Senate House State Historic Site

Senate House State Historic Site Meeting place of the first New York State Senate in the 18th century home of the VanGaasbeek family.

Thank you all for an amazing season! Check out some of these pictures to get a taste of what has happened at Senate Hous...
11/01/2023

Thank you all for an amazing season! Check out some of these pictures to get a taste of what has happened at Senate House this year so far.

Just because the weather is getting colder, and our regular operating hours have ended, doesn't mean we are going dark. Tours, groups, and education programs can still be booked by appointment all year round. We will also be active in other ways over the winter, so stay tuned!

It is the final week of our regular operating hours for the 2023 Season! We are open Wednesday - Saturday from 10am - 5p...
10/24/2023

It is the final week of our regular operating hours for the 2023 Season! We are open Wednesday - Saturday from 10am - 5pm and Sunday from 1pm - 5pm. Get a guided tour of Senate House and explore our museum filled with exhibits.

If you can't make it this week, don't fret! We will continue booking tours for both individuals, groups, and schools year-round. Just contact us to set up your visit.

The 2023 Burning of Kingston is in the books! Whether you came to Senate House for one of our many tours, or were a part...
10/17/2023

The 2023 Burning of Kingston is in the books! Whether you came to Senate House for one of our many tours, or were a part of the packed house for our talk, it was great to see so many of you engaging with our shared history.

Our hats off to the City of Kingston, Ulster County, Daughters of the American Revolution, the Old Dutch Church, the re-enactors, speakers, performers, organizers, and many others for making this possible.

If you missed your chance, you can still tour Senate House and see our site's exhibits! We are open Wednesday - Saturday from 10am - 5pm and Sunday from 1pm - 5pm until October 31st. After then, we are available for tours by appointment, group tours, and school groups.

Today is a great day for the Burning of Kingston! Senate House is running tours all day today, so be sure to stop by and...
10/14/2023

Today is a great day for the Burning of Kingston! Senate House is running tours all day today, so be sure to stop by and experience this important piece of history!

We will also be having a FREE talk at 1:00pm "What Happened During the Burning of Kingston?" to give visitors a blow by blow experience of, how that fateful day unfolded, why Kingston was burned, and the aftermath.

Tours will run until 4pm on Saturday, and from 1pm - 4pm on Sunday. For more information on all that is happening with the Burning of Kingston, visit https://www.burningofkingston.com/.

THE BURNING OF KINGSTONOctober 13, 14, 15, 2023Kingston, NY The Burning of Kingston commemorates historical events that happened in Kingston New York in 1777 during the American Revolutionary War.(Video created by Tonianne Fleig, 2017) OUTLINE OF EVENTS VIEW DETAILED SCHEDULE OF EVENTS INCLUDING LOC...

Join us this weekend for the Burning of Kingston! We will be hosting guided tours of Senate House, the building the orig...
10/10/2023

Join us this weekend for the Burning of Kingston! We will be hosting guided tours of Senate House, the building the original New York State Senate met in during the fall of 1777.

On Saturday at 1pm, stop by the site to hear Historic Site Manager Aaron Robinson's talk "What Happened During the Burning of Kingston?" covering some of the events that led up to the Burning, the fateful day itself, and the aftermath.

For a list of all programming for the weekend, visit https://www.burningofkingston.com/.

THE BURNING OF KINGSTONOctober 13, 14, 15, 2023Kingston, NY The Burning of Kingston commemorates historical events that happened in Kingston New York in 1777 during the American Revolutionary War.(Video created by Tonianne Fleig, 2017) OUTLINE OF EVENTS VIEW DETAILED SCHEDULE OF EVENTS INCLUDING LOC...

Thank you to everyone who came out to our 18th Century Autumnfest this past weekend! There was blacksmithing, hearthside...
10/04/2023

Thank you to everyone who came out to our 18th Century Autumnfest this past weekend! There was blacksmithing, hearthside cooking, meat smoking, candle-dipping, juggling, re-enactors, crafts and more! A special thank you to all of our volunteers and presenters for making it such an exciting day!

We are thrilled to announce that Senate House has been awarded a $750,000 Sequicentennial Grant from the National Park S...
10/03/2023

We are thrilled to announce that Senate House has been awarded a $750,000 Sequicentennial Grant from the National Park Service! This funding will help to support much needed preservation work at the site as we continue to prepare for the 250th anniversary of the Revolutionary War. A huge thank you to NY State Parks & Historic Sites and Palisades Interstate Park Commission for their support.

Learn more at https://on.ny.gov/3rvXnNa

09/30/2023

Autumn Fest this Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023 at Senate House State Historic Site Isaiah Ramsey, left, and Bruce Couillard, park workers at the Senate House State Historic House in Uptown Kingston, demonst…

The time for our 18th Century Autumnfest is almost here! Join us this Sunday, October 1st from 11am - 4pm for a day fill...
09/29/2023

The time for our 18th Century Autumnfest is almost here! Join us this Sunday, October 1st from 11am - 4pm for a day filled with interactive activities that will take you back to the 18th century.

One of our longtime favorites is back this year, Alan Horowitz, the blacksmith. Stop by and see demonstrations of 18th century blacksmithing techniques with a real portable forge! Then chat with the craftsmen about their work.

The time for our 18th Century Autumnfest is almost here! Join us on Sunday, October 1st from 11am - 4pm for a day filled...
09/28/2023

The time for our 18th Century Autumnfest is almost here! Join us on Sunday, October 1st from 11am - 4pm for a day filled with interactive activities that will take you back to the 18th century.

Back again this year is the Gratto Family Jugglers! The group entertains with fire juggling, and other feats of daring and skill. They will be performing twice throughout the day, so don't miss the show!

The time for our 18th Century Autumnfest is almost here! Join us on Sunday, October 1st from 11am - 4pm for a day filled...
09/27/2023

The time for our 18th Century Autumnfest is almost here! Join us on Sunday, October 1st from 11am - 4pm for a day filled with interactive activities that will take you back to the 18th century.

Try your hand at candle dipping! This technique was used to create candles that were a staple in every 18th century home and necessary for lighting. Check out this and many more activities at the event. We hope to see you there!

Fall is almost here, and that means it is time for Senate House State Historic Site’s annual 18th Century Autumnfest eve...
09/20/2023

Fall is almost here, and that means it is time for Senate House State Historic Site’s annual 18th Century Autumnfest event! The event will show visitors some common 18th century activities that would help to prepare for winter and even let visitors try their hand a few of them!

The event will be held on the grounds of Senate House State Historic Site from 11:00am – 4:00pm on Sunday, October 1st. Visitors can try their hand at candle dipping and apple pressing or see demonstrations of 18th century activities like hearthside cooking and meat smoking. Re-enactors such as master blacksmith Alan Horowitz will showcase his trade and the 3rd Ulster Militia will engage visitors on 18th century camp-life. There will also be seasonal crafts and an entertaining show for children of all ages put on by the Gratto Family Jugglers.

All event activities are free of charge and all are encouraged to attend! In addition, the site will be offering guided tours of Senate House, the 18th century home of Abraham Van Gaasbeek and the meeting place of the first New York State Senate. These tours will be provided at the usual rate, $7.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors, and children age 12 and under are free.

https://fb.me/e/FUCh6JnF.

The time for our 18th Century Autumnfest is almost here! Join us on Sunday, October 1st from 11am - 4pm for a day filled...
09/15/2023

The time for our 18th Century Autumnfest is almost here! Join us on Sunday, October 1st from 11am - 4pm for a day filled with interactive activities that will take you back to the 18th century.

One of the highlights at Autumnfest is the 3rd Ulster Militia! These re-enactors portray camp-life, and much more! Stop by and chat with them about life in the 18th century.

Check out all the latest happening at Senate House! If you are interested in receiving regular updates, follow the link ...
09/14/2023

Check out all the latest happening at Senate House! If you are interested in receiving regular updates, follow the link and join our email list.

It is hard to believe that Summer is winding down! Senate House has been busy providing tours, keeping up to date on our buildings and grounds, and preparing a busy Fall.  Guided tours of Senate House are still available Wednesdays - Saturdays from 10am - 5pm and Sundays from 1pm - 5pm, so if you ...

*In Bloom*What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?  Clematis!This clematis (clematis chinesis) plant is just ...
09/08/2023

*In Bloom*

What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden? Clematis!

This clematis (clematis chinesis) plant is just beginning to flower during the late summer/early fall time frame. It is a vine and can grow and climb up to 16 feet! While it looks appealing, it is toxic to consume! Clematis is native to China, and had already spread to Europe by the 16th century.

As always, thank you to the Ulster Garden Club for all of their hard work maintaining the gardens!

*In Bloom*What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?  Garlic Chives!Native to Southeast Asia, Allium tuberosum ...
09/06/2023

*In Bloom*

What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden? Garlic Chives!

Native to Southeast Asia, Allium tuberosum (garlic chives) is a late season bloomer that is part of the onion family. It is usually used as an ornamental plant in the US, but it is edible and was used frequently in Chinese herbal medicine. In the 18th century Senate House would have had a kitchen garden growing a variety of healing herbs like garlic chives.

As always, thank you to the Ulster Garden Club for all of their hard work maintaining the gardens!

  in 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed by representatives of King George III and the United States providing an offic...
09/03/2023

in 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed by representatives of King George III and the United States providing an official end to the Revolutionary War. The three US representatives who helped expertly negotiate the peace were John Adams, John Jay, and Benjamin Franklin. The treaty ended the war and formally recognized the Thirteen Colonies as a sovereign nation. It also established the border between the US and British North America (Canada). The treaty was very favorable to the United States at least partially because Britain wanted to preserve trade between the two nations which they foresaw to be very profitable.

Image: This 1783 unfinished painting by Benjamin West depicts the signing of the Treaty of Paris, but it does not include the British contingent. Britain had no desire to commemorate their defeat and the commissioners did not want to pose for a painting. The painting is currently in the collection of the Winterthur Museum.

Congratulations to our first young visitor to complete the Senate House Museum scavenger hunt! If you are visiting Senat...
09/02/2023

Congratulations to our first young visitor to complete the Senate House Museum scavenger hunt!

If you are visiting Senate House with children, be sure to ask for a Scavenger Hunt at the front desk! We have a version for younger and older children and the scavenger hunt is included with your admission. All children must be accompanied by an adult, and those who complete it will get a free prize (while supplies last)!

Join us tomorrow, Saturday, September 3rd, anytime between 1-3pm for a drop-in craft activity.  Look for the table outsi...
09/01/2023

Join us tomorrow, Saturday, September 3rd, anytime between 1-3pm for a drop-in craft activity. Look for the table outside the Senate House Museum and paint some rocks to take home or share. FREE and enjoyable for all ages!

Summer is a fantastic time to visit any of the parks and sites that are part of NY State Parks & Historic Sites!  Before...
08/30/2023

Summer is a fantastic time to visit any of the parks and sites that are part of NY State Parks & Historic Sites! Before summer wraps up, are there any NYS Parks or Historic Sites you hope to visit? Do you have a favorite?

In our collection, we have more than one painting by John Vanderlyn (1775-1852) of a locale that is a current park (and a very popular one!). This photograph shows a section of a large painting completed by the artist in 1843 over 40 years after he first traveled to and painted the natural wonder. Vanderlyn was among the first artists to travel there and capture the scene on canvas. He memorialized it as a place of natural beauty before it completely transformed into a heavily trafficked tourist destination.

Can you guess the park?

  in 1776, the Continental Army suffered its greatest defeat of the Revolutionary War.  The Battle of Long Island (aka B...
08/27/2023

in 1776, the Continental Army suffered its greatest defeat of the Revolutionary War. The Battle of Long Island (aka Battle of Brooklyn or Brooklyn Heights) was the first major battle after the colonists declared their independence on July 4th. The defeat of George Washington and his troops allowed the British to control the strategic port of New York City.

After the loss, Washington retreated to Manhattan and then continued north eventually reaching the Hudson Valley. The British occupation of New York City pushed the Continental Army north and the fledging New York government settled on Kingston as the first state capital. The British continued to occupy New York City including Staten Island and Long Island for the duration of the war until 1783.

Image: The Battle of Long Island by Domenick D'Andrea for the National Guard Bureau

*In Bloom*What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?  African Marigolds!You've probably seen plenty of marigold...
08/25/2023

*In Bloom*

What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden? African Marigolds!

You've probably seen plenty of marigolds before, but what about marigolds that are over 3 feet tall! The African marigolds are just starting to bloom in our garden, and they were planted to bloom much later than many of the marigolds in other local gardens (including the site's vegetable garden). Although it is frequently called an "African marigold," the plant is native to Mexico and Central America. It has special significance in Mexico where it is the chosen flower for Day of the Dead celebrations.

As always, thank you to the Ulster Garden Club for all of their hard work maintaining the gardens!

Today is the annual International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.  The slave trade was one...
08/23/2023

Today is the annual International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. The slave trade was one of the most horrible infringements on human rights in history.

August 23rd was chosen by UNESCO when creating this day of remembrance because it was the date of the first major uprising of enslaved people. It took place in 1791 in Saint Domingue in modern day Haiti. The uprising turned into the Haitian Revolution and after 13 years the former colony became a sovereign state free from French colonial rule.

Here at Senate House we remember the people who were enslaved here including Deyan, Jack, Dan, Mar, Piet, Francyn, and Dan. Although we only know names of a few individuals and no other specific information about their lives, we want to honor them and all of the other unnamed individuals enslaved here.

Based on human rights and fundamental freedoms, the 2005 Convention ultimately provides a new framework for informed, transparent and parti

*In Bloom*What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?  Hostas!Hostas are a mainstay in many types of gardens and...
08/21/2023

*In Bloom*

What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden? Hostas!

Hostas are a mainstay in many types of gardens and were originally from Asia but brought to the US via Europe in the 1800s. They are mainly known for their foliage, but they also produce flowers during the summertime.

Hostas are very hardy and live a very long time! They come in many sizes and textures and have a variety of different color blooms including white as seen on our plants.

As always, thank you to the Ulster Garden Club for all of their hard work maintaining the gardens!

  in 1771, a tragedy befell the Van Gaasbeek family when daugher, Rachel Van Gaasbeek Elting, only 19 years old, died in...
08/19/2023

in 1771, a tragedy befell the Van Gaasbeek family when daugher, Rachel Van Gaasbeek Elting, only 19 years old, died in childbirth. Sadly, her infant daughter also named Rachel, passed away exactly one month later.

Rachel was the daughter of Abraham & Sarah Van Gaasbeek and had married Peter Elting in 1770. Peter stayed close to the family after Rachel's death and Senate House SHS has many letters written between Peter Elting and his brother-in-law Peter Van Gaasbeek. In one of the letters in our collection dated November 4, 1773, Peter Elting wrote to Peter Van Gaasbeeck about his loss. He writes,

“Great are the pleasures and intolerable the grief that I have tasted since I joined your family and although the dear object for whose sake I joined it is now no more, yet the tender love and family attachments that are for her sake linked between us I hope may never vanquish.”

August Happenings at Senate House -
08/17/2023

August Happenings at Senate House -

As we move through August, we continue to welcome visitors to Senate House to take a guided tour of the meeting place of the first NYS Senate and peruse the exhibitions in the museum building.  The site is open Wednesday - Saturday from 10am-5pm and Sundays from 1-5pm.  

*In Bloom*What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?  Russian Sage!This plant is more of an ornamental shrub th...
08/15/2023

*In Bloom*

What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden? Russian Sage!

This plant is more of an ornamental shrub than a blooming flower, but the small purple flowers on the sage plant bloom for an exceptionally long time (up to 15 weeks!). Originally native to central Asia, the flowers on the shrub also attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.

As always, thank you to the Ulster Garden Club for all of their hard work maintaining the gardens!

*In Bloom*What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?This beautiful dahlia recently bloomed in the Senate House ...
08/13/2023

*In Bloom*

What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?

This beautiful dahlia recently bloomed in the Senate House garden, and several more buds are about to bloom in the next couple of days. The dahlia was first recorded by the Spanish who spotted it in modern day Mexico. The plant was a source of food for indigenous people and the long hollow stem was used as a water pipe. Today the dahlia is the national flower of Mexico.

As always, thank you to the Ulster Garden Club for all of their hard work maintaining the gardens!

Join us this Saturday (8/12) anytime between 1-3pm to try out some 18th century toys and games!  Free and fun for all ag...
08/10/2023

Join us this Saturday (8/12) anytime between 1-3pm to try out some 18th century toys and games! Free and fun for all ages!

New York State Parks is gearing up for the centennial celebration of the founding of the statewide park and historic sit...
08/08/2023

New York State Parks is gearing up for the centennial celebration of the founding of the statewide park and historic site system in 2024! For 100 years, the public has enjoyed access to over 250 parks and historic sites!

Check out this video to kick off the celebration. If you look closely, you might even catch a glimpse of Senate House!

Where will your next adventure take you? For 100 years, you’ve walked the trails, camped in the forests, hosted summer cookouts, and swam in the lakes and po...

One of the original 24 NYS Senators, Isaac Paris, never made it to Kingston for the first gathering of the Senate in Sep...
08/06/2023

One of the original 24 NYS Senators, Isaac Paris, never made it to Kingston for the first gathering of the Senate in September 1777 because he was killed about a month prior to the first meeting. Paris died on August 6, 1777, a casualty of the Battle of Oriskany. Isaac Paris was one of six senators from the Western Senatorial District and he represented Tryon County (now Montgomery County).

The Battle of Oriskany incurred many loses for the patriots. British forces ambushed the Tryon County militia on their way to aid Fort Stanwix. Paris and his eldest son were both killed in the fighting. His younger son, Isaac Paris, Jr. was a miller and merchant who supplied settlers with flour and grain. After his death in 1790, the town of Paris was named in the family's honor.


Photo: Battle of Oriskany Monument (I Love NY)

*In Bloom*What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?We'd say most can recognize a daisy!  But is it a flower or...
08/04/2023

*In Bloom*

What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?

We'd say most can recognize a daisy! But is it a flower or w**d? Depends on who you ask! The oxeye daisy is a long blooming flower that attracts hummingbirds and hoverflies. It is native to Europe and was brought to the United States as a ornamental plant. It easily spreads and is actually considered an invasive species in over 40 countries!

As always, thank you to the Ulster Garden Club for all of their hard work maintaining the gardens!

*In Bloom*What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?Most commonly known as "Black-Eyed Susan," the orange conef...
08/01/2023

*In Bloom*

What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?

Most commonly known as "Black-Eyed Susan," the orange coneflower is a perennial that is indigenous to many areas in the United States. The name likely comes from a popular ballad by 18th century English Poet John Gay. The plant was also used for medicinal purposes by indigenous peoples who made tea from the roots to treat ailments. Today we see these resilient flowers along roadsides, in woodlands, and also in planned perennial gardens.

As always, thank you to the Ulster Garden Club for all of their hard work maintaining the gardens!

  in 1777, George Clinton took the oath of office to become the first governor of New York State.  Clinton was both a la...
07/30/2023

in 1777, George Clinton took the oath of office to become the first governor of New York State.

Clinton was both a lawyer and an active member of the military during the French & Indian and Revolutionary Wars. The Provincial Congress elected him as one of NY's delegates to the Second Continental Congress, but he later resigned his position to defend the Hudson Highlands from the British. Governor Clinton was re-elected five times and stayed in office until 1795. He later ran for governor again and served from 1801-1804.

The first NY gubernatorial election began on June 1st, 1777, but the official results were not announced until July 9th. Clinton accepted the office on July 11th and started his duties, but he wasn't able to leave his military post until July 30th to officially take the oath of office. Chief Justice John Jay administered the oath of office to Clinton right here at the county courthouse in Kingston.

Image: New York Historical Society, Watercolor on Ivory, c. 1790

*In Bloom*What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?Garden Phlox! The name comes from the Greek word meaning fl...
07/28/2023

*In Bloom*

What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?

Garden Phlox! The name comes from the Greek word meaning flame and likely refers to the burst of bright color they add to a garden. Native to North America, phlox are great pollinators that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

As always, thank you to the Ulster Garden Club for all of their hard work maintaining the gardens!

Join us this Saturday for our next "Saturday Special" craft!  This week we will be decorating delft tiles!  You can copy...
07/26/2023

Join us this Saturday for our next "Saturday Special" craft! This week we will be decorating delft tiles! You can copy a historic pattern or draw anything you'd like. Tiles make great coasters! All ages are welcome to this FREE program!

*In Bloom*What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?This is one of three large panicle hydrangeas along the wal...
07/25/2023

*In Bloom*

What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?

This is one of three large panicle hydrangeas along the wall of the Senate House. They are native to Asia, but were introduced to the rest of the world in the second half of the 19th century. The shrubs are very hardy in colder climates and while the blooms start out as white, they tends to take on a pinkish shade.

As always, thank you to the Ulster Garden Club for all of their hard work maintaining the gardens!

*In Bloom*What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?Currently, you can see these lovely purple balloon flowers....
07/23/2023

*In Bloom*

What's in bloom in the Senate House boxwood garden?

Currently, you can see these lovely purple balloon flowers. Balloon flowers are a hardy perennial that is native to Eastern Asia: Far-east Russia, Japan, China, and Korea. Their roots are edible and have been used in herbal remedies as an anti-inflammatory. Look in the lower left-hand corner of the photo to see the shape of the flower buds that give the balloon flower its name.

As always, thank you to the Ulster Garden Club for all of their hard work maintaining the gardens!

It is an absolutely beautiful day here at Senate House!  We have tours running until 4pm and a special drop-in outdoor p...
07/22/2023

It is an absolutely beautiful day here at Senate House! We have tours running until 4pm and a special drop-in outdoor program about Colonial Herbs from 1-3pm. It is a great day to picnic on the grounds or walk your dog through the park while enjoying Uptown Kingston. We hope to see you!

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296 Fair Street
Kingston, NY
12401

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