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

Murder in Poughkeepsie’s Little Italy

Murder in Poughkeepsie’s Little Italy Did you know that card games can be deadly? Of course you did. If you have ever seen a western film you know that the guns start flying out whenever someone drinks too much liquor and loses too much money. Well, this sort of thing doesn’t just happen in Hollywood folks, it happened right here in Poughkeepsie! Some games can get you so hot and bothered that friendships can end, or people can, well, die. Have you ever played the game of “Big Boss and Little Boss” also known as “Brisque?” Well that was the game that was played when tempers got too high and someone lost their life in 1935. Fifty-two year old Phillip Nuzzi lived on the second floor apartment at 91 North Bridge Street right in the center of the area known as Little Italy. He was the father of nine and had been the “Italian Boss” for Spoor and Lasher Company. Nuzzi’s friend and hot dog vendor, John Matera lived in the apartment on the first floor. On the evening of May 5, 1935, these men along with Andrew Digilio and Joseph DiCosmo were sitting together in Matera’s apartment, drinking wine and

Murder in Poughkeepsie’s Little Italy2023-01-20T10:58:30-05:00

A Murder and a Suicide in the Tower Family

A Murder and a Suicide in the Tower Family Albert Edward Tower Sr. had done well for himself and his family. He had made himself a millionaire with his iron industry here in the City of Poughkeepsie. The Falkill and Poughkeepsie Iron works were both operated by him in the mid-19th century, and cranked out thousands of pounds of “pig iron and projects thereof.” His work in the iron industry allowed him to raise a large family, own lots of property, and donate large sums of money to his place of worship, Christ Church. However, wealth does not always equal happiness for all within the family, and in this case there were deadly issues lying under the surface. Albert Tower Jr. had taken over the iron business and fortune after his father’s death in 1891. He also took control of the family’s mansion, which once stood on the west side of North Road (roughly the modern location of the Dutchess Care Assisted Living facility). In 1885, he married Nina Carpenter, daughter of Benjamin Platt Carpenter, a prominent political figure in Dutchess County. In 1887, Nina gave birth to their one and only child, Albert E. Tower III and by all appearances

A Murder and a Suicide in the Tower Family2023-01-10T14:25:09-05:00

Herman’s Christmas Wonderland

Herman’s Christmas Wonderland If you grew up in the Poughkeepsie area between the 1960s and the 1990s, it’s possible that you visited Herman’s Christmas Wonderland display as a child (that is, if you’re into the whole Christmas thing). There was something special about getting the family together in the minivan and driving down Route 44 to the Pleasant Valley nursery where you could stroll through the “Christmas tunnel.” There you would see handmade displays like, the North Pole, ski slopes, Eskimos, and of course, the Nativity scene. As we are all getting older and feeling a bit nostalgic, we thought this would be the perfect time to revisit an old holiday favorite that is now sadly a thing of the past. In 1960, William Herman opened a nursery and garden center in Pleasant Valley. The business was very successful with their slogan, “For every Bloomin’ thing” that attracted everyone from beginner gardeners to professional landscapers. In 1962, the store set up their first Nativity scene with live animals and “2 of Santa’s real live reindeer,” Dancer and Prancer. The following year the store planned an even bigger display and placed advertisements in the papers that proclaimed that Herman’s Christmas Land had

Herman’s Christmas Wonderland2023-01-10T14:25:33-05:00

Christmas Card Time!

Christmas Card Time! Are you a big fan of giving and receiving Christmas cards this time of year? Sometimes it feels like the only thing we get in the mail anymore is bills and random coupons we never asked for. However, this time of year, it is always a pleasure to receive a special card, hand-picked and signed with a warm greeting of the season. In our modern era, we can snap family photos with our smartphones and send the images off to be made into personalized cards or grab a giant box of various mass produced cards that we think look pretty. Or how about getting a local artist to make you some personalized cards? Plenty of locals in Poughkeepsie did this in the 1920s and 30s with our local artist, Thomas W. Barrett Jr. As we have mentioned in previous posts, Thomas W. Barrett Jr. was born in Poughkeepsie in 1902 and studied art in Boston at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. He lived and worked for a short time in New York City in the mid 1920s, before coming home to Poughkeepsie and moving back in with his family in their home at 55 Noxon

Christmas Card Time!2023-01-10T14:25:43-05:00

Time to Shop!

Time to Shop! It's the most wonderful time of the year folks! It's Black Friday and everyone is going to be starting their Christmas Shopping! Perhaps you are heading down to the Poughkeepsie Galleria, or you’re shopping small by hitting some local “Mom and Pop” establishments. Maybe you prefer to stay on the couch and surf the web for online deals. Either way, people have been searching for the best Christmas gifts for over a century. While the tradition of “Black Friday” shopping is fairly new, we’ve been doing it since at least the mid-20th century, and with less than a month to shop, this time of year has always been crunch-time for finding the right Christmas gift. In 1871, the Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle proclaimed that giving your family members a subscription to the paper was the best Christmas gift (well, obviously!), but there were several other organizations that also claimed they had the best gifts for your loved ones. Lucky, Platt, & Company, which was Poughkeepsie’s very own department store for over a century, made sure to attract their customers with large ads in the newspaper with slogans like “Our assortment of goods is large! Our prices are Way Down!

Time to Shop!2023-01-10T14:26:07-05:00

General Custer was here! (well, parts of him)

General Custer was here! (well, parts of him) There are several battle names that everyone has heard of. Even if you don’t know when or why it was fought, or even who won it, you’ve heard the name. Names like the Battle of Gettysburg, or the Battle of Waterloo, or the Battle of Okinawa, and so on. One of the big names that is mentioned a lot is the Battle of Little Bighorn. Why? It was a major victory for the Plains Indians during the Great Sioux War of 1876, and it would be the location of the last stand and death of the famous General George Armstrong Custer. You may be wondering, how does this have anything to do with Poughkeepsie? When George Armstrong Custer went into battle on June 25, 1876, his goal was to round up all of the Plains Indians in the Black Hills and bring them to reservations. Anyone who didn’t come willingly was considered hostile and would be killed. Thousands of members of the Lakota, Dakota, and Cheyenne tribes had followed leaders like, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, to lands around the Little Bighorn River; this is where Custer and about 700 members of the

General Custer was here! (well, parts of him)2023-05-09T14:15:07-04:00

Thomas Weeks Barrett Jr. – (1902-1947)

Thomas Weeks Barrett Jr. - (1902-1947)  It's that time of year again! Halloween is here and we are super excited. After all, here in the Local History room we hang around with the dead all day long (well, at least the documents and photos of the dead). One of those long-since-deceased individuals apparently liked Halloween almost as much as we do, and was so inspired that he decided to paint a scene of trick-or-treaters walking down the street. In fact, we have a lot of his artwork thanks to the folks of the Thomas Barrett Art Center, who recently donated the entire collection of paintings, photographs, documents, and more of Poughkeepsie-born artist, Thomas Weeks Barrett Jr. We have decided to devote a lecture to his life and work on November 16th, along with an exhibit of his art which will run through December 31st.   Thomas Weeks Barrett Jr. was born in Poughkeepsie on September 12, 1902. He was the son of Thomas Weeks Barrett Sr, a local prominent banker, and Kate Stoutenburgh, a descendant of some of the area's earliest settlers. The family, which included a little sister named Elizabeth, lived in a lovely Greek Revival house at 55 Noxon Street

Thomas Weeks Barrett Jr. – (1902-1947)2023-05-09T14:12:16-04:00

The Trial and Execution of Lucy Ann Hoag

The Trial and Execution of Lucy Ann Hoag If you missed our Historic Murders in Dutchess County program, fear not, we will do it again in February. In the meantime, we thought we would share an interesting story that was uncovered in the midst of researching some of the characters who committed evil crimes. Did you know that the fourth woman to be executed in New York State’s history was put to death in Poughkeepsie? Did you also know that this method of justice being served took place inside the Dutchess County Courthouse just down the road from this very library? Lucy Ann Hoag was not able to recall much of her childhood when men came to interview her in her prison cell in 1852. She did not know her real parents and was adopted by the Fulton family in Red Hook, where she remembered being treated as if she were a servant and field worker. Nelson Hoag, a man from Dover, on the eastern edge of Dutchess County, came calling when his sister was marrying into the Fulton family. The 32 year old fell in love with the 18 year old Lucy and proposed marriage. The Fulton family must have

The Trial and Execution of Lucy Ann Hoag2022-10-14T09:48:03-04:00

Mark Twain at the Bardavon

Mark Twain at the Bardavon How many of you love a good stand-up comedian? Some of you might enjoy the jokes of Richard Pryor, George Carlin, or Jim Gaffigan. Perhaps you have seen a live performance by Jeff Dunham or Steve Martin. The fashion of a single person standing on a stage of a nightclub or a theater telling stories and jokes was made famous by people like Lenny Bruce and Joan Rivers in the 1950s, but people have been telling jokes on stage for a long time. Of course, the oldest stage here in the City of Poughkeepsie is the one at the Bardavon Theater, and the first real stand-up comedian to grace that stage was America’s great humorist, Mark Twain. On October 18, 1869, the Poughkeepsie Eagle News briefly mentioned that the newly famous Mark Twain would be one of the many speakers for the Lyceum Lectures. These lectures were held at the Collingwood Opera House–which we know as the Bardavon Theater today–and in 1869, both Twain and the Collingwood were fairly new creations. Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, had become famous thanks to his recently published work on his travels through Europe and the Holy

Mark Twain at the Bardavon2022-09-30T09:37:06-04:00

The Sad Story of Carlotta Eastman

The Sad Story of Carlotta Eastman They say that dogs are a man’s best friend. Well, as Abigail Adams once said, “remember the ladies,” because the same concept also applies to women and their K9 companions. A fine example of such affection is shown in the photographs to the right. Here we have Carlotta Eastman with her beloved pups as photographed by the Vail Brothers Photography studio here in Poughkeepsie. She had a lot of love for them as she would have had to spend a good amount of money (or at least her father’s money) on these precious prints. However, if you take a closer look at Lottie’s (her family nickname) later life, she might have been better off if she stuck with her dogs. Carlotta “Lottie” Eastman was born on July 7, 1867 to Harvey G. and Minerva Eastman, here in Poughkeepsie. Her father was the very successful creator of the Eastman Business College and eventually served as Mayor of Poughkeepsie. The family lived in a large mansion on the corner of South Avenue and Montgomery Streets (known as Eastman Park). She and her sister Cora would have had a very pampered childhood in such a place, which included

The Sad Story of Carlotta Eastman2022-09-16T09:50:24-04:00

Elizabeth Weeks Barrett and PHOIS Yearbook 1922

Elizabeth Weeks Barrett and PHOIS Yearbook 1922 As you may have heard, in the fall, we will be covering the life and work of Poughkeepsie born artist, Thomas Weeks Barrett Jr.. His art was heavily inspired by his hometown's architecture and its politics. We will have Local History Discussion and a special art exhibit, both located here at Adriance Memorial Library. While digging through the Barrett art collection I came across an interesting bit of artwork hiding in plain sight within the Poughkeepsie High School Yearbook (PHOIS) of 1922. Much of the artwork and designs in that book were created by another Barrett, Thomas’s sister, Elizabeth Weeks Barrett. Better Barrett was born January 3, 1904 into an upper-middle class family at #55 Noxon Street. Her father Thomas Sr. was a successful banker and her mother, Katherine Stougtenburgh was from an old prominent family. She and her older brother Thomas would spend time between their home here and various family properties in the countryside, whether in Hyde Park or further south in what is now considered the Town of Poughkeepsie (it was all empty farm land before 1940). Thomas was already showing signs of interest in creating art at a young age,

Elizabeth Weeks Barrett and PHOIS Yearbook 19222022-09-19T12:19:45-04:00
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