Rockland History: 2011-13 Radio Programs

Crossroads of Rockland History - HSRC on the Radio
Crossroads of Rockland History - HSRC on the Radio
 Crossroads of Rockland History, a program of the Historical Society of Rockland County, airs on the third Monday of each month at 9:30 am on WRCR radio at www.WRCR.com. Join host Clare Sheridan as we explore, celebrate, and learn about our local history, with different topics and guest speakers every month.  

Simple Gifts: 38th Annual Holiday Exhibit

Originally aired December 16, 2013. To listen to this program, click here.

This informative and educational program shed light on the HSRC's 38th annual holiday exhibition. For the first time, the Hudson Valley taste makers Ned Kelly & Co. are collaborating with the Historical Society by curating a show of highlights of the Society’s permanent collection and by decorating the historic Jacob Blauvelt House with their “perfect pitch taste.” Kelly will describe what it was like to peruse the shelves of the HSRC collection and select items for display. Highlights of Kelly’s selections include original linocut prints created by Berta and Elmer Hader. As a special addition to this broadcast, Clare Sheridan welcomed Joy Rich and Karen Tolley, two of the authors of the new book about Berta and Elmer Hader. Berta and Elmer Hader: A Lifetime of Art, published by Joyful Productions, which was released in October. The full-color book is a comprehensive look at these Caldecott Award-winning authors/illustrators. Finally, Jack Geist spoke with Clare about his mother, Lucy Geist, of Nyack, the creator of "Lucy" ragdolls popular with children in Rockland County in the 1970s and on display as one of the exhibit's "simple gifts." 
To learn more about Berta and Elmer Hader, click here:http://haderconnection.com
To learn more about Ned Kelly & Co., click here: 

Sound and Story Project of the Hudson Valley/Local History at Nyack Library 

Originally aired November 18, 2013. To listen to the program, click here.

Brian Jennings, Nyack Library’s local history librarian, and Joe Barbieri, project consultant, joined Clare Sheridan to discuss the Nyack Library’s long-term and comprehensive project to digitize images, newspapers, and sound recordings. Learn about the Nyack Library’s partnerships with area organizations to make this digitization happen, including its work with the Sound and Story Project of the Hudson Valley and more. 

This episode of Crossroads of Rockland History has been made possible by a generous contribution from the The Town of Ramapo. The HSRC is grateful for this support of our efforts to share local history with the people of Rockland County.
To learn more about the Nyack Library’s Local History Room, visit http://nyacklibrary.org/localhistory.
To learn more about the Sound and Story Project of the Hudson Valley, visit http://www.soundandstory.org.

History of the Rockland County Courthouse and Judiciary

Originally aired October 21, 2013. To view a video of the courthouse, click here. To listen to the program, click here

Former Justice Alfred J. Weiner joins Clare Sheridan for an informative and interesting program on the history of the Rockland County Courthouse and the Rockland County Judiciary. Justice Weiner was a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Ninth Judicial District, and served for more than forty years on the bench before retiring in 2011. Throughout his career, he has also volunteered extensively in the Rockland community. He is a founder and present member of the Board of Directors of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Rockland County; a past president of the Rockland Mental Health Association and of the Rockland Psychiatric Center Foundation; a past president and present member of the Board of Trustees of the Rockland Jewish Family Service; and a past president of the Historical Society of Rockland County. He is currently of-counsel to the law firm Mandel, Katz & Brosnan LLP in Valley Cottage, where he practices mediation/arbitration of divorce, family, estate, commercial and insurance disputes.

A Revolutionary War Story: The Search for Private Elder

Originally aired September 16, 2013. To listen to the program, click here

Clare Sheridan interviews Scott Elder, a descendant of Private Joseph Elder, about his family's efforts to document the life and service of their Revolutionary War ancestor. Private Joseph Elder was a minuteman, a member of the Ulster County Militia, a member of the New York Line troops, and a member of the Levies.

To learn more about Private Elder, visit A Walk through the War of the Revolution.

Fever: The Life of Typhoid Mary

Originally aired August 19, 2013. To listen to the program, click here. 

Do you know who was described as one of the most dangerous women in America at the turn of the twentieth century? The story of Mary Mallon, better known as “Typhoid Mary,” is one of the most fascinating in modern medical history. Join Clare Sheridan and her special guest, Mary Beth Keane of Pearl River. Keane is the author of Fever, is an ambitious retelling of the forgotten life of a compelling, dramatic, vexing, sympathetic, uncompromising, and unforgettable heroine that the New York Times has called "a fine novel" and a "tender, detailed portrayal.”

North Rockland High School

Originally aired July 15, 2013. 

Have you ever wondered what North Rockland's High School students are learning about local history? Social studies teacher Steve Shepardson discusses this important topic with his special guest, Seamus Finucane, a graduating senior and the outgoing president of the Thomas F. X. Casey Honors History Program at North Rockland High School. Subjects addressed include what is historic in the North Rockland School District, the 2013 High School History Conference, and more.

The 1913 New York Armory Show

Originally aired June 17, 2013. To listen to the program, click here. 

The 1913 Armory Show, held in New York City, introduced the American public to European avant-garde painting and sculpture. It included works by well-known European modernists such as Paul Cezanne, Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso and Paul Gauguin, as well as the early work of such budding modernists as Charles Sheeler, Marsden Hartley, and Stuart Davis. The public sensation the show caused was a watershed in the history of American art. Clare Sheridan interviews Marilyn Kushner about the the importance of the Armory Show and the roles Rocklanders played in organizing the original 1913 exhibition. Dr. Kushner, curator of the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections at the NYHS, is the co-curator of the current exhibition "The Armory Show at 100"  with Kimberly Orcutt, curator of American art at the Henry Luce Foundation.  

One Hundred Years of Summer Camps at Harriman State Park

Originally aired May 20, 2013. 

This edition of Crossroads of Rockland History was made possible by a generous contribution from the Town of Ramapo, Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, and the Ramapo Town Board. We are grateful for their support. To listen to the program, click here. Sue Scher joined Clare Sheridan to talk about the Historical Society of Rockland County's exhibition "Greetings from Summer Camp: 100 Years of Group Camping in Harriman State Park," commemorating this centennial milestone. Ms. Scher is a professor emerita of social work, Ramapo College, and guest curator of the exhibition. Her valuable insights and knowledge about these camps come from her ten-year effort to collect information, photographs and memorabilia about the camps in Harriman State Park.

The Big Squeeze—An Accordion Summit

Recorded April 15, 2013. To listen to the program, click here

Dr. Marion Jacobson, ethnomusicologist and the author of Squeeze This: The Cultural History of the Accordion in America (University of Illinois Press, 2012), joined Clare Sheridan for a discussion about her new book and more. The program was a prelude to the HSRC's special live musical presentation "The Big Squeeze—An Accordion Summit," held on April 28, 2013, at the Nyack Library. The traditional musical summit, which was made possible by a grant from the New York State Council for the Arts, showcased three of Rockland County’s traditional accordion styles: Irish, Ukrainian, and Mexican Norteño.

History of Schack Industries of Spring Valley

Originally aired March 18, 2013. To listen to the program, click here

Schack Industries, which settled on Pascack Road in the Clarkstown section of Spring Valley in 1899, is a successful architectural, ornamental metal, and glass business. Howard Schack, a former intelligence officer specializing in antiterrorism and an award-winning author, joined Clare Sheridan to talk about the company's history of technical innovation, service, and quality. 

To learn more about Howard Schack, visit his website at www.howardschack.com.

150 Years at St. Peter's School in Haverstraw

Originally aired February 18 2013. 

At the same time Rockland men were marching off to fight in the Civil War, the county’s first parochial school was opening. The year 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of St. Peter's School in Haverstraw. Clare Sheridan talked to St. Peter's School Principal Margaret Hamilton and Haverstraw Historian Steve Cobb about the history of the school and the importance of its 150th anniversary.

Aviation in Rockland

Originally aired January 21, 2013. To listen to the program, click here

At one time, Rockland County was home to several airports and numerous smaller airstrips. Clare Sheridan interviews Adam Raines and Richard “Mac” MacVicar, two lifelong aviation enthusiasts who have written a book about the airports of Rockland County.

Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid in the Hudson

Originally aired December 17, 2012. To listen to the program, click here

Serialized fiction is back in style. Clare Sheridan talks to Mark Siegel, the author and illustrator of the new graphic novel Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid in the Hudson, set on a steamboat on the Hudson River in 1887. The new book uses detailed drawings to tell a suspenseful and heartbreaking story. Before publishing his New York Times bestseller in book form, Mr. Siegel used the Internet to serialize the story, adapting a type of installment publishing that was popular in the nineteenth century for Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, and others.

For more information about the book and its author, visit http://sailortwain.com.

The Impact of the Civil War on Rockland County

Originally aired November 19, 2012.

Civil War history enthusiasts have been commemorating the sesquicentennial all over the country with state-funded programs. New York did not earmark any funding for a commemoration, preferring to rely on a grassroots effort. Clare Sheridan welcomed special guests from the Rockland County Civil War Roundtable to shed light on what is happening to keep the memory of the Civil War alive. The Rockland County Civil War Roundtable meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 7:15 pm at the Pearl River American Legion, 30 Railroad Avenue, Pearl River. There are no meetings in July and August, and the December meeting is usually a hoiday celebration.

For information about 150th Anniversary of the Civil War commemorations in New York State, visit www.nycivilwar150.org
For more information about the New York State Military Museum, visit 

October Is Rockland History Month! Haverstraw House Tour

Originally aired October 15, 2012.

Did you know that October is Rockland History Month? To celebrate, the HSRC presented the self-guided Historic Homes & Landmark Tour in the Village of Haverstraw. Clare Sheridan's guests involved in this self-guided walking tour included Nelson Diaz, a local artist, historic preservationist, and the owner of one of the homes on the 2012 tour. Topics discussed included historic preservation, the restoration of Mr. Diaz's beautiful home, and much more.

Letchworth Village Centennial: Looking through the Lens of Margaret Bourke-White

Originally aired September 17, 2012. To listen to the program, click here

Letchworth Village opened its doors in 1911 and closed in 1996. Although much of Letchworth is now abandoned, the site still serves as the Hudson Valley's regional office for the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and houses several municipal buildings for the Town of Stony Point. Clare Sheridan interviewed Kerwin McCarthy, curator of the exhibition "Letchworth Village: The Village Years," markign the one-hundredth anniversary of Letchworth Village in 2012. The exhibition presented the facility as seen through the eyes of the noted photographer Margaret Bourke-White. Mr. McCarthy has been a public affairs official for the Hudson Valley Developmental Disabilities Services Office for more than thirty years drew many of the photographs on display from his archives. 

Henry Varnum Poor

Originally aired August 20, 2012.

Caroline Hannah, an author and design historian who has written and lectured extensively about Henry Varnum Poor, joined Clare Sheridan for an informative exploration of this important American painter, sculptor, potter, and architect who made Rockland County his home. Poor’s ceramics are part of the permanent collections of Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and several other major museums.

The History of Beer Brewing in New York

Originally aired July 16, 2012.

Beer has a fascinating history. Nina Nazionale, co-curator of the exhibition "Beer Here: Brewing New York’s History" at the New-York Historical Society, talked with Clare Sheridan about how brewing was affected by the opening of the Erie Canal, immigration, the invention of the bottle cap, and New York breweries' great need for ice harvested from freshwater sources such as Rockland Lake during the nineteenth century.

"Beer Here" ran from May 25 to September 2, 2012. The online component of the exhibition is available atwww.nyhistory.org/exhibitions/beer-here.

Historic Haverstraw

Originally aired June 18, 2012.

Founded in 1666 and incorporated in 1854, Haverstraw developed partly due to its unique geographical location and natural resources. Special guests Michael Kohut and Town Historian Steve Cobb joined Clare Sheridan to shed light on this interesting Rockland locale. Although it was founded by Dutch settlers, the village grew in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as English, Irish, Italian, and African American workers arrived to take jobs in the brick industry.

Suffern's Lafayette Theater: An American Hidden Gem

Originally aired May 21, 2012. 

This episode of Crossroads of Rockland History was made possible by a grant from the Town of Ramapo, Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, and the Ramapo Town Board.To listen to the program, click here. May is National Preservation Month, and the theme for 2012 was Discover America's Hidden Gems. Nelson Page, film history enthusiast and operator of the historic Lafayette in Suffern, joined Clare Sheridan to discuss the restoration of the landmark theater in one of Rockland's most successful preservation efforts. Mr. Page also touched on Rockland's role in the early days of motion pictures.

History of The Nyacks

Originally aired April 16, 2012. To listen to the program, click here

Winston Perry Jr. and Carol Weiss joined Clare Sheridan to talk about the fascinating history of the Rockland County area known as "The Nyacks." Ms. Weiss is the Village HIstorian for Nyack. Mr. Perry is the historian for the Village of Upper Nyack and the president of the Historical Society of the Nyacks. A lifetime resident of Rockland County, he is a descendant of the Blauvelts, Tallmans, Harings, and other early European settlers, as well as more recent Irish immigrants. To learn more about the Historical Society of the Nyacks, visithttp://nyackhistory.org.

The Irish of Rockland County

Originally aired March 19, 2012.

On the morning after the 50th Annual Pearl River St. Patrick's Day Parade, Clare Sheridan and special guests, inlcuding George Leahy, explored the history of all things Irish in Rockland. Mr. Leahy's roots in Rockland County go back to the mid-1800s, when his Irish ancestors settled in Haverstraw. Now retired, he taught history at Nanuet High School for thirt, and is currently an adjunct professor of history at St. Thomas Aquinas College. The program focused on the arrival and impact of the Irish on the political, social, and economic history of Rockland.

More information about the Pearl River St. Patrick's Day Parade and about the Irish in Rockland is available from the Rockland County Ancient Order of Hibernians

Images of America: Orangetown

Originally aired February 20, 2012. 

Mary Cardenas, historian of the Town of Orangetown, joined Clare Sheridan to talk about the newly released Arcadia book Images of America: Orangetown, to which she was a key contributor. Settled by Dutch farmers and entrepreneurs in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Orangetown was a site of key action during the Revolutionary War. British and Continental troops moved through the town, and Major John Andre, co-conspirator with Benedict Arnold, was tried and hanged and George Washington established headquarters and finalized terms for the end of the Revolution in the town. 

For more information about Images of America: Orangetown, visit www.arcadiapublishing.com/9780738576473/Orangetown
For more information about the Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives, visit 

Sloatsburg's Harmony Hall

Originally aired November 21, 2011. 

Our thanks to the Town of Ramapo, Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, and the Ramapo Town Board for making this program possible. Harrison Bush and Peter Bush, descendants of Jacob Sloat, joined Clare Sheridan in the studio to talk about the Jacob Sloat House in Sloatsburg. Also known as Harmony Hall, the 1848 mansion was designed by the entrepreneur, inventor, and philanthropist Jacob Sloat. 

For more information about the Jacob Sloat House/Harmony Hall, visit http://www.friendsofharmonyhall.org/14101.html.

The Ghost Army

Originally aired August 15, 2011. To listen to the program, click here

In the early 1940s, the military recruited aspiring artists from art schools along the East Coast and trained them in the art of camouflage and deception. They became the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. Their mission: to deceive and divert the enemy. In this recorded interview, Clare Sheridan talks to World War II and Ghost Army veteran Ned Harris and Rick Beyer, filmmaker, history enthusiast and guest co-curator of "The Ghost Army" exhibition mounted at the HSRC in 2011. The story of the Ghost Army is one of smoke and mirrors, while their artwork offers a unique insight into what Europe looked during the war. After the war, many Ghost Army veterans went on to make names for themselves, including Bill Blass, Ellsworth Kelley, Arthur Singer, Arthur Shilstone, John Masey, Art Kane, and Victor Dowd. Two of the veterans who went on to have successful careers in the arts settled in Rockland County and were honored, along with all of the Ghost Army veterans, in this landmark exhibition.

The War Man: The True Story of a Citizen-Soldier

Originally aired July 18, 2011. To listen to the program, click here


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