Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Little Bit More on the Wemple Road Greek Revival

I wrote yesterday about the Greek Revival style of architecture.  Today, I thought I would dig up a little bit of info about the family that lived in that abandoned farmhouse on Wemple Road.

This picture of the house is from Bethlehem Revisited, published in 1993.

I started with the 1866 Beers map of Bethlehem.  It labels this site as “W.J. Wemple.”  Just down the road, east of the railroad tracks, today site of the Laborer’s Training Center,  is the label “J. Wemple.”  It appears that these are brothers William James Wemple (1835-1899*) and John Gilbert Wemple (1832-1911). They are the sons of Gilbert Wemple (1801-1871) and Henrietta Winne (1800-1855) who married in 1819 at the First Reformed Church of Bethlehem.  This makes sense because the hamlet here was known as Wemple.  The post office was located in John’s farmstead and there was a station on the nearby West Shore Railroad.  The Wemples were a prominent family in Bethlehem with John being elected supervisor in 1875 and 1876.

The 1860 U.S. census is revealing.  It indicates that Gilbert (farmer, age 58), daughter Maria (age 38) and son William (farmer, age 25) lived in the farmhouse at the top of the hill along with three young men listed as farm laborers (Peter VanZandt, Phillip Smith and John Brown.) They are listed right next door to John (farmer, age 28) his wife Elsie (dress maker, age 27) and their son Gilbert age 2.  Also living with them is Susan McEwen, age 65, who appears to be Elsie’s mother.

Time marches on and the 1870 census shows some important changes.

The property at the top of the hill is now in the hands of the Lamoraux family. Husband and wife William and Elizabeth are living there with their four children, (Maus, Phebe, Agnes and Susan).  Three domestic servants are also listed (Mary Frazier, R. McDonald and Thom Rowland).

At the bottom of the hill, it appears that father and daughter Gilbert and Maria have moved in with John.  John’s wife Elsie (or Eliza in some records) died in 1867 at age 33.  Her mother, Susan McEwen, is still living in the household along with John and Elsie’s children Gilbert and Elizabeth.

The 1891 Beers map shows Lamoreaux and Wemple. (Courtesy of the David Rumsey Map Collection.)

So, that is just a little about the Wemple family.  The Lamoraux family appears to be French Huguenots.   One, and I am not sure if they are related, named Vilitta Lamareaux (1790-1876) married Alexander Borthwick.  You might be familiar with Borthwick Avenue in Delmar.

*While most records (census, baptismal) indicate William was born in 1835, Findagrave.com has a photo of his cemetery marker with a birth year of 1837.  Other dates are roughly calculated and meant to give a general idea birth and death.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Greek Revival Style in Bethlehem

Some of my favorite buildings in town are the Greek Revival farm houses, especially this one on Wemple Road.

Why the old, abandoned and desolate appeals to me I don't know. That's a blog post for another day.

Today I am going to share an article I wrote a while back that still resonates. Enjoy!

Greek Inspiration

Bethlehem, like most of the rest of the country, was fascinated by the Greek revival style of architecture in the early to mid 1800s.  Americans, with their commitment to democratic ideals, found the connection to ancient Greece appealing.

The temple front became ubiquitous across America from high style public buildings and banks to common vernacular farmhouses.  Grander buildings sport a large triangular pediment that projects outward, supported by a row of columns, creating an inviting porch-like area. Think of the ancient Greek Parthenon. 

The style filtered down to common homes with the gable of the house turned toward the street helping to create the triangular pediment. Vertical pilasters applied to the corners of the house create the visual suggestion of free standing columns.  The front door is offset to one side with two windows next to it. Details such as dentil molding, entablatures, raking cornices and half round windows come into play with the creativity of the local carpenter/builder and the budget of the owner.

Next time you are driving around town, look for Bethlehem’s Greek temples.  Some, like the Adams House Hotel, Delmar Reformed Church or the Haswell-Houck Tavern, are obvious. Even though their columns are square, their triangular pediments are prominent and pay homage to Greek proportion and style. 

Look for the farmhouses.  Once you start looking for those triangles facing the street, you can spot them easily enough along busy Kenwood Avenue and New Scotland Road,  along country roads like Wemple and Meads Lane or hidden away on side streets like Roweland and Willowbrook Avenues.  Some are brick, some are clapboard.  Keep a sharp eye, and you’ll even find them under vinyl siding with most of the old details removed. 

The four homes pictured below are all located on Kenwood Avenue between Cherry Avenue and Regina Court. 

Here are a couple of sketches from The Visual Dictionary of American Domestic Architecture by Rachel Carley with illustrations by Ray Skibinski and Ed Lam to help you with your identification.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Season's Greetings from 1963

This image graced the cover of the 1963 Bethlehem Community Christmas Festival program booklet..

Do you recognize the Four Corners? Look for I Love Books' distinctive roof line.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Season's Greetings from about 1970

For many years this creche scene circulated among Delmar's churches.  It is seen here in front of Delmar Reformed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Delmar Post Office

Did you ever notice this small plaque on the right side of the front door to the Delmar Post Office?


The post office was added to the National Register in 1988 with its historic significance being in its architecture.  In 1939, Louis Simon of the US Treasury Department was the supervising architect for several Colonial Revival post office buildings including the one in Delmar.  This is the only one without a cupola gracing the roof line.

The front view of the Delmar Post Office hasn't changed much in the 74 years since this postcard was mailed.

Inside is this mural painted by Sol Wilson called The Indian Ladder.

Sol Wilson (1893-1974) saw himself as an "expressive realist" and told his students "you cannot escape your own feelings, or your lack of feelings, about life in your painting."  So, next time you are waiting in line at the Delmar Post Office you can ponder what Wilson was thinking and feeling as he composed and painted this piciture of an iconic Albany county location. 

For more examples of Sol Wilson's work, visit this website:   http://www.juliehellergallery.com/JHG/Sol_Wilson.html

For more on post office art in New York visit http://www.wpamurals.com/newyork.htm.  The website points out that post office art was commissioned by the Treasury Department Section of Painting and Sculpture not by the Works Progress Administration. Wilson did do other art for the WPA.

And finally, if you are curious about the National Register,  you can scan through Albany County National Register listings at
but note that this list is not up to date.  

Here's a complete,  Bethlehem only list.

Bethlehem House,  Dinmore Road, Cedar Hill, Selkirk   
U.S. Post Office, Delaware Avenue, Delmar    
Slingerlands House, 36 Bridge Street, Slingerlands 
Patterson Farmhouse, 47 Murray Avenue, Delmar   
District School No. 1, 1003 River Road, Cedar Hill,  Selkirk     
VanDerHyden House, 823 Delaware Ave, Delmar     
Schoonmaker House, 283 Beaverdam Road, Selkirk   
Bethlehem Grange,  24 Bridge Street, Beckers Corners, Selkirk    
First Dutch Reformed Church, Church Road, Selkirk    
Babcock House, 101 Lasher Road,  Selkirk   
Rowe Farm,  281 Bridge Street,  Selkirk  
Slingerlands Historic District,  New Scotland Road,  Bridge St, Mullens Rd, Slingerlands                     Sprong House,  698 Kenwood Avenue, Slingerlands   

August 18, 2012

Monday, November 10, 2014

Connecting J. White Sprong and Gustave Lorey

Today's amusing history thread started with this handsome photo of J. White Sprong.  Sprong you might remember from previous posts lived in a lovely Victorian home that still stands on Kenwood Avenue. He was an executive with the D&H Railroad. After noticing his watch fob and rimless eye glasses, my gaze went to the signature of the photographer: Gustave Lorey.

A little noodling around on Google led me to this charming photo from the Albany Institute. It is dated 1925 and is by Lorey.

Maybe, I thought, this is Bethlehem's Cedar Hill - wouldn't that be neat.

A little bit more noodling around on the newspaper websites turned up some facts about Lorey.  He was a well known photographer in Albany and Saratoga Springs. Born in 1868, Died in 1937. Married to Mira Ingalls.  No children.  His studio carried on well after his death.  I found a reference to the Gustave Lorey Studio as late as 1960.

And then I found this interesting tidbit after looking under Mira Ingalls Lorey.

It is from the Albany Evening News, Monday January 31, 1927.  Gustave and Mira are dining with the Hakes and Wheelers - prominent families at Van Wies Point in Glenmont and the Lyons - a very prominent family of, you guessed it, Cedar Hill.

So, maybe, just maybe, that charming Halloween photo is from our very own Bethlehem.


So, I published this on a Monday afternoon. The next day I am at my church, Delmar Reformed, and see this plaque over in a corner.  Notice a familiar last name?  I am being haunted by Sprongs!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Boundary Lines

I've been pondering Bethlehem's northern line in preparation for a talk I am giving with Albany city historian Tony Opalka.

Did you ever wonder about that funny part that sticks out on top?

We used to have a nice straight northern border with Albany.  It kind of sort of looked this.

Then Albany got land grabby - or maybe the residents just wanted city services.   1870, 1910/1916 and 1967 saw large chunks go over to the city.

That inward cove on the modern map covers the contentious Hurstville/Karlsfeld annexation that started in 1964 and was finalized in 1967.  How about this juicy quote from a 1964 Knick News article:

"Bethlehem town officials complain that the city is gnawing away at town land and possibly planning to swallow up all of North Bethlehem eventually."*

Have I roused your curiosity to learn more?  Come to our talk at the Bethlehem Historical Association, November 20, 7 pm at the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse, 1003 River Road, Selkirk.  It is free and open to the public.

And check out the book  How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein.  It is a fun read about all those weird state boundary lines.

* Annexation Battle Recalls Other Bethlehem Border Clashes by John Machacek. The Knickerbocker News September 8, 1964. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hudson River Thoughts and Do-Gooders

A couple of ideas swirling around in my brain come together today in one old document.

I was writing about the Hudson River ice industry for my next then and now article for Our Towne.  I wondered about the men, and women, who worked the ice harvest.  The sub-zero temperatures and cutting wind.  The horses. The steam engines that powered the cakes of ice up into the warehouse. I think of winter on the river as a quiet time.  I find the stillness of Henry Hudson Park when cloaked in ice and snow very soothing.  100+ years ago I bet the air echoed with the noise ice harvest activity.

I also have a weakness for novels - silly romances or thrillers, science fiction or fantasy, I gobble them up like candy.  Which they are, for my brain.  One of them this week was describing America as a nation of do-gooders.  People who, when disaster strikes, show up with food and clothes, with willing hands and feet, with cash and donations.  I think sometimes we forget the good in the world a midst all the bad news headlines.

Then my thoughts turned to this document from 1907 courtesy of Allison Bennett's book More Times Remembered.  It manages to combine ice and do-gooders.

Francis F. Wright's team of horses fell through the ice and drowned during the ice harvest. A substantial loss for this Elsmere farmer.  His friends and neighbors rallied together to raise funds for replacements.  According to Bennett's article, Francis Wright and his wife Libby lived in the vicinity of Salisbury Road off of Delaware Avenue in Elsmere.  Like many farmers, he made extra money in the winters working the ice harvest.

Here are some horses hard at work on the Hudson River courtesy of the New York State Archives.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Delmar Picnic

I've mentioned before the unique pleasure of people handing me random Bethlehem historic photos.  Here's another one for you to enjoy.  Written on the back is "Delmar picnic."

Judging from the women's clothing (love those leg-o-mutton sleeves), I'd say  it was taken about 1895.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Formidable Woman

Allison Bennett died last Wednesday.  She was a formidable woman, and an inspiration to me.  She officially served as town historian from 1966-1974.  Her devotion to keeping and recording history was life long.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 23, 1892

Have you ever noticed how old newspapers functioned a lot like today's Facebook?

Just read the clipping below and you'll see what I mean.  And yes, I know it is tiny.  Use the zoom feature on your web browser to enlarge.

Here are a few of my favorite bits. You might recognize some old Delmar names.

"If there are any one desiring the help of an experienced cow boy, who is an experienced hand, call on C.W."

"Mr. Nathaniel Adams, an old and highly esteemed resident of this place, died Sunday morning at half past nine."

"Mr. Niles Rowe is improving slowly."

"Who ate the most chocolate cake at the reception? I know, don't you Allie?"

"It is reported that Mr. Frank Sprong has purchased a lot of Mr. Wm. LeGallez and intends building in the near future."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

August 24, 1889

Every once in a while I run across an old newspaper article that touches on a lot of historical things I have been thinking about lately.  South Bethlehem, quarries, railroads, baseball, churches.  The article below has them all.  Here are some excerpts and explanations.

In company with numerous friends of the South Bethlehem M. E. church Sunday School from the towns of Guilderland and New Scotland, we accompanied them on their excursion to Ionia Island…. The day was all that could be desired and the run of one hundred miles over the smooth tracks of the West Shore Road, with its delightful scenery, was made in about three hours.

I came across the article while looking for info about the South Bethlehem United Methodist Church - or South Bethlehem M.E. church.  There wasn't a United Methodist denomination until they united various branches of Methodists in 1968.

Iona Island in the Hudson River was a popular excursion destination from the late 1860s until 1899. The resort boasted a Ferris wheel, carousel, picnic grounds and a hotel. After a stint as a ammunition depot, it is now part of Bear Mountain State Park.

South Bethlehem's station on the West Shore Railroad was located west of South Street. Nothing remains today.
The concert over, some found their way to the ball ground to witness what proved a one-sided contest between the Unions of South Bethlehem and the Echoes of Slingerlands, in which the Union’s had decidedly the best of it.

Recently I wrote about Bethlehem and baseball - I had no idea that South Bethlehem had a team!

The return trip was made with but little delay… until we reached South Bethlehem when we were unmercifully backed off on a lonely side-track for nearly half an hour with nothing to cheer the monotony of the occasion but the bright electric lights and the occasional sonorous tones of the steam whistle from Callanan’s stone quarry.”

This past weekend I had the pleasure of tagging along with Bethlehem Senior Services when they toured the Peter K. Frueh quarry in Feura Bush - what fun that was!  With a gentle rain falling, Peter Frueh stepped aboard the van and talked about his family business.  Stone crushers and sorters rumbled in the background.  That large boulder of lime rock... broken up in about 5 seconds.  How often do you blast....twice so far this year.  Where does the stone go.... mostly for the family business - Frueh Excavating.  What is crush and run....lime rock with sharp edges that packs down... it comes in different sizes.  Who does the blasting.... we bring in professionals.

Loading stone at Callanans
Later that afternoon I gave a brief talk about the hamlet of South Bethlehem and especially Callanan's.  Callanan's stone quarry was established in 1883 by Peter Callanan and was for years a family run business.  Today, it is part of a much larger conglomerate. While I know the dump trucks full of stone still drive up South Street from the quarry - I don't know if the steam whistle still blows.

Oh and how about those electric lights?  I have read that South Bethlehem had street lights as early as 1907 - but this is 1889.  All I can say is, hmmmmm

Here's the complete article.

PS Browse back issues of the Altamont Enterprise and other newspapers at  http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Visit to the Norman's Kill

Just who is Norman and who did he kill?

I paddled the Normanskill on Labor Day - hence these thoughts.
No one as it turns out.  Living in the Hudson River Valley one must have a smattering of Dutch.  Norman, or Noorman, is Dutch for Northman, Norseman, or Norwegian.  Kill, or kil, is creek.  Therefore we have Norwegian's Creek.

So, who is this Norwegian and why did the creek get named after him?

The Norman in question is Albert Andriessen Bradt often known simply as the Noorman.  Albert was born about 1607 in Fredrikstad, Norway.  At some point, his family moved to Amsterdam, where there was a sizable Norwegian community.

On August 26, 1636 Albert and two others signed a contract with the patroon Killaen van Rensselaer to establish a new sawmill venture in van Rensselaer's colony Rensselaerswyck.  In October, Albert, his wife Annatie Barents, their two young daughters and about 35 other passengers set sail.  "Most of the men were farmers or farm laborers, but there were also smiths, shoemakers, carpenters, a millwright and a mason, all trades of necessity to the frontier community."  After an eventful crossing, the ship finally arrived at Fort Orange on April 7, 1637.  (Albert & Annatie would eventually have 8 children in total - one of whom, named Storm, was born during this crossing.)

Albert set about creating a life for himself and his family in the frontier community that would later become Albany and Bethlehem. He was a woodcutter, sawmiller, tobacco planter, orchardman, and trader.   He accumulated wealth and acreage (including some in New Amsterdam - today's Manhattan).  While a respected businessman and an elder in the Lutheran church (a somewhat dangerous prospect given the dominance of the Reformed Church at that time) he was also known to be "irascible", a difficult neighbor and a thorn in the side of the patroon.

Albert, who died on June 7, 1686, was "a man of vision in a new world, a settler in a strange land, one of the founders of a colony.  He... reached a position of respect, then watched his sons surpass him....in his later years he was separated from his wife [wife #3, not Annatie], alone and bitter, watching his children pursue a strange religion. "

All of the above quotes are from Peter R. Christoph's publication "A Norwegian Pioneer in a Dutch Colony: The Life and Times of Albert Andriessen Bradt: Miller, Merchant, and a Founder of the Lutheran Church in America."  I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy of this book.  Christoph does a marvelous job of presenting the complicated man that is Albert Bradt in the context of his times using primary sources.  You can find it at the Bethlehem Public Library under the title "A Norwegian Family in Colonial America."  Or if you ask nice, you could read my copy.

I'll close with a quote of a quote from Christoph in describing Albert:

His complexity draws to mind an oft-quoted paradox from Martin Luther, simul iustus et preccator - "righteous and sinful at the same time."

On a further note, we'll save for another day the discussion on whether the river's name is Normanskill, Norman's Kill, or, as the sign on 9W says, Normans Kill.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Visit to the Mabee Farm

So, this weekend I had a nice visit out to the Mabee Farm in Rotterdam Junction.

It is another one of those old Dutch homesteads, this time in Schenectady County along the Mohawk River.  While it was fun to contrast the jambless Dutch fireplace with the more enclosed English fireplace...

and to appreciate the soaring interior of the Dutch barn...

my  Bethlehem connection came when we walked down to the dock on the Mohawk to check out their two bateaux.

I'm thinking boats like this would have been used along the Normanskill and Vlomankill and maybe the Hudson to move goods and people inland.  A bateau is a shallow-draft, flat-bottomed boat, traditionally pointed at both ends and comes in many sizes.

The sign at the Mabee Farms notes

"The bateau became the favored means of transportation on the Mohawk and its tributaries during much of the 18th century.  This type of boat could navigate the shallow river and carry substantial amounts of goods, supplies and men.  Materials need for building these boats were readily available along the Mohawk."


If you squint and read the complete sign below (at least it is not sideways!) you can read a claim about Henry Hudson over which there is much dispute.  Just how far up the Hudson River did he explore?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Virginia Remington Rich

In honor of Way Back Wednesday I thought I would share these local history sketches that recently came my way.  All are by Slingerlands artist Virginia Remington Rich.  I have not been able to find out much about her except that she was active in art circles in town in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.  And that she is a descendant of the slightly more famous artist Frederick Remington.


And now for head tilting time... I thought I had this issue solved, sigh.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Baseball and Adam Mattice,

I hope you have seen the August issue of Our Towne Bethlehem.  My latest article is about Bethlehem and Baseball.  Here's a link which hopefully has been updated (it still showed July when I last checked.)


Local author Michael Hallisey also has a great article about Bethlehem baseball with a lot more info than I could provide in Our Towne.


Hallisey mentions Adam Mattice, who was known for his curve ball pitching.   Adam's son John played catcher for the Slingerland Village Wonders in 1918-20.  It just so happens that Adam Mattice's great grand son contacted me last week to ask if I was interested in looking at some old Mattice family documents.  "Of course!" I said.

Judging by the mustache, the player standing on the far left MIGHT be Adam Mattice.

Adam Mattice (1863-1917) played ball for several teams in Albany and Schoharie counties in the 1880s and 90s including the team Central Bridge and the Slingerland Echos.  He might even have played for the Altamont Stars.  Mattice was known for his curve ball.  An undated newspaper article notes "Although there were pitchers in Albany familiar with the use of the curved ball, Mattice was the first to introduce it in this vicinity, and by its use became practically invincible when opposing the old school of sluggers accustomed only to the swift straight kind."

The Albany Evening Journal of March 23, 1903 recalls an unusual game from 1882 which featured Mattice's pitching for Central Bridge.  It goes on to note that "He is now living in Slingerlands and is a train dispatcher for the Delaware & Hudson railroad, being as expert with the telegraph key as he was years ago with the baseball."  (The unusual part of the game involved a betting scheme gone awry.)

And indeed, the 1900 census offers a glimpse of the Mattice household.  Their home in Slingerlands was dwelling number 69 in the enumeration.  Adam was born in February 1863 and is 37 years old.  He works as a railroad train dispatcher.  His wife Mary was born in October 1865 and is 34.  They have been married for 15 years.  Their children are Blanche (age 14), Dudley (age 11) and John (age 2). All were born in New York State and their parents were born in New York State. All, except John, can read, write and speak in English.  They are home owners with a mortgage.

Husband and wife Adam Mattice and Mary Hagadorn Mattice
The Mattice home still stands on New Scotland Road in Slinglerlands.
It was built about 1898 when Adam and Mary moved to the hamlet. 
Many thanks to John Morrill for sharing his family's photos and papers!

Today is December 8, 2015 and I wanted to add a postscript about Adam Mattice.  I recently found his obituary from the Altamont Enterprise.   It intrigues me that baseball is not mentioned at all.  His career with the Delaware and Hudson spanned 30 years starting as a train dispatcher, clerk in the auditing department and as an assistant in the legal department. He studied law with his father and was admitted to the bar in 1897. He died in 1917 at age 54.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Visit to the New Scotland Historical Association Museum

In my quest to visit little museums this summer, the Husband and I trekked out to New Scotland on Sunday and visited a local history gem - the New Scotland Historical Association's museum.  I knew there would be Bethlehem connections because the Town of New Scotland was created from the Town of Bethlehem in 1832.

I enjoyed this auction poster - it really speaks to the agricultural roots of Bethlehem and New Scotland.

In the fine print you might notice (I know, if only it were vertical instead of horizontal) that the sale was put on by the Albany County Breeding Association and scheduled for September 12th, 1860.  The location was "at Log Tavern Farms, on the New Scotland Plank Road, two miles from Albany, N.Y."  I have mentioned the Log Tavern and the trotting course - or race track - in a previous post.  In 1860, the Log Tavern Farm was firmly in the town of Bethlehem.

Further down are descriptions of specific stock offered for sale.  A large herd of short horn cattle includes "Finella, bred by S.E. Bolden, Esq... and her calves."   Black Hawk and Messenger breed horses include "the celebrated Black Hawk Maid by the original Vermont Black Hawk"  It is noted that "The proprietors have been many years engaged in breeding FAST TROTTING HORSES"

The names of the proprietors or "breeders and managers" listed might have a familiar ring:

William M Bullock, Bethlehem near Albany
Joseph Hilton, New-Scotland
William H. Slingerland, Norman's Kill
William Hurst, Albany, N.Y.
Geo. W. Adams, Whitehall, N.Y.

I am going to speculate here that William Bullock is almost certainly related to Matthew Bullock whose Bullock Road historic marker says he "Introduced English Short Horn Cattle into Albany County about 1815 and won premiums at fairs" .  Joseph Hilton is probably related to the Hilton family of Hilton Road in New Scotland, William H. Slingerland was well known in the hamlet of Slingerlands.  In 1860 it was still known as Normanskill.  William Hurst - that would be Hurstville.  And George W. Adams - while listed as being from Whitehall - is he perhaps related to the family from Adamsville - today's Delmar?

Here's one other picture of an area in museum that caught my eye - one day I'll write a whole other blog post about the Anti-Rent War and Calico Indians.

So go for a ride out New Scotland way on Route 85 and visit this small museum.  They are open Sunday afternoons.  Here's a link to the website  http://www.newscotlandhistoricalassociation.org/info.html

It is worth the trip.  Oh - and if you like Thacher Park - the museum has a wonderful exhibit on the history of the park and a some hands on fossils.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Historical Gifts

I thought of calling this post "The Stuff People Give Me" but that seems a little too flip, even for me!

I am deeply grateful for those thoughtful folks who seek to preserve their piece of Bethlehem history either with the Town Historian's office or the Bethlehem Historical Association.  Just in the past couple of weeks I have received these items.

Plus this large one.

 So, what is all that stuff?

The title of the book on the upper left is, and I quote:

Gazetteer of the State of New York Embracing a Comprehensive Account of the History and Statistics of the State. With Geological and Topographical Descriptions, and Recent Statistical Tables Representing the Present Condition of Each County, City, Town and Village in the State.

It is by Franklin B. Hough, A.M., M.D., published in 1872 in Albany by Andrew Boyd.  I am looking forward to reading about the state of the state from 142 years ago. Here's the bits about Bethlehem.

The scrapbook concerns the Rotary Club of Delmar and includes their application for charter membership to Rotary International.  The snapshot below is of their 1st anniversary dinner held January 6, 1959 at the Center Inn in Glenmont.

The newspaper is the August 6, 1950 edition  of the Albany Times Union.  While I often read newspaper clippings from scrapbooks or online, it is a whole different experience to page through a complete, original newspaper.  Physically, it seems huge (opened up flat, it is about 30" wide and 22" high not including the binding boards) and the paper feels weighty.  The comic section is several pages long, and again huge by comparison to the modern paper, and even compared to the  newspaper I remember reading as a young adult 30 years ago.

(My apologies for the sideways pictures - I still haven't figured out why Blogger does this. I swear they are horizontal on my computer!)

So, thank you Dan, Robert, Virginia and Dwight. Your gifts are much appreciated.

Post Script: Did you notice I left off the postcards?  They are of Clarksville in the early 20th century.  Soon I plan to head out that way and see if I can line up the "now" photos for these "then" postcards.  And lunch at Jake Moon's, and maybe a peep into the Clarksville cave while I'm there.