FreshHistory.com, and Gossips is honored to be the vehicle for that launch for readers in Hudson. The following is Sheffer's announcement of his new endeavor.
on the Centenary of MC Smith's
"First Day of School in Hudson"
September 5, 1922
For many years I have wanted to develop a concept related to history, something quirky . . . and not just about Hudson, New York (the place that I love more than anywhere else in the world), but also about the places and things that now catch my eye in my more curious years. (Of course this will include tennis and its history in Columbia County.)
In 2020, I created a team of people that share that same passion with me, and since that time we have explored as much of the world as we can . . . and most of it has been from COVID lockdown in Hong Kong. So we've done our best, but frankly the extra time at home has let us study and inspect things we never knew about. The actual travel (after our quarantine ends here in November) comes next. FreshHistory will be on hand to show you the places we go.
My husband Jeff Tsui has been the best cheerleader in this endeavor and is the best fact-checker you can find. Others are involved, and you will meet them as we go forward with the projects we have planned. From this passion FreshHistory.com was born. And today, we release the website to the public even though it is truly a first rough draft. I think they call it a "soft opening."
There was one main reason to get the website and campaign up and running today, September 5, 2022. Today is the 100th anniversary of Montgomery C. Smith's "first day of school" in Hudson. His first day of officially running the District was Tuesday, September 5, 1922. And since FreshHistory will shortly be releasing a book documenting Smith's entire effort to build the MC Smith/Livingston School and campus and the incredibly nasty fight that was part of that process and campaign, it did not seem right or respectful to miss this special date. As well, for those students who have heard the name MC Smith, perhaps this will inspire their curiosity as well. He was a special man and educator. As I have said before about John L. Edwards, MC Smith is not a building.
Smith first set up solid plans for the purchase of the current school land in 1929, completed the campus between 1930 and 1937, and opened the school in September 1937. Every single State and Federal agency related to work relief during the Depression was involved in this project and the behind-the-scenes stories are amazing and bring in so many national luminaries and local families.
We at FreshHistory call the school and the campus "Hudson's Greatest Deal from the New Deal," though that is not the title of the book. But it gets the message across. Check out the website at FreshHistory.com and find out more. But today is worth celebrating because MC Smith gave so much to the City of Hudson and its kids--through a period of great poverty and distress. (Smith didn't achieve all of this alone, but we'll leave that to the book.)
The original launch of the website was going to be about our chief designer and illustrator, Marta Maszkiewicz. She lives in Warsaw, Poland, and had for weeks wanted to share some of the images she could not shake from her mind of the Ukrainian refugees she had personally witnessed coming into her country to save themselves. In the second half of the website today, we showcase Marta and her drawings. They are gorgeous and heartbreaking.
For Mr. MC Smith, a boy who came from England at age 2, and then saw some of the worst times in America as a grown man and educator, we take our hats off to him this day. With every setback he worked even harder. What would he think if he knew that 100 years later he was still relevant in our fine city? Perhaps the coming book will shed some light on that, too.
The website showcases two images of Superintendent Smith. The first is a photo from 1922 when he was still running the schools in Goshen, New York. It is the clearest early photo of Smith one can find . . . but it is also from 1922 . . . so even more perfect. The other image is more interesting and for me more thrilling. When our star Marta heard of the 1922 "Smith Centenary" she asked if she could draw an image of Smith, from her own imagination, out in the "boonies" of Hudson in the 1920s looking for a new campus. Of course, we said yes. Marta knows the Smith story well, and so this is her impression of him, and it is better, we think, than any camera could have delivered.
FreshHistory is not just going to look at Hudson history. We will give viewers access to Hong Kong and the home countries of our team (Nigeria, the U.K, India, Japan, Italy, and beyond). Everyone will contribute, and you will meet them all once the "soft launch" gets a little firmer. You can even suggest a topic.
For now, we at least get our wheels off the ground, and we have Montgomery C. Smith to thank. Without this "deadline," it may never have happened. MC Smith always knew how to inspire people.
Happy Anniversary, Superintendent Smith, and thanks for the push.
Ken Sheffer can be contacted at Ken@FreshHistory.com.