Exciting New Developments on the Preservation of the Dutch Reformed Church

The Newburgh Preservation Association announced its plans to re-launch Alexander Jackson Davis’s historic 1835 American Reformed Church as The Newburgh Lyceum at the Dutch Reformed Church. The move comes as part of a broader effort by the group to stabilize, restore and rededicate the landmark building as the heart of the City of Newburgh’s public square, past and future.

In January, Newburgh’s City Council approved an amended agreement with N.P.A. allowing the group to take the lead in making capital improvements to the D.R.C., including stabilizing the building’s ceiling, damaged over the winter. Guiding this transformation under N.P.A. will be its Dutch Reformed Church Restoration Committee, led by its new chairperson and N.P.A. Vice President Giovanni Palladino, a Newburgh native and architect, and the following members: Kevin Burke, Deirdre Glenn, Gary Gogerty, Virginia Kasinki, Barry Schuyler, Millie Starin.

In addition to stabilizing the D.R.C. structure, the D.R.C.R.C. this summer will launch a series of public gardens around the base of the building to reinforce the Lyceum’s ties to the people of Newburgh and its core sustainability goals. The Committee also plans to invigorate its fundraising efforts in 2012, including raising awareness of the D.R.C.’s central place in national and world architectural history and fostering ties between N.P.A. and the wider preservation movement.

“Our goal is to turn the D.R.C. into Newburgh’s version of Boston’s Faneuil Hall, a civic center where the people of our city can gather together in common purpose to discuss, even debate, ideas, celebrate our heritage and culture, host important events and enjoy the arts,” said Palladino. “To get there, the Lyceum will need significant support from our local, regional and national partners. The time is now to revitalize this precious landmark not only in honor of those who built it but for those it will serve as a unifying force of cultural and democratic possibility.”

“We are thrilled to be working with N.P.A. on this initiative,” said Newburgh City Manager, Richard Herberk, who, along with Corporation Counsel Michelle Kelson, was instrumental in finalizing the City’s agreement with N.P.A. liaison Gary Gogerty. “N.P.A. has a long-standing reputation in our city of fighting to preserve our most cherished landmarks, and bolstered by our new City agreement, it now has the authority and tools it needs to restore and revitalize The Newburgh Lyceum at the Dutch Reformed Church as our ‘beacon on a hill,’ there to remind visitors of our rich history as the birthplace of the American republic and of our people’s greatest strength: our diversity.”

The Dutch Reformed Church is an outstanding Greek Revival building designed in 1835 by world-renowned architect Alexander Jackson Davis. The monumental structure borrows proportions, siting and details from classical Greek precedents. Intended as a symbol of the community’s enlightened taste, it commands a dominant view over the Hudson. The D.R.C. is “the greatest surviving ecclesiastical commission of America’s greatest architect of the era” according to J. Winthrop Aldrich, former New York Deputy Commissioner of Historic Preservation. In 2001, the United States government designated it a National Historic Landmark.

The Newburgh Preservation Association (N.P.A.) is an all-volunteer organization founded in 1978 committed to rebuilding, preserving and promoting the architectural heritage and historic viewsheds of Newburgh. In 2010, N.P.A. helped facilitate the sale of the 1914 West Shore Train Station to Ray Yannone of Storm King Builders.

For more information, contact info@preservenewburgh.org or call (845) 562-8076.

To support N.P.A.’s mission, including contributing to The Newburgh Lyceum at the Dutch Reformed Church, please visit www.preservenewburgh.org.