Newburgh Preservation Association Announces Progress on Former Dutch Reformed Church Cleanup

Newburgh Dutch Reformed Church

On Sunday, December 2, 2012 at their annual social, the Newburgh Preservation Association presented awards to the Newburgh Brewery, Atlas Industries and myself. Some of the other exciting news that filled the evening was the announcement that the City of Newburgh, which owns the building, agreed to work with the NPA to test the debris at the site and, depending on the results, remove it before the Christmas holiday.  This is a crucial and much-appreciated breakthrough that will allow NPA to raise the $25,000 it will need to match a state grant for conducting stabilization studies of the church and ultimately replace the ceiling and restoring the structure.  The total estimated cost of the project is between $10 and $12 million.  With this overwhelming challenge in mind at the social, NPA welcomed and celebrated the work of commercial photographer Ruedi Hofmann, new to the city, who last month gathered local artists for an historic ensemble photo inside the DRC, evoking Grand Central Station and the intersection of Newburgh’s greatest assets: historic architecture and a forward-looking arts community.  Newburgh Art Supply owners, Gerardo Castro and Michael Gabor alongside Kippy Boyle organized the artists for the photo shoot as a followup to their successful Newburgh Open Studios event. A copy of the photo is currently on display at Newburgh Art Supply, 5 Grand Street.

The Newburgh Preservation Association (NPA), an all-volunteer organization founded in 1978, is the only local nonprofit exclusively committed to rebuilding, preserving and promoting the architectural heritage and historic viewsheds of the City of Newburgh.  In 2010, NPA helped facilitate the sale of the 1914 West Shore Train Station to Ray Yannone of Storm King Builders, and earlier this year, announced plans to re-launch Alexander Jackson Davis’s historic 1835 American Reformed Church as The Newburgh Lyceum at the former Dutch Reformed Church, part of a broader effort by the group to stabilize, restore and rededicate the landmark building as the heart of Newburgh’s public square.

The former 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 DRC 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.

Press release provided by Kevin Burke

Photo © Michael Bowman