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
Go to Top