Before the Oath of Office: Future Presidents at the Bardavon

February 9, 2024 By Bill Kleppel “All roads to the White House lead through Poughkeepsie!”…. are words that have never been uttered. However! Several future presidents visited our town in the years before they’d taken the oath of office. More specifically, their trips included being on or near the stage of our prestigious Bardavon Theater! Not only is 2024 a presidential election year, it’s also the 155th anniversary of the opening of the Bardavon (originally named the Collingwood Opera House). The Bardavon is the oldest continuously operating theater in New York State.1 Future President Dwight D. Eisenhower in front of the Bardavon in June of 1948. William McKinley - 1892 On November 1, 1892, a week before the presidential election between Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland, a large Republican Party meeting commenced at the Collingwood Opera House. The attendants were most excited to see the popular Governor from Ohio, William McKinley. Five hundred people gathered well before the Collingwood was to open at 1:30 pm. The group blocked the theater’s entrance and teemed onto the street. The doors were opened early to alleviate the chaos and soon the entire venue was standing room only. McKinley had [...]

Before the Oath of Office: Future Presidents at the Bardavon2024-02-09T10:52:36-05:00

Mary Ellen Reid – A Name to a Face

January 26, 2024 By Shannon Butler There are lots of photographs of interesting people in our collections here in the Local History Room. Some of those people have been properly identified, while others have not. It can be somewhat difficult to put a name to a face, when everyone who might have remembered that face is gone. However, sometimes we get lucky and a research request can yield an answer that we never expected, and even a story that was lost to history. Not long ago, I received a request from a man looking for his Great-Aunt Mary, and as soon as I began my search, I was able to finally identify some of the ladies in our Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) photo collection. Mary Ellen Reid was born in 1873 in Aurora, Illinois, where she studied in local schools before becoming heavily involved with the YWCA. She was sent by the organization to Oxford, England, where she trained in bible studies. By 1901, she had made her way to Poughkeepsie, where she began her work as an executive secretary for the YWCA of Poughkeepsie. Reid took part in just about every activity, from bible [...]

Mary Ellen Reid – A Name to a Face2024-01-26T10:20:57-05:00

The Bodey’s of Poughkeepsie Saga – Part II

by Bill Kleppel We left you at the end of Part I in November of 1859. The patriarch of the Bodey family had vanished in a blizzard close to where he had struck gold in the western hills of El Dorado, California… ….Meanwhile, Back In Poughkeepsie A flood of catastrophic events engulfed the rest of the Bodey’s. The Death of William A. O. Bodey William A. O. Bodey was born on November 5, 1843. On December 18, 1852, William and his friends went ice skating on Lent’s Pond in Poughkeepsie. Two of the friends began to argue and a fight ensued. This gained the attention of a crowd nearby. In an instant, over 20 people converged on the frozen pond to watch the altercation. Suddenly, the ice gave way, plunging everyone into the frigid water below. Two boys drowned that day. One was William Bodey. He was nine years old. The Poughkeepsie Journal deemed it a “Distressing Calamity” when an article about the deaths appeared in the Christmas Day edition.8 The Death of George A. Bodey W.S. and Sarah’s second son, George, succumbed to typhoid fever on March 9, 1860, at the age of 19.9 He [...]

The Bodey’s of Poughkeepsie Saga – Part II2024-01-12T09:52:09-05:00

The Bodey’s of Poughkeepsie Saga – Part I

Ogden Bodey While researching Civil War era veterans from the 150th New York Infantry Regiment, I stumbled across Ogden Bodey.  His family story is so incomprehensible and tragic that I felt the need to share it with you. It features war, the California Gold Rush, a sudden disappearance, a Wild West boomtown and its demise, and an unfortunate litany of random deaths within one brood that is brutal in its magnitude. Ogden Bodey was born in Poughkeepsie on June 1, 1846, to Waterman S. Bodey and Sarah Wolcock Bodey. In 1862, Ogden enlisted into the 150th Regiment as a musician/drummer. He lied about his age to enter the Civil War at 16. During his three year tenure as a Union soldier, he participated in some of the most monumental events of the war, including the Battle of Gettysburg and Sherman’s March to the Sea. When the conflict ended in 1865, he was in Washington, D.C. and decided to leave the military. When he returned home, he found work as a tinsmith in Poughkeepsie, and then in Newark, New Jersey. On January 3, 1871, five and a half years after fighting valiantly in the bloodiest struggle in our nation’s [...]

The Bodey’s of Poughkeepsie Saga – Part I2024-01-10T10:23:35-05:00

John Bolding

by Bill Kleppel In 1824, John Bolding was born enslaved in South Carolina. On August 24, 1851, he was a free man working as a tailor in Poughkeepsie. On August 29, 1851, John Bolding was held before a Federal Law Commissioner in New York City. This commissioner would determine if Bolding was free to live his life with his family, or if he was the property of Robert C. Anderson of Columbia, South Carolina. The concept of time is occasionally confounding and unfathomable. The Emancipation Proclamation was enacted into law 160 years ago in 1863. This vast period of time encapsulates the Wright Brothers first flight off the ground, as well as Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon.  It also includes the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution and our present burgeoning Information Age. There were people born during the Civil War that were still alive in the early 1970’s. If you were born during or before this period, you were breathing the same air as those seniors. These same seniors, as children, once breathed the same air as people who were enslaved by law in this country. It’s not as long ago as you think. John [...]

John Bolding2024-01-09T10:49:59-05:00

St. Barnabas’ Hospital

Long before the days of Vassar Brothers Medical Center or Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital (formerly St. Francis) there were not many options for medical care here in Poughkeepsie. In the 19th century, if you were ill or had an emergency, the best you could hope for was a trip to the local pharmacy, where you might be given a real cure, or something entirely useless. Or perhaps you were lucky enough to have a trained physician come to your home. By 1870, Poughkeepsie had a population of 20,000 people, but there was still no hospital to meet their medical needs. A year later, the Episcopal churches within the city endeavored to change that. In 1865, a group of doctors, along with several wealthy subscribers, helped raise the money to rent a space to be used as a “Homoeopathic Medical and Surgical Dispensary,” which was located on Bridge Street. This went on for a few years, until 1871, when leaders of Christ Church, St. Paul’s Church, and the Holy Comforter Church, formed a committee with the intention of forming the city’s first hospital. In March of 1871, a building was rented on Garden Street to house the new hospital and the venture to [...]

St. Barnabas’ Hospital2023-12-15T15:10:52-05:00

Paraclete Potter and the 1820 World Atlas

By William Kleppel It’s a cold and stormy winter night. You’re carrying a candle up the flight of stairs to your second floor study. The flame flickers and you realize someone has left the window open beside your desk! You shut it quickly, grab a quilted blanket, and drop into your chair to read. Earlier in the day, you stopped by the local bookshop and happened upon a small world atlas. It was printed by the store’s owner, and the editor of the Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle, Paraclete Potter. Flipping through the maps, you dream of far flung adventures to the Spice Isles, Amazonia, New Holland, and Van Diemen’s Land while sipping your rum laced hot chocolate. …of course, that would be if you were a citizen of Poughkeepsie, dreaming of world travel in 1820. Today, the Spice Isles are located in Indonesia, Amazonia is a large swath of South America, New Holland is Australia, and Van Diemen’s Land is Tasmania (which you wouldn’t have wanted to explore in 1820 since it was an English penal colony at that time). I found this atlas, the first to be published in the city of Poughkeepsie, shoved in a folder within the depths of [...]

Paraclete Potter and the 1820 World Atlas2023-12-01T11:08:21-05:00

Poughkeepsie Men in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment

by Shannon Butler If you are interested in the American Civil War, like me, perhaps you have seen the 1989 film Glory, starring Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Matthew Broderick. The film takes a close look at the famous 54th Massachusetts Regiment; the first regiment of African American soldiers to fight in the Civil War. The regiment took heavy casualties as it tried and failed to take the confederate stronghold of Fort Wagner, just outside of Charleston, South Carolina, in July of 1863.  Even if you’re not a history nerd you should check out the movie just for the terrific acting (Denzel Washington won his first Oscar for this role). Did you know that a few men from Poughkeepsie joined the 54th, and that some even saw action at the Battle of Fort Wagner? Sadly, some of these men paid a high price in the fight for freedom. When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in January of 1863, there was a sudden rush of African American volunteers who were finally able to join the fight. John Gray was born around 1841 and grew up in Poughkeepsie, where he worked on a farm until the Civil War broke out. Both [...]

Poughkeepsie Men in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment2023-11-17T12:06:48-05:00

Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery – 170 Years

by Shannon Butler Adriance Memorial Library just celebrated our 125th anniversary and we wanted to wish a happy anniversary to our partners in local history, the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery! This week the cemetery is 170 years old and still looks as beautiful as ever. We thought it would be nice to share some of the details of its early history and inform you of a very special installation at the cemetery: a Día de los Muertos ofrenda (altar), on display until November 15th. The remembrance of life and the mourning of the dead is handled quite differently from culture to culture, and even from century to century. In the 19th century, it was quite common for families to pack up a picnic, head down to the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery, and sit and eat at the graves of their dearly departed. That doesn’t happen much these days, but in Hispanic culture, that’s what the Day of the Dead is all about. In the days before the rural cemetery movement, there were lots of little burial grounds and graveyards connected with churches within the city limits. However, after the New York State Legislature passed the Rural Cemetery Act in 1847, allowing the commercialization of [...]

Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery – 170 Years2023-11-03T14:45:27-04:00

125 Years of Adriance Memorial Library: The Old Days and the Future

by Shannon Butler We might sound like a broken record here, but have we mentioned that it's the 125th anniversary for Adriance Memorial Library? That’s right! Come and see us this Saturday from 1pm to 3pm for all sorts of fun activities (brownie points if you come dressed in 1890s clothing!) We will have a little bit of everything, from fun games to early documents that showcase our history. In an earlier post, we told you about how the library came to be at its current location. It was such a big deal that even the New York Times and the New York Tribune picked up the story and shared photos of the beautiful new library. Over a century has passed, with thousands of books loaned and thousands of library cards issued since we first opened our doors on October 18, 1898. During the past few weeks we have been digging through our collections to find interesting pieces to showcase for Saturday’s event and we have found everything from old blueprints to “no spitting” signs (we’ll have them all on display this Saturday). In the months after opening day, the library was filled with more “sightseers” who were taking in the [...]

125 Years of Adriance Memorial Library: The Old Days and the Future2023-10-18T16:14:14-04:00

Must Love Dogs: Some Pups in Poughkeepsie

In this blog post, we decided to look at an interesting piece of dog history. Twenty twenty-three marks 215 years since the New York State Legislature decided that all dog owners must make sure that their dogs have collars and that their family name (meaning the owner’s) is visible on that collar. Is this a very random piece of history? Yes, it is. Did you know this random fact? Probably not.

Must Love Dogs: Some Pups in Poughkeepsie2023-10-06T10:07:23-04:00

William Lyon Dobbs and his Orchestra

Buried within the collections of the Local History Room is a box with a thick leather ledger inside. On the cover of this book, someone wrote in pen, “Chas. E. Dobbs, Daybook. Feb 1. 1906 to” and that's it. However, the pages inside the ledger are a bit more complicated than a simple daybook, as newspaper articles and musical programs are plastered over the older handwriting that once marked its pages.

William Lyon Dobbs and his Orchestra2023-09-21T16:22:36-04:00

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – The Stratford and Liberty Theaters

The invention of the moving picture was a big deal at the turn of the 20th century! Watching fast moving images of people on a big screen, as opposed to watching actual people in real time on the stage took some getting used to. However, not everyone was quick to jump on the movie making trend, nor did everyone immediately see this new technology as an art form. In spite of this, there was a group of men in Poughkeepsie who believed that not only was this art, and the future for theater goers, but also that it was going to make them some money. In 1917, the Elgar Company was formed, partly as a real estate venture focused on buildings for the arts. This company included men like Ely Elting, who owned a major clothing store on Main Street, and the president of Luckey, Platt and Co., William DeGarmo Smith. The company quickly changed its name to the Poughkeepsie Theatre Corporation, and rumors began to spread of their desire to build a major motion picture theater. While this was not the first theater built for the purpose of showing motion pictures in town, it was much larger than the previously [...]

No Longer Standing: Buildings of Poughkeepsie – The Stratford and Liberty Theaters2023-09-08T14:52:16-04:00

125 Years of Adriance Memorial Library

By Shannon Butler Did you know that the library has a big birthday coming up? More specifically, the anniversary of the opening of Adriance Memorial Library! Save the date, October 21, 2023, for the special celebration event. We will honor the library namesake and benefactors, the Adriance Family, who financed the construction of this building through a donation on behalf of the family. Over the past century, the library has expanded, both in collection and in size, to include several branches and partnerships, but it would not have been possible without first establishing a permanent location. The public library for the City of Poughkeepsie bounced around quite a bit during the 19th century. It started out at 324 Main Street, then moved to Union Street.  From there it moved into the courthouse for a spell, and then to the newly built high school in 1872, which was located on the corner of Washington Street and Lafayette Place. It wasn’t until the deaths of John Peter Adriance, who died in 1891, and his wife, Mary Platt Adriance, who died in 1895, that the funds for the creation of a new library became available. In the summer of 1896, their children and other [...]

125 Years of Adriance Memorial Library2023-08-28T10:28:22-04:00

Murder in the Asylum

Murder in the Asylum The Hudson River State Hospital (HRSH) has always been an intriguing place with looming gothic towers and windows that arch like eyes on a jack-o-lantern. Patients aimlessly wandered long hallways or were locked away in rooms. There are tales of underground tunnels that led to every wing, including the morgue where many patients had their final stay. Even though the days of seeing doctors and patients walk across the grounds are long gone, this place still invokes something in us; sometimes it's fear, sometimes it’s curiosity. Either way, we always seem to love a juicy story about the old hospital for the insane. When it comes to finding actual patient records, you can forget about it. People ask us all the time if we have their loved one’s patient file from the HRSH, and the answer will always be no. Those records are held at the New York State Archives and are under the control of the New York State Office of Mental Health. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) laws restrict access to those items as they are official medical records. However, we do have the hospital’s annual reports, which give us a general idea of [...]

Murder in the Asylum2023-08-11T12:38:03-04:00

Made In Poughkeepsie – Guilder Trucks

You are probably aware that Poughkeepsie was once known as a place where just about everything was made! Cars, computers, cough drops, and even indestructible pants once came from this city. In the 19th century right up through the mid-20th century, the Queen City on the Hudson had become a very attractive place to purchase a factory and build stuff to sell and make a fortune with. Some of the companies still exist today, but have taken their manufacturing elsewhere, while other companies have long since been forgotten. Did you know that there were three automobile manufacturers here at the turn of the 20th century? One of those was a small operation known as The Guilder Motor Truck Company, and even when it was here, nobody seemed to know about it.   Walter C. Guilder had been in the automotive industry since the beginning. Born in Toledo Ohio in 1877, he had begun as a toolmaker in his early years before becoming an engineer in the early work of automobiles. He first worked as an engineer for the International Motor Company in Pennsylvania and the Kelly Springfield Motor Truck Company in Springfield Ohio. In 1906 he designed the first auto truck for [...]

Made In Poughkeepsie – Guilder Trucks2023-07-28T09:29:14-04:00

The Weird World of Patent Medicines

Do you know the ingredients of the medicines you are taking? Maybe you don’t, but you can easily google what goes into those blood pressure pills or that cough syrup. Modern medicine must be thoroughly tested and approved by the FDA and complete a lengthy process including: discovery/concept, preclinical research, clinical research, FDA review, and finally, FDA post-market safety monitoring. This was not the case if you had an ailment in the 19th century; anyone could put together a concoction that promised to cure whatever your problem was. Some of these glass vials worked, and some didn’t, but either way, in the days before chain-store pharmacies, men like Chauncey Van Valkenburgh and Peter Howard could get you what you needed. There were several pharmacies along Main Street in Poughkeepsie during the 19th century. These stores, like modern day CVS and Walgreens, sold much more than just over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions; they also sold building materials like window glass and paints. These druggists were sometimes the only option for finding the cure for what ailed you, especially for those who might not be able to afford/or didn’t trust a doctor. Instead, you could put your trust in the hands of the man [...]

The Weird World of Patent Medicines2023-07-17T11:42:37-04:00

Charles N. Arnold – Worker of Wood and Politics

Charles N. Arnold - Worker of Wood and Politics There were many prominent men who left their mark on the City of Poughkeepsie. Some gave us great institutions like Matthew Vassar and his college, and his nephews Matthew Jr. and Guy Vassar with their hospital and institute. Albert Tower had his iron industry and also contributed to the community by helping to build Christ Episcopal Church amongst other buildings. Some of these men sought political office, while others only hoped to make great changes with their money. Charles N. Arnold decided that he could do both as well as serve on any board you could think of. Charles Nathan Arnold was born in Poughkeepsie on June 8, 1838, to parents Nathan and Mary Arnold. The family were members of the Hicksite branch of the Society of Friends (Quakers), and as a result he supported the work of local abolitionists. His father Nathan and Uncle William were the founders of a lumber business, which he took over in 1854. The lumber yard was located on the waterfront near where the Poughkeepsie skate park is today. Besides providing lumber and other building supplies, Charles also sold handmade chairs. In his younger years he [...]

Charles N. Arnold – Worker of Wood and Politics2023-06-29T16:21:20-04:00

Charles McCabe: A Lifetime of Service

Charles McCabe: A Lifetime of Service Have you ever committed a crime? Have you ever had an interaction with a police officer? Even if you haven’t, you could agree that it’s not easy to be a cop. It takes a certain personality to want to uphold the law in any situation. It also takes guts to walk into dangerous conditions. You also have to know every nook and cranny of the terrain you serve and to understand its people. Imagine doing that in the days before 911, with walkie-talkies and video surveillance all over the place! One man managed to do it for over 30 years and earned the respect of everyone, even the people he arrested. Charles McCabe was born in 1859 into a Catholic household here in Poughkeepsie. His parents came from Ireland, and he regularly partook in the activities at his church, Saint Peters. His first job was working on the railroad as a brakeman, where it was said he made a study of “tramps” as they made their way up to Poughkeepsie from New York City. He joined the Poughkeepsie Police Department in August of 1883 around the same time the Board of Police Commissioners was established. [...]

Charles McCabe: A Lifetime of Service2023-06-15T15:55:58-04:00

George Sherman and the Doll Babies!

George Sherman and the Doll Babies! Imagine you are so devoted to a cause that you make a great change in order to accommodate it. For example, you change your appearance in order to fit into a role. Some actors will lose or gain weight, or shave off all of their hair in order to play a character. Well, it appears that one local man decided to make a great change in his appearance just to blend into a role, though not all of his associates felt the need to do the same. He apparently took his charity work quite seriously, or something. George H. Sherman was known throughout Poughkeepsie as a very successful banker. Sherman was born on June 2, 1856 in the town of Washington here in Dutchess County. He came to Poughkeepsie when he was 21 with the hope of finding gainful employment. George began his banking career as a clerk at the Farmers and Manufacturers Bank, where he would continue working for the rest of his life. By the time he was 36, he was promoted to the title of cashier, which was a major role in the bank at the time. He married Alice Pease, a [...]

George Sherman and the Doll Babies!2023-06-02T12:06:19-04:00

Gardens in Poughkeepsie

Gardens in Poughkeepsie Are you interested in gardening? Do you enjoy sowing the seeds and watching as things grow? Have you experienced the joys of harvesting fresh flowers and vegetables? Or perhaps you are one of those who can’t keep a plant alive for very long, and would rather just admire someone else’s green thumb by taking a garden tour. Either way, May is a good time to get out there and start your plantings or take a walk through the irises. So let’s take a look at some gardens that were once a part of Poughkeepsie’s landscape, and hopefully this will inspire you to get out there and start your own. Back in the era before refrigerators and ice boxes, the home garden was more than just a thing of beauty to enjoy, it was essential to life. Vegetable gardens would be planted and harvested and then the bounty placed in jars to be saved throughout the winter. We can see in some of our photographs taken by Frank B. Howard, that there were plenty of backyard vegetable gardens within the city in the 1920’s. To have a flower garden or an ornamental garden was certainly a luxury. Some of [...]

Gardens in Poughkeepsie2023-05-31T13:07:32-04:00

J. Schrauth’s Sons: Poughkeepsie’s Ice Cream Makers

Schrauth’s Sons: Poughkeepsie’s Ice Cream Makers “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” It is getting to be that time of year where we are eager for that delicious cold snack: ice cream! In these modern times we have many options to choose from when it comes to deciding where and how to get our ice cream. At the grocery store the frozen section has everything from store brands to the trusted favorites like Friendly’s and Ben & Jerry’s. If you are a true local, then you know that Stewarts has some of the best ice cream around. We can even make our own ice cream at home with a little bit of salt, ice, cream, sugar, and flavoring. For almost a century, Poughkeepsie had its own ice cream manufacturer with an amazing shop for all of your confectionary needs. The company began as a humble bakery owned and operated by Jacob Schrauth, who at the age of 20, came over from Germany and worked his way up as a baker’s apprentice in New York City, before eventually operating a bakery of his own here in 1866. By the late 1890’s, both of Jacob’s sons had entered into [...]

J. Schrauth’s Sons: Poughkeepsie’s Ice Cream Makers2023-05-05T09:58:38-04:00

The Dutchess Manufacturing Company and The Indestructible Trousers

The Dutchess Manufacturing Company and The Indestructible Trousers Have you ever heard the saying, “they just don’t make ‘em like they used to?” It feels as if we use this phrase when it comes to just about everything these days. Whether it’s appliances or clothing, everything seems to fall apart a lot easier than it used to do. Either we are being harsher on our material things, or they really just aren’t being made that well anymore. Now imagine having a pair of pants that comes with a guarantee that if they fall apart, you’ll get your money back. What? Indestructible trousers, you say? Well, they were made right here in Poughkeepsie and sold all over the country. A manufacturing company known as Lasher & Hull began in Poughkeepsie in 1875, overseen by Warren P. Lasher and J. Frank Hull. Sadly, Lasher died young in 1890 from Bright's disease, and Hull changed the name the following year to The Dutchess Manufacturing Company. At first, the company focused their work on ladies skirts and woolen dresses, which were sold locally. In 1879, they switched their production to the men’s trousers that would make them famous. At the turn of the 20th century, [...]

The Dutchess Manufacturing Company and The Indestructible Trousers2023-04-21T09:02:51-04:00

Percival Lloyd

Percival Lloyd If you haven't had a chance to attend one of our Academy Street Walking Tours, your first chance for the season will be May 20 (be sure to check your Rotunda newsletter and sign up when registration begins, as spots fill up quickly). The tour takes patrons on a journey down this historic and architecturally significant street, where we discuss some of the interesting characters that once called it home. Since we can not cover every house on the street in one brief walking tour, we thought we would mention one of the beautiful homes that we don’t see on the tour in this week’s blog post. Designed in 1900 by Percival Lloyd, 151 Academy Street is not as old as some of the others, but it certainly has character. Lloyd was born here in Poughkeepsie on January 28, 1872 and studied at the Riverview Military Academy. He began his career around 1891 by working as a draftsman in the firm of one of the city’s finest architects, Arnout Cannon, Jr. He was no doubt inspired by the works that Cannon had created during the course of his career, and it didn’t take long before Lloyd was made a [...]

Percival Lloyd2023-03-31T13:28:10-04:00

Ellen C. Roosevelt: An Early Legend of Tennis

Ellen C. Roosevelt: An Early Legend of Tennis It’s Women’s History Month, so we thought we would spotlight a local lady who inspired young women to get out and play tennis in the 19th century. Even if you don’t know anything about tennis, you’ve probably heard of some of the big names of female players today, like Venus and Serena Williams, or Billie Jean King. These women are powerhouses on the court, but they have the benefit of wearing modern day shoes and light attire. Now, if you were hitting the tennis ball around in 1890, you played on grass, your shoes had a bit more of a heel, and you wore things like a corset and a long skirt. Ellen C. Roosevelt not only accomplished this feat, but she won her share of championships. Ellen was born into wealth in 1868 as the daughter of John and Ellen Roosevelt. Ellen and her older sister Grace learned how to play tennis in the 1870s after their father had a tennis court built on their family’s estate. They lived in Rosedale, a beautiful mansion located on the border of Hyde Park and the Town of Poughkeepsie on the North Road. Both of [...]

Ellen C. Roosevelt: An Early Legend of Tennis2023-03-17T10:33:14-04:00

The Stove: Center of the Home

The Stove: Center of the Home If you enjoy cooking or baking, then you understand the importance of having a good stove. We live in a time of modern conveniences and technologies that help make our cooking experiences easier. We have so many gadgets to choose from: crockpots, air-fryers, toaster ovens, electric and gas stoves, induction stoves, various forms of outdoor grills and (for lazy folks) microwaves. These devices are designed to cook our food faster, or with little effort so that we can enjoy our meals and carry on with the rest of our day. Now imagine living in the 19th century. Whether you were a housewife, a servant, or a cook in a restaurant, making the daily meals would not just keep you busy, it would take up much of your day. Prior to 1790, households relied mostly on open hearths or large indoor fireplaces, with bake ovens cut into the brickwork alongside. Smoke in the household was a common annoyance until the invention of the kitchen range by Sir Benjamin Thompson. Thompson discovered that by adding a choke to the chimney, the smoke would exit the chimney faster while the heat lingered longer, thus changing the chimney design. [...]

The Stove: Center of the Home2023-03-03T12:47:48-05:00

LaMar Turpin: A Profile of Service

LaMar Turpin: A Profile of Service World War II ushered in many changes for women of all backgrounds. As you might have heard, women had the chance to do everything, from working in factories to playing on baseball teams. Women who wanted to do their part to serve their country in the military finally had their chance. Organizations like the WACS (Women Army Corps), WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), and WASPS (Women's Airforce Service Pilots) were popping up in the early 1940s, which allowed women to join the military effort. African American women had fewer chances of being accepted into these branches, as the military only allowed 10% of black enlistments. For Poughkeepsie native LaMar Turpin, it was no doubt exciting to be accepted into the WACS officer training school. LaMar Turpin was born LaMar Yvonne Wood in 1914. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wood of Pershing Avenue. She attended Poughkeepsie schools and had a great interest in athletics and poetry. She excelled at tennis and joined the Poughkeepsie Net Club, where she won several trophies. Some of her poetry was published in the World’s Fair Anthology in 1938. In 1935 she married Raymond Turpin, who [...]

LaMar Turpin: A Profile of Service2023-02-16T10:54:35-05:00

Vincent A. Walker: Black, White, or Passing?

Vincent A. Walker: Black, White, or Passing? The term passing has made its way back into our modern vocabulary thanks in part to Netflix producing a film based on the 1929 novel of the same name. The act of passing has historically been described as a black, brown, or multiracial individual who can be accepted into a white racial group due to having light-skinned features. The practice of passing was a way to avoid racial segregation and the stereotypes that plagued society. In the 1930s, if one could pass as white, they would be more likely to get a good job, rent an apartment in a good part of town, or even receive a loan to buy a home. Vincent Walker was likely aware of these conditions when he immigrated from Jamaica to Canada, and then to Poughkeepsie in May of 1927. He referenced his race as “West Indian” rather than “Black” on his naturalization papers, which later translated to “White” on all of his documents. Vincent Alexander Walker was born in St. Ann’s in Jamaica on April 19, 1902. He and his mother (who wrote on her naturalization papers that she was “African black”) immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1920, [...]

Vincent A. Walker: Black, White, or Passing?2023-03-01T13:26:35-05:00
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