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So far Yvonne has created 566 blog entries.

The Poughkeepsie Bicycle Club

by Shannon Butler If you are anything like the majority of Americans, you probably tried a few new things to occupy your time during the past year and a half (thanks to the pandemic). One of the biggest trends was cycling. In fact, research shows that over $4.1 billion in bike sales occurred between January and October of 2020, a 62% increase from the previous year! There was a time in the late 19th century when a similar bike craze took hold, and a club was formed right here in Poughkeepsie that grew quickly, but ultimately faded away just as fast. The year was 1887, and bicycles were quickly taking over the streets. A group of 20 passionate wheelmen (the name given to cyclists at the time) founded the Poughkeepsie Bicycle Club on February 3rd, 1887, and began holding meetings in the Pardee building on Main Street. At the time, the roads were mostly filled with horses and carriages, and just a tad on the messy side, as they were mostly unpaved dirt roads (or worse, bumpy cobblestone!). Just a few years later, the club moved into new headquarters on Catherine Street, and the Poughkeepsie Eagle News was always sure to [...]

The Poughkeepsie Bicycle Club2023-12-28T15:29:19-05:00

Local History Presents: Schools and Seminaries of Old Poughkeepsie

by Shannon Butler Did you know that we have another interesting Local History program coming up? That’s right! Wednesday, August 11, 2021 at 7:00 PM, via Zoom, we will be talking all about schools and seminaries of old Poughkeepsie. During the 19th century, Poughkeepsie was a major destination for aspiring students, with a variety of schools to choose from. Young men and women came from all over the country, and in some cases, all over the world, just for the chance to better themselves with our resources and talented educators (and to be sure, going to school in the lovely Hudson Valley was a nice bonus). In our presentation we will look at some of the early forms of education and just how one’s church would play a role in learning. Then we will examine what the options were for schooling before the public school system originated, which took place in the years following the passage of a law in 1843. It took some time to get some public schools organized and running, but in the meantime there were plenty of excellent private schools to attend (if you could afford it). We will be looking at places like the Poughkeepsie Collegiate [...]

Local History Presents: Schools and Seminaries of Old Poughkeepsie2023-12-28T15:28:33-05:00

The Holland Society

by Shannon Butler If you have ever heard the saying “if you ain't Dutch, you ain't much,” then it is quite likely that you have Dutch in your blood (or at the very least, you have been heckled by a Dutchman). This saying is not terribly old, but the sentiment certainly is, and in the late 19th century there existed a group of men who wanted to preserve as much of their Dutch heritage as possible. In our collections here in the Local History Room we have a box of documents from the Holland Society (sadly not the cool early Dutch documents that they have collected). Inside the box are mostly dinner menus, as the Holland Society has become famous for their annual Dinners. However, these menus have inspired us to look into this society that still lives on today, with the same mission they have held for years. This society was formed in 1885 by several prominent men from New York City, all of whom had been able to trace their heritage to the original settlers of New Netherland. In the late 19th century, these men had noticed the rise in immigration into New York City, just as the Dutch [...]

The Holland Society2023-12-28T15:26:30-05:00

The Amrita Clubhouse

by Shannon Butler If you wanted to be a part of a social gathering (something outside of your immediate family), there were plenty of clubs to join in the City of Poughkeepsie during the 19th century. There were clubs with religious backgrounds like the Knights of Columbus or the Christian Temperance Union. There were clubs for the various sports, as we have mentioned before, like yacht clubs, golf, or tennis. How about the Rotary Club or the Oddfellows? Or if you really wanted to be all mysterious, you could be a Mason. All of these organizations had by-laws and constitutions, and of course you had to match the requirements to join each particular club. If you wanted to be a member of the Amrita club, you had to have some money. Now first of all, you are probably wondering, what exactly is Amrita? And why is it in Poughkeepsie? Interestingly enough, the Amrita club, which was formed in 1873, was a club created specifically by and for Poughkeepsians. The origin of the word appears to come from the Hindu tradition and means immortality, but why did a bunch of old white guys from Poughkeepsie decide to create a club with this [...]

The Amrita Clubhouse2024-05-10T13:05:53-04:00

Frederick Douglass Comes to Poughkeepsie

by Shannon Butler By now, you have most certainly heard of Juneteenth, our new federal holiday that celebrates the emancipation of African American slaves here in the United States. However, did you know that before there was ever a Juneteenth, there was another holiday based on the same idea, only for a different nation? Emancipation Day is a holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the British Empire, which took place on August 1, 1833. It is still celebrated today all over the Caribbean, as slavery was such a large part of that area’s history. For abolitionists in 19th century America, they celebrated this holiday as a beacon of hope, no doubt convinced that if the British could do it, so could we. On August 2, 1858, Poughkeepsie was the site of a massive celebration and a speech by one of the greatest lecturers that the abolitionists had on their side, Frederick Douglass. Douglass had seen the evils of slavery firsthand. Who better to discuss the importance of emancipation than he? This was not the first time that Douglass would appear in the City of Poughkeepsie. His first visit and public lecture came in October of 1847, when he spoke [...]

Frederick Douglass Comes to Poughkeepsie2023-12-28T15:25:08-05:00

Take a Look Inside!

by Shannon Butler One of the requests that we get here in the Local History room sounds something like, “Hey, I just bought this old building and want to know if you’ve got any old photos of the inside of it.” For the most part, the answer is no. It is generally very rare for an interior photo to be kept unless it was deemed worthy enough to be a postcard or end up in someone’s family photo album. Think about it for a second; how many photos have you taken of the inside of your house? Today, we certainly take more pictures than say 100 or even 50 years ago, but generally, the only time we really try to get good interior views of our homes or buildings is when we are trying to sell them (i.e. Zillow, Trulia, and so forth). What few interior images we have in our collection are fun to see, not only because they are rare, but because they show how things have changed over the course of a century. So let’s take a look at some! The first two images on the right show us the inside of a building that is no longer [...]

Take a Look Inside!2023-12-28T15:24:27-05:00

Trolley Time!

by Shannon Butler The year is 1900, and you are sailing up the Hudson River on a dayliner steamship bound for Poughkeepsie. Perhaps you are on your way to one of the many schools to attend, or you wish to see a traveling play at one of the local theaters. The best way to make your way around the city as you step off the ship's docks was to hop on the Poughkeepsie-Wappingers Falls Trolley. The trolley system allowed for easy access to Vassar College, Wappingers Falls, and several different corners of Poughkeepsie (See map on the right). In the grand scheme of things, the trolley system didn’t last long (the bus system has been in operation longer at this point) but it still holds a bit of romanticism as a transit method of old. In 1892, the first mention of a trolley appeared in the Poughkeepsie Eagle News which read, “Keep still. Hold your breath. Poughkeepsie is going to have an electric street railroad - probably a trolley system.” The engineering firm of Lawlor and House built the system of rails and lines through the city in 1894, with crews moving fast enough to complete half a mile a day. [...]

Trolley Time!2024-05-10T12:44:53-04:00

Henry Livingston Sr. – Poughkeepsie Enslaver

by Shannon Butler The name of Livingston is well known in the Hudson Valley. One can travel up and down both sides of the river and find residences or evidence of actions of several generations. A few Livingstons decided to make Poughkeepsie their home, most notably Henry Livingston Sr. (seen right). He served his county and state in many different capacities, with his longest role serving as our County Clerk. He was a son of Gilbert and Cornelia (Beekman) Livingston, and the grandson of the first Lord of Livingston Manor, Robert Livingston (there are a lot of Robert Livingstons, but the first Lord of the manor is where it all started, at least in this country.) So when it comes to wealthy members of Poughkeepsie society, Henry Livingston Sr. is one of the first. Henry studied as a land surveyor before he made his way into the position of County Clerk sometime around 1742, though his name does appear on documents as early as 1737 (it was made an official appointment in 1742). He married Susannah Conklin and ended up buying about 60 acres of land from her father, near what is now the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery. Henry also proved himself [...]

Henry Livingston Sr. – Poughkeepsie Enslaver2023-12-28T15:22:11-05:00

Helpful Links for African American Genealogy Research in Dutchess County

New York Slavery Records Index - Records of Enslaved Persons and Slave Holders in New York from 1525 through the Civil War (John Jay College) Dutchess African Heritage Studies: Walter M. Patrice Online Library (Dutchess County Historical Society) New York Heritage Digital Collections – search for "slave register" Free newspaper websites: a.     New York State Historic Newspapers b.     Old Fulton Postcards c.     Hudson River Valley Historical Newspapers

Helpful Links for African American Genealogy Research in Dutchess County2023-09-20T15:51:15-04:00

Poughkeepsie: City of Nursing Schools

by Shannon Butler If you wanted to learn how to become a nurse in Poughkeepsie at the turn of the last century, you'd have had a few places to choose from. But before we look at those places, it should be said to anyone who decides to take on such a calling, good for you! It is no easy task to care for the sick, the dying, or the extremely accident-prone. Being a nurse is not just a job, and it's not just for anyone. One needs to be quick-thinking, have a strong stomach, and have the patience to deal with other human beings, often during their worst moments. Florence Nightingale said, "Nursing is an art - and if it is to be made an art, requires as exclusive a devotion, as hard a preparation as any painter's work, for what is the training to do with dead canvas or cold marble, compared with having to do with the living body." The first of Poughkeepsie's nursing schools came out of the need to help nurses better understand the mentally ill. The Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane (they would later drop the "insane" part) opened its doors in 1871 and [...]

Poughkeepsie: City of Nursing Schools2024-05-10T12:17:06-04:00

The Poughkeepsie Seer – Andrew Jackson Davis

by Shannon Butler Do you ever question why we are really here? What is the meaning of life? (Not the famous Monty Python film, we mean the actual meaning of life!) Have you ever tried to connect with the spirits of those who have passed on? Have you ever been hypnotized? Have you ever just spaced out for a bit and felt like perhaps you've seen the future? Or have you heard voices that seem to come from nowhere that offer you guidance? We could go on and on asking such questions, but who really has the answers that we're all looking for? Historically, many odd characters have come along with claims of great otherworldly powers, and we had one right here in Poughkeepsie who amazed some and irritated others. It didn't take long before he earned the nickname "The Poughkeepsie Seer." Andrew Jackson Davis (not to be confused with the prominent architect Alexander Jackson Davis or landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing) was born on August 11, 1826 just across the river in Orange County. In his autobiography "The Magic Staff," he remembered (perhaps more than anyone could possibly remember of their childhood) growing up in a fairly poor household with [...]

The Poughkeepsie Seer – Andrew Jackson Davis2023-12-05T11:25:12-05:00

The Poughkeepsie Community Theatre

by Shannon Butler As far as recent memory can serve, there has always been a bit of a separation between Vassar College and its hometown of Poughkeepsie. However, there have always been endeavors that connected the college with the community: for example, the students who created and volunteered at the Lincoln Center many years ago and, more recently, the Poughkeepsie Farm Project. Back in the 1920s, another organization made its way from the Vassar campus into the local community, and the relationship benefited both sides for many years. The Poughkeepsie Community Theatre brought Vassar creations to life with the help of local Poughkeepsians, and it was a beautiful sight. Over a century ago, Gertrude Buck was an English professor at Vassar College, where she worked since 1901. She was considered to be one of the best rhetoricians of her day. By 1916, she was working with her students in a playwriting course, which led to the creation of The Vassar Dramatic Workshop. There was no drama department on campus at the time, so this workshop provided the first chance for students to write, produce, and act in their very own creations. Buck, who lived off-campus in a house on Market Street, [...]

The Poughkeepsie Community Theatre2023-10-19T15:38:59-04:00

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Putnam Hall School

by Shannon Butler As we have mentioned in previous blog entries, Poughkeepsie was once known as "the City of Schools." There were lots of schools around the area that are now simply lost to time. We will go into these schools in an upcoming program in August entitled "Local History Presents: Schools and Seminaries of Old Poughkeepsie." Brooks Seminary for Girls began right around the same time as Vassar College in 1871. It was located where Bartlett Park is today, exactly where a parking lot now sits! The school was originally started by Mary Johnson, and when she married her husband, Edward White, the two built a large building on the corner of Hanscum Avenue and what is now Hooker Avenue. In one of the school's brochures, it proclaimed "Brooks Seminary is located at Poughkeepsie New York, justly styled the City of Schools." The brochure went on to proclaim that the grounds and the building were fit for "any gentleman’s mansion." When one entered the school, you would find not a principal's office, but a fancy parlor, just like one would find inside a mansion, and art on the walls created by the female professors. The school claimed that they did [...]

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Putnam Hall School2024-05-10T12:09:40-04:00

The Poughkeepsie Yacht Club

by Shannon Butler The weather is steadily improving, making the river look more and more appealing. If you have even been sailing, you know how lovely it can be and how it almost transports you back in time. If we go back to the early days of New York, sailing was the fastest way to get from one place to another along the Hudson River and it was the main source of transportation of just about all materials. Today, we certainly have faster ways of getting goods and people around, so for the most part, sailing is a hobby for most and a passion for a few. In 1892, a few workers from Poughkeepsie were sailing a sloop named Beatrice when they decided to create a club that focused solely on the sailing of yachts. During this particular river outing, the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club was born. Within months of creating their club, the men established themselves on a dock that was owned by the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, which they leased for $25 a year. They built the first clubhouse near the site of what was once a shipyard during the American Revolution. Races and regattas were becoming [...]

The Poughkeepsie Yacht Club2024-05-10T12:04:38-04:00

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – 140 Academy Street

by Shannon Butler For those of you who missed our recent program on historic houses of the Hudson Valley: fear not! You can find it on our YouTube page, along with many of our other programs and documentaries. For this week's local history blog, we will discuss one of the houses from the talk that has been lost to history. When we first came across this unmarked photograph in our collection, we didn't think that it was from Poughkeepsie at all. It looked like something out of an English countryside. But as it turns out, this house once stood alongside the other great and unique houses that line Academy Street. This estate started out as the home of New York Supreme Court Justice Joseph F. Barnard. Joseph was born in 1823 on a farm just north of Poughkeepsie. His father had been a whaler in Nantucket, but came to the Hudson Valley in the early 1800s. By 1836, his father sold the farm and moved the family into the City of Poughkeepsie, where they lived at #47 Cannon Street. Joseph prepared for college at the Dutchess County Academy and went on to graduate from Yale in 1841. He was admitted to [...]

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – 140 Academy Street2024-05-10T12:02:39-04:00

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Glen Eden School

by Shannon Butler As you might have read in previous blog entries, lots of interesting buildings that once stood in Poughkeepsie have now been lost to time. You are most likely also aware of the fact that Poughkeepsie had several schools and seminaries. (Heads up: we'll run a program about that later on this year, stay tuned!) Just a few weeks ago, we looked at the Lyndon Hall School for Girls. This week, we will examine yet another: the Glen Eden School. Dr. Frederic Martin Townsend served as a principal for a school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and wanted to continue his work under the auspices of the Episcopal church. He made his way into Poughkeepsie, where he expressed interest in purchasing Miss Eleanor Shackleford's school known as St. Faith's School. Miss Shackleford had transformed the mansion of John F. Hume, which was located on Washington Street, into a school back in 1904. By 1910, Townsend came in with his own idea for a school which he called the Glen Eden School. As with many of the local girls' schools, this institution was designed to serve as part finishing school and part college prep. The school offered classes in the major languages [...]

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Glen Eden School2024-05-10T12:01:06-04:00

Poughkeepsie Architecture: The New York State Armory

by Shannon Butler We've all driven or walked past it: a giant red castle that appears on top of the hill as you enter the city of Poughkeepsie from the west. It looks like something from another century, and like many of the old buildings of Poughkeepsie, it is! The New York State Armory was once the starting point for soldiers who were heading off to war. Over a century after its construction, it now serves as a place of worship, but the building has witnessed and hosted various occasions over the years, from sporting events to parties. The armory, as author Nancy Todd put it, "had three basic functions, they served as military facilities, clubhouses, and public monuments." Ours has gone on to do even more. The building was designed by Isaac G. Perry, who had quite the resume when it came to New York State architecture. Perry would ultimately be responsible for designing 27 armories, as well as the State Capitol in Albany. When it comes to State armories, they all tend to have a similar design: part drilling shed (where the soldiers do drills) and part administrative offices (where the paperwork gets done). They are meant to appear [...]

Poughkeepsie Architecture: The New York State Armory2024-05-10T12:00:03-04:00

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – The Pringle Home

by Shannon Butler This week, we investigate the Pringle Home as we continue to look at interesting buildings of Poughkeepsie that are no longer standing. Before we begin, let' s answer the thought that just popped into some of your minds by saying: no, it's not the home of the delicious potato chips (disappointing, we know). Actually, it has a much more sentimental value than a tasty sour cream and onion crisp. The home was the creation of a trio of loving siblings. They were devoted to each other and to the idea that men in their elder years should be able to retire in peace, comfort, and dignity. So began the story of "The Pringle Home for Aged Literary Men." Margaret, Samuel, and Mulligan Pringle all lived in New York City in the early 1800s. Margaret married David Fenton and the two had no children; they lived a very frugal life in Greenwich Village, surrounded by writers, artists, and musicians. Her brothers both worked hard in their lives and neither ever married or produced any children. When her brother Mulligan retired in his later years, he had no place in which to grow old, no one to care for him, [...]

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – The Pringle Home2024-05-10T11:56:52-04:00

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Lincoln Center

by Shannon Butler How many of you remember spending a day at Lincoln Center? Perhaps you enjoyed playing basketball or cooling off in the wading pool? Did you attend any classes in woodworking or weaving? Or maybe you joined up with the drum corps or rhythm band? The south side of Poughkeepsie was quite fortunate to have a place where kids could go to learn, play, and connect with their community in a positive way. For over 40 years, Lincoln Center was a place that felt like home to many, and it inspired the young people of Poughkeepsie to be better and to do good works. The idea for such a place started off with the desire for students and staff at Vassar College to become more engaged with the community. It was 1917 when a group of students first created a play group for local children. The timing was right, as there was certainly a need for a safe place for children to be and the poor side of Poughkeepsie began to become more obvious and more defined. Within a year of its creation, the flu epidemic broke out and Lincoln Center (which was then renting a small space on [...]

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Lincoln Center2024-05-10T11:53:48-04:00

Art in Poughkeepsie: The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

by Shannon Butler If you’re like us, you have seriously missed going out to museums and art galleries. However, things are slowly beginning to open up and we have a fabulous teaching museum/art gallery right here in Poughkeepsie that will both inspire and educate at the same time. They even have a wonderful new exhibit which showcases women in the world of art. “Women Picturing Women'' is currently on view at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, from now until June 13th, and as you may have read in a previous blog post, the gallery has a truly great history of collecting some amazing art. The museum began when Matthew Vassar purchased a massive collection from the Rev. Elias Magoon, in the 1860s. This collection focused on the works of the Hudson River School artists like Frederic Church and Asher Durand. This was long before the Metropolitan Museum opened its doors (which was in 1880, by the way). In the report of the committee on the art gallery made in 1864, Rev. Magoon, who served as the chairman of the committee wrote, "Art is diviner than science; the latter discovers, this creates." He went on to explain the [...]

Art in Poughkeepsie: The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center2024-05-10T11:29:38-04:00

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Lyndon Hall School

by Shannon Butler Long before the opening of Vassar College, there existed a desire to educate young ladies in the city of Poughkeepsie. As a matter of fact, several schools popped up in the mid-19th century that strongly encouraged a proper education for girls. They included the Poughkeepsie Female Academy, located on Cannon Street, the Mansion Square Female Seminary, and the College Hill Female Seminary. The school we wish to examine today went by a few different names, but lasted longer than the others: the Poughkeepsie Female Collegiate Institute, a.k.a. Cook's Collegiate, a.k.a. Lyndon Hall School. The year was 1848, and small schools had been popping up all over Poughkeepsie. Dr. Charles H.P. McLellan was in the midst of creating a school dedicated to giving young ladies the knowledge to establish themselves as housewives or teachers (which were pretty much the only choices for females in the 19th century). McLellan wanted to create a school that was small and selective, with room enough for some students to live, but also able to cater to those who could commute. The school was located on the corner of Catharine and Mill Streets. It began as a small brick building, which opened in 1849. [...]

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Lyndon Hall School2024-05-06T15:44:47-04:00

John Burroughs: A Hudson Valley Essayist

by Shannon Butler When the weather starts to warm up (like it seems to be doing right now), we head outdoors. We search for a trail to hike, a stream to fish, or a forest to watch for wildlife. It helps bring us back to life. There is something about the warmth of the sun in the wilderness that refreshes all of the senses. Nobody understood this better than John Burroughs, a 19th century essayist and a Hudson Valley native. Burroughs wrote over 25 books on topics ranging from nature to religion to camping with Theodore Roosevelt! His writing still continues to inspire us today, almost exactly 100 years after his death on March 29, 1921. John Burroughs was born in the Catskills near Roxbury, New York in 1837. It was to this modest farm that he attributed his love of nature. He began his career as a teacher before he published his first piece of writing in the Atlantic Monthly in 1860. By 1864, he found a job at the U.S. Treasury in Washington, D.C. and continued to write from his office there, but his cramped office in the Capitol was nothing like the freedom of the Catskills. In 1873, [...]

John Burroughs: A Hudson Valley Essayist2023-10-19T14:59:41-04:00

What’s in a Name? – Dutchess County

by Shannon Butler Ever wonder how we got the name Dutchess County? It would seem like it has something to do with all of those Dutch settlers based on the way it's spelled. However, as history would have it, the county, along with all of the original counties of New York, was named for the House of Stuart in the 17th century. All the way back in 1683, the legislative assembly of the Province of New York passed an act to divide the land into counties with names like Ulster, Albany, Orange, and of course the county that we are now located in "The Dutchess's County," now simply known as Dutchess County. Though they added a ‘T’ to Duchess in the original spelling (which we haven’t changed) the county was named in the honor of Mary Beatrice d’Este (aka, the Duchess of York, and later Queen Consort of England, Scotland, and Ireland). But why is this area named for someone who never even set foot here? Well, if you look closely at American History, it's quite common to see this. Many of the names of the colonies, like Virginia, named for the Virgin Queen Elizabeth (never visited), or Maryland named for [...]

What’s in a Name? – Dutchess County2023-12-28T15:17:00-05:00

Famous Local History Ladies: Madam Brett

by Shannon Butler “Who run the world? Girls!” as Queen Beyonce says, and who ran things in southern Dutchess county from 1709 until her death in 1764? Why, none other than Catheryna Rombout Brett. Her legacy and her home have stood the test of time, and it's hard to find someone in the Fishkill/Beacon area who doesn’t know that name. But do you really know who Madam Brett was? We don’t have a picture or a painting of her, but she left her mark all over the place. We know she was smart, business savvy, and she certainly must have been brave. We know that she spoke Dutch and English, as her writing tends to be a mix of the two. Let’s take a closer look at one of the area’s famous local history ladies. Most of Dutchess County was wilderness in the late 1600s, but a prosperous man by the name of Frances Rombout (along with two other partners) had managed to purchase a large chunk of land from a local Native American tribe, the Wappingers (about $1,250 for 85,000 acres, which is much more than the so-called $24 for Manhattan). Rumbout did well in trading and political ventures, serving [...]

Famous Local History Ladies: Madam Brett2023-10-19T14:58:18-04:00

An Actress in the Pest House

by Shannon Butler Nobody wants to be considered a pest, especially when your vocation is actually to entertain people with your talent for drama. So when a young actress found herself in the local “pest house” in 1895, newspapers made quite a fuss, and so did local authorities. First, we must determine what exactly a pest house is. To be clear, a pest house is not someplace to store an annoying neighbor or other random individuals. In fact, pest houses were a sign of humans beginning to understand infectious diseases and the need for proper quarantines. Here in Poughkeepsie, there was a pest house on the grounds of Vassar Hospital, where individuals diagnosed with infectious things like cholera or tuberculosis would be placed. 9 year-old actress Lillian Graham was part of the Uncle Tom’s Cabin Company, a traveling troupe performing the famous story in the 1890s. She played the role of Little Eva and was considered to be quite talented. Her mother had been traveling and performing with her, but she suddenly became ill and was left behind in Chicago to recover. When the company arrived in Poughkeepsie, Lillian complained of a sore throat which gradually got worse. Another female member [...]

An Actress in the Pest House2023-10-19T14:57:44-04:00

Landscape Paint and Sip

Recent pics from our Teen Landscape Paint and Sip event. Don't miss out on future events! Sign up for our emails here.

Landscape Paint and Sip2021-03-04T11:44:14-05:00

John Sickley: War Time Librarian

by Shannon Butler We all know the importance of having literary skills. Being able to read for both knowledge and pleasure is essential in our everyday lives. Sometimes, having a good novel to read is the greatest tool for opening our minds and imaginations, and escaping from the real world for a while. Libraries are the best places to go to satisfy our need for books, especially in tough times. In 1918, nobody understood the need for reading better than the head librarian for the City of Poughkeepsie, John Sickley. Sickley was originally born in New Jersey in 1850 and was the great-grandson of John Bradbury, a famous English botanist and travel writer. By 1870, Sickley and his mother had moved to Poughkeepsie. He graduated from Poughkeepsie High School in 1873 as valedictorian and went on to study law under Judge Nelson. Within a few years, he was admitted to the bar, but it soon became clear that he preferred the work of a librarian more than the work of the law. So in January of 1884, Sickley was appointed the librarian of what was essentially a fairly new collection. It was only a few years before, in 1881, when the [...]

John Sickley: War Time Librarian2024-05-06T15:17:50-04:00

The Blizzard of 1888

by Shannon Butler Have we had enough snow yet? It's only February, after all, but it does feel as if it wants to snow just a little bit everyday. We do have plenty of time left in our winter season for a storm to wreak havoc across our valley. Hopefully, it won’t be like the deadly blizzard of 1888. When it comes to which snowstorm is the deadliest on record, most people agree that it's the famous "Great White Hurricane of '88." In fact, if you Google the phrase "worst snowstorms in history," this one is on every list! Poughkeepsie certainly felt the power of this storm, so much so that it would be talked about for generations to come. (Hey, we’re talking about it right now!) The Blizzard of 1888 had everything that you could possibly hate about a snowstorm. Bone-chilling temperatures, hurricane-force winds, several inches of snow dropping per hour, and it raged on for about a day and a half. To make matters worse, there were no warning systems to speak of in 1888 (no radar or AccuWeather maps). Just a few days before the storm began, it had been mild and rainy. For mid-March, that would lead [...]

The Blizzard of 18882024-05-06T15:16:58-04:00
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