Friday, October 28, at 7:30pm at the Starr Library, The History of Slate Quarry


Local historian Jack Conklin will tell us about the history of Slate Quarry. The lecture is based on a past “River Chronicle” article and will be expanded to include current slate quarrying activity in nearby Vermont and upstate New York.  The local quarries were started about 1790, one of the first in the Hudson Valley. The role of the Welsh in the development of the trade and their contribution to the local area will be explored. Photos from the Slate Quarry Museum in Granville, NY will be included. This is a unique part of Rhinebeck’s early history and an activity that is largely unknown. Refreshments will be served.


Friday, November 18, at 7:30pm at the Starr Library, The Astor Maps


Michael Frazier and Connie Lown will discuss the Astor Map Collection. They will focus on their work cleaning, restoring, and scanning this treasure trove of over 800 documents—many over 100 years old–, and what those documents reveal about one of Rhinebeck’s most renowned families and their relationship with Rhinebeck.  The collection includes plans by such renowned architects as McKim, Mead, & White, Charles Platt, and Harrie T Lindeberg, and by Civil Engineer Herbert Pinkham (in whose former home on River Road the collection was found, preserved, and then donated to RHS by current owner Kay Verrilli). Some original plans will be on display. Refreshments will be served.


Saturday, December 10, at 6:00pm at The Rhinecliff Hotel, The History of Beer in Dutchess County

Rhinebeck Historical Society’s President David Miller will delve into the history of beer in Dutchess County. He will take you through the early history of taverns and beer through the Temperance movement and Prohibition showing many old photos during the talk. Taking us to the present day you will get to watch two short videos of his tours to Dutchess Hops and The Brewery at the CIA in Hyde Park. Come enjoy festive drinks, appetizers, and dessert while getting a glimpse into current-day beer making in Dutchess County. (See flyer in our November newsletter)

Friday, January 27, at 7:30 at the Starr Library, The History of Ferncliff Forest

  1. Knick Staley is the Secretary and Treasurer of Ferncliff Forest. Knick will tell us about the history of Ferncliff Forest Inc. From the Suckley Family to current day. Locatedon Mount Rutsen Road in northern Rhinebeck, Ferncliff Forest Game Refuge and Forest Preserve is a 200 acre forest known as the second-best old growth forest in the Hudson Valley. The forest is available for hiking, camping, mountain biking, skiing, fishing, and picnics at no charge. Along the 4 miles of trials are the remains of hand-dug wells, cisterns, root cellars and old foundations. And, of course, it has the historic fire tower that offers great views of Rhinebeck and the surrounding area. Refreshments will be served.

Friday, February 24, at 7:30 at the Starr Library, The History of the Bluestone Industry

Robert Donaldson, the author of Chronicles of Ulster: Volumes I and II, is a graduate of Marist College and the SUNY at New Paltz.  He is retired from Rhinebeck High School where he taught law and European History. Relying on information from 19th Century news articles, mostly from The Kingston Daily Freeman, New York City and Port Jervis newspapers, state journals, articles found on the internet, along with records from the Town of Kingston and Ulster County archives, local author Robert Donaldson will discuss  the origin, growth and decline of the bluestone industry in Ulster County, New York, including information about the people who developed the bluestone trade, as well as those who worked the quarries.  He will also present information about John Fletcher Kilgour, the Bluestone King, and his role in the growth of the bluestone industry in Orange County. Refreshments will be served.

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