Shirts are here! Annual Meeting Info!

New Tshirt

Our new shirts are here! We think they look pretty snazzy. We have sizes ranging from kids ($12) XS to adult ($15) XXL. They’d be great to wear on the tour of the Cornish Estate  on September 8th. The kids shirts are a slightly brighter blue, the adult shirts are slightly darker. Think Mets blue vs. Yankees blue. And if you’re a baseball fan, you don’t want to miss Our American History: Basically Baseball with Michael Adamovich in September – it’ll be on the 23rd at 1:00pm at the library. We’ll have them available for sale at the museum and will bring some to Town Day, along with tote bags featuring a very similar design.


Our Annual Meeting and Awards Reception will be held on Sunday, October 14th at 1:00PM at the Putnam Valley Volunteer Ambulance Corps Headquarters on Oscawana Lake Road. In addition to recognizing two community members, Putnam Valley Councilwoman Wendy Whetsel and decorated veteran Richard Knapp, this year our meeting will also feature guest speaker Mr. Lou Del Bianco. He tells the story of his grandfather Luigi Del Bianco, the chief carver of Mount Rushmore. Yes, that Mount Rushmore. The four impressively massive stone heads gazing out upon the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota Mount Rushmore.

You can read about Lou on his website, or in this New York Times article, or this CBS News video. As you can see, it’s a pretty impressive story he has to share.

The afternoon affair includes a luncheon, silent auction, and a brief meeting. It is $40/person to attend, and while invitations will be mailed to members, the meeting is open to all. Payment can be made online (on the right side of the screen, you’ll see the little payment widget at the top), or by cash or check (made out to the Putnam Valley Historical Society). You can either mail in your payment along with the names of all attendees or as always, you can stop by the museum on a Saturday between 10:00AM and 2:00PM to pay in person and look at our current exhibit on the Revolutionary War.

September is just around the corner…

Can you feel it? The subtle change in the air, the late summer wildflowers blooming, the cacophony of nighttime insects, the panic of students realizing they have to cram their summer reading assignments into the next two weeks. It’s almost time to head back to school!

As a kid, this was one of my favorite times of year. New school supplies, new sneakers and a few new outfits…it was a chance to refresh. You know, in case your New Years Resolutions didn’t pan out the way you’d hoped.

You may have noticed that our website looks a little different. It’s time for us to refresh. We upgraded a few things, and will now be able to not only post many more photos in the coming weeks, but video and audio clips. The opening ceremony and dedication of our museum, the history of the library, first hand accounts of the early development of Lake Peekskill, growing up on Lake Oscawana, and much more. The plan is to have it up by around September 5th – the first day of school here in Putnam Valley.

Over on the right side of the site, there will be a short list of upcoming events.

Our new t-shirts (kid and adult sizes!) should be in the museum by next week, and this week we’re expecting tote bags! Who can’t use an extra tote bag in the car, and what better place to get one than your local historical society?

For those tech-savvy, on the go followers of ours with smart phones, we’ll be up and running on Instagram soon. It’ll be the quickest way to show you what we’re up to, both in the museum and live(ish) from our events and goings on outside the museum walls.

Speaking of events outside the museum; Coming up on September 8, 15, and 23 you’ll find us at the following places:

Northgate Old Cornish Visit

September 15th you can find us at Putnam Valley Town Day at Leonard Wagner Memorial Park (town park), and the following weekend on Sunday, Our American History returns with our very own Michael Adamovich.

Basically Baseball

Our annual meeting will be held on Sunday October 14th at 1:00pm at the Putnam Valley Volunteer Ambulance Headquarters on Oscawana Lake Road. We’ll be doing something new this year. In addition to honoring members of our community, having a silent auction and conducting our annual meeting, we’ll also be having a rather lively presentation about Luigi Del Bianco. Who is that, you’re wondering? Why, he was the chief carver of Mount Rushmore. Yes, that Mount Rushmore. It’ll be dinner and a show, if you will. Invitations will be going out to our members shortly, and of course non-members are always welcome.

Halloween’s not to far off either, and if you’ve been to any grocery stores lately you’ll have noticed the candy displays are already out. We’re working out our Halloween plans for this year but in the interest of keeping some things on a traditional, seasonal type schedule, we’ll share all that info in September.

We’ll hold off on any holiday boutique announcements until October.

Doing new things with old stuff, and a class trip!

There’s been a lot of “behind the scenes” things happening at the museum recently.

One box of our older documents has been scanned is ready for transcribing – volunteers are welcome! The document on the left is a vendue list (a public auction or sale) from Nathaniel Post. It’s undated, but assumed to be from the late 1700s. The prices listed are in pounds, shillings, pence. The document on the right is the indenture between Beverly  Robinson and Abraham Post, signed in “the fourteenth Year of the Reign of Our Sovereign Lord King George the Third”, or 1774. Does the name Beverly Robinson sound familiar but you’re not quite sure why? Visit the museum! Our current exhibit is about the (now) Putnam County area during the American Revolution and you’ll find quite a bit about Mr. Robinson.

We’ve also started the process of transferring our recorded interviews from cassette tape to digital. The oldest tapes go back to the mid 1970s, the newest from the 1990s. In the coming weeks we’ll hopefully have some clips available here for your listening pleasure. The topics range from the history of the library, to the creation of Lake Peekskill, the history surrounding Lake Oscawana, Putnam Valley during World War II…and much more. Most of these also need transcribing, and again – volunteers are welcome!


Our American History is on vacation for August, but in July we had a wonderful presentation by crowd favorite Thom Johnson about the Old Cornish Estate in Cold Spring, and it was very quickly decided that a tour of the property would be an excellent outing for the historical society and our friends. Our dedicated volunteer Michael Bennett wrote a great advertisement for our class trip – who wouldn’t want to join us after reading it??

Come join the Putnam Valley Historical Society, along with local historian, educator and artist Thom Johnson, for a visit to Northgate, the Old Cornish Estate in Cold Spring, NY. Journey back in time to see the remnants of the once-great estate – and see the site’s promise for the future!

One of the most mysterious ruins in the Hudson Valley is the Old Cornish Estate, or Northgate, located in the shadow of Breckneck Ridge and part of the Hudson Highlands State Park. For many years there were no known photographs of the site prior to its destruction by fire in 1958, and there was little information available. After publication of the book Hudson Valley Ruins (Rinaldi and Yasensac 2006), descendants of Sigmund Stern, the estate’s first owner, and Edward Cornish, who purchased it in 1917, came forward with both photographs and a more complete history of the site.

Today, while only ruins remain to demonstrate its former grandeur, the location’s early history, the records of its initial construction, the identity of the many structures built on the site and their varied uses, the story of its sale and the devastating fire, and even the promise of the estate’s future remain a fascination for local historians, researchers, nature-lovers, preservationists, and artists of all types!

There is a $10 fee per person for the trip. You can pay online here or pay at the museum on a Saturday, or mail a check (payable to Putnam Valley Historical Society) to P.O. Box 297, Putnam Valley NY 10579. We will also be making carpool arrangements as the date gets closer, due to limited parking.

New t-shirts are on their way to the museum as well – we’ll be sure to let you know when they arrive so you can visit us to buy one. We’ll have them before the trip, in case you wanted to pick one up to wear that day, in case we wanted to take a group picture or anything…

Our American History

Cornish Estate


You may remember him from the Bannerman Island tours, or the presentation he gave about Bannerman Island…but Thom Johnson is coming back to Putnam Valley! This time we’ll be learning about the old Cornish Estate, another local (to the county) historical site with an air of mystery and intrigue swirling about. See you on the 14th at 10:00AM!

Coming Soon! Very Soon!

The first of our scanning dates is quickly approaching – Saturday June 2, 10:00am – 4:00pm at the Adams Corners Schoolhouse. This first session is dedicated to Lake Peekskill – we want to see your pictures, your papers, hear your stories! We’ll also have a small set up of some of our collection that relates to LP. Stop by, meet some of your neighbors, and (maybe) learn something new about the history of this unique part of Putnam Valley!

On June 9th – Our American History: Putnam Valley and the surrounding area in the American Revolution with Putnam Valley Town Historian Dan Ricci! This one promises to be interesting, folks! You’ll definitely leave with a greater knowledge and understanding of what was going on here some 240+ years ago. Please note the time change for this one. We’ll be meeting at 2:00PM, which gives you plenty of time to visit the museum first to check our our exhibit on loan from the Putnam County Historian’s Office – The Control of The Highlands: Putnam County in the Revolution. Also on loan from Mr. Ricci’s private collection are a selection of Revolutionary War era artifacts and replica military items.

PV in the Revolution

Exhibit Opening Postponed

Updated 05/20/18 – The power was back on as of yesterday afternoon, so our Revolutionary War exhibit opening and 50th birthday party will be this coming Saturday, May 26th at 10:00AM. We’ll see you then!

As many, if not all of you are aware, this past week a rather damaging storm passed through the area. While our schoolhouse thankfully did not take a direct hit, many homes and properties in the surrounding area did. While cleanup efforts continue and power gets restored, we will be postponing our exhibit opening and 50th birthday party scheduled for May 19th and the museum is temporarily closed.


The above pictures are of our side and back yard/garden area. The tree just missed the schoolhouse. A nuisance, but nothing that can’t be cleaned up. Running past the white fence and parallel to the tree is Church Road, a little ways up from where Governor  Cuomo held his press conference the other day.

Unfortunately, our town has become quite familiar with damaging storms in 2018. While the storm on Tuesday didn’t have the devastating impact on the community that the storms in March did, it is still an event that will be recalled years from now when friends and neighbors gather around and “remember when”, sharing pictures and stories. We’re living through some historic times in our town, folks.

We will announce the new opening date for the exhibit in the next few days.

Our American History – Gettysburg

Please note the 1:00PM start time for this one!! Still at the library.


Our next lecture is fast approaching! While last month we enjoyed looking back at a fun time in our past, enjoying the thrill and excitement of an amusement park, this month we look back at a time when our county was severely divided and suffered it’s bloodiest battle during the Civil War. One of the more effective ways of reaching later generations, historical reenactments, movies, and documentaries about the Civil War let us experience a small portion of what was happening in the 1860s.



Show & Tell & Scan! Amusement parks!

Lots of fun stuff coming up!

Show and TellStart thinking about what you have to share with us! Even if you don’t live in the area anymore, if it’s related to Putnam Valley, we’re interested!


Our American History is on April 14th, and we’ll hear all about Palisades Amusement Park. Never heard of it? Not related to Putnam Valley? A predecessor to Six Flags Great Adventure, this amusement park offered wildly entertaining day trips for residents of Putnam Valley and much of the lower Hudson Valley for decades before closing in 1971 (Six Flags opened in the mid 70s). Join us as Vince Gargiulo discusses and shares the Palisades Amusement Park experience.

Palisades Park

Coming up this season

With much of the area recovering from the series of storms and extended power outages, Our American History made it’s return. We had a small gathering at the library for local author Deborah Rafferty Oswald on March 10 where she shared her inspiration and research methods and materials for her book, The Girls of Haviland. Afterwards she autographed copies of the book.


The next Our American History will be on April 14th – Palisades Amusement Park: A Century of Fond Memories with Vince Gargiulo.

Palisades Park


We will be holding a series of Show & Tell & Scan days at the museum this upcoming season. We are interested in seeing what old photos, documents (including genealogy documents and records), and reasonably sized objects (i.e., objects that are easily carried from your car into the museum without assistance) you have relating to the history of the town. We’ll scan the photos and documents, photograph all your cool stuff, and provide you with a digital copy. In return, we’re asking that you allow us to share them (with credit) through our programs, displays and exhibits, in response to information requests, and on social media. Each session will be several hours long, so you’ll be able to chat with your neighbors and friends, see what other information the museum may have about your house/family/neighborhood/that old building you’ve always wondered about/etc.

There will be four sessions, split into geographical areas

  • Lake Oscawana
  • Lake Peekskill
  • Roaring Brook
  • Greater Putnam Valley

The dates will be announced shortly, so whether your family’s been here for three or four generations, or you are a newer resident that moved into an old house and found some cool stuff, or have somehow acquired anything related to the history of Putnam Valley, start thinking about what you’d like to share with us! The Where Are We album on Facebook will also be updated next month, so take a peek through there to see if you recognize any of the houses and have any information about them!

And finally….the exhibit for this year will be about the Revolutionary War in (now) Putnam Valley and the surrounding areas. The official opening will be in early May. If you haven’t ever been to the museum, or it’s been a while, say, since kindergarten, this will be a great year to come back. See you soon!

One last note – the building is still winterized. We’ll let everyone know when it’s open again.

The Return of Our American History

Our American History is back for 2018! Join us for our first session on Saturday March 10 as we welcome local author Deborah Rafferty Oswald. Girls of Haviland Flyer

We’ll also be announcing a few exciting things in the next couple of weeks…museum open dates, our 2018 exhibit, and a series of information gathering/sharing sessions. Think…show and tell among residents and community members. If you have old pictures, documents, maps, ephemera, etc… about Putnam Valley and Lake Peekskill, we’re interested in it.

We hope to see you soon!