Historical Society of Rockland County

Historical Society of Rockland County The Historical Society of Rockland County, New York, is a 501 (c)(3) private organization chartered under the NYS Department of Education. The Historical Society of Rockland County is located on five acres of landscaped grounds and consists of the History Center, Jacob Blauvelt Homestead, and Carriage House/Barn.The History Center (which is ADA-accessible) contains two museum galleries, a small museum shop, the Society's administrative offices and a library on the main level.

Operating as usual

FLASHBACK FRIDAY – NEWS FROM YESTERYEAR Archbishop McCloskey in Haverstraw October 7, 1871 – #150YEARS AgoExcerpt from R...
10/08/2021

FLASHBACK FRIDAY – NEWS FROM YESTERYEAR

Archbishop McCloskey in Haverstraw

October 7, 1871 – #150YEARS Ago
Excerpt from Rockland County Journal

On Sunday, 15th inst., the new Church of St. Peter, Haverstraw will be dedicated by Arch-Bishop McCloskey who will preach the dedicatory sermon at 10:30am and administer the rite of Confirmation at 3:30pm. It is thought that the church will not accommodate one half the number of those who may desire to witness the ceremony.
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The first Mass in Haverstraw, New York was celebrated in St. Peter’s Catholic Church in 1847, the oldest Catholic church in Rockland County. The original church building was destroyed by fire.
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Interestingly, Archbishop (later Cardinal) McCloskey had a prior connection to Rockland county. This was recounted in South of the Mountains 1973-07, Vol. 17, No. 3:

…From 1832 to 1838 an attempt was made to create a Roman Catholic center with a seminary building for the education of priests and a church for the propagation of the faith in Nyack. John Dubois, Bishop of the French Roman Catholic Church in New York, bought 162 acres in Upper Nyack. In 1833, ground was broken and work on the seminary building began. Father McGeary, under whose supervision the work, was initiated, was before the completion of the structure replaced by Father Marshall. By 1838 a three-story brownstone edifice, 80 feet long and 40 feet deep, composed of a central building and two wings with vaulted slate roof stood on a site midway between what is now Midland Avenue and North Broadway just south of Lexow Avenue. Complete except for the finishing skills of master carpenters, the seminary was totally destroyed by fire.

Bishop Dubois declined to rebuild, partially because of the expense of reconstruction—the fire walls had been cracked and warped—and partially because of the still-bitter feelings among local residents against the Roman Catholic Church.

While the seminary was being constructed, Father John McCloskey was appointed pastor of the mission parish. He offered the first mass recorded as held in Rockland County in an old house on Broadway, Upper Nyack, and in this house opened a school. Father McCloskey, who had entered the priesthood in 1834, also served as rector of St. Joseph’s in New York City, became Bishop of Albany and was invested as the first cardinal in the
United States in 1875. Four years later he dedicated St. Patrick’s cathedral for the Archdiocese of New York.

To read more about the history of the Catholic Church in Rockland, visit our archived issue of South of the Mountains here: https://nyheritage.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/hsrc/id/1472/rec/1
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Flashback Friday appears every Friday. To receive the full flashback report (formerly seen in the Rockland Review), visit our website at www.RocklandHistory.org.
To receive it in your email inbox, enter your email address at the bottom of the website's landing page, or call the HSRC office to register your email at 845-634-9629.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY – NEWS FROM YESTERYEAR

Archbishop McCloskey in Haverstraw

October 7, 1871 – #150YEARS Ago
Excerpt from Rockland County Journal

On Sunday, 15th inst., the new Church of St. Peter, Haverstraw will be dedicated by Arch-Bishop McCloskey who will preach the dedicatory sermon at 10:30am and administer the rite of Confirmation at 3:30pm. It is thought that the church will not accommodate one half the number of those who may desire to witness the ceremony.
_____

The first Mass in Haverstraw, New York was celebrated in St. Peter’s Catholic Church in 1847, the oldest Catholic church in Rockland County. The original church building was destroyed by fire.
_____
Interestingly, Archbishop (later Cardinal) McCloskey had a prior connection to Rockland county. This was recounted in South of the Mountains 1973-07, Vol. 17, No. 3:

…From 1832 to 1838 an attempt was made to create a Roman Catholic center with a seminary building for the education of priests and a church for the propagation of the faith in Nyack. John Dubois, Bishop of the French Roman Catholic Church in New York, bought 162 acres in Upper Nyack. In 1833, ground was broken and work on the seminary building began. Father McGeary, under whose supervision the work, was initiated, was before the completion of the structure replaced by Father Marshall. By 1838 a three-story brownstone edifice, 80 feet long and 40 feet deep, composed of a central building and two wings with vaulted slate roof stood on a site midway between what is now Midland Avenue and North Broadway just south of Lexow Avenue. Complete except for the finishing skills of master carpenters, the seminary was totally destroyed by fire.

Bishop Dubois declined to rebuild, partially because of the expense of reconstruction—the fire walls had been cracked and warped—and partially because of the still-bitter feelings among local residents against the Roman Catholic Church.

While the seminary was being constructed, Father John McCloskey was appointed pastor of the mission parish. He offered the first mass recorded as held in Rockland County in an old house on Broadway, Upper Nyack, and in this house opened a school. Father McCloskey, who had entered the priesthood in 1834, also served as rector of St. Joseph’s in New York City, became Bishop of Albany and was invested as the first cardinal in the
United States in 1875. Four years later he dedicated St. Patrick’s cathedral for the Archdiocese of New York.

To read more about the history of the Catholic Church in Rockland, visit our archived issue of South of the Mountains here: https://nyheritage.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/hsrc/id/1472/rec/1
_____
Flashback Friday appears every Friday. To receive the full flashback report (formerly seen in the Rockland Review), visit our website at www.RocklandHistory.org.
To receive it in your email inbox, enter your email address at the bottom of the website's landing page, or call the HSRC office to register your email at 845-634-9629.

The new issue of South of the Mountains is out now!Vol. 65, No. 3July – September, 2021 IN THIS ISSUE—>John I. Haring: A...
10/07/2021

The new issue of South of the Mountains is out now!

Vol. 65, No. 3
July – September, 2021

IN THIS ISSUE
—>John I. Haring: A Memoir
Firth Haring Fabend, novelist, poet and emminent historian of the lower Hudson Valley writes about her much-loved grandfather.

—>The Nyack Water Works

—>A Show Not to Be Missed
A precious coverlet from the collections of the Historical Society of Rockland County is part of the Bergen County Quilt & Coverlet Show.

—>Tune In: "Crossroads of Rockland History”
Clare Sheridan has been on the air for ten years now. Her programs make fascinating listening.

—>Remembering Travis Jackson
Educator, activist and community leader is remembered by Marianne Leese.

COVER PICTURE: John I. Haring in 1948. From the Collection of Firth Haring Fabend.

SOUTH OF THE MOUNTAINS (ISSN 0489-9563) is published quarterly by the Historical Society of Rockland County, 20 Zukor Road, New City, NY 10956; telephone, 845-634-9629; fax, 845-634-8690; website, rocklandhistory.org; email, [email protected]. Single copy price of South of the Mountains is $5, including postage and handling.
While all efforts are made to ensure accuracy in the articles, the Historical Society assumes no responsibility for opinions and conclusions expressed or implied by contributors.
The editors welcome contributions of letters and articles. Please contact us at the Historical Society.

©2021 The Historical Society of Rockland County
All rights reserved
Editor: Marjorie H. Johnson​Consulting Editor: Marianne B. Leese
Printing by Harrington Press, Nyack, New York
_____

Receiving South of the Mountains is one of the tangible benefits of becoming a paid member of the Historical Society of Rockland County. If you are not already a member, please consider becoming one. If you are a member, watch your mailbox for the new issue! This history quarterly is the only journal of Rockland County History published continuously since 1967. It is an award-winning, scholarly journal and perfect for every Rockland History enthusiast. Enjoy the new issue!

The new issue of South of the Mountains is out now!

Vol. 65, No. 3
July – September, 2021

IN THIS ISSUE
—>John I. Haring: A Memoir
Firth Haring Fabend, novelist, poet and emminent historian of the lower Hudson Valley writes about her much-loved grandfather.

—>The Nyack Water Works

—>A Show Not to Be Missed
A precious coverlet from the collections of the Historical Society of Rockland County is part of the Bergen County Quilt & Coverlet Show.

—>Tune In: "Crossroads of Rockland History”
Clare Sheridan has been on the air for ten years now. Her programs make fascinating listening.

—>Remembering Travis Jackson
Educator, activist and community leader is remembered by Marianne Leese.

COVER PICTURE: John I. Haring in 1948. From the Collection of Firth Haring Fabend.

SOUTH OF THE MOUNTAINS (ISSN 0489-9563) is published quarterly by the Historical Society of Rockland County, 20 Zukor Road, New City, NY 10956; telephone, 845-634-9629; fax, 845-634-8690; website, rocklandhistory.org; email, [email protected]. Single copy price of South of the Mountains is $5, including postage and handling.
While all efforts are made to ensure accuracy in the articles, the Historical Society assumes no responsibility for opinions and conclusions expressed or implied by contributors.
The editors welcome contributions of letters and articles. Please contact us at the Historical Society.

©2021 The Historical Society of Rockland County
All rights reserved
Editor: Marjorie H. Johnson​Consulting Editor: Marianne B. Leese
Printing by Harrington Press, Nyack, New York
_____

Receiving South of the Mountains is one of the tangible benefits of becoming a paid member of the Historical Society of Rockland County. If you are not already a member, please consider becoming one. If you are a member, watch your mailbox for the new issue! This history quarterly is the only journal of Rockland County History published continuously since 1967. It is an award-winning, scholarly journal and perfect for every Rockland History enthusiast. Enjoy the new issue!

#OTD (Oct. 2) in 1780 British Major John André was hanged as a spy at Tappan, New YorkImage: “The Unfortunate Death of M...
10/03/2021

#OTD (Oct. 2) in 1780 British Major John André was hanged as a spy at Tappan, New York

Image: “The Unfortunate Death of Major André,” from The New Complete and Authentic History of England, BARNARD Edward Published by Author, London, 1782

Major John André was captured by Colonial militiamen in Tarrytown after his meeting with Benedict Arnold. He had the plans of West Point hidden in his boots. André was taken to Tappan and kept as a prisoner in what is today the ‘76 House. After a trial, André was sentenced to death for being a spy. On October 2, 1780 André was executed by hanging. His last words were, “I have nothing more to say than this: that I would have you gentlemen bear me witness that I died like a brave man.”

André was buried in Tappan. In 1821 his remains were disinterred and taken to England for burial in Westminster Abbey. Benedict Arnold, the general who became a traitor, became an officer in the British Army. Arnold died in London in 1801.

A reproduction of this print is part of the HSRC’s collection and is on view now as part of our exhibition entitled Rockland Voices.

To read more about the Treason of the Revolution, visit our archived issue of South of the Mountains,1963, Vol. 7, No. 4 Here:
https://cdm16694.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/hsrc/id/940/

To listen to an episode of Crossroads of Rockland History focused on the Treason of the Revolution click here: https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/DDD9FUUwL2vbqmn86

www.RocklandHistory.org

#OTD (Oct. 2) in 1780 British Major John André was hanged as a spy at Tappan, New York

Image: “The Unfortunate Death of Major André,” from The New Complete and Authentic History of England, BARNARD Edward Published by Author, London, 1782

Major John André was captured by Colonial militiamen in Tarrytown after his meeting with Benedict Arnold. He had the plans of West Point hidden in his boots. André was taken to Tappan and kept as a prisoner in what is today the ‘76 House. After a trial, André was sentenced to death for being a spy. On October 2, 1780 André was executed by hanging. His last words were, “I have nothing more to say than this: that I would have you gentlemen bear me witness that I died like a brave man.”

André was buried in Tappan. In 1821 his remains were disinterred and taken to England for burial in Westminster Abbey. Benedict Arnold, the general who became a traitor, became an officer in the British Army. Arnold died in London in 1801.

A reproduction of this print is part of the HSRC’s collection and is on view now as part of our exhibition entitled Rockland Voices.

To read more about the Treason of the Revolution, visit our archived issue of South of the Mountains,1963, Vol. 7, No. 4 Here:
https://cdm16694.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/hsrc/id/940/

To listen to an episode of Crossroads of Rockland History focused on the Treason of the Revolution click here: https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/DDD9FUUwL2vbqmn86

www.RocklandHistory.org

#FBF  – NEWS FROM YESTERYEARExcerpt from the Rockland Independent/LeaderSeptember 29, 1971 – 50 YEARS AGO COUNTY FLAG:  ...
10/01/2021

#FBF – NEWS FROM YESTERYEAR

Excerpt from the Rockland Independent/Leader
September 29, 1971 – 50 YEARS AGO

COUNTY FLAG: NOW IT’S OFFICIAL
Pierce J. Coulter will not be forgotten in Rockland County history. As designer of the first official county flag, the late South Orangetown teacher will be remembered for the creativity that won him first prize in a flag-design contest the county sponsored this past May.

“He didn’t even tell me he had entered the contest until he won it,” said Mrs. Coulter of Congers, the designer’s widow.

Mrs. Coulter will share some of her late husband’s glory as she presents the first cloth flag made from Coulter’s design to legislature chairman Herschel Greenbaum.

The flag will remain in Greenbaum’s office, to be used during legislative meetings. At the present time, this flag is the only copy yet made from Coulter’s design. But Bob Bergman, administrative assistant to Greenbaum, said he hopes others will soon be manufactured.

“Maybe next year, an outdoor copy will be made to fly above the courthouse, he said.

_____

Flashback Friday appears every Friday. To receive the full flashback report (formerly seen in the Rockland Review), visit our website at www.RocklandHistory.org.
To receive it in your email inbox, enter your email address at the bottom of the website's landing page, or call the HSRC office to register your email at 845-634-9629.

#FBF – NEWS FROM YESTERYEAR

Excerpt from the Rockland Independent/Leader
September 29, 1971 – 50 YEARS AGO

COUNTY FLAG: NOW IT’S OFFICIAL
Pierce J. Coulter will not be forgotten in Rockland County history. As designer of the first official county flag, the late South Orangetown teacher will be remembered for the creativity that won him first prize in a flag-design contest the county sponsored this past May.

“He didn’t even tell me he had entered the contest until he won it,” said Mrs. Coulter of Congers, the designer’s widow.

Mrs. Coulter will share some of her late husband’s glory as she presents the first cloth flag made from Coulter’s design to legislature chairman Herschel Greenbaum.

The flag will remain in Greenbaum’s office, to be used during legislative meetings. At the present time, this flag is the only copy yet made from Coulter’s design. But Bob Bergman, administrative assistant to Greenbaum, said he hopes others will soon be manufactured.

“Maybe next year, an outdoor copy will be made to fly above the courthouse, he said.

_____

Flashback Friday appears every Friday. To receive the full flashback report (formerly seen in the Rockland Review), visit our website at www.RocklandHistory.org.
To receive it in your email inbox, enter your email address at the bottom of the website's landing page, or call the HSRC office to register your email at 845-634-9629.

It’s National Silent Movie Day!  The annual celebration of silent movies, a vastly misunderstood and neglected cinematic...
09/29/2021

It’s National Silent Movie Day! The annual celebration of silent movies, a vastly misunderstood and neglected cinematic art form is celebrated on 9/29. To celebrate, we look back to 1914 in Piermont…

The Transformation of Sparkill Creek for the film FROU-FROU, 1914

(The film was later re-named The Hungry Heart and was released in 1917) Thanks to K. Hatch for input and additional info!

Excerpt from South of the Mountains, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1970)

In November 1914, World War I, then called the Great War, was three months old, the Silent Movie was becoming the great American entertainment medium, the Birth of a Nation had been released and acclaimed and large cinema studios were building in Fort Lee, New Jersey under the dynamic leadership of William F. Brady, father of Alice Brady and manager of Jim Corbett. Adolph Zukor who later established his home, today’s Dellwood Country Club, just South of the Mountains, joined Mr. Brady.

Piermont was enjoying its sleepy river-town ambience in which it had been left by the retirement of the steam-cars from Buffalo and the packets to New York, its peace only faintly and infrequently disturbed by the sound of the carriage and pairs or the Stanley Steamer and Pierce Arrow grinding up the gravel drive to Fort Comfort Inn or the sound of rifle shots from the target range at Camp Blue Fields on top of the Mountain.

Into this bucolic, autumn scene there came from the World Film Studios in Fort Lee, Dr. T. K. Peters searching for “locations” in which to film “Frou-Frou,” a French play written in 1869 by Henry Meilhac and Ludevic Halevy and produced at various times in the United States. In his autobiography William Brady mentions his large collection of play scripts and it seems highly likely that Mr. Brady would have suggested this play for production, or would have highly endorsed Director Chautards’ suggestion, as recalled by Dr. Peters.

In, 1970, Dr. Peters lived in Westport in northern California on the Coast Road where he was the proprietor of the Peters Art Gallery — Art, Gifts, Antiques. Among the many exhibits of more than usual interest in Dr. Peters’ Collection are his albums of still pictures of silent film actors and actresses, Mary Pickford, Jack Pick-ford, Marguerite Clarke and Dustin Farnum among them. Of especial interest to Rocklanders are the stills of movie sets and props constructed on Sparkill Creek between the Stone Bridge and the lower bridge where Dr. Peters made the old brick factory or garage (still standing but in 1970 a parachute factory) and nearby houses into Venetian Palaces and the Sparkill Creek into a Venice canal.

In 1970, Dr. Peters lent these pictures for reproduction in South of the Mountains and wrote an account of the Action in 1914, in Piermont.

To read this article in full, visit our new collection of digitized issues of South of the Mountains at NY Heritage. Find it here: https://nyheritage.contentdm.oclc.org/collection/hsrc/id/1358/

It’s National Silent Movie Day! The annual celebration of silent movies, a vastly misunderstood and neglected cinematic art form is celebrated on 9/29. To celebrate, we look back to 1914 in Piermont…

The Transformation of Sparkill Creek for the film FROU-FROU, 1914

(The film was later re-named The Hungry Heart and was released in 1917) Thanks to K. Hatch for input and additional info!

Excerpt from South of the Mountains, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1970)

In November 1914, World War I, then called the Great War, was three months old, the Silent Movie was becoming the great American entertainment medium, the Birth of a Nation had been released and acclaimed and large cinema studios were building in Fort Lee, New Jersey under the dynamic leadership of William F. Brady, father of Alice Brady and manager of Jim Corbett. Adolph Zukor who later established his home, today’s Dellwood Country Club, just South of the Mountains, joined Mr. Brady.

Piermont was enjoying its sleepy river-town ambience in which it had been left by the retirement of the steam-cars from Buffalo and the packets to New York, its peace only faintly and infrequently disturbed by the sound of the carriage and pairs or the Stanley Steamer and Pierce Arrow grinding up the gravel drive to Fort Comfort Inn or the sound of rifle shots from the target range at Camp Blue Fields on top of the Mountain.

Into this bucolic, autumn scene there came from the World Film Studios in Fort Lee, Dr. T. K. Peters searching for “locations” in which to film “Frou-Frou,” a French play written in 1869 by Henry Meilhac and Ludevic Halevy and produced at various times in the United States. In his autobiography William Brady mentions his large collection of play scripts and it seems highly likely that Mr. Brady would have suggested this play for production, or would have highly endorsed Director Chautards’ suggestion, as recalled by Dr. Peters.

In, 1970, Dr. Peters lived in Westport in northern California on the Coast Road where he was the proprietor of the Peters Art Gallery — Art, Gifts, Antiques. Among the many exhibits of more than usual interest in Dr. Peters’ Collection are his albums of still pictures of silent film actors and actresses, Mary Pickford, Jack Pick-ford, Marguerite Clarke and Dustin Farnum among them. Of especial interest to Rocklanders are the stills of movie sets and props constructed on Sparkill Creek between the Stone Bridge and the lower bridge where Dr. Peters made the old brick factory or garage (still standing but in 1970 a parachute factory) and nearby houses into Venetian Palaces and the Sparkill Creek into a Venice canal.

In 1970, Dr. Peters lent these pictures for reproduction in South of the Mountains and wrote an account of the Action in 1914, in Piermont.

To read this article in full, visit our new collection of digitized issues of South of the Mountains at NY Heritage. Find it here: https://nyheritage.contentdm.oclc.org/collection/hsrc/id/1358/

Address

20 Zukor Rd
New City, NY
10956

General information

The Historical Society of Rockland County's Administrative Office is open Wednesdays-Fridays - 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. Research is by advance appointment only. The HSRC's Museum Gallery is open during exhibitions: Wednesday - Sunday - 12:00 - 4:00 pm By appointment for groups of 10+ - please contact us at 845.634.9629 or by e-mail to: [email protected] Tours of the Jacob Blauvelt House are currently unavailable. Call 845.634.9629 or e-mail: [email protected] for further information. Check the website often for updates on all exhibitions and events -- www.rocklandhistory.org . The Historical Society of Rockland County is supported in part by the County of Rockland, Department of Economic Development and Tourism..

Opening Hours

Wednesday 10am - 5pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 12pm - 5pm

Telephone

(845) 634-9629

Products

The HSRC has publications and maps for purchase at the History Center as well as on our website at www.rocklandhistory.org.

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Comments

Can anyone recommend someone to take a look at these stones on my property. I dug them up probably 30 years ago.
Can anyone give me a run down on what happened to the Cropsey House in Congers, and any info on Regina W. Cropsey? Thanks.
Any info on the Ice sled displayed on the 2nd floor of Clarkstown Town Hall ?
We are very interested in the little red school house in south spring valley. I know the board of education owns it but it has fallen into disrepair. Is there anything that can be done? My husband and his father and aunts attended. His aunts were interviewed when it had become a museum. Please save it
What this Bergen Record July 1946 article does not tell you (and this is how old timer's told me the story) - The 3 German POWs escaped from Camp Shanks POW camp about 2 am, figuring that they could travel undetected on foot at night to a New York City bound ferry where they could then blend into the population. They thought it would be safe to sleep in farmer's fields during the day. Before dawn they made it to Haworth, where they decided to sleep that day in a field - little did they know the "field" was the Haworth police target range!
My father operated Camp Wabenaki originally on Lake Cohasset then removed to Lake Stahahe. Are there any copies of Ce;ebratomg 100 Years of Summer Csmps in Harriman State Park. Have checkbook will travel. Michael Hittman ([email protected]) thanks
Hello! Do you have any historical data on the lime kiln on Route 210 in Stony Point?
A mystery of monumental proportions (pun intended). Who would steal a heavy, cast-iron marker, and why?
Chicago Tribune, July 22, 1871 Reports labor riot in Nanuet
The first time I see harness racing held in New City was on Sept. 22, 1894. One race, $300 purse. Fastest time was 2:27 ¼. First racing in Orangeburg was also in 1894 – July 4. One race, $100 purse. Fastest time was 2:28 ¾. There were two more “meets” in Orangeburg that year – in Sept. and Oct. The last time I see racing held in New City was on Sept. 3, 1921. Two races, $200 purses. Fastest time was 2:30 ¾. Last racing in Orangeburg was Sept. 3-5, 1939. Five races over that time period, $200 maximum purse. Fastest time was 2:11 ½. Nothing after that. I suspect the war may have changed a lot of things.
1842 poster advertising that the well bred horse "Henry Duroc" will be in Tappan to "attend to your mare." From the Auryansen/Adriance Family document collection.