Rockland History: 2016-17 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.

Marydell-Over 90 Years
Originally aired December 18, 2017. To listen, click here

Su Belisle, assistant exhibition curator,and Sister Veronica Mendez, director of the Marydell Faith and Life Center, talk about "Marydell-Over 90 Years-Serving-Mentoring-Caring!" the new exhibition at the Historical Society of the Nyacks. The retrospective traces the work of the Marydell Sisters of Upper Nyack for more than 90 years, from the restoration of a derelict farm, to establishing a summer camp for immigrants, to creating the Marydell Faith and Life Center and transferring 30 acres to the Palisades Park Commission, and everything in between. In addition to a remarkable collection of photographs, newspaper articles, and similar memorabilia, the exhibition includes a replica of the Sisters' Peace Pole and a gnome from the famous "Gnomes of Marydell," memorialized in song by the former Nyacker John Babcock.

The exhibition is open on Saturdays, 1-4 pm, through February 2018. The museum of the Historical Society of the Nyacks is located in the historic Depew House, at 50 Piermont Avenue, Nyack, 
behind Nyack Library and across from Memorial Park. (Enter below the front porch). Additional exhibition materials will be on view in the display cases in the Carnegie-Farian Room of the Nyack Library during library hours. The Nyack Library is at 59 South Broadway.

For more information about the Historical Society of the Nyacks, visit www.nyackhistory.org.

Revolutionary Rogues
Originally aired November 20, 2017. To listen, click here

Selene Castrovilla discusses her new children’s book, Revolutionary Rogues. Young fans of the Broadway smash Hamilton will enjoy this riveting nonfiction picture book that unfolds like a play, telling a story from American history. Gravely injured and with little chance for more military honors, Major-General Benedict Arnold seeks reward and recognition another way. He contacts Major John André, the new head of British intelligence and another man determined to prove himself. Arnold and André strike a deal and use Arnold’s intelligence to take over West Point, the strategic American fort. The plan ultimately fails, leading to André’s capture and death and Arnold’s loss of reward and glory. Ms. Castrovilla and the book's illustrator, John O’Brien, brilliantly capture the tensions and high drama of these two revolutionary rogues by highlighting their similarities and differences and demonstrating how they brought about their own tragic ends. The book also includes an afterword, timelines of the lives of both men, an extensive bibliography, and a list of key places to visit.

About the author: Selene Castrovilla is an award-winning young adult (YA) novelist and nonfiction author. Her third YA novel, Melt, Book One of the Rough Romance Trilogy, was the recipient of six honors, including the SCBWI Spark Award. Revolutionary Friends, her third nonfiction picture book, was the recipient of four awards, including Booklist Top Ten Biography for Youth. Ms. Castrovilla holds a masters in fine arts in creative writing from the New School and a bachelor's degree in English from New York University. She is a member of the Bank Street College Writers Lab and PEN American Children’s Book Committee. She is the Long Island Liaison for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Metro-NY Chapter and a former chair of the Long Island Children’s Writers and Illustrators, Jacqueline Woodson, a teacher at the New School, calls Ms. Castrovilla “a writer worth watching.”

"Loyal to the Crown" at the Orangetown Museum 

Originally aired October 16, 2017. To listen, click here

Did you ever wonder about the Loyalists in Rockland County during the Revolutionary War? Elizabeth Skrabonja, curator of the 
new exhibition "Loyal to the Crown," opening at the Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives on Saturday, October 14, and Executive Director Mary Cardenas will discuss what it was like for Loyalists during the Revolution. We'll also welcome special guest George Way, whose collection of fine English antiques will be on view throughout the exhibition to help tell the story of the eighteenth-century Loyalist in colonial America.

Mr. Way's collection is a magnificent group of original art, objects and artifacts from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including an important portrait of Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, attributed to Sir Anthony van Dyck. The exhibition will allow visitors to experience the culture and contrast that brought many to proclaim "God Save the King."

To learn more about the Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives, visit https://www.orangetownmuseum.com.

Carson McCullers, with Nick Norwood
Originally aired September 18, 2017. To listen, click here.

We will pay tribute to the author and playwright Carson McCullers. With a collection of work that includes five novels, two plays, twenty short stories, more than two dozen nonfiction pieces, a book of children's verse, a small number of poems, and an unfinished autobiography, she is considered one of the most significant American writers of the twentieth century. At least four of her works have been made into films. After two rocky marriages to Reeves McCullers and the death of her father, Carson McCullers moved to Nyack with her mother and sister and lived there until her death in 1967. In the Nyack house she completed The Member of the Wedding (1946), The Ballad of the Sad Caf? (1951), Clock without Hands (1961), and other plays, short stories, poetry, and autobiographical works. 

We look back at the life of this important author as we mark 100 years since her birth and 50 years since her death with Dr. Nick Norwood, director of the Columbus State University's Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians. In addition to leading the McCullers Center, Dr. Norwood is an award-winning poet and Professor of English at CSU.

To learn more about Dr. Norwood and the McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, visit http://www.mccullerscenter.org

Haverstraw, by Margaret Williams
Originally aired August 21, 2017. To listen, 
click here.

Haverstraw is an engaging historical novel set at the turn of the 20th century. The author, Margaret Williams, discusses her debut novel, which has been described as a finely tuned, aching tale of time, place and the constants of human nature. In this beautifully realized story, a sophisticated young French-Canadian woman, unexpectedly trapped in farm drudgery, escapes into a loveless marriage to an illiterate Irish brick worker in the riverside village of Haverstraw. In a town on the brink of disaster, she discovers her own inner strength and creates her own destiny.

About the Author: Margaret Williams holds a bachelor's degree from St. Johns University and a masters in social work from Fordham University. She has worked as a social worker and planner for the elderly and taught college classes in gerontology. She was awarded the Maxwell Anderson Prize for her short story “Cat’s Cradle.” 

John Patrick Schutz
Originally aired July 17, 2017. To listen, click here.

Nyack Village Historian John Patrick Schutz visits the program. The son of a librarian (Irene is still found behind the desk at Blauvelt Library), Schutz was taught researching skills from an early age. He has always been fascinated by local history and frequently writes about it in his blog, "At Home in Nyack." Clare Sheridan talks to him about his lifelong interest in local history, his blog, and a new project he's spearheading to curate, edit, and research a history project for the Rockland County Pride Center.

To learn more about John Patrick Schutz, click here: http://nyack-ny.gov/people/john-patrick-schutz

To read the blog, click here: 

To learn about the Rockland County Pride Center, visit here: 

HSRC Exhibitions
Originally aired June 19, 2017. To listen, click here.

Education Coordinator Richard Donegan" talks to Clare Sheridan about the two new exhibitions for 2017 at the HSRC: 

  • "Rockland Recollections: The Art of Robert Burghardt": Each of the 55 works on display demonstrates how this talented artist soaked up Rockland's history and documented it in a unique way. To learn more about this exhibition, click here: http://www.rocklandhistory.org/program.cfm?page=562.
  • "Rockland Voices: Highlights from the HSRC Permanent Collection": Our semi-permanent exhibition has an added feature for 2017 marking the centennial of women's right to vote. Learn how three generations of Rocklanders worked in the women's suffrage movement in New York, culminating in success in 1917. To learn more about this exhibition, click here: http://www.rocklandhistory.org/program.cfm?page=422.

Penguin Rep Theatre
Originally aired May 15, 2017. To listen, click here.

Under the dynamic leadership of founding Artistic Director Joe Brancato and Executive Director Andrew M. Horn, Penguin Rep has grown from a summer theater in a converted 1880s hay barn to become one of the Hudson Valley's most influential nonprofit cultural institutions. Since its founding in 1977, Penguin Rep has entertained more than 400,000 people with outstanding productions by established and emerging writers and starring great professional actors. The New York Times dubbed Penguin "the gutsiest little theatre. . . . Guided by the skilled hand of Penguin's artistic director, Joe Brancato, the splendid performers get first-rate support, as always at Penguin, by an excellent design team."

Learn more about Penguin Rep Theatre: https://www.penguinrep.org


Two Schools in Hillburn
Originally aired April 17, 2017. To listen, click here.

Clare Sheridan welcomes Joe Allen, who is making an hour-long documentary about the compelling 1943 story of how Thurgood Marshall and a community achieved the historic desegregation of a Rockland County elementary school. We'll hear all about the film and the upcoming premiere, hosted by Rockland Community College, which will take place on May 20.

The April episode of “Crossroads of Rockland History” was sponsored by the Town of Ramapo, Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and the Ramapo Town Board. We thank them for their support of our program.

For more about the film Two Schools in Hillburn, visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/twoschoolsfilm.

Liz McEnaney and the SS Columbia Project
Originally aired March 20, 2017.To listen, click here.

Did you know that the tradition of the Hudson River Excursion Steamboat is about to be revived? Liz McEnaney, Executive Director of the SS Columbia Project, talks about the current work to restore the landmark SS Columbia. The steamboat will become a floating platform for arts, education, and entertainment that connects New York City and the Hudson Valley. 

Liz McEnaney is an architectural historian and preservationist. She has curated museum exhibitions, developed site interpretation plans, and advocated for the waterfront issues in both New York City and the Hudson Valley. Before finding her sea legs, Liz was Executive Director of the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation and worked for the artist Maya Lin’s What Is Missing? Foundation. She has also been involved in initiatives focused on the Hudson Valley. She produced the documentary film Hudson Rising and worked with the Commissioner of the New York State Quadricentennial Commission. Liz is an adjunct professor in the Urban Design and the Historic Preservation program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. She also teaches in the Sustainable Urban Design Program at NYU Tandon Engineering.

The March episode of “Crossroads of Rockland History” is sponsored by The Town of Ramapo, Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and the Ramapo Town Board.  We thank them for their support of our program.

To learn more about the SS Columbia Project, visit https://sscolumbia.org

2017 High School Local History Conference
Originally aired February 20, 2017.To listen, click here.

Clare Sheridan talks with Rich Donegan, Education Coordinator at the Historical Society of Rockland County, about the 5th Annual John T. and Mary A. Grant High School Local History conference, held at SUNY-Rockland Community College on February 14. A program unique to Rockland County, the annual conference brings together students from public and private high schools throughout the county for a day of teaching one another and learning about the county in which we live.  

Urban Anthropologist Sherrill Wilson
Originally aired January 16, 2017.To listen, click here.

The urban anthropologist Sherrill Wilson will visit the program. Dr. Wilson lectures and writes on the subjects of the African presence in colonial and early New York and the enslaved African presence in the North. We’ll speak to her about her recent work and how Rockland County fits into her research.

For more information on the African Burial Ground National Monument, visit https://www.nps.gov/afbg/index.htm.

To learn about the book In Defiance: Runaways from Slavery in New York's Hudson River Valley, 1735-1831, visit https://www.amazon.com/Defiance-Runaways-Slavery-Hudson-1735-1831/dp/1883789834.

To learn more about Dr. Sherrill Wilson, visit her website at http://www.sherrilldwilsonphd.com/About_1.html

Terri Thal and Lake Lucille

Originally aired December 19, 2016.To listen, click here.

Terri Thal was Bob Dylan’s first manager when he arrived on the folk music scene in New York. We learn about all of that and explore the history of the Lake Lucille community where Terri lives today.

For more history about Lake Lucille visit:  http://www.lakelucille.com/times/archive.htm

For information about the Rockland Water Coalition visit:  

To contact the West Branch Conservation Association, you can email them at:  
[email protected]

The book we discussed was "The Mayor of McDougal Street:  A Memoir" :  

The film we discussed was "Inside Llewyn Davis":  

Frank Eberling's Demarest Kill

Originally aired November 21, 2016.To listen, click here.

Frank Eberling, who recently published the novel Demarest Kill, visits the program. Demarest Kill is a murder mystery and coming-of-age/loss-of-innocence novel unlike any you have read before. In the novel, the Demarest Kill, a stream that threads its way through New City, behind Dutch Garden and the Rockland County Courthouse, serves as a metaphor for events that unfold over a fifty-year period. Richly described with period detail and local color, Demarest Kill is the story of a generation of baby boomers who, like Mr. Eberling, grew up in the post-World War II years in New City. We speak to Mr. Eberling about his experiences and the process of writing his new book.

The November broadcast is sponsored by the Town of Ramapo, Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and the Ramapo Town Board. We are grateful for their financial support of our radio show.

History on Social Media
Originally aired October 17, 2016.To listen, click here.

The topic is History on Social Media: Clare Sheridan speaks with Kato Hatch, a Rockland County native who moderates the incredibly popular Facebook page "Rockland County, Back in the Day." The page has more than 13,000 fans and is full of vintage images, rare film footage and shared memories from its followers. Kato and Clare discuss how social media connects people, how Kato finds content for the page, and the kinds of submissions that are most popular. 

High Tor
Originally aired September 19, 2016.To listen, click here.

This program is devoted to the 1956 movie musical High Tor. Based on Maxwell Anderson's play High Tor, this first "made-for-TV" movie in history was originally broadcast on CBS in 1956. The play, produced in 1937, led to the preservation of High Tor Mountain by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. The TV version stars Bing Crosby and Julie Andrews in her film and television debut. Joe Yranski, film historian, shares his insights into the film's history, the performances by both Bing Crosby and Julie Andrews and his friendship with the Crosby family. In addition, Art Gunther, retired journalist and columnist, discusses the real events in Rockland County that inspired Maxwell Anderson to write the play on which the film is based.

914 Sound Recording Studios
Originally aired August 15, 2016.To listen, click here.

914 Sound Recording Studios is where some of the most iconic rock anthems of the 1970s were made, including Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" and Janis Ian's "At Seventeen." Clare Sheridan welcomes special guests to discuss the history of this Blauvelt recording studio and learn more about the upcoming Historical Marker dedication at the site on August 18.

To read articles from the Journal News about the 914 Sound Recording Studios, click here:



To learn about the historical marker dedication at the 914 Sound Recording Studio site, 
click here: 

2016 Summer Reading

Originally aired July 18, 2016. To listen, 
click here.

Our topic is summer reading (history and nonfiction). Joining Clare Sheridan are Brian Jennings, history librarian from the New City Library, and Joe Barbieri, history librarian from the Nyack Library. We share our favorite books and open up the phone lines to welcome your recommendations.

The 2016 reading list, as dicussed on the program. (All books available from major book sellers unless otherwise noted.)  
  • War of Two: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Duel that Stunned the Nation, by John Sedgwick  
  • Valiant Ambition, by Nathaniel Philbrick   
  • All Who Go Do Not Return, by Shulem Deen   
  • Politics across the Hudson, by Philip Mark Plotch 
  • The Spy Wore Red, by Aline Griffith   
  • John Charles Fremont - The Pathfinder (available from the Historical Society of Rockland County, http://www.rocklandhistory.org/product.cfm?page=84)  
  • Camp Shanks and Shanks Village – A  Scrap Book by Scott Webber (available from the Historical Society of Rockland County, http://www.rocklandhistory.org/product.cfm?page=64)   
  • Within These Gates, by Daniel DeNoyelles (available at the Haverstraw Brick Museum).  
  • Bibsy, by Brenda Ross   
  • Ladies Lib, by Isabelle Savelle (available from the Historical Society of Rockland County, http://www.rocklandhistory.org/product.cfm?page=86)  
  • Drawn TogetherBiography of Berta and Elmer Hader, by Sybilla Avery Cook  
  • Berta and Elmer Hader: A Lifetime of Art, by Joy Hoerner Rich, Karen Tolley and Judy Waller   
  • South Mountain Road: A Daughter's Journey of Discovery, by Hesper Anderson   
  • The Lives, Loves and Art of Arthur B. Davies, by Bennard B. Perlman 
  • The Tappan Zee Bridge and the Forging of the Rockland Suburb, by Roger Panetta (available from the Historical Society of Rockland County, http://www.rocklandhistory.org/product.cfm?page=128)  
  • The Big Snow, by Berta and Elmer Hader   
  • Edward Hopper Paints His World, by Robert Burleigh  
  • Now and Then and Long Ago, comp. Cornelia F. Bedell (available from the Historical Society of Rockland County, http://www.rocklandhistory.org/product.cfm?page=89)  
  • Washington and Hamilton: The Alliance That Forged America, by Stephen F. Knott  and Tony Williams
  • Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon, by Michael O'Brien
  • Indians in the Ramapos: Survival, Persistence & Presence, by Edward J. Lenik (available for purchase at Ringwood Manor, http://www.ringwoodmanor.com/peo/na/iitr.htm

To view the Historical Society's publications, visit http://www.rocklandhistory.org/product.cfm?category=16

Garner Arts Center

Originally aired June 20, 2016. To listen to the program, 
click here.

We turn our attention to the Garner Arts Center, a 19th century textile mill that has been transformed into a vibrant cultural art center in Garnerville. Robin Rosenberg, president of the Garnerville Arts Project Inc. (GAP), also known as Garner Arts Center since its founding in 2003, sheds light on this dynamic place that continues to grow and change.

To learn more about the Garner Arts Center, visit the website at http://garnerartscenter.org.

Joan Geismar and Skunk Hollow

Originally aired May 16, 2016.To listen to the program, click here.

The archeologist Joan Geismar joins Clare Sheridan to explore the fascinating and little-known area of our county known as Skunk Hollow. Dr. Geismar, who wrote her dissertation on Skunk Hollow, shares how she uncovered the history of this place through archeological research and discoveries. Joan H. Geismar, Ph.D., has been a practicing urban archaeologist since 1981. Dr. Geismar, who received her doctorate in anthropology from Columbia University, has extensive experience documenting the history of sites in the New York metropolitan area, assessing their archeological potential, and implementing and carrying out fieldwork. Many of her projects have fulfilled the cultural resources requirement for environmental assessments and impact statements or permitting. Among her clients are private developers and institutions, municipal agencies in New York and New Jersey, federal agencies, architects, the New York City Parks Department, and historical societies and museums, as well as engineering and environmental assessment firms. Her projects are varied, ranging from numerous New Jersey Transit projects to the restoration of the Hunterfly Road Houses in Historic Weeksville (Brooklyn). She has been the archaeological consultant at Manhattan's Lower East Side Tenement Museum since its inception.

Dr. Geismar is a founding member of Professional Archaeologists of New York City (PANYC), its president for four non-consecutive terms, and a member of the Executive Board since 1984. She also serves on the Preservation Committee of the Municipal Art Society and is the recipient of several preservation awards. In 1999, she was designated a Centennial Historian of the City of New York by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Her research interests include, but are not limited to, community studies and the development of the urban condition, such as landfill, transportation, housing, and sanitation issues.

Palisades and Sneden's Landing with Alice Gerard

Originally aired April 18, 2016.To listen to the program, click here.

Alice Gerard, published author and historian for Palisades, shares the history Palisades and Sneden's Landing and shares information about her recent project of completing the transcription of the diaries of Nicholas Gesner. These diaries, comprising more than 1,600 pages of handwritten text, are an extraordinary primary source of the history of nineteenth-century Rockland County.

The following books were discussed during the program: 

The following books are by Alice Gerard:

Haverstraw's Quadricentennial

Originally aired March 21, 2016.To listen to the program, click here.

Haverstraw is celebrating its Quadricentennial this year! Learn all about the recent discovery of a map from 1616 on which Haverstraw appears and the year-long celebration that this 400th anniversary will bring. Joining Clare Sheridan are Supervisor Howard Phillips of the Town of Haverstraw, who speaks about upcoming events and programs planned for the Quadricentennial year, and Corinne McGeorge, whose exhibition "Dutchtown and Major Andre" is a big part of the celebration.  

4th Annual John T. and Mary A. Grant 
Rockland County High School History Conference

Originally aired February 15, 2016. To listen to the program, click here.

Clare Sheridan welcomes Rich Donegan, the new Education Coordinator at the Historical Society of Rockland County, and Scott Kaplan, History Teacher at Suffern High School. We'll learn how local history is taught in our schools, and we'll hear all about the upcoming John T. and Mary A. Grant Rockland County High School Local History Conference.

This daylong gathering brings together high school history students, their advisers, and social studies department chairs from Rockland County high schools. The students will prepare presentations for their peers on themes related to Rockland County history of the past 50 years. In addition, historians and dignitaries will address the students. This year's conference keynote speaker is the Hon. C. Scott Vanderhoef.

To learn more about the 2016 High School Local History Conference, go to http://www.rocklandhistory.org/event.cfm?page=411.

 Orange County Historian Johanna Yaun

Originally aired January 18, 2016. To listen to the program, click here.

Orange County Historian Johanna Yaun's address on the state of local history in 2015 has piqued the interest of many people in the local history community. Clare Sheridan speaks with Ms. Yaun about the address; the unique mandate in New York State that every municipality must have a historian; the role the municipal historian plays; and the challenges and rewards of the role.

Born and raised in the city of Newburgh, Johanna Yaun began her career in historic preservation as a tour guide in the East End Historic District, New York State's largest contiguous historic district, with 445 acres of structures that span four centuries of architectural history. From 2004 to 2010, she was a historic interpreter at Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site, the nation's first historic house museum, which has been open to the public and caring for a museum collection since 1850. She holds degrees in European history and anthropology, with a focus in 18th-century military history and archaeology. She earned a certificate in museum studies from Smith College in 2007; a certificate in archaeology from the University of Virginia; and a master's of public administration from Marist College in 2010. During her time at Marist, she focused on the institutional history of the New York State Historic Bureau and traveled to the Mediterranean to make worldwide compar


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