11/30/16 7:30am


The City of Newburgh is accepting requests for proposals for the purchase and rehabilitation of some of the most historically significant buildings in the city. Up for sale are the Dutch Reformed Church, the City Club aka William Culbert House and 2 Montgomery, a vacant urban renewal lot. RFP’s are due by Wednesday, February 1st, 2017.

A master developer is sought to collaborate with the City in the creation of viable residential, commercial, and public space. The empty lot is included for the purposes of providing for an income generating project to support the preservation and restoration of the City Club and the DRC, and to ensure a public use of the DRC. To view the RFP register with BidNet or check back with the city’s website to see if it has been published there.

The City has given a nice summary of historical details of the properties. Let’s take a look at each of the offerings.

Historic Dutch Reformed Church


Recognized as the ‘Beacon on the Hill”, this National Historic Landmark building was recognized as a “Save America’s Treasures” site by the federal government, was named one of the World Monument Fund 100 most endangered heritage sites and was named one of the “7 to Save” by the Preservation League of New York State in 2015. An outstanding Greek Revival building designed in 1835 by world-renowned architect Alexander Jackson Davis, the monumental structure borrows proportions and details from classical Greek precedents and was intended as a symbol of the community’s enlightened taste.

©Michael Bowman, 2012

Today, however, after several decades on non-use and neglect, the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) is in a dire state of disrepair needing immediate stabilization and extensive restoration. The magnificent, acoustically acclaimed interior has deteriorated significantly, specifically following a collapse of a large portion of the vaulted coffered ceiling in 2014. The DRC has been the site for a National Park Service and World Monument Fund Summer School in Restoration Arts in the early 2010s. Presently, the Preservation League of New York State has undertaken an update of the engineering study which will be available to potential developers. The nomination for the Dutch Reformed Church’s National Historic Landmark status is available upon request.


The City of Newburgh is seeking a full restoration of the DRC and re-establishment of its historic role as a civic center for the City, where people can gather together in common purpose to discuss ideas, celebrate our heritage and culture, host important events, and enjoy the arts. The final use and management of the DRC should be considered in consultation with the adjacent community in order to allow for some or all of those uses mentioned above, and to ensure long-lasting preservation of the structure.

The DRC, with its commanding hillside location, is highly visible from the river. Its lot size is approximately 160’ by 215’ (tax map parcel: section 19 block 1 lot 25). A community garden has been created along the southern end of the lot adjacent to the Newburgh Free Library and Newburgh Enlarged City School District administration building.

The City Club aka William Culbert House


Just south of the Dutch Reformed Church, is 120 Grand Street – commonly referred to as the “City Club” building. Like the DRC, it is located in the heart of Newburgh’s East End Historic District.


This distinctive brick and sandstone building was based on a collaborative design by Andrew Jackson Downing and Calvert Vaux. It was built between 1852 and 1857. A description of the building was included in the 1857 Vaux publication “Villas and Cottages” as Design No. 22 (“Suburban House with Curved Roof”). The building was originally designed as the home/office of William Culbert. In 1904, it became headquarters of the Newburgh City Club, an organization catering to the city’s leading businessmen and politicians. Shortly thereafter some additions were made to the original structure.


The building was carefully restored in the 1970’s but succumbed to a fire in 1981. Sadly, all that remains of the original structure are the foundation walls and exterior walls of the first and second stories. The first and second floors were listed as having a combined square footage of 7,128 square feet. The building has no interior walls or roof. The structure’s exterior walls are supported by interior steel beams.

The City Club building is prominently located on a 45’ x 122’ lot (tax map parcel: section 24 block 2 lot 17) at the corner of Grand and Second Streets. The property borders a parcel containing the Newburgh Free Library as well as the offices of the Newburgh Enlarged City School District. The 1841 County Courthouse and St. George’s Episcopal Church, one of the oldest buildings in the City of Newburgh, sit across the street – to the west of the City Club building. A municipal parking lot is situated across Second Street, to the building’s south.


Both the City Club and the DRC are located in the Downtown Neighborhood zoning district. Interested developers are urged to consult the City of Newburgh’s Zoning Ordinance for information on the variety of uses permitted within the Downtown Neighborhood District.

A full exterior restoration would be preferred, however alternative plans for rehabilitation or reuse may be considered. Additionally, some public access or community use would be preferred. However, the City may consider projects or developments that offer less public access in exchange for a more substantial restoration.

Parcel of Former Urban Renewal Land


Bundled with the two historically significant buildings is 2 Montgomery Street, a 1.8 acre block of former urban renewal land bounded by Montgomery Street, Second Street, Colden Street, and Orange County Community College. This vacant, commercial parcel possesses panoramic, unobstructed views of the Hudson River and Mount Beacon.

The property is also known as 1-3 Colden Street, 2-34 Montgomery Street and 56 Second Street (tax map parcel: section 24 block 10 and lot 1.2). It was formed by combining several small lots into one larger parcel. Years ago, a city street transected the property; remnants of the street’s retaining walls emerge as outcroppings throughout certain sections of the lot. The parcel has access to both municipal water and sewer.

Mid to high-rise buildings, with shop  fronts on the first floor to foster pedestrian activity, are encouraged in this zoning district. Projects that meet the zoning requirements without the need for substantial variances are expected. Details of the Waterfront Gateway Zone can be found at http://ecode.com/30538943.



08/01/12 10:00am

While digging through some old Evening News articles, I came across this rendering done to restore the City Club in 1986. They are by Frank Taylor, architect of Marlboro. The accompanying article by city historian of the time, Helen Vernooy Gearn, gives some wonderful history of the City Club and the efforts that were made to restore it, and its ultimate destruction. There is also a great amount of information about the destruction of the Newburgh Waterfront. The article is titled Old City Club has had its Ups and Downs.

The shell of the City Club still exists. Maybe one day it will be restored to this image we see here.

05/07/12 9:30am

© Tom Daley (all rights reserved)

There are some great and probably for the most part, unseen photos of the City Club (aka the William Culbert House) over at the Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance Facebook Fan Page. The clarity of the photos really gives a presence and a sense of the times. It’s clearly a good 40-50 years back. The Palatine Hotel which was located on the left is already demolished but, what looks like the ferry terminal towards the river is still in existence. You can see up close details of the furnishings, woodwork, light fixtures, fireplaces and more in color.

The pictures really heighten the lost history this building once possessed. Sadly it was burned, and now all that remains is a shell. The building isn’t necessarily on the market, but is for sale. It will take a ton of work to restore. Click here to see what it looks like now.

Still there are many people that want to see this building come back and reused for something new. Check out the Save the City Club Fan Page on Facebook. There are over 630 people that love the City Club and want to see it saved!

[highlight]**On a side note, Newburgh Restoration tries hard to give credit to the photographers and sources of the photos posted here. Please do not copy photos with out giving credit to the photographer AND the source/link of the photo, whether they be original photographs of this site, or historic photos that have been copied. If you see a photograph that has not been given proper credit, please email newburghrestoration(at)gmail.com**[/highlight]

01/28/09 9:00am
(taken from Hudson River Valley Heritage)

See below for more pictures…

(taken from the Library of Congress)  


(taken from the Library of Congress)  


(taken from the Library of Congress)  


These are photos of Newburgh City Club, also known as the William Culbert House. It was constructed in the mid 1850’s as a residence for Dr. Culbert. A.J. Downing collaborated in building the structure with Calvert Vaux. Downing designed Downing Park in Newburgh and Central Park in Manhattan. In 1906 the house became the headquarters of the Newburgh City Club, which was a club for the city’s leading businessmen and politicians. In the 1960’s the second floor of the house was used to house the Supreme Court Library of the 9 Judicial District. With Newburgh’s decline the building was abandoned in the 1970’s, and saved from the urban renewal project which razed all of the buildings on Water and Front Streets. In the urban renewal project the Palatine Hotel you see to the left was demolished, as well as all the buildings you see to the right down the street heading to the river. In 1975 the Newburgh City Club was painstakingly restored only to be gutted by a fire in 1981. It has stood as you see it above ever since.

Thanks to Google Book Search, Downing’s entire book, “Villas and Cottages” is available online! Starting on page 241, Downing has drawings and plans of the Culbert house-Design No. 20. He gives extensive details in why certain designs were chosen-such as the staircase for example and certain wood. And of the location of the house he had this to say,

“This house has been built on the upper level of Newuburgh, in Grand Street, which is at present the handsomest thoroughfare that passes through the town…Grand Street is thus naturally becoming the principal promenade of Newburgh. [The Hudson River] gives it a charming pictorial character that is very rarely attainable.”

And the house was built for $10,000! This part of Downing’s book reveals so much history to this house. How I hope one day that it can be restored! Clearly this house is an extremely huge part of Newburgh history.

This information was taken from page page 182 of the book, “Hudson Valley Ruins” which also shows a photo of Newburgh City Club with the Dutch Reformed Church in the background. Another great shot of the before and after of this building on Flickr. The library of congress has some great interior photos of the house.

The million dollar question is, who owns this building now?? Are there any proposed plans for the structure?