01/25/17 7:30am

Weigant's Tavern Newburgh NY

Weigant’s Tavern is one of those special buildings in Newburgh surrounded by history, mystery, and neglect. It might look like scrap wood to you, but this building is special with Weigant Family connections to the Revolutionary War. According to local historian Mary McTamaney, the original tavern was located at the north side of Broad Street just east of Liberty. The building was most likely moved during the 1930’s, and it is unlikely any of the original 18th-century building parts remain.

However, as Orange County Historian Johanna Yaun stated,”The structure was moved and repaired so we’ll never know how much of the configuration is original. But the care given to moving the structure in the 1930’s illustrates a chapter of Colonial Revivalism in the early 20th century. I think this story, especially in a city so rich with Revolutionary War connections, is important to remember. We weren’t only the place where Washington headquartered, we are also the place that pioneered the historic preservation of sites associated with the founding era. The tavern reminds us that if not for the local militias and committees of safety (the men who rose up from the community to take a stand against the monarchy), Washington’s army would not have come into existence. We can’t explain the success of the Army without telling the story of what happened in the colony’s taverns.”

It is exciting to learn that Thomas Burr Dodd of RipRap LLC will oversee the rehabilitation of Weigant’s Tavern (also spelled Weigand and Weygant). The interior condition is much worse than anything that you can imagine just by judging from the outside. There isn’t one right angle in this entire building. The floors are warped, the walls are disintegrating and everything else is collapsing. It is little wonder it hasn’t imploded. Where does one even begin on a project like this? In the first few minutes of talking to Dodd, you realize he has a passion for history and old buildings. He has tentative plans to create an office here, but would also consider other possibilities like renting out to a tenant who wants to restore the original tavern use.

The abandonment that plagued this corner of the Old Town Cemetery made it an incredibly frightful place. Hopefully, the development of Weigant’s Tavern will be one more building block to the revitalization of northern Liberty.

*Please note, there are no tours of the tavern and you should not try to gain entry. For now, enjoy these photos of the current condition.

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12/07/16 7:30am

Newburgh has a deep rich history with many stories to tell. One of those stories is of Newburgh’s most famous landmark, Washington’s Headquarters. Joe Santacroce has brought this landmark to life in his documentary, “The Mansion on the Hill”. Grab some popcorn and take time and learn about local history.

This is a Documentary about Washington’s Headquarters and Newburgh, NY , and how Washington’s Headquarters came to be what it is today. It takes us back to the first settlers of Newburgh and what it was like here, the history of the house, and some of the events that occurred during the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries including George Washington’s time at Headquarters and the events that occurred here.

How the house become the First Publicly Owned National Historic Site and how it was almost lost to history, the visitors and celebrations that occurred here, are all an integral part of the story.
Included are tours of the inside and outside of the house and dramatic Drone Aerial Footage by Scott Snell of XfactorAerial.com. There are many images pulled from various collections and interviews with those close to the site.

We have recreated music from the 18th and 19th Century including music from Composers from Newburgh who lived during that time period. Musicians Albert Garzon, Rick Santacroce, Jr., and Jonathan Dobin created an incredible musical soundtrack of the time period.

Narrated by: John Norman Hall, Jr.
Written, Directed, Produced by: Joe Santacroce
Running Time: 1:18:45

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08/23/16 8:35am

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It’s Last Saturdays in Newburgh, and this month has a special addition of an African American walking tour. This is a great way to not only see the city, but to also learn about local history and the black lives that have shaped the City of Newburgh.

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12/09/15 7:30am

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The Newburgh Historical Society’s annual Candlelight Tour features a dozen decorated homes including a diverse assortment of public and private spaces – mansions, structures in the rehabilitation process, new construction, architectural gems, and some of Newburgh’s most important landmarks. For years, community members within the second largest historic district in New York State have generously decorated and opened their homes to visitors in support of local history. The 1830 Captain David Crawford House, located at 189 Montgomery St., Newburgh is the starting place for the Tour.

December 13, 2015, 12 PM – 5 PM

For tickets and details click here.

-Photo Matthew Colon, Director of the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands

09/01/15 7:30am

Broadway and Mill St Newburgh NY 1920s

Broadway and Mill Street in the 1920’s
Photo: Collection of Newburgh Historical Society, Newburgh, NY

I often romanticize what Newburgh was like in her grand years. Looking at the current situations of blocks like William Street or Lander make it difficult to imagine such a time even existed. After publishing a recent post about the potential of William Street, a reader submitted a wonderful letter depicting what that block was like as a child during the latter part of the Great Depression and just prior to World War II. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope you do too. If you ever have personal photos or stories you would like to share, please email me.

Dear Cher,

Your photo of the garage for sale on William Street evoked memories of my childhood as I grew up a block from William Street on Renwick Street. Hence, I thought you might be interested in what I recall of the one block section of William Street that intersected with Renwick Street.

On the corner of Renwick and William Street was a grocery store that had changed ownership over the years. I recall at Christmas time each year the grocery store would sell Christmas trees which the owner lined up on the brick wall of the store on Renwick Street. As children, I recall playing by crawling under the Christmas trees and where a young male friend found a one dollar bill (a large sum of money in those days) while we were crawling under the trees and went running jubilantly home grasping his new found wealth.

Next to the grocery store was a drug store and soda bar owned by the Levine family for many years where many of the families would visit for an ice cream treat served to them over their granite counter with stools. Next to the drug store was the local shoemaker who also served as the “neighborhood bookie” as that is where everyone in the neighborhood went to bet on the numbers. I recall my mother having me take shoes to him for repair and also giving me a penny to play a special number which the shoemaker wrote down on paper for me as a “receipt” which I returned to my mother. I don’t ever recall my mother ever winning!

Further up William Street in the middle of the block was a Jewish bakery shop which sold a variety of fresh baked breads and pastries that was quite a popular bakery at that time. I can also recall as children, we jumped from rooftop to rooftop until we came to the bakery rooftop on William Street and with long sticks which were used to “steal” hot loaves of bread cooling on the outside racks outside the bakery in the back of the store. We then as children ate the bread with fresh picked tomatoes which came from my father’s tomato  garden on Renwick Street.

Across the street form the bakery on William Street was  the local barber shop owned by “Danny the barber” yet another front for a bookie who took all types of betting including horse racing. Needless to say, gambling was common among the local residents of that neighborhood and I can recall many interruptions when Danny was cutting my hair as well as answering the phone to receive bets. Further down the street from the barber was yet another gambling establishment where Ralph’s Poolroom existed and where some of the local male residents played cards in Ralph’s back room where Ralph also sat and collected his “commissions” from the card players. Ralph also supplemented his income by making lemon ice in the summertime which was very popular with the local children in the neighborhood.

William Street and Renwick Street consisted of many homes where children grew up during the depression years of parents, many of whom had emigrated from countries such as Italy, who took pride in their neighborhood as it was quite common to observe how the mothers could  be seen sweeping the front walks in front of their homes each morning. It was a close knit neighborhood in which families supported one another and the children played harmoniously. It is sad to see how this once proud neighborhood has fallen upon difficult times and how many homes have now  been abandoned.

Regards,

Joseph A. Ricciotti
(Former Resident of Renwick Street)