About Yvonne

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Yvonne has created 602 blog entries.

Ghost Stories in Poughkeepsie

Ghost Stories in Poughkeepsie It's that spooky time of year again: Halloween is upon us! What would the season be without a good ghost story? There are several books about various haunted sites in the Hudson Valley. From creepy old houses and theaters, to hotels and bars, there are supposedly several spooky spots that can be found (or investigated, if one believes in such things). One place that seems to keep popping up is that of the hauntings at Christ Church, right here in Poughkeepsie. Could there be something lurking in the pews of this historic building on Academy Street (other than the Holy Ghost)? Why would such a special place be haunted, you ask? Well, the land where the modern day Christ Church stands today was once a graveyard (strike 1!). If we look at the early maps of Poughkeepsie, you can see where it says “Episcopal Burying Ground” even as early as 1834, before the south end of Academy Street was established. About seven acres was secured by the Rev. Dr. John Reed, who was rector of Christ Church, for the use of a burial ground. Several burials took place there, beginning in 1828 and ending around 1866, when [...]

Ghost Stories in Poughkeepsie2021-10-29T09:17:54-04:00

The Long-Lost Adriance Homes

The Long-Lost Adriance Homes The name Adriance is well known here in the City of Poughkeepsie. The family was once a major part of this city’s development, particularly in the mid to late 19th century. As we have discussed in a previous article, John P. Adriance made a large fortune in the farming equipment industry. It is well known that both his family and the surrounding community benefited from his wealth. For example, his money went into the creation of this library, as well as the building of Christ Church. By the end of the 19th century, the Adriance family had used this wealth to establish three large houses on the corner of Academy and Livingston Streets; only one of those houses is still standing. The first house in this area was built by John P. Adriance. He called it “Eden Hill” and is seen in the drawing on the right. The house was built in the Italianate style and was passed down in the family to one of the six sons, John E., who later remodeled it. Just north of Eden Hill was the home of Dr. Edward Clay Bolton, who established a house in 1865. William Allen Adriance purchased [...]

The Long-Lost Adriance Homes2021-10-22T09:09:03-04:00

Hudson Taylor: The Retired Book Dealer of Academy Street

by Shannon Butler We have been preparing for our upcoming walking tour on Academy Street and have found some fascinating stories about the people who once inhabited these homes. Today we will share with you a story of an old book dealer who lived at #148 and who had experienced some amazing times and spent time with some of this country’s most famous citizens. Though it could be said that the more one reads about Mr. Hudson Taylor, and his various adventures both on land and on the river, the more it seems that he should be considered one of the country’s most famous citizens as well (certainly one of Poughkeepsie’s). Hudson Taylor was born in New York City in 1820, the youngest of Robert Taylor’s six children, a doctor from England (all of Hudson’s siblings had been born in England). The family had moved to Poughkeepsie after Robert’s brother John had established himself as a lawyer here. The family also lived in Tivoli for a time, before heading out west to Illinois, where Robert sadly passed away. Young Taylor made his way back to Poughkeepsie with his mother and some of his siblings, but by the age of 14 he [...]

Hudson Taylor: The Retired Book Dealer of Academy Street2023-12-28T15:35:25-05:00

Driving with Steam

by Shannon Butler In a world where we are slowly cutting our ties to fossil fuels and reaching out for new ways to propel us forward, imagine a time when the quickest way to get around involved steam. Sure, today steampunk may be all the rage when it comes to inspiring fashion, but back at the turn of the 20th century, steam was essential! Whether you were steaming down the river on a Day Liner ship, or steaming north on the New York Central line train, steam was the quickest way to get around. So it only made sense for early manufacturers of automobiles to put steam engines in their cars too. Right here in the City of Poughkeepsie, we had our very own manufacturer of steam-powered automobiles, but the company had been making machines and hardware for years. Today, the Lane Steam Automobile is practically lost to history. Lane Brothers began as a hardware business in Millbrook as early as the 1840s. By 1882, they had moved their operations to Poughkeepsie, where they purchased land along the river at the lower landing. They quickly became known for their coffee roasting machines, door hangers and tracks, and of course, their automatic [...]

Driving with Steam2023-12-28T15:34:46-05:00

Have Tomatoes, Will Can… Homemade Tomato Sauce and…

by Bridget O'Donnell When I think of August [2021] the first words that come to mind mostly pertain to the weather – heat, humidity, Tropical Storm Henri, rain, flooding, Hurricane Ida – and, TOMATOES[!!!]. This season my CSA definitely ‘Got Tomatoes!’ In fact, there were SO many, they extended an offer to anyone (members and non-members) interested in purchasing 10 lbs. of heirloom tomatoes, just byob[oxes or bags]. A few hours after reading about the sale I justified my late-night (maybe somewhat impulsive) purchase knowing it would help support the farm, and provide more than enough to share. Almost as important – and, before even considering fresh garden and Caprese salads and tomato sandwiches – I thought it might also motivate me to render and can the tomatoes that were already decorating, or more accurately monopolizing the [entire] countertop as homemade sauce. Every season around this time my memories are mysteriously redacted, selectively omitting how long it can take to make garden tomato sauce. Add on work and day-to-day responsibilities, I start to feel like an accolade could be given for each splash I clean off of the most unlikely surfaces around the kitchen – for weeks following. More or less [...]

Have Tomatoes, Will Can… Homemade Tomato Sauce and…2024-01-16T11:33:35-05:00

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – The Exchange Hotel

by Shannon Butler Imagine it is 1873 and you are sailing up the Hudson on the steamship the Mary Powell on your way to Kingston. You find yourself making a stop in Poughkeepsie with money to spend, and you’re in need of a place to rest. You might think that the best option is the closest option, but that may not always be the case. Right there at the docks you find a large old wooden building known as the Exchange Hotel which had always been known as a grand place to stay. However, this particular year, it is in a rough (or shall we say, stinky) spot, and it’s beginning a gradual decline towards demolition. The Exchange hotel was built in 1834 at the base of Main Street on the river’s edge. It was the grand idea of three old riverboat Captains, Johnston, Rosencrans, and Vincent. In those early days, it was considered a resort and a great place to grab a meal, a room, and a game of checkers. After being built by old Captains, it was also almost always operated by Captains including Capt. Warren Skinner, who was said to have made a large fortune from running the [...]

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – The Exchange Hotel2023-12-28T15:34:05-05:00

The Wreck of the Isaac Newton

by Shannon Butler In the collections here in the Local History room, there is a pencil drawing of an old steamboat named Isaac Newton. The drawing (seen on the right) depicts the boat in its prime, right around 1847, and it was sketched by a young man named Henry R. Howard. This little drawing has once again sent us down the rabbit hole of historical research and opened up some new history and connections. The son of the man that made this drawing would go on to appreciate history and the importance of images as a photographer. The steamboat Isaac Newton was built in 1846, and was for a long time considered to be one of the largest and most elegant steamers of its day. It was not named after the famous English mathematician, physicist and astronomer, but instead, it was named for a New York Steamship builder and sailor. At the time of its original construction, it was 338 feet long; later, in 1855, it was extended to 405 feet. The ship consumed about four tons of coal an hour, which was more than any other ship at the time. The state room on board was considered luxurious and there [...]

The Wreck of the Isaac Newton2023-12-28T15:33:28-05:00

William T. Reynolds and Company

by Shannon Butler Very few businesses can say that they have lasted over a century. To hit the 100 mark on anything is a rather nice achievement. But one family here in Poughkeepsie stood the test of time and had good business sense to last as long as they did. In the beginning of the 19th century, a young man named James Reynolds traveled all the way from Rhode Island and somehow landed at the base of the Fall-Kill Creek. He saw the great potential for business that this location along the Hudson clearly had. He saw goods from inland farmers coming to the river and goods from sloops sailing on the river going inland to the farmers. He was right, and for well over a century, he and his descendants would continue it. At first, the shop along the creek was called Reynolds and Innis and opened sometime around 1819. Reynolds had met up with Mr. Aaron Innis and the two began meeting the needs of the “rising river-trade” with both the shop and a line of boats for transport. They had established themselves just as the small village was growing and new technologies were coming into play which included [...]

William T. Reynolds and Company2023-12-28T15:32:56-05:00

Poughkeepsie: “As a Place of Residence”

by Shannon Butler Richard E. Lansing was well known here in the city of Poughkeepsie. He had managed to make a name for himself first as a grocer and later as a real estate agent and insurance man. When he was 93 years old, the oldest man in the City of Poughkeepsie at the time, the newspapers asked him how he had managed to live such a full life; his answer was to work hard and never sit idle. Lansing made it his life’s work to sell Poughkeepsie in a time when the city was booming with opportunities in education, manufacturing, and construction. One of the pamphlets in our collection entitled “Illustrated Catalogue of Real Estate in Poughkeepsie, NY” was produced by him, and it’s a fun tool for looking back on some of this city’s great architecture. By the 1870s, R.E. Lansing (as his name appears in most advertisements) was busy showing and selling properties around the city. Anything from businesses to residentials, he was happy to show it. By 1888, he informed all sellers in the city, “I have several orders on my books for dwellings, from two to six thousand dollars, I wish that all who have property [...]

Poughkeepsie: “As a Place of Residence”2023-12-28T15:32:18-05:00

Labor Day: The Unofficial End of Summer

by Shannon Butler Here we are! We’ve made it to September and Labor Day weekend. Which also means that we have come to what is now known as the “unofficial end of summer.” Vacations are coming to an end, kids are getting ready to go back to school, and many of us will get a nice three day weekend (including us PPLD employees, as the library will be closed Saturday, Sunday, and Monday). The holiday is not terribly old, but it is still appreciated by working-class individuals throughout the country and right here in Poughkeepsie, it was seen as an occasion to not just close down for the day, but to have a parade! The organization known as the Knights of Labor gathered for a parade in 1882 and that small event would inspire the future Labor Day of the 20th century. This group had members not only here in Poughkeepsie, but all around the nation. At first, the organization was very secretive about where they met and who they were. It was claimed by the Poughkeepsie Eagle News that there were between 400 and 500 members of the Knights of Labor in the City of Poughkeepsie alone and that they [...]

Labor Day: The Unofficial End of Summer2023-12-28T15:31:35-05:00

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – The Columbus Institute

by Shannon Butler In 1882, a fraternal order known as The Knights of Columbus was founded on the idea of being a mutual benefit organization for working-class and immigrant Catholics. The order’s membership grew rapidly in the late 19th century, especially here in Poughkeepsie. The local council, known as the Florentine Council, decided that it had more than enough membership to warrant its own clubhouse. The building that would come to be known as the Columbus Institute was actually the first clubhouse in the entire country to be built by a local council for the Knights. In its somewhat brief existence, it was considered one of the towering beauties of the Queen City. Local architect William J. Beardsley had his plate full in the years between 1903 and 1905, both here in Poughkeepsie and in Hyde Park. He was designing firehouses, the new Dutchess County Courthouse, and the Knights of Columbus had hired him to build an elaborate hall that would serve as their club (but also house various other clubs and businesses). What Beardsley ended up creating was a multipurpose hall with just about everything one could want. The cornerstone was laid in October of 1904, and it took just [...]

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – The Columbus Institute2023-12-28T15:30:43-05:00

Historic Objects and the Rabbit Holes They Lead To

by Shannon Butler Did you know that we have a pair of Civil War drum sticks in our collection? They are on display in a glass case in the genealogy room. Somehow, wanting to know more about these sticks sent this historian down a rabbit hole which went from a major Presidential funeral, to the baseball diamond! Now it is very easy for us here in the Local History Room to take on a research request and find ourselves searching (for what feels like hours) for interesting stories. For this week’s blog, the pieces all seemed to come together pretty quickly and in the process, we have learned some cool history! Alonzo Daley was 18 (but more likely 15 based on census records) when he decided to join the Union army. He enlisted here in Poughkeepsie on September 29th 1862 as a private with the 150th N.Y.V. Dutchess County Regiment. In 1864 he was transferred to the 22nd Regiment V.R.C. Based on the pension records, he appears to have served for 3 years and was discharged in July of 1865. Apparently, the drumsticks that we have in the display case were used by Alonzo when Lincoln’s funeral train stopped briefly here [...]

Historic Objects and the Rabbit Holes They Lead To2023-12-28T15:29:59-05:00

To Cook or Not to Cook – Seasonal Summer Grilling

by Bridget O'Donnell Over the last few years I’ve established a food-related M.O. of baking in the oven on the hottest day of the summer. Although it’s become a tradition, recipes and dishes are chosen using a seasonal but somewhat unpredictable menu. In the past, yields from calendar days marked by unprecedented heat have ranged from a few desserts and/or breads (and by “few” I mean 2-3), to a sheet pan or two of roasted root vegetables. The minimum bake time, however, is almost always an hour so to say it can get warm would be an understatement. If you were in Dutchess County the second week of August [12, 2021] you might remember the heat wave that made me consider rewriting this particular M.O. I’ll quickly recap my day. Earlier that morning I went for a walk before starting work at 9am; I think the temperature rose about 15 degrees in less than ten minutes. By 9:28am we received an email from the library director confirming a heat advisory was in effect; PPLD libraries would be designated cooling centers until the weather broke. (Weather sources anticipated temperatures in the upper 90s with what felt like 99% humidity for most of [...]

To Cook or Not to Cook – Seasonal Summer Grilling2024-01-26T11:03:43-05:00

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

Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks… Dinner PAWsible by Cathy Alinovi

Review by Bridget O'Donnell Or can you with a little homemade dog food? I recently moved in with the owner of an older rescue dog named Wendy. She’s sweet, likes to roll in the mud, gets really excited for walks [even in the rain and snow] and appreciates watching TV so she can see the animals who’ve made it on the big screen. Wendy has a few eating habits that seem a little particular though. Although most of her daily calories come from dry dog food with a face like hers she gets her fair share of people food (from us and the neighbors). Those puppy-dog eyes eagerly show up for bone-, meat- and dairy-products (even if they’re rancid!!) but turn around to leave just as fast for any vegetable other than wild [sweet?] grass. Occasionally, she goes out to look for her own food and after a good chase treats herself to small animals or food scraps left for wild animals. Unfortunately, this formula was proving to be the recipe for an upset stomach that ultimately made her sick from…you pick an end. (Is this beginning to sound like an eccentric dating profile, or what?) Because of my limited experience [...]

Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks… Dinner PAWsible by Cathy Alinovi2024-01-03T12:51:13-05:00

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 Clubhouse2023-12-28T15:25:47-05:00

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!2023-12-28T15:22:52-05:00

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

The Soup of the Day… Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything

Review by Bridget O'Donnell What’s Cooking highlights Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. Written to be as much “reference as recipe collection”[1] this series can be fun and accessible for any skill-level or food lover. Flip through chapters of recipes systematically organized to progress from the easiest and most fundamental cooking skills to the most challenging.[2] Expect “cross-references to information…that’s relevant to what you’re cooking.” Browse best-practices for cooking with select ingredients and get inspiration from variations on “Master” recipes in every chapter.[3] Like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” (aka “Secret Path”) book customize every meal by personalizing dishes to suit your creativity, schedule and the amount of energy you have. Following Bittman’s instruction accommodate any dietary restriction, preference or seasonal ingredient by learning (or relearning) techniques that allow you to cook with flexibility. Martha Farrell modified Bittman’s basic Minestrone recipe. Her review, and very practical variation, was so convincing I checked out the Completely Revised 20th Anniversary Edition (2019) and defrosted a container of vegetable scrap broth. With our busy schedules we like to make a pot of homemade soup every 2-3 weeks, it saves time and compliments any size appetite, bowl, (cup) or spoon. In addition to a grocery [...]

The Soup of the Day… Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything2024-01-26T10:28:51-05:00

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 Schools2023-12-28T15:21:34-05:00

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 School2023-10-19T15:38:03-04:00
Go to Top