NEWS RELEASE: Historic Huguenot Street Announces Fourth Saturday Lecture on FDR and His Connection to New Paltz Huguenots

NEW PALTZ, NY (July 13, 2015) – Historic Huguenot Street Director of Strategy and Historic Interpretation Thomas Weikel will give a lecture on Saturday, July 25, on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Huguenot Street ancestry and stories of his visits to the street. Weikel previously presented this lecture in Hyde Park in March as part of the "Fireside Chat" series at the historic St. James' Chapel where Roosevelt was baptized.

A Hyde Park native and descendant of New Paltz patentee Antoine Crispell, FDR visited the Bevier-Elting House at Historic Huguenot Street in 1942, accompanied by his son Franklin, Jr. and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. Inspired by this story, Weikel will reflect on the notion that the way a group remembers their past affects their actions and values in the present. Roosevelt’s visit to New Paltz on the surface was simple - to see the stone houses that remain from the original settlement his Huguenot ancestors founded generations before. However, the connection to his past shaped his world view and influenced the decisions he made as President.

“More than just an interesting story, FDR’s visit to Huguenot Street represents something much larger,” said Weikel. “We all have our own unique historic memory – our own past that informs our present – and this is an example of one such event that would have impacted FDR’s values.”

A former intern at Historic Huguenot Street, Weikel has a degree in History from SUNY New Paltz. Upon graduation, he began work at HHS in Visitor Services and soon became the Director of the Guest Experience, where he developed a more creative and engaging experience for visitors. He now serves as the Director of Strategy and Historic Interpretation.

Coffee and tea will be served at the 4 pm lecture at Deyo Hall (6 Broadhead Avenue). Members $10; seniors & military $12; general admission $15.

A National Historic Landmark District, Historic Huguenot Street is a 501(c)3 non-profit that encompasses 30 buildings across 10 acres that was the heart of the original 1678 New Paltz settlement, including seven stone houses that date to the early eighteenth century.  It was founded in 1894 as the Huguenot Patriotic, Historical, and Monumental Society to preserve the nationally acclaimed collection of stone houses. Since then, Historic Huguenot Street has grown into an innovative museum, chartered as an educational corporation by the University of the State of New York, that is dedicated to protecting our historic buildings, conserving an important collection of artifacts and manuscripts, and promoting the stories of the Huguenot Street families, from the sixteenth century to today. 


Kaitlin Gallucci
Communications & Marketing Manager
(845) 255-1660