Rockland History: 2018-19 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.

Spring Valley Memories with Art Gunther
This program originally aired on December 16, 2019. To listen, click here.

The lifelong Rocklander Art Gunther spoke about what it was like growing up in Spring Valley. He described how Spring Valley has changed; his fond memories of grade school, high school, and shopping downtown; and Spring Valley's history as a resort commuity. Art also talked about his career as a journalist with the Journal-News, as well as his very popular column, "The Column Rule." The December episode of Crossroads of Rockland History was sponsored by the Town of Ramapo, Supervisor Michael Specht and the Ramapo Town Board. 

Prohibition in Rockland, with Craig Long
This program originally aired on November 18, 2019. To listen, click here.

Rockland County Historian Craig Long joins Clare Sheridan in the WRCR studios for a discussion about the impact the Volstead Act, formally the National Prohibition Act, had on Rockland County. This U.S. law, enacted in 1919 (and taking effect in 1920), provided enforcement for the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. Mr. Long was one of the panelists at the Northwest Bergen History Coalition Luncheon on November 13, which focused on the history of prohibition in our area.

Educator Arlene Clinkscale
This program originally aired on October 21, 2019. To listen, click here

Clare Sheridan welcomes Arlene Clinkscale, who made New York State education history when she became the first African American woman in the state to lead a school district: Nyack. Dr. Clinkscale has distinguished herself in the field of education since 1950. She came to Rockland County in 1960 after ten years of teaching elementary school in Virginia, rising to the rank of district superintendent in Nyack in 1981. When she was interviewed by Ebony Magazine in 1983 for the feature article “Superwomen of Public Education,” Dr. Clinkscale said that the problems she encountered because of her sex and race came not while she was in Nyack but as she journeyed throughout the State of New York. “The first superintendent’s meeting I attended, I was the only Black woman there,” she said. “It’s hard to distinguish whether problems are the result of being Black or being female … and some people expect you not to be able to do the job.”

Clarkstown Historic Preservation
This program originally aired on September 16, 2019. To listen online, click here.

George Hoehmann, Supervisor of the Town of Clarkstown, talks to Clare Sheridan about the current state of historic preservation in Clarkstown. They discussed municipally owned properties including open space, parkland and historic sites. Further discussion included updates on the two major historic preservation projects in Clarkstown: The Traphagen Historic Site including the Talman-Budke House (18th C. Sandstone Dwelling) and the Vanderbilt-Trapahgen House (c. 1820); and the Cropsey Barn which is part of the Cropsey Community Farm.

We sincerely appreciate listeners‘ calls! A caller suggested that we consider doing more interviews with local seniors to learn about Rockland's past. We love this suggestion and are proud to help promote the great work done by the folks at the New City Library to interview, document, and share many interviews with interesting people in Rockland County. The HSRC collaborated on this project, which we enjoyed greatly.

Browse the New City Library's oral history interviews and listen ($FREE) at the "Rockland Room" on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/rocklandroom

Summer Reading 2019
This program originally aired on August 19, 2019. To listen online, click here.

The topic is summer history reading—fiction and nonfiction. Joining Clare Sheridan are Brian Jennings and Joe Barbieri from the New City Library, who share all the new great titles and open up the phone lines for listeners‘ suggestions. Recommendations from the “Summer Reading 2019” episode of “Crossroads of Rockland History”:
  • Gringos and Other Stories by Michael Rumaker
  • Instructions for a Funeral: Stories by David Means
  • Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Kids Lost in History: Rambling on the Hudson’s West Shore by Shannon Fuller and Megan O’Prey, with guidance from editor Richard O’Prey.
  • The Forgotten Hilltop by Dylan Frawley
  • Low Tor by Frank Eberling
  • Demarest Kill by Frank Eberling
  • Theater of the World: The Maps That Made History by Thomas Reinertsen Berg
  • Woodstock Live: 50 Years by Julien Bitoun (Author), Michael Lang (Foreword)
  • D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose
  • Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
  • Fever by Mary Beth Keane
  • Toni Morrison – ANYTHING and EVERYTHING!

For Kids:

  • Revolutionary Rogues by Seline Castrovilla
  • The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader
  • The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift (Author), Lynd Ward  (Illustrator)

For information about Book Clubs at New City Library, visit https://newcitylibrary.org/book-groups

Battle of Stony Point 240th Anniversary
This program originally aired on July 15, 2019. To listen, click here.

Did you know that 2019 marks the 240th anniversary of the storming of Stony Point? On the weekend of July 13-14, visitors of all ages commemorated the daring midnight assault on the British fortifications at Stony Point with more than 300 costumed reenactors at the Stony Point Battlefield. On Monday, Michael Sheehan, historian at the Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site, joined Clare Sheridan to discuss the history (and some misconceptions) surrounding this important victory for the Continental Army and recap the weekend’s commemorative events. The 240th Anniversary of the Storming of Stony Point was hosted by the Stony Point Battlefield and Lighthouse, 44 Battlefield Rd, Stony Point, NY 10980.

For information about the 240th Anniversary of Stony Point commemoration, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/303537113684621/?active_tab=about

Historical Hiking with Gordon Wren
This program originally aired on June 17, 2019. To listen online, click here.

Did you know that Rockland County is rich in historical places located within the area’s woodlands and parklands? Gordon Wren and Clare Sheridan discuss some of the interesting local history that can be explored through historical hikes. Learn more about some of these places and the organizations in our area that cater to history enthusiasts who love to explore the outdoors, such as Claudius Smith's Den; the Northwest Airlines crash site; Doodletown; Sterling Forest Mines and the Ramsay Conklin Site. Organizations in our area that cater to history enthusiasts who love to explore the outdoors—including the NY/NJ Trail Conference and the Historical Society of the Palisades Interstate Park Region—are also discussed.

South Mountain Road
This program originally aired on May 20, 2019. To listen online, click here.

We explore the new exhibition at the HSRC entitled “Influencers: Art and History on South Mountain Road.” Susan Deeks, the HSRC’s executive director, discusses this important artist colony where modernism flourished. South Mountain Road in New City was the home of artists, writers, and musicians who influenced one another and future artists, as well. “Influencers” was produced in collaboration with the Rockland Center for the Arts and will be on view at the Historical Society until the end of October.

For information, go to https://www.rocklandhistory.org/program.cfm?page=669.

Shanks Legacy
This program originally aired on April 15, 2019. To listen online, click here.

Learn more about the new exhibition at the Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives entitled “Shanks Legacy.” The U.S. Army‘s largest port of embarkation on the East Coast in World War II, Camp Shanks saw some 1.3 million troops pass through on their way to England and North Africa. Find out about how the camp looked and operated and what its transition into the residential Shanks Village meant to the development of the Town of Orangetown. “Shanks Legacy” opened on Saturday, April 13, 2019, at the DePew House and runs through November. Admission is free (donations accepted).

New Haverstraw Brick Museum & Center for Historic Preservation
This program originally aired on March 18, 2019. To listen, click here.

Hear all about the newly renovated Haverstraw Brick Museum. Jared Rodriguez share news about efforts to expand the organization to become a catalyst for preservation while continuing to share the rich history of the river town of Haverstraw. Rodriguez’s passion for Hudson Valley history stems from his family’s lineage in Haverstraw, which dates to the mid-19th century.

The website for the Haverstraw Brick Museum is http://haverstrawbrickmuseum.org
The link to the museum's Facebook page is

100th Episode of Crossroads of Rockland History!
This episode originally aired on February 18, 2019. To listen online, click here.

We celebrate our 100th episode! Clare Sheridan will take your calls:

  • What do you think is Rockland County’s most historical event or person?
  • What was your favorite episode?
  • What’s the story about Babe Ruth and a church in Haverstraw?  (Hint:  Steve Posell knows, do you?) 

Please tune in, call in, and celebrate with us!

Frank Eberling's Low Tor
This program original aired on January 21, 2019. To listen online, click here.

We focus on the new novel by Frank Eberling, Low Tor. This follow-up to Eberling’s earlier novel, Demarest Kill, is another exciting murder mystery set among the richly historical places of Rockland County. Frank Eberling is a fifth-generation New City resident who moved to Florida upon graduation from Clarkstown High School in 1964 and has been documentary filmmaker for nearly fifty years.

To learn more about Eberling’s Demarest Kill, click here: https://www.amazon.com/Demarest-Kill-Frank-Eberling/dp/1535127732/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534780852&sr=8-1&keywords=frank+eberling.

Esposito Rail Trail Historical Signs
This program originally aired on December 17, 2018. To listen, click here.

South Nyack Village Trustee and Trail Sign Committee member Andrew Goodwillie recounts fascinating facts and anecdotes about the impact of the railroad and Thruway on Nyack and South Nyack. Goodwillie has been researching this history to create wayside historical signage along the Esposito Rail Trail in Orangetown. The signs are finished and will soon be in the ground in a number of locations along this busy walking trail. Goodwillie will cover a number of themes, including the arrival of the railroad; the industrial and commercial development of the surrounding areas and the growth and fate of those businesses in its vicinity; the eventual railroad closure in the 1960s and transformation of the former railroad land to parkland; and the devastation of South Nyack‘s commercial and residential areas with the arrival of the Tappan Zee Bridge and I-287 (New York State Thruway). The text and images span over 150 years of local history.

Piermont's Papermill
This program originally aired on November 19, 2018. To listen, click here.

We turn our attention to the award-winning documentary Piermont's Papermill: Stories from the Factory. Represenatatives from the Piermont Historical Society (PHS) will join Clare Sheridan to discuss life in Piermont before the Condominiums. In 1901, Martin R. Williams erected the first paper mill in Piermont. The railyards on the pier, built in 1840 by the Erie Railroad, provided transportation for supplies in and out of the village. Fresh water, needed to produce paper, was supplied from the nearby Sparkill Creek. The Piermont Paper Company began production in 1902, and for 18 years the plant produced cardboard. Its principal customer was the Robert Gair Company. In 1920, Robert Gair purchased the mill. He had become a leader in the paper industry in Manhattan and Brooklyn after the Civil War. Gair‘s discovery revolutionized modern society with cardboard boxes and paper fiber containers that replaced bulky wooden crates and barrels. Manufacturers saw the sides of boxes as valuable ad space to sell their brand. The film was produced for the Piermont Historical Society by Anthony Bellov Video Productions. Credits include Betsy Franco Feeney, script, editing, interviews; Patti Panayotidis, research, script, interviews; Tom Chapin, narrator; John Guth, sound engineer. The Piermont Historical Society is grateful to those whose memories are cherished: Phillip Delorenzo, Kevin Fagan, Lawrence Goswick, James Koza, Alfred Lacker, Laura Montesano.

Lisa Levart, “Women of the Ramapough Lenape Nation”
This program originally aired on October 15, 2018. To listen, click here

Artist Lisa Levart speaks about her current exhibition at the HSRC. This exhibition, representing the culmination of eighteen months of creative collaboration between Levart and Ramapough Lenape women of Rockland and Bergen counties, uses collaged portrait photography as a basis for contemporary reinterpretations of Lenape mythology. The artist uses a technique of layering images with other materials to achieve results that blend "contemporary and ancient portraiture across the expanse of time." A selection of her photographs—some being exhibited for the first time—are displayed alongside prehistoric and historical Lenape objects. This is a great opportunity to hear from Lisa Levart about this creative collaboration with women of the Ramapough Lenape tribe to uncover and embody long-forgotten myths, as well as to learn about Levart’s technique of collaging image layers into photographic portraits and hand-painting them with an encaustic medium.

Sloatsburg's Edith Varian Cockroft
This program originally aired on September 17, 2018. To listen, click here.

We focus on the forgotten painter, inventor, couturier, textile designer and ceramist Edith Varian Cockcroft (1881-1962). Eve M. Kahn (art historian and New York Times contributor) talks about what she has uncovered, including interviews with Cockcroft and reminiscences from people who knew her. Cockcroft, a Brooklyn native, studied art with William Merritt Chase and traveled widely in Europe before World War I. Critics lauded her atmospheric views of French and British coastal villages and portraits of nudes against vibrant fabric backdrops. Le Figaro observed that she succeeded at depicting peasant life with "ardor or roughness," and the New York Times praised the "character and vigor" of her work. (And many reviewers mistook her for a man, since she invariably left her first name off her signatures on canvas.) She exhibited at venues such as the Paris Salon, the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Collectors as elite as Moscow's Ivan Morosov acquired her work. In the 1920s, Cockcroft ran a Manhattan couture studio and patented methods for printing silk, in patterns partly based on Javanese batiks. Her blouse-making kits were marketed nationwide as a "silk sensation," and her clothes were worn by the performers Irene Castle and Jeanette MacDonald. In the 1930s, she moved to Sloatsburg, where she kept painting--from Europe to Haiti--and designing textiles while also producing dinnerware sets in metallic glazes.

Friends of Harmony Hall
This program originally aired on August 20, 2018. To listen, click here.

The Friends of Harmony Hall is the nonprofit group working closely with the Town of Ramapo to support the restoration and preservation of Harmony Hall (a.k.a. the Jacob Sloat House) in Sloatsburg. Peter Bush will share news about the restoration of this grand house, and we'll learn all about the upcoming events that the Friends of Harmony Hall have planned for the coming months.

To learn more about Friends of Harmony Hall, visit their website at http://www.friendsofharmonyhall.org/home.
Or check out the Facebook page at 

Suffern Museums
This program originally aired on July 16, 2018. To listen, click here.

We focus on the Suffern Village Museum and the Suffern Railroad Museum with our very special guest, Craig Long. Before being appointed Ramapo Town Historian and Rockland County Historian, Craig Long began his history career in the 1980s as a charter member of the Suffern Village Museum. This museum and the Suffern Railroad Museum tell the rich history of this important village at the crossroads of the Ramapo region. The Suffern Village Museum is dedicated to the preservation and accurate presentation of the rich history of Suffern and the surrounding area. It is located at 61 Washington Avenue (top floor of Village Hall) in Suffern. For information, call (845) 357-2600. The Suffern Railroad Museum is located on Orange Avenue in Suffern. For information, call (845) 369-7076. The July episode of Crossroads of Rockland History is sponsored by the Town of Ramapo, Supervisor Michael Specht and the Ramapo Town Board. We thank them for their support of our program.

Haverstraw Juneteenth Celebration
This program originally aired on June 18, 2018. To listen, click here.

Virginia Norfleet, founder of the Haverstraw African American Memorial Park and the Annual Rockland Juneteenth Celebration, talks about the research she has done to uncover the rich culture and contributions of African Americans of Haverstraw. Norfleet's organization, the Haverstraw African American Connection (HAAC), sponsors the Juneteenth Celebration. The mission of the HAAC is to research, recover, preserve and teach the rich culture and contributions of African Americans, with an emphasis on African American people from Haverstraw.

To learn more about the Haverstraw African American Connection, visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Haverstraw-African-American-Connection-1493433047563916
To learn more about the 2018 Juneteenth Celebration, click here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2248838235133912

Michael Bruno, Tuxedo Hudson Company
This program originally aired on May 21, 2018. To listen, click here.

Michael Bruno discusses his ongoing rehabilitation of the Sloatsburg-Tuxedo section of Route 17. Bruno is responsible for the Valley Rock Inn vacation complex, which incorporates historic preservation in an innovative and transformative economic development project. Bruno, a native of Larchmont who now lives in Tuxedo Park, is working on a master plan for the Tuxedo-Sloatsburg Corridor Revitalization project. His Tuxedo Hudson Company has been awarded $1,750,000 in grants from New York State to create the new "Gateway to the Hudson Valley." Michael Bruno is an Internet and real estate entrepreneur. He is the founder of 1stdibs, the world's premier online luxury marketplace in twenty-two countries around the world. He is launching a new, transformative real estate venture, Valley Rock Inn, this summer in Rockland County. A passionate collector of historic homes and a steward of land preservation, He sits on the boards of the Orange County Land Trust and the Museum of the City of New York. The May episode of Crossroads of Rockland History is sponsored by the Town of Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht and the Ramapo Town Board.

To learn more about the Valley Rock Inn Vacation Complex, visit http://valleyrockinn.com

"Jawonio: Moving Forward, Looking Back"
This program originally aired on April 16, 2018. To listen, click here.

Diana Hess, chief development officer at Jawonio, and Clare Sheridan discuss the HSRC's newest exhibition: "Jawonio: Moving Forward, Looking Back--Changing Lives of People with Special Needs for 70 Years."Founded in Rockland County in 1947 as the Rockland County Center for the Physically Handicapped and United Cerebral Palsy, Jawonio today is in the forefront of providing services that help people of all ages with special needs reach their potential and achieve independence. With the agency poised for new growth, this special exhibition highlights Jawonio's seven decades of history advocating for and advancing equal rights for people with disabilities and special needs both within the Rockland community and throughout the Hudson Valley region.

To learn more about the exhibition visit: www.rocklandhistory.org/program.cfm?page=597
To learn more about Jawonio visit www.jawonio.org

New York Exposed, by Daniel Czitrom
This program originally aired on March 19, 2018. To listen, click here.

Clare Sheridan interviews Daniel Czitrom, author of New York Exposed: The Gilded Age Police Scandal That Launched the Progressive Era. The book reveals the architects of what became known as the Lexow Committee, the state task force that
after a couple of rough starts—blew the lid off New York's most corrupt practices and sent Tammany Hall, once again, into decline. The committee is named for New York State Senator and Rockland County resident Clarence Lexow. The author did some of the research for this intriguing book using the archives at the Historical Society of Rockland County. Daniel Czitrom is a Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College and the author of Media and the American Mind: From Morse to McLuhan (North Carolina, 1982). He was the history adviser on BBC America's production of Coppers.

The Nyack Record Shop Project
This program originally aired on February 19, 2018. To listen, 
click here.

We explore the Nyack Record Shop Project, an exciting and important oral history project, with its director, Bill Batson. At Kiam Records, a tiny shop on Main Street in downtown Nyack, oral histories were gathered during one-on-one interviews in this ambitious effort to give a voice to a group whose history is often overlooked: the African American community. "We want it all," says Batson, because right now "there are vast periods where information is difficult to ascertain. . . . At Nyack’s Kiam Records, oral histories will be gathered during one-on-one interviews as part of this important project." The collection of the histories began at the Record Shop on Monday, January 15, 2018Martin Luther King Dayand will continue.The HSRC is a proud sponsor of this project.

For more information about the Nyack Record Shop Project, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/207196049838275
or visit the Edward Hopper House website at 

"Peace & Joy: The 42nd Annual Holiday Exhibition"
Originally aired on January 15, 2018. To listen, click here.

We explore the 42nd Annual Holiday Exhibition at the Historical Society of Rockland, entitled "Peace & Joy." In addition to miniatures and dollhouses, the exhibition features the charming marionettes made by hand by Paul Peabody. Clare Sheridan's guest is Jeanne Peabody Walsh, Paul Peabody's daughter, who speaks about her father's life, work and art. Peabody's performance career spanned forty years, including shows throughout Rockland and the tristate area. In addition to schools, churches and community centers, Peabody performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Morgan Library, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, as well as at England's Stratford-on-Avon festival. Adults and children were enchanted by his unique characters, which he created using traditional woodworking methods. With a concurrent career in social justice and conflict resolution, Peabody used his marionettes, and the beautiful shows he created for them, to extend his life's work of promoting peace in our world.

Additional information about the exhibition is here: http://www.rocklandhistory.org/program.cfm?page=584


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