Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Youth and Aging

This evening William, whom I believe to be the oldest dog in Hudson, met Jamison Teale's and James Gottlieb's puppy, Lucy, who is probably the youngest and definitely the newest dog in Hudson. (The meeting, which took place in Washington Park, was arranged by the humans.)

Turn Your Radios On

Today at 10 a.m., Tom DePietro interviews Ed Moore, chief of the Hudson Police Department, on WGXC's @Issue. Listen at 90.7 FM or online.

Remembering Lee Musselman

John Mason has a lovely remembrance of Lee Musselman in today's Register-Star, distractingly marred by the consistent misspelling of Dini Lamot's last name: "Remembering artist Musselman: The man and his city connection."

How It All Began

Gossips was back at City Hall on Tuesday afternoon, reading Common Council minutes from 1910 in the hope of finding some mention of the Hudson-Fulton Memorial Fountain. No luck. But in the process, I found these entries in the minutes for 1910. 

The first is a resolution introduced by Alderman Decker on January 27, 1910:
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to confer with the Assemblyman from this district with a view of changing the law so that the proposed Trunk Highway running through the westerly part of this county, to be built by the State running from New York to Albany pass through this city. 
The resolution was unanimously adopted and a committee appointed made up of aldermen Decker, Small, and Kennedy.

At the next meeting, on February 24, 1910, Alderman Decker introduced another resolution:
Resolved, That this Council favor the change of the Highway Law in relation to route No. 2 in Columbia County, so that that portion of it which formerly read "from the boundary of Columbia and Dutchess Counties north-easterly and north-westerly" read "from the boundary of Columbia and Dutchess Counties through Blue Store and Johnstown to Bells Pond and thence northerly along the turnpike and Worth Avenue to the City of Hudson," and that Assemblyman Albert S. Callan of this county be respectfully requested to introduce a bill in the Legislature to this effect, and that he be notified of this request at once.
This resolution, too, was adopted unanimously. 

Surely, in their zeal to get what is now Route 9 to pass through Hudson, the aldermen of a century ago never anticipated the consequences, a hundred years later, of their initiative.




Of Interest

There was an article in Monday's Wall Street Journal about the restoration of the grounds at Olana and five miles of carriage trails to Frederic Church's original vision: "'Editing' the Hudson River School Painter Frederic Church's Land."

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Native America Canoers Pass Hudson Today

The epic canoe trip commemorating the 400th anniversary of the first treaty between Native Americans and Europeans will pass through our part of the river today. The canoers, both Native Americans and their non-Native American allies, started their journey from Albany to New York City on Sunday. Today they are expected to stop in Athens for lunch and then continue on to Catskill, where they will camp overnight at Dutchman's Landing.

The canoes are traveling down the river in two rows to symbolize the Two Row Wampum, the record of the treaty between the Dutch and the Haudenosaunee Iroquois Confederacy. The parallel strips in the original belt of shell beads represented the Dutch ships and the Native American canoes traveling the same path.

The canoe trip is part of the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign which a press release explains is meant to "offer New Yorkers the opportunity to hear directly from the Native American Nations in their midst about the history of treaties made between our governments, agreements that shape relations between New York State, the Federal government, and Native Nations today. At the core of those agreements is a shared responsibility to protect the Earth on which all life depends. The need to stem global climate change and prevent hydrofracking in New York State are key to the project."

This photo, submitted by a reader, shows the canoes on their way from Athens to Catskill. The replica Dutch ship accompanying the canoes is the Onrust.

Discovered in Old Council Minutes

Seeking to discover what happened to the Hudson-Fulton Memorial FountainGossips spent some time yesterday with the Common Council minutes from 1909 and 1910. (It will be remembered that the fountain was dedicated on October 7, 1909, and by May 12, 1910, it had been removed from Washington Park.) In the hour or so spent poring through the records, no mention of the fountain was found, but a few other things of interest were discovered. 

For one, 1909 was the first year that a typewriter was used to preserve Council minutes. Prior to that, the bound minutes are handwritten. 

James C. Armstrong, who was the mayor in 1909, seemed to have a penchant for vetoing Council actions, often with the consequence of having to withdraw his veto when further information was provided to him.

The year 1909 seemed to a year for stones going missing. The minutes for the Council meeting held on June 24, 1909, contains this item:
Alderman Finigan said that a committee should be appointed to find out what had become of the flagstones that had been taken up from the streets some years ago; that those stones are worth hundreds of dollars, and people using the streets to-day must wade through mud up to their knees. He moved that the Street Committee investigate as to where the flagging had gone and see if it cannot be used again. Alderman Flanagan said that if Finigan wanted any information about the flag-stones he should go to Poughkeepsie and interview ex-Mayor Rowles, who was Mayor at that time. He said that as he understood it the stones were used for all kinds of purposes. Alderman Small said he had been told that the flagstones had been made into curbstones.   
Samuel G. Rowles served as mayor of Hudson from 1887 to 1888.

A Murder Mystery Set Nearby

In June, when Gossips introduced readers to The Boys' Garden Club, I expressed my wish that someone would write a roman à clef about Hudson. Rivaling that is my wish that someone would write a murder mystery set in Hudson. Back in the early years of the new millennium, when epic battles were being fought in Hudson, a few folks purported to be working on such novels, but, alas, none has emerged.

As with the roman à clef, we now have the next best thing: a murder mystery set in nearby Greenport. The mystery, Death at Olana, by Glenda Ruby, begins, at an Olana Christmas gala, with the discovery of the body of Sheila Marks, the historic site's fictional director. In investigating the murder, the Hudson sheriff (a fictional detail that seems appropriate to our city's Dodge City mystique) enlists the aid of witty and erudite amateur detective Lindsey Brooks. The book promises a cast of delicious characters--"Hudson Valley worthies, sycophants, well-born but not always well-behaved eccentrics, several of whom loathed Sheila enough to kill her"--and a plot graced with "historic homes, antiques, rivalries, town-gown intrigues." It all sounds just right.

Death at Olana is the first of what's to be a series of mysteries set in the Hudson Valley and featuring female sleuth Lindsey Brooks. The next one--on its way--is called A Murderous Summer at Bard. Copies of Death at Olana can be purchased at The Spotty Dog.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Not to Be Missed

Lynn Sloneker has an update on the plans to locate an alternative learning program in the former Register-Star building at Warren and Fourth streets on her blog, Unmuffled.


Stalking the Elusive Fountain

Gossips is on the trail of the Hudson-Fulton Fountain, a gift from the Daughters of the American Revolution, which was erected in Washington Park, in front of the courthouse, to commemorate the blowout Hudson-Fulton Celebration and was unveiled and dedicated with great ceremony on October 7, 1909.

In the search to discover what happened to the fountain, Gossips consulted Pat Fenoff, the city historian, who provided this cryptic little item that appeared in the local newspaper on May 12, 1910.
Missed the Fountain
When the Supervisors were here for the spring session some of them missed the fountain that stood at the Union street entrance to Washington Park. "I told the Chairman to meet me at the fountain," said one of the members. "Well, if you did," said a man who is often seen about the Court House, "you will find him in the bar."
Seven months after it was dedicated, where was the fountain?
COPYRIGHT 2013 CAROLE OSTERINK

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Not to Be Missed

Lynn Sloneker, on her blog Unmuffled, reports on a not very well publicized job posting. The Hudson City School District is looking for a new principal for Hudson High. 

Also of interest on Unmuffled is an earlier post which tells that Maria Suttmeier announced the creation of the Columbia-Greene Partnership Academy on April 23 at a Board of Education meeting. Suttmeier told the board at that time she was in conversation with the Galvan Foundation to secure space in one of its buildings. Why, one wonders, did Suttmeier and Galvan not see fit to include the City of Hudson in their conversation?

The Beginning of the Boat Launch

The state boat launch on Hudson's waterfront is one of the many things that figures into the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. The desire to move the boat launch from its central location just over the Ferry Street Bridge is the principal reason why the City needs to acquire the nine or so acres of waterfront land south of dock owned by Holcim, although not everyone is keen about the proposed location.

Gossips recently discovered two articles from the Albany Knickerbocker News on the subject of the Hudson boat launch. The first, which appeared on October 5, 1967, reports that a strike of the International Union of Operating Engineers is expected to delay the start of work on the boat launch. The article indicates the boat launch was expected to cost $334,000 and would be the largest in the state. It also reveals that the project was first proposed "during the first term of former mayor Samuel Wheeler," which would have been in 1962.
   
The second appeared on August 15, 1968, when the boat launch was being dedicated. Samuel Wheeler, then mayor once again, was looking forward to the next thing: "the development of fishing facilities."


Hudson in a New Novel

Hudson plays a minor role--more talked about than actually visited--in a new novel by Ben Shrank, Love Is a Canoe. The novel, which is principally about the world of publishing, is set in Millerton and New York City, but the main character, Peter Herman, owns an unsuccessful inn in Hudson. According to the novel, he built the new inn in 1979, soon after he gave up trying to write a second book, couldn't make a go of it, and was forced to close in 1993. In the time of the novel, 2011, he is thinking about making improvements and reopening the Hudson Inn, but a friend advises, "It's impossible to make it in Hudson. The gossip from the antique-store people kills you before you can even open your doors."

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Restoring the Arch

Gossips just received this photograph from DPW superintendent Rob Perry, showing the arch at the entrance to Cedar Park Cemetery being reinstalled this morning. 

The arch was damaged when one of the brick columns was struck by a truck, but since that mishap, all the damaged elements of the historic arch have been painstakingly repaired.

Oral History Workshop at the Library

Suzanne Snider, founder and director of the Oral History Summer School, will be conducting a two-part workshop at the Hudson Area Library. The first session takes place on Wednesday, July 31, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The second session is on the following Wednesday, August 7, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The workshop is free, but registration is required because space is limited, and participants are expected to attend both workshop sessions.

The workshop will introduce the basic principles and practice of oral history, including the art of the interview, getting good sound, ethical and legal issues, and discussion of how oral history differs from a journalistic approach. Between workshop sessions, participants will go into the field to collect stories. The oral histories produced during the workshop will be included in an audio archive in the History Room at the library.

For more information and to register, call the Hudson Area Library at (518) 828-1792.

Of Interest

Yesterday, the Travel section of the New York Times published an article entitled "36 Hours in the Hudson Valley, New York." Three of those hours are spent in Hudson.

MAI Launches Kickstarter Campaign

The Register-Star published the news today that the Marina Abramovic Institute has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund phase one of MAI's development. A goal is to raise $600,000 by August 25 in amounts from $5 to $10,000 or more. For each level of giving, there is an appropriate acknowledgment. 

This text from the Kickstarter page explains how the money will be used: 
In total, $20 million is needed to complete renovations of the institute and begin operations. Marina has paid for phase zero of this development process. She purchased the building at 620 Columbia Street in Hudson, New York for $950,000. She funded the budget of the MAI office for six months and commissioned the architectural concept. In total, Marina has paid $1.5 million out of pocket towards the early stages of MAI. Now, she hopes you will contribute to phase one.
The ask total will cover phase one of MAI's development: the design process. Given that MAI is the first of its kind, its early design phase demands an innovative approach. Your pledge will contribute to early MAI programming, office operations, and schematic designs of architectural elements, including building structure, lighting, acoustics, and AV. Leading this process are world-renowned architects Rem Koolhaas and Shohei Shigematsu of the Office for Metropolitan Architect (OMA), whose unique vision will help MAI to create new ways for audiences and performers to interact.
The goal for completing the renovation and having the institute fully operational is fall 2015.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Another Lost Fountain

In the past, Gossips has written often about the original fountain in the Public Square (a.k.a. Seventh Street Park) and its statue of Venus rising from the sea. Yesterday, local historian Paul Barrett asked Gossips about another fountain he had stumbled upon while tracking down the fountain from a demolished mansion in Tarrytown: the Hudson-Fulton Memorial Fountain.

The Hudson-Fulton Memorial Fountain was a gift to the City of Hudson from the Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution to commemorate the Hudson-Fulton Celebration in 1909--marking the three-hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the Hudson River and the one-hundredth anniversary of the beginning of steam navigation. The fountain was erected in Washington Park in front of the Columbia County courthouse (then only two years old), and on October 7, 1909, it was unveiled and dedicated, with the governor of New York, Charles Evans Hughes, taking part in the ceremony.

The fountain was created by a sculptor of considerable reputation: Henry Kirke Bush-Brown, the adopted nephew of American sculptor Henry Kirke Brown. Raised in Newburgh, Bush-Brown began studying art with his uncle and went on to attend the National Academy of Design in New York City. Among Bush-Brown's most notable works are three equestrian bronze statues at the Gettysburg battlefield and the bust of Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address Memorial in the National Cemetery at Gettysburg.

The fountain here in Hudson was described in the fourth annual report of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission to the Legislature of the State of New York, submitted in May 1910, in this way: "The fountain, which was designed by Mr. H. K. Bush-Brown, the sculptor, has a granite base 10 feet by 7 feet, a second base 6 feet by 3 feet, surmounted by a carved shaft containing bronze medallions of Hudson and Fulton, together with two granite basins, one for the use of the public and the other for small animals. It is the first public memorial erected in the City of Hudson."

The rendering of the fountain, reproduced above, appeared in the New York Tribune on October 3, 1909--three days before the fountain was unveiled and dedicated. The Tribune also published at that time a detail of the bronze medallion.

The sculptor himself was on hand for the dedication and delivered an address on "Hudson and the Hudson Memorial." Governor Hughes was reported to have praised the Daughters of the American Revolution "for their support and development of patriotic sentiment" which he said were "the real objects of this celebration."

So, what happened to this fountain, created by a significant American sculptor to commemorate a major celebration of an important historic event? Gossips hasn't discovered the whole story yet, but here's what is known so far. The fountain was never actually hooked up to a waterline and never really functioned as a fountain. At some point, it was hauled off to Hudson Monumental Works, at the corner of State and Seventh streets, and when Keeler Vault Company bought Hudson Monumental Works in 1986, one of the assets they acquired was the bottom half of the Hudson-Fulton Memorial Fountain. It is now displayed in front of the Keeler Vault building on Route 9H.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CAROLE OSTERINK

Today on WAMC

Today, picking up on the story first reported by Sam Pratt on his blog, WAMC recalls the fire at TCI in Ghent that happened a year ago and talks about the recommendations made a month ago to the Board of Supervisors by the Columbia County Environmental Management Council.

Photo credit: West Ghent Volunteer Fire Company 

Hudson on the Art Trail

At the Public Works Committee meeting on Wednesday, Rob Perry reported that a Hudson River School Art Trail rubbing medallion had been installed on Promenade Hill, marking site 9 on the art trail. The view of Mount Merino and the Catskills from this spot is almost the same as the view in this painting by Sanford Gifford.

Of course, the vantage point is not the same. In 1864, Gifford sketched the view from Bay Road, now Route 9G, heading toward Greenport.     

Historic Fires in Hudson

A reader just informed me that movie footage of the fire that occurred at the Hudson Armory on December 31, 1928, can be seen on YouTube. This image is a still from that footage.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Memorial Tribute to Cynthia Coulter

On Sunday, July 28, from 2 to 4 p.m., there will be a memorial tribute to artist Cynthia J. Coulter, who died on April 20 at the age of 62.

Coulter's work with found objects--materials with "past lives"--has been widely acclaimed and exhibited throughout the United States. Influenced by American folk art objects, Coulter is perhaps best known for her work with Native American canoe skins, which she transformed into large murals collaged with provocative, visually narrative elements. Her Oklahoma roots and her experience living in Chinatown in New York City and in Hong Kong were also sources of inspiration.

Coulter lived for many years in Columbia County and was represented by BCB ART.

Issues Raised at the Legal Committee Meeting

Far be it from Gossips to be lured into the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, but two issues discussed here in the past few days were raised at the Common Council Legal Committee meeting last night: riverfront park and the rumored change of use for the former Register-Star building at Fourth and Warren streets.

Committee chair John Friedman (Third Ward) opened the discussion by speaking of a letter he had received from the New York State Department of State saying that the City of Hudson cannot lease publicly owned waterfront land for private or commercial use without an act of the state legislature. Then, referring to the lease that the City now has with Guy Falkenheimer and Hudson River Cruises, a copy of which he held in his hand, Friedman said, "This lease is just way off the mark and probably conflicts with state law." He also alluded to the sale of 4.4 waterfront front acres to St. Lawrence Cement in 1985, which The Valley Alliance has alleged was illegal, suggesting that the City of Hudson has a history of flouting state regulations when it comes to managing its waterfront.   

Friedman went on to say that he found the behavior in riverfront park troubling. He spoke specifically about a vehicle that is regularly parked on the grass next to the gazebo. "If any of us did that," he commented, "we'd be towed, ticketed, or talked to sternly." He also mentioned an old floating dock that appeared over the weekend, tied up to the new pier, commenting that he was first confused by its presence but now understood it to have been a "political statement."

"We need now," said Friedman, "to begin to manage [the waterfront] better to get full value from it." He suggested as steps toward that end holding a public hearing, taking a long, hard look at the lease with Hudson River Cruises, and doing a survey of "who's doing what where" at the waterfront and what agreements currently exist, to be sure that "what the City owns is being made available to the public." Friedman said he would put together a report on the current status of things at the waterfront for the next Legal Committee meeting.

The rumored plan to locate an alternative learning program in the former Register-Star building at the corner of Warren and Fourth streets was also a topic of discussion, and the owners of several businesses in close proximity to the site were present at the meeting. Friedman expressed his displeasure that the Hudson City School District "has not had the courtesy to come to the City to talk about what they are doing."

City attorney Cheryl Roberts indicated that a school was not a permitted use in that location; it was a conditional use, which requires site plan review and approval by the Planning Commission. She suggested that HCSD might be assuming that the City would waive the zoning requirements because the school district was a "government of higher authority" and therefore not subject to local regulation. Friedman rejected the notion that a school district could be a higher political subdivision than the municipalities it serves. "The school district needs to come to the City," he asserted, "so that the City can do what's best for the city." The proposed change of use, he said, "affects the tenor of the whole business district." He described the location as "the dead center of Warren Street" and predicted that the proposed use would have a ripple effect up and down the street. He directed Roberts, the only person present who was part of the executive branch of government, to "tell the code enforcement officer to enforce the rules."

Workers have been observed at the building, and it is not known if a building permit had been issued. An application for a building permit would have triggered a site plan review by the Planning Commission and possibly also a review by the Zoning Board of Appeals for a use variance.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In Memoriam

July has been a month of loss for Hudson. It began, while we were still celebrating Independence Day, with the untimely and unexpected death of John Farley, best known, to many, as the creator of the often caustic always brilliant blog The 12534 

Today brought more sad news. Lee Musselman, whose art amused, confused, and provoked us, ended a long battle with cancer, in Michigan, the state where he was born and raised, with his family, Chris Freeman, and his beloved dog, Barbie, at his side.

Our little community of Hudson--indeed the world--is diminished by their loss.

Photo credit: Dini Lamot

More About the Good Friday Fire

Recent posts about the missing buildings in the 300 block of Warren Street prompted local historian Paul Barrett to send these photographs and more information about the fire that occurred on April 16, 1965. The day after the fire, the Knickerbocker News published these two pictures of 330 Warren Street engulfed in flames.


The second picture was accompanied by this caption: "FURIOUS FLAMESHere is an early photograph of the fire, as flames race uncontrolled through the 3d floor of the structure at 330 Warren Street. It was one of the first buildings to be swept by flames, which started at 328 Warren Street. This building was leveled."

The article from the Knickerbocker News reports that "Occupants of apartments at 326 to 334 Warren Street were unable to salvage as much as 'a cup of tea' as one official put it." The article also identifies all the businesses that were located in the buildings involved in and affected by the fire and the family who lived in the one residential property. Here is that list:

326  Liberty Home Improvement
328  Ernest Meyers Shoe Repair
330  Leo Hodowansky Restaurant ["Leo's Restaurant" can be seen painted on the window in the picture above.]
332  Veterans of Foreign Wars Home and Bar
334  Edward Goldberg Variety Store
336  Mulhern Oil Company [This building survives and at some point became the VFW Hall.]
338  Residence of the Lewis E. McNamee family [This building also survived the fire and is now painted royal blue.]
340  Charles Mahota Restaurant [This building survives and is now Swoon Kitchenbar.]
342  Rogers Hose Company [The firehouse is now American Glory.] 

This picture, also from the Knickerbocker News, shows the five buildings destroyed by the fire, although the last two--332 and 334--are barely visible through the smoke.

Of the five buildings lost in the fire, only one was replaced: 330. Leo Hodowansky rebuilt his restaurant as a single story building, which later became Harold's Lounge.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CAROLE OSTERINK

What Happened to the Mariana?

Back in the spring of 2011, using a $250,000 grant and another $76,000 from the fund balance, the City of Hudson doubled the length of the dock where the Spirit of Hudson is moored and installed floating docks in the old ferry slips to accommodate 20 to 25 kayaks or other small boats. With the longer dock, it was hoped by some, that Hudson could become a port of call for small cruise ships, but so far the only vessel to share the dock with the Spirit of Hudson, with any regularity, has been the Tahiti Queen, a tour boat that lost its dock space in Peekskill and now has some undefined connection with Guy Falkenheimer, Hudson's dock master, and his company, Hudson River Cruises, Inc.

For the first two summers, the rows of floating docks in the old ferry slips seemed not to be getting the anticipated use, so this summer, it was charming to see the Mariana, a small Danish sailboat known as a smakkejolle, tied up in the slip alongside "Rick's Point." The boat belonged to Kim Arenskjold, who had shipped it here from Denmark last summer.

The signs on the gates to the docks indicate that leaving boats overnight is prohibited, but Arenskjold was emboldened to leave the Mariana there because he'd been advised that there was nothing in the city code to back up that prohibition. Previously, Arenskjold and representatives of the Hudson Sloop Club had spoken with Common Council president Don Moore and First Ward alderman David Marston about making the slip on the south side of "Rick's Point" available for use by the Hudson Sloop Club. Although it is reported that both men were amenable to the idea, no action has been taken to authorize that.

So, whether or not its presence was sanctioned, the Mariana continued to grace riverfront park . . . until last week. On Sunday, July 14, Moore reportedly visited the Arenskjolds' shop to tell Arenskjold that the sailboat's presence in riverfront park had been the subject of a recent "staff meeting." As the conversation was reported to Gossips, Moore said that a couple of aldermen--it was not disclosed which ones--had "raised the issue," but Moore reiterated that keeping the Mariana moored in riverfront park was all right with him, since the docks weren't being used anyway. The message Moore intended to deliver may not have been the message received, since Arenskjold assumed, based on the conversation, that it was still OK to leave the boat in riverfront park.

On Wednesday, July 17, Falkenheimer, the dock master, left a message on the answering machine at the Arenskjolds' shop saying that the boat had to be moved by 2 p.m. that afternoon or it would be impounded. Because the shop was closed on Wednesday, the message wasn't heard until Thursday, and when it was, Arenskjold rushed down to the river, fearing the boat would be gone. Fortunately, it was still there. Falkenheimer was at the waterfront when Arenskjold was taking his boat out of the water, and he was reported to have been "very nice." He told Arenskjold that he had no problem at all with the boat being there, but he had been asked by DPW superintendent Rob Perry "to get the boat out of there" because there had been a lot of complaints.

When Gossips asked Perry about the incident, he said that Falkenheimer was asked "to have a discussion with the owner" of the boat that was "continuously docked" in the ferry slip. He didn't indicate who had made this request but implied that it wasn't he when he stated: "DPW's responsibility for the docks is to put them in the water and take them out." Perry went on to say: "I would expect the Council will address the specific rules of the docks, as well as the authority of the dock master, when they review the language of the current lease agreement."

Wouldn't it be grand if city government could help facilitate rebuilding our connections with the river? The original reason for the floating docks in the ferry slips was to accommodate people who came to Hudson in small boats. They could tie up, come ashore, spend some time in the city, and leave again. Since it doesn't seem that the docks are being used much in that way, perhaps it is time to consider how Hudson residents want to use them and find ways to accommodate those desires as well as the needs of visitors. Sailing on the river in small boats is a time-honored tradition. The City should do what it can to encourage its revival.

Historic photograph courtesy Historic Hudson

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

More About 326 to 334 Warren Street

After reading the post about the missing buildings in the 300 block of Warren Street, John Cody contacted Gossips to say that Thomas E. Cody, who operated a restaurant at 330 Warren Street, was his grandfather. The restaurant was named the Opera House Cafe, and it existed until 1917, when Thomas Cody died, at the age of 47. As a young man, in the 1880s, Thomas Cody owned an "oyster saloon" at 1 North Front Street--the address now used for the Chamber of Commerce, located in the former Washington Hose Co. firehouse. At the same time, his brother had his own oyster saloon nearby, at 3 South Front Street.

Curious to know more about these eateries, I discovered that oyster saloons--also called oyster bars, oyster parlors, or oyster cellars--were all the rage in the last half of the 19th century. They were almost always located in cellars, where it was easier to keep ice (before the days of freezers and refrigerators), and the oysters were usually served with beer and liquor. Could it be that Thomas Cody had an oyster saloon in the cellar of the firehouse? Cody told Gossips that his grandfather was part of Washington Hose Co. No. 3, so maybe he did.

But what happened to the five buildings? Gossips got the answer from both Cody and former fire chief Neal Van Deusen. All of them were destroyed by fire on April 16--Good Friday--1965. The fire started on the back porch of one of the buildings. Because of the location, the fire went unnoticed and spread rapidly from the wooden porch structure of one building to the next. Van Deusen, who was still in high school at the time and not yet a fire fighter, told Gossips that he watched the facade of one or more of the buildings collapse into the street.

Given the date of the fire, we need to revise the date of the construction of the little building at 330 Warren Street that was Harold's Lounge. It had to have been built after 1965. 

While getting ready to publish this post, I discovered in my files this still from the 1959 film Odds Against Tomorrow. The vantage point is near Third Street, looking east. It shows the north side of Warren Street intact, except for the addition of the 20th-century supermarket building, but, even more amazing, it shows the five-bay building on the south side of the street, which was once the Hotel Lincoln and where now there is a parking lot.

Contemplating What Was

Rumor and speculation about what might be in the future for this stretch of Warren Street inspired Gossips to wonder about what is missing from the original streetscape between 324 Warren Street and 336 Warren Street.

At one time, there were five buildings in this space. The single building at the center--330 Warren Street--is a fairly modern structure, probably built in the 1950s. Up until about twenty years ago, it was known as Harold's Lounge. 

This post card image, probably from the 1920s, shows the streetscape intact. In this picture, 336 Warren Street appears near the middle of the row, with red-and-white striped awnings. The building in the left foreground appears to be the one that once stood at 330 Warren Street, where the little one-story former bar is now.

Some time spent with the 1912 Hudson city directory provides the information to create a snapshot of this part of Warren Street a century ago. 

At 324 Warren Street, the still surviving building that marks the western end of the space, N. O. Belyea ran a boarding house. Among the boarders who lived there were Nathan Smith, J. S. Ladow, Fred G. Mack, Mary Storrs, David T. Pardee, who worked as a cashier, and Florence Rose, who was a music teacher.

Moving upstreet, at 326 Warren Street next door, now missing, Alfred J. Rowles had a confectionery shop. George W. Alden, an auctioneer, had his business in the building, and it was home to Hattie Hildreth, William van Alstyne, a salesman, and Mary R. Nicholson, whose occupation was described as "art needlework."

In the storefront at 328 Warren Street, also missing, was the Osborne Crockery Store. (Arthur Osborne, the proprietor, lived just up the street at 340 Warren Street, where Swoon now occupies the ground floor.) The people who lived above the store at 328 were Abram T. and Bessie Schoonmaker. He was a storekeeper; she was a bookkeeper.

At 330 Warren Street, where the building that was once Harold's Lounge now stands, Thomas E. Cody ran a restaurant, or perhaps it was a saloon--the directory doesn't distinguish. 

The building at 332 Warren Street, which appears to be the building with the Rialto marquee in the post card picture and now no longer exists, was exclusively residential in 1912. Mrs. Susan E. Dreis lived there, as did John H. and May Recor, with their sons, John and Frank. This house was mentioned in the 1867 inventory of distinctive private residences published in the Hudson Evening Register and reproduced on Gossips. In 1867, this house, known then as the Little property, was the home of Henry Miller, the city recorder. The article reports that the house had, in 1867, been recently "completely overhauled" and now "makes a very fine residence."

Morgan A. Jones's home
The next building, 334 Warren Street, now missing, was the location of Jones & Hardy Mill Supplies. The Jones of Jones & Hardy was Morgan A. Jones, the rich young man who built the house of his dreams at 317 Allen Street. George A. Holsapple, who was employed by Jones & Hardy, seems also to have sold insurance, or maybe real estate, from that address, and Ella V. Martin made her home there.

336 Warren Street
Finally, there is 336 Warren Street, the surviving house at the east end of this set. In 1912, Frederick C. Hildenbrandt conducted his business here, which was described in the directory as "hard wood finisher, antiques, second-hand furniture, furniture repairing, upholstering." Hildenbrandt himself lived at 136 Warren Street, but Theo Schoonmaker, a machinist, lived here at 336 Warren Street. It is not known if Theo was related to Abram and Bessie who lived just down the street at 328.
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Monday, July 22, 2013

And the Wall Comes Tumbling Down

The little infill house at 124 Union Street is being deconstructed and with it the surviving wall of an 18th-century Dutch house. All last week, the wall continued to stand while workers dismantled the upper floor of the infill house, but today, the wall slowly and inexorably started coming down. By evening, the wall was almost entirely reduced to a pile of bricks--all of which, I'm told, will be salvaged and reused.

The wall last week

The wall at 1:45 today



The wall at 4:30 today