Category: Parks and Historical Sites

Montgomery Place-Bard College 26 Gardener Way & River Road  Red Hook, NY 12571

Montgomery Place-Bard College 26 Gardener Way & River Road Red Hook, NY 12571

Montgomery Place-Bard College

26 Gardener Way & River Road

Red Hook, NY 12571

https://www.bard.edu/montgomeryplace/

Open: Sunday-Saturday From Dawn to Dusk/Mansion is closed

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g29820-d209648-Reviews-Montgomery_Place-Annandale_on_Hudson_New_York.html

On a recent trip to the Hudson River Valley for Fall events I took a tour of Bard Campus to visit their campus and tour Montgomery Place which the college bought from the Hudson River Historical Society in 2016. It is now part of the campus and you can tour the grounds but not the inside of the house.

Montgomery Place on the Bard College Campus

Before 2016 when the house was owned by the Hudson River Historical Society who used to have tours of the mansion. When the family sold the mansion and all its contents to the Society, they left the house untouched when they moved out you got to see how the Livingston family lived not just in current times but with all the historical furniture that came with the house. The former tour used to take you through each room that had antique furniture and decorations but much of the house had been modernized over the years. Older furnishings had either been conserved or slipcovered because of age. Since the house has been sold to Bard College, you can only tour the house by appointment only through the college.

The grounds are still impressive. During the Spring, the formal gardens next to the house are in full bloom and the last time I had taken a tour there, the gardens were being maintained by a local garden club. There were flower beds, herb gardens and cutting gardens on top of the flowing lawns from the house to the river.

The Montgomery Place Gardens are changing from Summer to Fall

In the Fall on a recent visit, most of the gardens had been cut back with a few seasonal flowering bushes still showing color. The trees surrounding the house were turning a gold hue while the lawn that had been freshly cut was still emerald green. The house while a little worn from the outside still looked like it was ready to receive guests for the Fall season in the Hudson River Valley. The views from the back of the house are breathtaking from the window views of the Hudson River and the paths leading to it.

There are all sorts of hiking trails to the Sawkill River and through the forests, a trail down to the Hudson River and tours of the property. The grounds are open from dawn to dusk and there is plenty of parking by the Visitor’s Center along with a history of the estate.

The History of the Estate:

(Taken from Wiki)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montgomery_Place

The property had been home Native Americans for at least 5,000 years as a seasonal hunting ground. The Dutch settled in the area in the late 18th century using the Saw Kill River for various mills.

In the late 1770’s, Janet Livingston Montgomery purchased from Abraham Van Benthuysen 242 acres of land on the Hudson River after the death of her husband General Richard Montgomery at the Battle of Quebec. She moved into the home they built after the Revolutionary War. She later had plans made for a Federal style mansion on the riverfront property she bough and moved into her new home, Chateau de Montgomery, in 1805. She established a working farm with the help of friends who gave her tree samples (Wiki).

Upon her death in 1828, the mansion was inherited by her brother, Edward Livingston. He had spent his summers vacationing here with his wife, Louise. They renamed the estate ‘Montgomery Place’. He died the next year and his wife, Louise hired Alexander Jackson Davis to convert the mansion into a more ornate villa. Two wings and exterior decoration were added at this time of the renovation. With the help of Andrew Jackson Downing, a friend of Louise’s and mentor to Davis, she developing the landscapes. Her daughter, Cora Barton worked with the architect on designing garden and conservatory (Wiki).

Upon Louise’s death in 1860, Cora and her husband hired Davis again to build some the earlier outbuildings including Coach House, Swiss Cottage and farmhouse and then extended the landscaping to turn the estate into more ‘pleasure grounds’ and have a separation from the farming operations. The house then passed on to another relative in 1921, John Ross Delafield who added heating and modern plumbing to the house. He and his wife also extended the gardens on the estate as well (Wiki).

Upon his death, his son John White Delafield inherited the house and they opened two corporations to own and operate the property. In 1981, the estate was sold to the Historic Hudson Valley, the historical society. After an extensive renovation, the house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992 and it was bought by Bard College in 2016 who is its current owner (Wiki).

Sea Isle City Museum  4800 Central Avenue  Sea Isle, NJ 08243

Sea Isle City Museum 4800 Central Avenue Sea Isle, NJ 08243

Sea Isle Museum

4800 Central Avenue

Sea Isle, NJ 08243

(609) 263-2992

https://www.facebook.com/Sea-Isle-City-Historical-Museum-326332320746077/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46807-d10452863-Reviews-Sea_Isle_City_Historical_Museum-Sea_Isle_City_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html

The Sea Isle City Museum is located inside the Sea Isle Library at 4800 Central Avenue just off Downtown Sea Isle City, NJ

On a recent trip of touring the small towns of the Jersey shore, I set out to visiting many of the historical societies that tell the histories of these towns and how they have progressed from small Native American fishing villages to the resort and residential towns of today. Each of these museum has their own unique focus to how they tell their story.

The Sea Isle City Museum at 4800 Central Avenue is located in the back of the Municipal Building right next to the Sea Isle City Library. This small museum that is manned by volunteers is packed with local historical artifacts, pictures and exhibitions of the items in the museum. You have to walk to the back of the building to find the museum just off the library entrance.

When you walk into the museum, you are greeted by an exhibition of ‘Wedding Dresses through the Ages’, created by curator the late Marie Thompson Stafford, which shows various styles of wedding dresses from 1880 until current day that were worn by brides from Sea Isle City, NJ. Each dress was accompanied in most cases by the owner on her wedding day and gives a unique view of the changing of styles over the last century.

“Wedding Dresses through the Ages”

The back part of the museum is broken down into sections. Part of the museum is an on-going library of the history of the families have lived in town over the generations. What I thought was interesting about this was that each family had their own notebook binder to contribute family history and pictures of the family events. They could update their notebook by coming into the Historical Society and personally adding to the book. There have been 30 years of donations to the museum according to the volunteers.

There were also shelves of books on the Sea Isle City School district, the fire department, the police department and the Municipal departments of the town. These featured old pictures of the departments, artifacts over the years and documents of what happened in the town.

There was a section on the old hotels and restaurants of Sea Isle City at the turn of the last century until today. Various clapboard Victorian hotels used to line the shores here but many had succumbed to either fires or beach erosion. Several of the old restaurants like Cronecker’s Restaurant had just closed over time.

There was an interesting exhibition on the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol and the members who made up the squad. This is a very important part of the culture of the shore towns and their competitions are a very big deal. You can see the bragging rights of the towns over decades of summers. These lifeguards take their jobs very seriously.

Another exhibition was the “Armed Forces in Sea Isle City” and the EMS Armed Patrol. This small exhibition showed the uniforms and items used by the squads who lived in Sea Isle City. It showed the contributions of a small town.

Sea Isle City’s Armed forces

In one corner, there was a display of kitchen wares from the turn of the last century featuring all sorts of kitchen gadgets, an old oven and stove and various household items like an old washing machine that show how things have changed over the year but not by much. We have just modernized what was once considered old.

There was an interesting exhibition on Toys through time with all sorts of games, books and dolls that children used up until the 1960’s. It still resonates with me the idea of ‘creative play’ when I see these old dolls and how mature they looked. The board games also challenged the mind the way no cellphone will to a young person.

The back part of the Sea Isle City Historical Society

The last exhibit I looked at was the town history of Sea Isle City by founder Charles K Landis, who the main street of the town is named after who helped create the town in 1882. He also founded Vineland, NJ. This was a small display of pictures and artifacts of the early settlement.

Outside the museum is a protected area for the Diamondback Terrapin Turtle as their Nesting Grounds. According to one of the docents, they breed during the Spring and lay their eggs by the shore so the area has to be protected from humans and other wild animals.

Also outside to the side of the building is the Memorial Garden with its seasonal plantings, small waterfall and statue of Neptune. The Garden is located adjacent to the Historical Museum and offers a quiet and relaxing place to enjoy the natural area that surrounds it. You can purchase a paver to help support the museum and to proudly display your family or loved one’s name on our “Memory Lane Walkway”.

The Sea Isle Historical Museum Memorial Garden located to the side of the museum

This wonderful little gem of museum is open during the week and is free to the public. They are always docents and volunteers around to answer questions.

History of the Sea Isle Historical Society:

(from the Sea Isle City Historical Museum website)

In 1982, Sea Isle City celebrated the 100th Anniversary of its founding, an occasion which led to the creation of the Sea Isle City Historical Society and Museum. The museum formally opened on January 26th, 1983 in a temporary space in the city public school and moved 17 months later to a building behind the former City Hall. Harriet Reardon Bailey was elected first president and also served as its Curator for thirty years.

In 1990, Michael Stafford was elected President. Mike guided the museum through its next 25 years of growth and recognition in the community, resulting in the many displays and programs described throughout the website. The museum moved to larger quarters at 4208 Landis Avenue in 1995 and subsequently in 2011 to its present modern facility as part of the Sea Isle City Library building. Since his retirement in 2014, Mike Stafford has been succeeded by Mike McHale and then by our current President, Abby Powell.

Our Facility:

The museum is designed with an open floor plan to allow easy access as you move from exhibit to exhibit. We also provide an area to sit and conduct research, take notes or simply browse through our many articles, books and thousands of photographs. The museum features a unique bridal gown display, more than 200 family albums generated by the families themselves as well as an abundance of artifacts related to Sea Isle and the surrounding area.

Our Mission:

To acquire, preserve, display, celebrate and promote archives and artifacts relevant to the development of our unique cultural heritage and to delight, inspire and educate present and future generations about the story of Sea Isle City, NJ. The Sea Isle City Historical Society and Museum is a certified 501C3 nonprofit organization.

Our Vision:

To be an inviting, informative, educational and innovative community resource that is recognized and respected as the place for exploring and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Sea Isle City and the surrounding areas.

The Pfeiffer Memorial Garden:

The Memorial Garden began many years ago at the Pfeiffer’s home in Sea Isle City. In 1996, existing memorial pavers and the statue of Neptune were installed in the Sea Isle City Historical Museum’s Memorial Garden at 4208 Landis Avenue. A formal dedication of the garden tool place on July 8, 2001. In 2001, the Memorial Garden received the coveted Sea Isle Beautification Award.

On August 4, 2012, the garden was dedicated at its new museum home at 4800 Central Avenue. Today, a project is nearly completed to enhance the garden with new landscaping, a diamondback turtle protection station and an active water feature which represents the flow of Sea Isle’s history from the past, to the present and onto the future.

On April 27th, 2016, the enhanced Memorial garden was formally dedicated to or past President, Mike Stafford and his late wife, Marie, both of whom did so much to nurture and grow the Historical Museum to what it is today.

Titanic Memorial Lighthouse                   Pearl Street/South Street Seaport           New York, NY 10038

Titanic Memorial Lighthouse Pearl Street/South Street Seaport New York, NY 10038

Titanic Memorial Lighthouse

Pearl Street/South Street Seaport

New York, NY 10038

(212) 830-7700

https://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=585

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanic_Memorial_(New_York_City)

Open: Sunday-Saturday 24 Hours

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d7738946-Reviews-Titanic_Memorial_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html

The Titanic Memorial Lighthouse

I have been to the South Street Seaport dozens of times over the years and can’t believe that I never noticed this memorial dedicated to those lost in the Titanic disaster. I was visiting the Seaport recently after finishing another walk down the length of Broadway for my blog, “MywalkinManhattan.com” and was walking past the Seaport on my way to Chinatown. Something about it this time caught my attention and I stopped to look at the dedication of this small lighthouse.

It was really touching to see that the people from the 1912 disaster were not forgotten in New York City, its ultimate destination. This was the work of Molly Brown, the ‘Unsinkable Molly Brown’ from the movie. She wanted to be sure that the people who survived were never forgotten. The small lighthouse structure sits at the entrance to the main part of the seaport on an island just off the cobblestone walkway into the complex.

The Memorial plaque on the lighthouse

The tower that it was originally placed a top of the Seamen’s Church Institute Building and it was put up for sale and demolished in 1965 and the small lighthouse memorial was donated to the South Street Seaport Museum. It was placed in its current location in 1976 (Friends of the Lighthouse).

The little lighthouse is a touching reminder of Manhattan’s connection to the event over 100 years ago. Try not to miss it when you are visiting the Seaport.

The history of the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse:

(This is from the Friends of the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse website)

On April 15th, 1913, one year after the sinking of the Titanic, the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse and Time Ball, mounted atop the Seamen’s Church Institute, were dedicated to honor the passengers, officers and crew who perished in the tragedy. The dedicatory service opened with a hymn and prayer and then Rt. Rev. David h Greer, Bishop of New York, read the following lines of dedication:

“To the glory of Almighty God and in loving memory of those passengers, officers and crew who lost their lives in the foundering of the steamship, Titanic, on April 15, 1912, I, David Hummell Greer, Bishop of New York and president of the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York, do solemnly dedicate the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse Tower. As its light by night shall guide pilgrims and seafaring men from every clime into this port, so may they follow Him who is the Light of Life across the waves of this troublesome world to everlasting life and looking at noon toward this place to note the time of day, may they remember that our days pass as the swift ships and in view of the shortness and uncertainty of human life, strive to fulfill their duty well as the beat preparation for Eternity. Amen.”

The Titanic Memorial Lighthouse exhibited a fixed green light that could be seen throughout New York harbor and down as far as Sandy Hook. Five minutes before noon each day, a time ball would be hoisted to the top of a steel rod mounted atop the lighthouse and dropped at the stroke of twelve as indicated over the wires from Washington DC. According to The Lookout, the magazine of the Seamen’s Church Institute, the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse would be a much needed daily reminder for ‘in a busy, carless city the average person so soon forgets’.

The Seamen’s Church Institute was established in 1834 and had announced plans for its new twelve story headquarters at South Street and Coenties Slip in Lower Manhattan several years before the loss of the Titanic. The Flemish style building was meant to reflect new York’s Dutch origins and was to be crowned by a tower whose beacon would welcome incoming seamen. The cornerstone for the building was laid one day after the sinking of the Titanic and a week later the institute announced the lighthouse atop their building would be a memorial to the victims of the tragedy.

Betsy Ross House 239 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

Betsy Ross house

239 Arch Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

(215) 619-4026

http://historicphiladelphia.org/betsy-ross-house/

Admission: Adults $7.00/Children-Seniors-Military $6.00/Audio Tour Add $2.00-Please check Website

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60795-d144052-r793537657-Betsy_Ross_House-Philadelphia_Pennsylvania.html?m=19905

The Betsy Ross House Museum at 239 Arch Street

I visited the Betsy Ross House Museum when touring the small museums of Old Town Philadelphia. What an interesting historical site. You felt like you were invited into Betsy Ross’s house by Betsy Ross herself.

The house and museum is broken up into different sections. When you walk into the museum complex, you will get to visit a very patriotic gift shop stocked with Revolutionary War memorabilia. Out side the gift shop is the formal gardens and the courtyard which is a nice place to relax and enjoy the weather.

When you enter the house, you will be able to visit all the rooms of the house and the kitchen area on the lower level. The interesting part of this self guided tour is that you learn that the house was not owned by Betsy Ross or any of her three husbands. They rented the rooms out from a widow who owned the house at the time and that there had been other people living at the home at the time. Each of the rooms were rented and lived in by other family members.

In each of the upstairs rooms, there are recreations of what the family living arrangements were and how they were decorated. The bedrooms were furnished with vintage furniture of the time and items used in every day life.

The kitchen area was for family cooking and was stocked with items that would have been in day to day process of preparing meals.

Betsy Ross was an upholsterer and ran her business dealings from the front of the house where her small showroom and workroom were located to the street level. Many people in Philadelphia had this work arrangement where the business was in the front of the home and then living quarters were in the back or up above.

In the showroom area, an actress playing Betsy Ross, was there answering all our questions and she was very interesting. When she had been approached to design and create the flag, she had never made a flag before. The actress explained that she had to keep making flags ‘under the wraps’ so that Loyalist would not shut the business down during the war. Her business pretty much was shut down during the War years as people did not have the money or time for her work. I really felt like I was talking to the real person in that time.

The tour will only take about an hour but you will learn so much about business and living arrangements in homes at that time and of the family who lived there. I never knew much about Betsy Ross herself and her husbands and children from different marriages. So you will learn a lot about the family themselves and the lives that she lived with each of them.

It is an interesting tour if you have interest in the American Flag origins and the Revolutionary War.

The History of the Betsy Ross House Museum:

The building at 239 Arch Street, now known as the Betsy Ross House, was built over 250 years ago. The front portion of the house was built around 1740 with the stair hall (or piazza) and the rear section added 10 to 20 years later. The structure is a variation of a ‘bandbox’ or ‘trinity’ style home, with one room on each floor and a winding staircase stretching from the cellar to the upper floors.

The building’s front fa├žade, with a large window on the first floor to display merchandise and it proximity to the Delaware River, made it an ideal location for a business. The house served as both a business and a residence for many different shopkeepers and artisans for more than 150 years. The first floor front room was used as the workshop and showroom. The business owner and his or her family lived in the rest of the home.

Betsy Ross House (Philadelphia) - 2021 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go |  Tours & Tickets (with Photos) - Tripadvisor

The sitting room recreation

By the late 19th century, most of the other colonial era buildings that once stood on this block of Arch Street, had been torn down and replaced with large industrial buildings and warehouses. Many people feared that Betsy’s home would meet the same fate.

In 1898, a group of concerned citizens established the American Flag House and Betsy Ross Memorial Association to raise money to purchase the house from the Munds, the people who resided there, to restore it and open it as a public museum in honor of Betsy Ross and the first American Flag.

Charles Weisgerber was one of the founding members of the Memorial Association. In 1892, he painted Birth of Out Nation’s Flag, a 9′ x 12′ painting that depicts Betsy Ross presenting the first American flog to George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross.

To raise money to purchase the house, members of the American Flag House and Betsy Ross Memorial Association sold lifetime memberships to the organization for 10 cents. Each donor received a membership certification imprinted with an image of Birth of Our Nation’s Flag. Individuals were encouraged to form ‘clubs’ of thirty members. The person who formed the club would receive a ten-color chromolithograph of the Weisgerber painting, suitable for framing, in addition to certificates for each club member.

Weisgerber moved his family into the upstairs floor of the home in 1898 and immediately opened two rooms to the public. The first floor front room was a souvenir shop and the room in the back of the house where the meeting between Betsy Ross and the Flag Committee was said to have occurred, was open for visitors to view.

Betsy Ross House (Philadelphia) - 2021 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go |  Tours & Tickets (with Photos) - Tripadvisor

A period bedroom in the house

The American Flag Hose and the Betsy Ross Memorial Association wanted to protect the house from fire and other dangers. They purchased the two properties on the west side of the house in 1929, in hopes of creating a civil garden. When the Great Depression hit, tourism and donations to the house slowed and much of the work on house and courtyard were delayed.

In 1937, structural changes and general wear and tear on the house led to the dire need for restoration work. A. Atwater Kent, a Philadelphia radio mogul, offered to pay up to $25,000 for the restoration of the house. Historical architect, Richardson Brognard Okie was commissioned to do the work.

Under Okie, the house’s original architectural elements were spared wherever possible. When the original components could not be reused, materials were obtained from demolished homes from the same period. A small structure containing a boiler room and a restroom was constructed in back of the original house with Revolutionary War era bricks.

In the historic house, three hidden fireplaces were uncovered, the front stairway and dormer were replaced and the door leading from the kitchen to the back of the house was restored. The most notable change, however, was to the front of the house. The doorway in the front of the building was moved from the western to the eastern corner and a new window was installed. Construction was completed and all eight rooms of the house were open to the public on Flag Day, June 14th, 1937.

By the 1940’s, the Betsy Ross House began to look like the place we recognize today but the Association’s work was not complete. A. Atwater Kent worked with the Association to pay off its final debts on the property. The entire property, including the historic house and courtyard was given to the City of Philadelphia in 1941.

In 1965, an annex building was added to the property and in 1974, the courtyard was renovated and the fountain was added. Two years later, the remains of Betsy Ross and her third husband, John Claypoole were moved from Mount Moriah Cemetery in Yeadon, PA to the garden on the west side of the Betsy Ross House courtyard.

In 1965, a private non-profit organization, Historic Philadelphia Inc. began leasing the property from the City of Philadelphia and continues to manage the site. The Betsy Ross House remains dedicated to its mission of preserving the historic site and interpreting the life of Betsy Ross, a working class, 18th Century tradeswoman. Visitors can view six period rooms, including the only interpretation of an 18th century upholstery shop in the country. The rooms are furnished with period antiques, 18th century reproductions and objects that belonged to Betsy Ross and her family. Highlights of the collection include Betsy Ross’s walnut chest on chest, her Chippendale chair, her eyeglasses and her bible.

(Betsy Ross House Museum website/Wiki/Pamphlet)