Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Human History of the Armory

The fortress-like design of the Hudson Armory was meant, when it was built at the end of the 19th century, "to inspire fear and awe among the so-called 'dangerous classes' (i.e., Anarchists, Socialists, and Communists as well as most immigrants and laborers) and pride and patriotism among the law-abiding middle and upper classes." In spite of its appearance and its principal purpose, which was to provide "space for local militia to gather, train, and store arms and ammunition," the Hudson Armory has a long history of being a community center where social functions, public meetings, sporting events, and fundraisers were held. 

Photo courtesy Historic Hudson

Last year, at about this same time, local historian Paul Barrett presented his lecture At Ease: The Social Side of the Hudson Armory at the annual meeting of the Friends of the Hudson Area Library. This year, in honor of the Hudson Area Library's first year at the armory, Barrett is reprising At Ease as part of the History Room's Local History Speaker Series. Barrett will reveal how the armory was host to "beauty contests, big band performances [with dancing], basketball tournaments, business expositions, exotic car shows, and was even the center of a controversial brush with the Cold War."

The event takes place on Thursday, April 27, at 6 p.m., in the Community Room of the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street. Admission is free, and seating is available on a first come, first served basis. A question-and-answer period will follow the lecture, accompanied by light refreshments.

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