day of the year anyway, so the museum will not be reopening until May 2017. See you then! (There will be a longer post tomorrow or Monday – just wanted to get it out there that we are not open today)