Historic Huguenot Street to Host
Old New Paltz Stone House Day
in Honor of 340th Anniversary
NEW PALTZ, NY (February 26, 2018) – Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) is pleased to announce a special revival of Stone House Day, a formerly annual tradition, which will be hosted in partnership with the Town of New Paltz. On Saturday, September 8, the National Historic Landmark District will host Old New Paltz Stone House Day to celebrate the 340th anniversary of the settling of New Paltz by twelve French Huguenot refugees in 1678.
These twelve individuals, known as “the Patentees,” founded New Paltz in 1677 when they traded various goods for nearly 40,000 acres of land with the Esopus Munsee, a subgroup of the Lenape Native Americans who had settled this region for thousands of years prior to European contact. Though the Huguenots fulfilled their part of the land deal and were granted an official patent for the land in September of 1677, it wasn’t until 1678 that they “proceeded to occupy the land and built shelters for their families” (according to Ralph LeFevre’s History of New Paltz, New York, and its old families (from 1678 to 1820), published in 1909).
Beginning in 1950, when all of the historic houses on Huguenot Street were still privately owned residential homes, the Reformed Church of New Paltz, located on Huguenot Street, organized a fundraiser called Stone House Day in which the residents of the historic houses would dress up in colonial costume and allow visitors to tour their homes. The event also included pageants, reenactments, performances, crafts, games, and more.
Eventually, HHS acquired the historic houses and continued hosting the event, which became a popular draw for both the local community and visiting tourists. In 1970, the event was so widely anticipated that it was featured in The New York Times. The event continued to be an annual affair in New Paltz until 2009. Nearly ten years have passed since the last Old New Paltz Stone House Day was held on Huguenot Street.
This year, HHS is bringing back Old New Paltz Stone House Day, with a stronger focus on the diversity of Hudson Valley history. It will be a celebration of all the cultures that impacted New Paltz and Ulster County including African, Dutch, English, Esopus Munsee, and French. The Reformed Church of New Paltz will once again be a partner in this event as well.
Seven historic stone houses will be open for public tours or viewing, two of which have been closed for many years. Performances, skits, and vendor demonstrations will take place throughout the day while artisans and craftspeople sell handmade goods. Members of the 5th NY Regiment will bring reenactors from multiple time periods, engaging in musket firing, candle making, sewing, blacksmithing, and other activities.
New Paltz Brewing Company (Pfälzerbräu, meaning “Brewery of the Pfalz”) will be on site selling their handcrafted beer and hot baked pretzels out of the DuBois Fort Visitor Center. The company was founded by two brothers from Germany who became intrigued by the French Huguenots’ time spent in the German state, Rheinland-Pfalz, prior to making their way to the American colonies in the mid-17th century. The brothers believed that when the Huguenots arrived in the colonies they would have brought with them a love and appreciation for German-style beers and ales. Today, New Paltz Brewing Company (Pfälzerbräu) recreates these traditional ales and similarly-inspired foods to share at its taproom in Wawarsing, NY. Because the DuBois Fort Visitor Center historically served as a tavern, restaurant, and community gathering place for much of its 300-year history, it is a fitting place for visitors to learn about and enjoy traditional food and drink.
To assist with transportation throughout the day, Ulster County Area Transit (UCAT) has agreed to add stops at the Ulster BOCES parking lot and Broadhead Avenue to its Saturday New Paltz Loop for the day.
Old New Paltz Stone House Day is a day for people from all backgrounds to come together to celebrate our vibrant and diverse community in the very location where so much history unfolded. To become a vendor or volunteer, visit huguenotstreet.org/stonehouseday for more information.
About Historic Huguenot Street
A National Historic Landmark District, Historic Huguenot Street is a 501(c)3 non-profit that encompasses 30 buildings across 10 acres comprising the heart of the original 1678 New Paltz settlement, including seven stone houses dating to the early eighteenth century. Historic Huguenot Street 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 Department of Education, that is dedicated to protecting our historic buildings, preserving an important collection of artifacts and manuscripts, and promoting the stories of the Huguenot Street families from the seventeenth century to today.
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