Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Story Behind a Little Item in the News

Gossips, in breaks between pressing news stories, has been perusing the newspapers from 1889 in an attempt to learn about the acquisition and development of Cedar Park Cemetery. Along the way, news items of interest are discovered, such as this one, which appeared in the Hudson Daily Evening Register on October 30, 1889.

St. John's Hall, then the Masonic Lodge, is today the office of Mid-Hudson Media, at the corner of Third and Union streets. One can understand the frustration caused by materials not arriving in a timely manner. The contractor's deadline was set in the terracotta delivered at the end of October, leaving only two months--and increasingly colder months at that--to complete the building.

All seems to have turned out well, however. The building was completed, and it survives today. The contractor, who was undoubtedly John F. X. Brennen, who with his younger brother, Thomas, had formed the firm J. and T. Brennen Co., stonemasons and bricklayers, also flourished. He went on to built such notable buildings as the C. H. Evans Hook & Ladder Company firehouse, the cornerstone for which was laid in December 1889 (another reason for him to want to finish St. John's Hall on schedule),

the original Firemen's Home (1893), 

the first Hudson Hospital building on Prospect Avenue (1900),

and 317 Allen Street (1903). 

In  1894-1895, Brennen, the son of Irish immigrants, built a house himself and his wife, Anna, on the fashionable West Court Street. The house was designed by Michael O'Connor.

When he died in 1926, Brennen was entombed in a mausoleum that bears his name in Cedar Park Cemetery. His wife, Anna, who predeceased him, is also entombed there.


1 comment:

  1. This was the very same John F. Brennen (also spelled Brennan) whose ill-recorded 1897 waterfront deed was relied upon last week by the NYS Office of General Services when the State rationalized a gift of several acres of our underwater lands to A. Colarusso and Son, Inc.