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No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Gone but not Forgotten: Poughkeepsie Collegiate School

by Shannon Butler This week we continue our look at buildings that are no longer standing with a focus on the Poughkeepsie Collegiate School. As mentioned in previous blog entries, Poughkeepsie had become famous for its educational institutions by the turn of the 20th century.  With schools like Eastman, Vassar, and several excellent parochial schools, it was a popular place to come for a great education. But even before that time, a scenic hillside right here in Poughkeepsie was seen as the perfect place to inspire young minds. In 1835 a group of men strolled up the hillside that overlooked the city of Poughkeepsie. During their walk it was recommended by Mr. Charles Bartlett, a teacher who had once operated a school in Fishkill that this location would be the perfect spot for a school. The group of men which included N.P. Tallmadge, John Delafield, and Jacob Van Benthuysen, decided that they would purchase the spot as long as Bartlett would agree to serve as the Principle. Not long after, the grounds were purchased for $12,000 and the construction of the school began in 1835. It was modeled after the Parthenon in Athens, only 35 feet by 115 ft. The colonnade [...]

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Gone but not Forgotten: Poughkeepsie Collegiate School2024-04-12T12:55:41-04:00

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Gone But Not Forgotten: Lindmark’s Bookstore

by Shannon Butler This week we are continuing our focus on buildings in Poughkeepsie that are gone but not forgotten, in other words, there is proof of their existence here in our Local History Collections. Today we want to share with you the sad story of the demise of a bookstore, along with a large portion its books. Anytime you hear of a book-burning, what usually follows is a cringe of the body and an overall sadness. The value of a good collection of books can be measured in several ways, the rarity of each volume, the importance of its contents, even the noteworthiness of its previous owners. So imagine if you will, thousands of such valuable books going up in flames on the side of the road right in downtown Poughkeepsie (did you feel that cringe?). John Lindmark had discovered his love of book collecting and selling when he purchased a rare American law book for $300 and turned around to sell it for $7000! From then on, he made a business of books. He and his wife Rae moved to Poughkeepsie in 1912 and set up their first bookstore on Liberty Street. They soon outgrew it and moved to [...]

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Gone But Not Forgotten: Lindmark’s Bookstore2024-04-12T12:54:24-04:00

The New Year’s Tradition of the Carriers’ Address

by Shannon Butler As we make our way further along into the 21st century, we history nerds here in the Local History Department thought it would be fun to share with you an old New Year’s tradition. Even though it lasted over two centuries, it has since fallen out of fashion, but we think it’s still pretty cool. Carriers’ Addresses were a form of poetry, a sign of a New Year beginning, and a chance for a newspaper subscriber to thank the carrier for bringing them the news of the day, hopefully with a little tip included. Carriers’ addresses began in newspapers in England in the early 18th century and then naturally made their way over to the colonies and continued after the forming of the new country and government. They were printed on January 1st and in the early years they contained just a simple one page document, usually a poem and a thank you from the carriers. The poem could be written in the form of a look back at the events of the year, or it could emphasize the important work and the daily struggles of the carriers. The earliest in our collection is from 1819 and was [...]

The New Year’s Tradition of the Carriers’ Address2024-04-12T12:52:27-04:00

Christmas Cards of the Victorian Era

by Shannon Butler In our collections here in the Local History room is an interesting album of Victorian era holiday cards. Since we are in the midst of that ‘most wonderful time of the year’ we thought we would share some of the cards with you. Today, we will take a look at some Christmas cards made by Raphael Tuck and Sons. This company based just outside of London, begin its work by selling pictures and frames in 1866, by the 1880s they had offices all over the world, including one in New York City. They produced their first Christmas card in 1871, and would go on to great success in the Postcard industry by the turn of the 20th century. In 1880, Adolph Tuck (son of the founder) launched a contest offering 5,000 pounds in prizes for the best Christmas card designs. It was a great success with over 5,000 paintings being sent in for consideration. As a result, we end up with an interesting variety of cards that don’t look quite like our Christmas cards do today. The first Christmas card is said to have been designed and sold in England in 1843 by Sir. Henry Cole (ironically a [...]

Christmas Cards of the Victorian Era2024-04-12T12:50:44-04:00

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Gone But Not Forgotten YWCA Building, Cannon Street

by Shannon Butler This week in our Local History Blog we are continuing in a series of articles that will look at buildings that once stood in Poughkeepsie. Today we are going to take a look at the Y.W.C.A. building that once stood on Cannon Street. The building itself was used by the Y for almost 70 years before it was raised in order to make a larger parking lot, which is sad when one considers the history of its use and the work that was put into its creation. The Young Women’s Christian Association got its start back in the 1850s but the official chapter for Dutchess County was founded in 1881. That first year they held their meetings at 297 Main Street in Poughkeepsie. The following year they moved to Garden Street and had 40 members on the books. In 1889, Dr. Grace Kimball, a local doctor and missionary, was elected to serve as President which she continued to do for the next 41 years. Under her administration, the Y would grow to offer more classes for young women and better opportunities for growth. Several prominent donors would contribute to the organization at this time including William Smith (of [...]

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Gone But Not Forgotten YWCA Building, Cannon Street2024-04-12T12:49:10-04:00

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Gone But Not Forgotten: Eastman Business College and Mansion

by Shannon Butler This week in our Local History Blog we are continuing in a series of articles that will look at buildings that once stood in Poughkeepsie. Today we are going to take a look at two buildings that were located in separate parts of the city but were connected by name, the Eastman Business College and the Eastman Mansion. There are most likely very few people still living who would remember the former but the latter was still standing as late as the 1960s. Poughkeepsie was known for being the place to receive a fine education in the early 20th century. There were several schools in the area that focused on everything from liberal arts, to nursing, and in the case of the Eastman College, business. Harvey G. Eastman had been an educator all of his life. Beginning in his home county of Oneida, making his way out west in the years before the Civil War, and then coming back to New York in 1859 to begin a small business school here in Poughkeepsie. The story goes, that Eastman began with one student and rented a small room for 75 cents a week. A year later, he had more [...]

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Gone But Not Forgotten: Eastman Business College and Mansion2024-04-12T12:47:07-04:00

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Gone But Not Forgotten – The Nelson House

by Shannon Butler This week in our Local History Blog we are beginning a series of articles that will look at buildings that once stood in Poughkeepsie. Some of them you may remember visiting once upon a time, others you may have only heard about. First up, we will take a look at the Nelson House that once stood on Market Street. If you happen to be walking up Market Street between the Dutchess County Probation Office and the County Offices, you will find a big parking lot and a little park with benches and interpretive signs. Here once stood the majestic Nelson House Hotel which saw much history during its nearly 200 years of service. Although, that number may be stretching the age of the hotel a bit. There was certainly a hotel at this location going back to the American Revolution. Stephen Hendrickson had an inn here during that time which saw some of our country’s early founding fathers including Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Mrs. Catherine Taylor purchased the site from her brother Homer Nelson in 1861 and later built a brand new hotel on the site which she named for her distinguished brother in 1875. The hotel [...]

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – Gone But Not Forgotten – The Nelson House2024-04-12T12:45:44-04:00

“Franksgiving”: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Messes with a Tradition

by Shannon Butler So here we are, it’s Black Friday, and we are all recovering from food coma, or our in-laws, or perhaps you are contemplating hitting the fridge for some leftovers. Well, make yourself a turkey sandwich and pull up a chair to read all about “Franksgiving.” Not familiar with the holiday? It’s not well known; in fact it didn’t last very long, only about three years. In August of 1939, our neighbor from Hyde Park and the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was enjoying his summer getaway at his family’s property in Campobello when he held a press conference. He wished to announce that he had decided to change the date of Thanksgiving beginning immediately, and the change would be permanent. When FDR informed the press of his decision, one could only imagine the looks on the faces of the journalist who listened and jotted down the President’s words and reasoning. He proclaimed that since Thanksgiving was on the 30th (there were five Thursdays in November that year) that would only leave folks with 20 days for Christmas shopping. He insisted that by moving Thanksgiving to the 23rd, shoppers would have more time to shop, [...]

“Franksgiving”: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Messes with a Tradition2024-04-12T12:44:24-04:00

Historic Houses: The Livingston home, aka Locust Grove

by Shannon Butler Have you ever been to Locust Grove, the home of Samuel F.B. Morse? If not, what are you waiting for? It’s right here in Poughkeepsie. Don’t know who Samuel Morse is? He is responsible for inventing the telegraph and the code that is used with it, known as Morse code. “Oh yeah, that guy!” you are probably thinking that you did know about him, but did you also know that Samuel Morse was a talented artist long before he was an inventor? It’s true, and you can go see his work for free with a museum pass thanks to your library card. But did you also know that long before the Morse family lived at this estate there was another older family that called this property home? If you live in the Hudson Valley, you have certainly heard the family name of Livingston. That name is associated with at least a dozen large estates up and down the river’s edge and Locust Grove is one of them. This property originally belonged to Henry Livingston Sr. who served as the Dutchess County Clerk for 52 years (1737-1789) and also served in the Provincial Assembly (1759-1768). He owned several hundred [...]

Historic Houses: The Livingston home, aka Locust Grove2024-04-12T12:41:42-04:00

Dutchess County Quaker Meeting Houses – The Oblong Meeting House at Quaker Hill

by Shannon Butler When one thinks of the word Quaker, what comes to mind? Perhaps it’s the Quaker Oats man, or the plain clothing, and silent church services? Did you know that “Quaker” is actually a nickname for the group formally known as The Religious Society of Friends? Did you know that they refer to church services as Meetings? And did you know that there are several meeting houses scattered all over Dutchess County? Here in the Local history department we have several great resources for researching Quaker history in Dutchess County. There are photographs, published stories, and even a list of Quaker burial grounds to help you locate your Quaker ancestors graves. Several of the old meeting houses in the area go back to the 18th century and have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. These old houses of worship have fascinating stories to tell. But first, let’s take a look at The Religious Society of Friends. Quaker roots begin in 17th century England where there were several other dissenting Protestant groups who made a break from the Church of England. They had a central belief that rejected formal ministry and embraced what they called “the inner [...]

Dutchess County Quaker Meeting Houses – The Oblong Meeting House at Quaker Hill2023-10-05T16:22:38-04:00

From the Latest Fashions to the Dead: The Vail Brothers Photography Studio

by Shannon Butler If your family lived in the Poughkeepsie area during the late 19th century than perhaps one of your ancestors sat for a photograph at Vail Brothers Studios at 254-256 Main Street (in other words, check those photo albums and your attics). Located here in the Local History Department are over 30 boxes containing thousands of photographic proofs made by the Vail Brothers studio during a 20 year period in the late 19th century. These images serve as an excellent example of the fashions and styles of those who could afford to have their likeness made in a time when photography had become an accepted form of art. The studio got its start in 1868 when 19 year old J. Watson Vail (1849-1922) set up shop at 254 Main St. in Poughkeepsie. His father and older brother were both businessmen in real estate and insurance but J. Watson along with his little brother Alonzo (1855-1929) took up photography instead. At first, the brothers appear to have worked separately, as Alonzo shows up in the directory as being a photographer in his own right. By 1872 J. Watson employed his little brother and soon thereafter they began to refer to [...]

From the Latest Fashions to the Dead: The Vail Brothers Photography Studio2024-04-12T12:38:14-04:00

Edward C. Smith: One of Poughkeepsie’s Finest Architects

Written by Shannon Butler, Local History Staff Poughkeepsie has an excellent collection of buildings from different eras and various forms of Architecture. Several prominent architects have made their marks here but it’s always nice to focus on someone who was born and raised in Poughkeepsie. Edward C. Smith was born on March 14, 1880 the son of George T. Smith and Mrs. Clara Buys Smith. After he studied at local schools he went on to study architecture under the chief architect for the City of Poughkeepsie, Percival Lloyd. By 1910, Smith had opened up his own office at #39 Market Street and began taking on projects. It’s amazing just how many of his buildings dot the city landscape as well as Dutchess County and while most blend in with the crowd, there are a few standouts. Some of the standard two-family homes around town represent his early works, for example #35 Corlies Avenue which he designed in 1911. That year he also added a large addition to the Poughkeepsie Foundry and Machine Co. But what really stands out is his masterpiece at 93 Hooker Avenue, which he built that same year for clothing store owner Ely Elting. This lovely Spanish Colonial [...]

Edward C. Smith: One of Poughkeepsie’s Finest Architects2024-04-12T12:37:22-04:00

The Early Days of the Dutchess County Fair

by Shannon Butler The Dutchess County Fair is a long standing tradition that goes back well over a century. We all know the drill, grab the kids or your friends, hop in the car and make your way to Rhinebeck. Maybe everyone has a routine that they follow when you get through the gates. Perhaps it’s heading right to the 4-H stand for their amazing shakes followed by checking out the sheep and cattle. Or you could be the kind that prefers heading straight to the rides and fairway to try your luck at some of the carnival games. What about checking out one of the musical acts or seeing the acrobats make incredible dives into a pool from far too high for any of us to attempt. Thinking about all of this makes me want August to come sooner rather than later. But did you know that the first several Dutchess County Fairs were held in October? And did you know that people didn’t go to Rhinebeck but rather to Washington Hallow and sometimes Poughkeepsie? The fair originated from the Dutchess County Agriculture Society which was formed in 1842. The purpose of the society was and still is “to continue [...]

The Early Days of the Dutchess County Fair2024-04-12T12:23:37-04:00

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Local History Nerd

by Shannon Butler Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a true history nerd. Not only did he focus on the history of his family while studying at Harvard, but soon thereafter he was one of the creators of the Dutchess County Historical Society. By the 1920’s he was serving as the appointed historian of the Town of Hyde Park and collecting as many early records of the area as he could find. This passion for history carried into his most important role as the 32nd President of the United States. What’s interesting to note is that during his twelve years in office he still remained the town historian and even though he was President of the country, he was still only Vice President (one of many) of the Dutchess County Historical Society. We can see through a series of letters that one of the most powerful men in the world was still capable of geeking-out over historical facts that concerned his beloved Hyde Park. Located in the Local History room here at Adriance Library is a box of letters from FDR to his friend and fellow history nerd, Helen Wilkinson Reynolds. Both had grown up in the Dutchess county area during the late [...]

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Local History Nerd2024-04-12T12:24:47-04:00
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