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

Take a Look Inside… Again!

Take a Look Inside… Again! Last year, we shared some interior views of historic buildings here in Poughkeepsie from our collection. We're often asked if we have interior photos of historic structures, and for the most part, the answer is no. It is rare for an interior photo to be taken back then unless it was deemed worthy enough to be a postcard or placed in a family photo album. In last year’s blog post, we asked you to consider how many photos you have of the inside of your own home. We certainly take more pictures than 100 or even 50 years ago, but generally, the only time we 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). The 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 a century. Let’s take a look at some different ones. The Riverview Military Academy was a school for boys formed by Mr. Otis Bisbee in 1867. Bisbee had previously worked as an educator for the Poughkeepsie Collegiate School, [...]

Take a Look Inside… Again!2022-09-02T09:55:26-04:00

The 176th Dutchess County Fair

The 176th Dutchess County Fair It's that time again! The Dutchess County Fair is back and it's time to head to Rhinebeck for some 4-H shakes and carnival rides. Did you know that this is one of the largest and oldest fairs in the nation? This 6-day fair that sits on over 160 acres of land and hosts about half a million people per year has certainly changed since its humble beginnings in the 1840s. We have previously discussed the fair’s history in one of our very first blog posts, but today we decided to look at the few times in the 176 year history that the fair was forced to cancel. I think we all remember the most recent occurrence (thank you very much COVID!), but what about the other cancellations? In 1916, the Dutchess County Agricultural Society looked over their numbers for the previous year’s fair and discovered that they had a $3713.22 deficit (that's over $100,000 today!). Members of the society were split on which direction the fair should take, as it struggled to keep up with the times at the turn of the 20th century. This led to low attendance, and therefore less cash coming in, and [...]

The 176th Dutchess County Fair2022-08-26T09:55:10-04:00

The Local Architecture of Frederick Clarke Withers

The Local Architecture of Frederick Clarke Withers We have so many lovely buildings in our city, and if you have been reading this blog long enough, you know that we have also lost a lot of buildings over the years. We have also mentioned how fortunate we are to have the works of some of the great architectural minds of the last century and a half (or more).There are at least two buildings still standing that are the work of Frederick Clarke Withers, while one building of his is gone with a modern creation in its place. Frederick Clarke Withers was born in Somerset, England, February 4, 1828. Withers worked as an apprentice under another British architect named Edward Monday before eventually accepting a chance to come to America and work with one of the leading architects of the Gothic revival Andrew Jackson Downing. In 1852, Withers made his way to Newburgh just long enough to meet Downing before his untimely death on the explosion of the Henry Clay steamboat in July of that year. The time he had with Downing was enough to inspire him to continue exploring Gothic styles in local architecture. After Downing’s death, Withers worked alongside Calvert Vaux, another [...]

The Local Architecture of Frederick Clarke Withers2023-01-10T14:26:29-05:00

The Lumb Brothers

The Lumb Brothers We mentioned before how Poughkeepsie was once famous for being an industrial city. There used to be several prominent factories along the waterfront that produced everything from lumber and building supplies to milk products and steam automobiles. The men who created these factories left their marks on the city landscape. Some of these marks are still standing, while others are long gone. Take for example, the Lumb brothers and their sash and blinds factory. These men added several buildings to the city for various purposes, though only a few remain. George and his little brother Levi Lumb were born in England in the 1830s. Their father Thomas brought the family to Poughkeepsie when they were very young in the hopes of making something of himself. Thomas began working at the Pelton Carpet Factory in 1839. Both of the boys were educated locally before entering work at the carpet factory with their father. The brothers served honorably during the Civil War, George with the Navy and Levi with the Dutchess County Regiment, the 150th N.Y. Volunteers. When they returned from the war, they both worked for William E. Beardsley’s Sash and Blinds Factory before starting their own businesses in [...]

The Lumb Brothers2022-08-29T13:30:48-04:00

A Vacation at Mohonk Mountain House

A Vacation at Mohonk Mountain House Here we are at the beginning of August, and it is hot out there. Where do you go to get away from it all? Some people like to be by the shore, some enjoy a trip to an amusement park, while others would rather head deep into the woods for some hiking or camping. In the mid-19th century, two twin brothers came up with the idea that a vacation in the woods, with a shore, and some amusement (with a touch of luxury), was the perfect combination for the summer getaway. When Albert Smiley purchased a ten-room tavern on Lake Mohonk, he likely did not imagine that his vision would continue to prosper to this day, over a century later. Albert K. Smiley was a schoolteacher who, like many teachers in the summer months, wanted to find a place that would not only relax his body but also give some refreshment to his soul (he was a Quaker, after all). His brother Alfred had stumbled upon a small tavern by a lake in the Shawangunk Mountains and convinced him to come and see it for himself. Albert used all of his savings, some money from [...]

A Vacation at Mohonk Mountain House2022-08-29T14:29:11-04:00

The Dutchess County S.P.C.A.

The Dutchess County S.P.C.A. Do you have a “fur baby” of your own? That could be a dog, cat, hamster, or even something that doesn’t necessarily have fur like a fish or a bird. Perhaps you raise chickens or you have a horse or a goat that means the world to you? Many people found their fur babies at the Dutchess County S.P.C.A. shelter. Did you know that the Dutchess County S.P.C.A is one of the oldest in the United States? Some of the leading figures of Poughkeepsie were members of the society and worked tirelessly to end cruelty to animals throughout the county.  The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (or S.P.C.A. for short) was the idea of a diplomat from New York City named Henry Bergh. He had once witnessed a man beating his horse that had fallen in the street and pleaded with him to stop. He decided to do more, and created an organization that fought back against those who mistreated animals of all sorts. This was difficult work in 19th century America, where people relied on their animals for work more than companionship. In many places, people considered things like dog or chicken fights [...]

The Dutchess County S.P.C.A.2022-12-05T12:45:19-05:00

Pit Stop in Poughkeepsie: Glenn Curtiss and His “Hudson Flyer”

Pit Stop in Poughkeepsie: Glenn Curtiss and His “Hudson Flyer”            In today’s modern world, most of us have been in an airplane. Some people enjoy the thrill of a 747 taking off take-off down a runway and lifting steadily into the air, while others prefer to keep their feet squarely on the ground. The idea that something could weigh over 400,000 pounds and fly as high as 36,000 feet at a cruising speed of 500 mph would probably boggle the minds of early aviators. For Glenn Curtiss, the man who broke barriers and records in the new world of fast-moving machines, his flights may have been a little lower and a little slower, but they still boggled the minds of his contemporaries.  Glenn Curtiss was no stranger to speed. He raced bicycles in the 1890s, and after the turn of the century, he moved into the world of internal combustion engines. Curtiss set a land speed record in 1903 on his hand-built motorcycle, reaching a top speed of 64 miles per hour. He did it again in 1907 with a motorcycle that contained an eight-cylinder motor of his design; on smooth sand in Ormond Beach Florida, [...]

Pit Stop in Poughkeepsie: Glenn Curtiss and His “Hudson Flyer”2022-07-22T10:11:44-04:00

Recent Acquisition: Poughkeepsie Bridge Building Photos

Recent Acquisition: Poughkeepsie Bridge Building Photos This past week, we received a small collection of photographs that show the building of the Poughkeepsie Bridge, known as the Mid-Hudson Bridge. What's so interesting about these images is that not only can we see the bridge’s construction, but we also have some amazing views of the City of Poughkeepsie. When we drive on the bridge today, we don’t take the time to think about what the landscape might have looked like a century ago (probably because we are so busy trying not to get ourselves killed in traffic). There are large parts of the city that were simply wiped away to make room for new buildings and roads.  As the construction of the bridge was underway in the late 1920s, everyone watched with amazement as the caissons were lowered into the riverbed and the towers began to rise. These photographs, donated by the folks at the Town of Hyde Park Historical Society, show the bridge just as the cables were completed, which would have been in 1930, as well as the beginnings of the construction of the road bed. We mentioned in a blog post awhile back that the bridge cost just under [...]

Recent Acquisition: Poughkeepsie Bridge Building Photos2022-07-15T10:05:46-04:00
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