Woodbury Historical Society

Rushmore Memorial Library


The Rushmore Library

The Gatehouse

Calendar of Events

Town History

Local History Files

Local Genealogy Files

Picture Gallery


CLICK HERE to download the Woodbury Historical Society membership and donation form.

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Historical Society

543 Route 32
PO Box 30
Highland Mills, NY 1093

The Gatehouse
224 Smith Clove Rd.
Highland Mills, NY 10930
(next to Falkirk
Golf Course)




Calendar of Events


November 7th, 2015 at 2PM at the Senior Center in Highland Mills

Annual Meeting of the Woodbury Historicial Society will be held on Saturday, Novermber 7, 2015. Aside from the voting on officers and trustees, Chris Burke, Captain of the Highland Mills Fire Company, will give a power point presentation of the Highland Mills Fire Company. This is in honor of their 125th anniversary. The event will take place at the Senior Center in Highland Mills, New York, County Route 105, at 2pm.  

If you need more information or directions, please call Leslie Rose at 845 928 6479.

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October 3, 2015 at 2pm, at the renovated Monroe Theatre

The Woodbury Historical Society and the Monroe Historical Society are jointly sponsoring a program to be gtiven by the author, Carolyn Quinn. She has written a book about the mother of Gypsy Rose Lee and June Hovick. Gypsy Rose Lee maintinaed a home in Highland Mills called Witch Wood. Gypsy's mother spent some of her time in this house. 

The event will be held in the renovated Monroe Theater, 34 Mill Poind Parkway in Monroe on Saturday, October 3, 2015, at 2pm. The program is free.

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March 7, 2015 from 1 - 5pm, at the Senior Center in Highland Mills

The Woodbury Historical Society held its annual Winter Social on March 7th from 1:00 to 5:00 P.M.  at the Town Senior Center on Rt. 105, in Highland Mills.

Our town has an “artists’ colony” of some very talented people, and this year’s theme for the Winter Social was “Local Artists of Woodbury.” It provided an occasion to showcase Woodbury’s art talent and an opportunity for them to exhibit their works, and to offer them for sale if they wished.  Artists of various media were invited to take part - painting, sculpture, drawing, ink, photography, textiles, ceramics, pottery, etc.  Some of the artists who took part include Pat Mohr, Bob Blair, Bob Breur, Robin Burkhardt and Jeanne Till. 

Everyone was invited to attend the Winter Social and to see what creative talent we have in the Woodbury community; it was free (donations accepted) and refreshments were be served. Thanks to all who attended.

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August 3, 2014 at 2pm, at the Senior Center in Highland Mills

The Woodbury Historical Society hosted a book signing of Robert McCue’s new book, Erie Railroad's - Newburgh Branch

Robert is a life long resident of this area. He grew up in Cornwall and now lives in Highland Mills.  Robert had a few books for sale at this event and gladdly autographed all books purchased. If you didn't get your copy, check your nearest book store or buy on line from Amazon.com. 

In additionion to signing books, there was also be a Power Point presentation on the Newburgh Branch and  Erie train memorabilia on view, including train lanterns. 

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May 17th, 2014 at 11am at the Rushmore Library

Newspaper article about Tomas Estrada-Palma

May 20th was the 112th Anniversary of the Palma Day Awards in Woodbury. On Saturday, May 17th at 11am the Historical Society had a display at The Rushmore Library to honor Palma Day and to welcome a group of Cuban visitors to the Historical Society. We also had a wreath ceremony at the marker in Central Valley.

Our thanks to our Cuban visitors and to all who attended this wonderful event.

Cuban visitors at the Historial Society

Cuban visitors lay a commemorative bouquet.

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March 1st, 2014 at 2pm at the Senior Center in Highland Mills

This year's Woodbury Historical Society's Winter Social, held on Saturday, March 1 at 2:00 PM brought an interested crowd — eager to hear Linda Burroughs' presentation on Genealogy and to views the photographic retrospective put together by Viktor and Alex Prizgintas.

Linda Burroughs, a long-time member of WHS, the Orange County Genealogy Society and who is also the Village of Monroe's Historian, spoke on "How to Start Your Own Genealogy". She pointed out some common mistakes and distributed forms to help attendees get started with their own geneaology.

There were also displays showing a series of three photographs taken of the same Woodbury locations over the last 30 years. Visitors were intrigued by the wonderful presentation and careful documentation. Our thanks to Alex and Viktor Prizgintas.

Tables were loaded with pastries, gourmet cheeses, tea sandwiches and coffee and everyone had a wonderful time!

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March 2nd, 2013 at 2pm at the Senior Center in Highland Mills

The Woodbury Historical Society celebrated its annual Winter Social at 2:00 PM on Saturday, March 2nd, at the Senior Center in Highland Mills.

Alex PrizgintasThis year’s theme was the inspiration of Alex Prizgintas, a student at Monroe-Woodbury Middle School, and one of the Society’s new Trustees for 2013.

The focus was on 50 intriguing, historical, curious and whimsical items and memorabilia related to the Town of Woodbury. Various things were already gathered, and members and friends of the Society did a great job of scouring their houses, basements, attics and garages for even more. The Winter Social had a great turnout with many new historical items donated to the Historical Society. Our sincere thanks to all who worked so hard to make this event such a success, to all who attended and particularly to those who brought such an amazing array of wonderful historical items. Woodbury is special to all who live here, and this event was another perfect opportunity to share what makes it unique.


To see more pictures taken at this event, CLICK HERE.

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November 3rd, 2012 at 2pm at the Rushmore Estate in Highland Mills

Members and friends of the Woodbury Historical Society were in for a special treat on Saturday, November 3rd  at 2:00 P.M., when the Society’s Annual Meeting and Election of Officers for 2013 was held at the Rushmore Estate in Highland Mills.  The meeting was held in the ballroom of the estate which is now the home of Dr. and Mrs. Seth Pulver, the former home of Mr. Charles Rushmore and his family.  The guest speaker at the meeting was Lou Del Bianco shared his unique presentation, “In the Shadow of the Mountain,” based on the life of his grandfather, Luigi Del Bianco, the chief stone carver on the Mount Rushmore project.  In his presentation, storyteller Lou Del Bianco portrayed his grandfather and, using authentic photos, maps and timelines, he told the story of his grandfather’sunique contribution to the carving of America’s great monument, Mount Rushmore.  The program tied perfectly with the Society’s mission to preserve and protect local history, and highlighted Woodbury’s connection to the Rushmore legacy and the landmark mountain itself.

Learn more about the Woodbury/Rushmore connection by CLICKING HERE.

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February 25, 2012 at 2pm at the Senior Center in Highland Mills

Our last Winter Social was held on Saturday, February 25th, at 2:00 P.M.  With the weather still cold, and Spring still several weeks away, this was the perfect opportunity to get together to renew some warm friendships and see some of the newest additions to the Society's collection of Woodbury history which will be on display for the afternoon. In particular, there were displays for the Gatehouse Historic Site's 100th Anniversary - 1912 - 2012.  As usual, this event was held at the Senior Center, on Route 105, in Highland Mills.  And, as always, it was free and open to the public and refreshments were served. See you next year!

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Currier & Ives PresentationCURRIER & IVES PRESENTATION
November 6, 2011

John Zak, president of the American Historical Print Collectors Society gave an illustrated presentation of Currier & Ives.

The world-reknowned lithography company, headed by Nathaniel Currier and James Merrit Ives, published fine-quality, black-and-white and hand-colored lithogrphs depicting disasters, plitical satire, views of city life, outdoor country scenes and sentimental domentstic scenes. Currier & Ives published more than 7,000 titles between 1840 and 1890. The firm established outlets across the US and in London and continued, guided by the sons of Currier and Ives, until 1907.

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September 25, 2011

The popular "Antiques Appraisal" was held at the Senior Center/Public Library on Route 105 in Highland Mills. Professional appraisers from William J. Jenack Estate Auctioneers and Appraisers of Chester were on hand to assess the value of family heirlooms, antiques, dolls, and other curious items. The day began at 11:30 a.m. with a talk by Bill Jenack on what is "hot" in collectibles. Proceeds go towards the Kirk Memorial Scholarship Fund which recognizes a graduating high school senior from Woodbury each June.

Photos courtesy of Fred Lindlaw

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GATEHOUSE OPEN HOUSE: Why do we have a Veteran's Day Holiday on November 11?
Sunday, October 16th at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills from 2 to 4 PM

Meet with local area veterans at The Gatehouse Learning Center on October 16, 2016 from 2PM to 4PM to learn about this sacred day. Some reasons for this holiday are historical fact: It is “the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.” (Wikipedia)

But most of the reasons are personal – to understand the meaning of service and to honor those who serve. Ask the vets your questions about the poem In Flanders Field, the uniform jacket, caps, and other military items on display. On loan from the Woodbury Public Library, read the names of your neighbors on the Hero Tree and examine a few of the wide variety of resource and reference books available to you in both library branches. Watch a DVD of Veterans Day highlights. See the Gatehouse Monuments of Woodbury exhibit in the Remembrance Garden. Make your own poppy to wear on November 11 or get an official one from a vet.      

This joint event between the veterans, the Woodbury Public Library, and the Gatehouse Learning Center is free and open to the public. 224 Smith Clove Road, Highland Mills, NY 10930 (next to Falkirk Golf Club) info: email:dorothymorris0@gmail.com

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GATEHOUSE OPEN HOUSE: A Weekend at the Proctor Estate: What to Wear?
Sunday, September 18th at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills from 2 to 4 PM

F.F. Proctor, the King of Vaudeville, enjoyed his vast country estate from its construction in 1912, the year the Titanic sank, until his death in September, 1929, a few weeks before the stock market crash. Bookended by major historical catastrophes, those two decades witnessed rapid changes in modernization and social norms, dramatically evident in the clothes worn by Proctor’s celebrity friends on weekend visits.

On Sunday, September 18, 2016, from 2 to 4 PM, come see children‘s apparel and the afternoon and evening dresses of the 1912 time period. Then step into the roaring twenties’ flapper era. This is a special, not-to-be missed exhibit of clothing Proctor’s guests might have worn circa 1912 to 1929. The costumes are augmented by period catalogs from Montgomery Ward and Sears showing the changes in middle–class clothing, household appliances, transportation and more. The exhibit items are on loan from the Warwick Historical Society and the Woodbury History Society collections for the one day only: The present Gatehouse Learning Center is located at 224 Smith Clove Road, Highland Mills, NY, 10930, next to Falkirk Golf Course and was the entrance to Proctor’s grand estate.

Check the website,  http://woodburyhistoricalsociety.org/, for updates.  For further information email: dorothymorris0@gmail.com. All programs are free and open to the public.

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GATEHOUSE OPEN HOUSE: Annual Tea in the Garden
Sunday, August 21st from2 to 4 PM at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills

You are Cordially Invited to
Woodbury Historical Society’s
Gatehouse Learning Center

Dedication of Weathervane Honoring Mary Bonetti
Free and Open to the Public
Refreshments with an Italian Fare

Sunday August 21, 2016
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
224 Smith Clove Road, Highland Mills, NY 10930
Next to Falkirk Golf Course
For information email: dorothymorris0@gmail.com.

Long-time resident of Woodbury
Dedicated Volunteer
Gatehouse Supporter
Dedicated Parent
Good Friend

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GATEHOUSE OPEN HOUSE: Do I need a passport to visit Firthcliffe?
Sunday, July 17th at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills from 2 to 4 PM

Not if it is Firthcliffe, NY. But you might confuse it for an English country village. The hamlet was founded in the 1880’s as a factory enclave for the British-based Firth Carpet Company, now Firth Carpets & Floorings of Halifax, UK (between Liverpool and Leeds).

Some descendants of the immigrants who came to work at Firthcliffe are still in the area. They have familiar family names: Fowler, Schofield, Staples, Dempsey, Babcock, Van Duzen, Babcock, Townsend, Howard. 
Robert McCue is a descendant of an English immigrant to Firthcliffe. On Sunday, July 17, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Woodbury Senior Center, he will guide an armchair tour on a virtual walking route from the railroad station to the factory, employee houses, post office, general store, fire house and the all-important Firth Club social center for employee entertainment and enjoyment. Hear about daily life in this self-contained community and the industry and business practices of the 19th century.  

The Woodbury Historical Society Gatehouse Learning Center is sponsoring this mini-vacation for its next 2016 monthly Open House. The Woodbury Senior Center is located in the Highland Mills Library building on RT 105 near RT 32. Check this website for updates.  For further information email: dorothymorris0@gmail.com. All programs are free and open to the public.

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GATEHOUSE OPEN HOUSE: What can a community accomplish?
Sunday, June 12th at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills from 2 to 4 PM

Crowdsourcing happened before Social Media was invented. Join us to learn how one community worked in small steps with private funds and physical work from a diversity of people to save a building of historic interest.

The Woodbury Historical Society Gatehouse Learning Center will hold its next 2016 monthly Open House on Sunday, June 12 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. to commemorate the building’s 20-year journey from a fate of demolition to the educational facility you have today. People who were there will talk about many more people who gave – and still give – their best efforts to improving this unique local history resource. Refreshments will be served.

The stone building known as the Gatehouse was built in 1912 as the entrance to the country estate of F.F. Proctor, the King of Vaudeville. After his death in 1929, the estate was vacant until 1947 when it was purchased by the US Military Academy (West Point). All buildings except the Gatehouse were torn down. In 1973, the US government deeded the Gatehouse to the Town of Woodbury to be used for youth activities. However, budget restraints kept the town from making major repairs. By early 1996 the building was slated to be returned to the federal government and faced almost certain demolition. Then in April, the town made it possible for work to go forward with the use of private efforts alone. In 2005 the building’s structure and interior renovations were completed. The Gatehouse was officially opened to the public. In 2012 further restoration was completed with the repainting of the Iron Gates and mounting of a restored early 20th -century lantern. Come hear the story of the Gatehouse’s rebirth.

224 Smith Clove Road, Highland Mills, NY, 10930, next to Falkirk Golf Course. Check this website for updates.  For further information email: dorothymorris0@gmail.com. All programs are free and open to the public.

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GATEHOUSE OPEN HOUSE: Where is the Woodbury Falls?
Sunday, May 15th at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills from 2 to 4 PM

Right where it has always been, a hamlet near water falls. You can visit there today. The water falls are a rock formation on Woodbury Creek near the spot where the train trestle crosses Route 32. Around 1800, Peter Parrott located an iron furnace in this spot, as did a fishing tackle business, a charcoal pit, a farm, creamery, icehouses, blacksmiths, and a school.

Come discover this still thriving residential community in this cozy corner of today’s Highland Mills at the Gatehouse Open House: Sunday, May 15, 2016 from 2:00 - 4:00 pm at 224 Smith Clove Road, Highland Mills, NY 10930 (next to Falkirk Golf Club). The Gatehouse Learning Center is free and open to the public: email:dorothymorris0@gmail.com; www.woodburyhistoricalsociety.org

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GATEHOUSE OPEN HOUSE: Paul Revere was Bested by a 16-year-old Girl from Putnam County
Sunday, April 17th at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills from 1 to 4 PM

On April 27, 1777 (at age 16) Sybil Ludington, a farm girl in Kent, Putnam County, was confronted with the perils of war. Her bold actions mustering troops to counter a British march on Danbury, Connecticut were a test of her strength, values, bravery, loyalty and tenacity, which helped the Patriots win the Revolutionary War. Her story remained hidden in family papers for over 200 years when a descendent revealed the enormity of the event. All history buffs, students and children interested real-life heroism, come join us at 1p.m. at the Gatehouse Leaning Center on April 17, 2016 when reenactor Eileen Stelljes, in the role of “Grandma Sybil Ogden,” shares her harrowing story.  How many miles did she ride at night? Was it raining? Did Sybil ride side saddle? Did she fight off bandits on the route?
The Woodbury Public Library’s Adult Programming Services are contributing significantly to this layered presentation, including reference books about Sybil available from the Town libraries.The oral-history rendering and exhibits will take you on a tour devoted to Sybil, her ride, her later life, the economy and culture of the late 18th century.

All programs are free and open to the public. For further information email: dorothymorris0@gmail.com.

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LAST GATEHOUSE OPEN HOUSE OF 2015: The Callahan Christmas
Sunday, November 15th at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills

The last Open House of 2015 at the Woodbury Historical Society Gatehouse Learning Center, Sunday, November 15 from 2 to 4 p.m., welcomes the public to celebrate “The Callahan Christmas.” Enjoy the festive decorations and sample the variety of cookies and cakes from the tradition of the Callahan family, with nine children, who lived in the Gatehouse in the 1950s and 1960s as a military family posted to West Point.

This cozy cottage spotlights large fireplaces in the first-floor living and dining rooms. Separating these rooms is a kitchen and front hallway. Up one floor of a center winding staircase were an original bathroom and two bedrooms, a master bedroom and a room shared by the Callahan’s three girls. A third-floor turret served as a bedroom for the six boys. 

Each year after Thanksgiving, Mrs. Callahan would set the dining room table with her finest linen, crystal and silver along with sprigs of evergreen. Every day until Christmas she would bake delicious treats and place them about the table on china plates. Every evening after supper, lighted by the warm glow a candle centerpiece, each of the children selected a plate of goodies to share with the family.

Built in 1912 the 1166-acre estate of Frederick Proctor, the “King of Vaudeville,” became part of West Point in 1944. In 1973, the government deeded the Gatehouse building, the entrance to the estate, to the Town of Woodbury and presently serves the community as a local-history museum and learning center.  We are grateful for the information shared by the Callahan family members who have helped us to learn about this historic building. 

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GATEHOUSE OPEN HOUSE: Honoring the Women of Woodbury
Sunday, October 18th at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills

The Woodbury Historical Society Gatehouse Learning Center (224 Smith Clove Road, Highland Mills, NY, 10930, next to Falkirk Golf Course) will hold its monthly 2015 Open House on Sunday, October 18th from 2:00-4:00 p.m.

This month, the Women of Woodbury will take center stage when the Gatehouse Committee honors their many contributions to the Woodbury community. Join us to learn about the "behind the scenes" activities of these generous women. Check this site and local papers for updates.

All programs are free and open to the public. For further information email: dorothymorris0@gmail.com.

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GATEHOUSE OPEN HOUSE: A "Bird's Eye" View of Woodbury
Sunday, September 20th at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills

Money Magazine in a recent publication, honored Woodbury as an outstanding place to raise children.  Our theme will be a “bird’s eye” view of Woodbury, tracing its history and growth through maps, photographs, past displays, videos and conversation reinforcing the magazine’s choice.  We will pay tribute to the many people who, throughout the years, have given of their time to volunteer for Woodbury. The tradition is evident to this day as we have honored a number of organizations in our 2015 season. All programs are free and open to the public. The Gatehouse is located at 224 Smith Clove Road, Highland Mills, NY, next to Falkirk Golf Course. For further information email:  dorothymorris0@gmail.com.

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GATEHOUSE OPEN HOUSE: Tea in the Remembrance Garden
Sunday, August 16th at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills

Gatehouse Open House Sunday, August 16, 2015  2:00-4:00pm
Join us on August 16th from 2 to 4 PM for our Annual “Tea in the Remembrance Garden”  gathering for tea, conversation and relaxation in the shade of the tall trees in our atrium. Enjoy a review of the Gatehouse albums, discussion about the life and times of the F.F,Proctor era. Review old papers of town tax rolls, some Seaman family documents and maps. Honoring the passing of Dick Moomey noting several books he authored which have been donated to the Central Valley Library by Dr. Michael Coren.

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Sunday, July 19th at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills

The Gatehouse Learning Center volunteers will honor the Food Pantry volunteers Sunday, July 19th at the Gatehouse. This is “Neighbor Helping Neighbor,” as we reach out to help those less fortunate. Bring nonperishable food items to help restock the pantry that serves our community’s families in need. For every ten (10) items you bring, you will receive a gift from the Gatehouse volunteers. (Money donations are accepted with gratitude so the Pantry Director can purchase needed food products. Our goal is to fill the Gatehouse stairs with the donated food, all of which will be taken to the Food Pantry located in the Highland Mills UMC where the dedicated volunteers will disperse it. 

You are invited to enjoy a variety of displays in the historic building and relax in the Remembrance Garden with refreshments supplied by the volunteers. 2:00-4:00 Gatehouse Learning Center,  224 Smith Clove Road, Central Valley. CLICK HERE to find out more details.

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CELEBRATE FLAG DAY: Proud to be an American
Sunday, June 14th at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills

Honoring the American Flag, its history, meaning, proper display, and what it means to be an American! Displays of American flags from the 1770s to present time, unknown facts uncovered about Francis Scott Key and the "Star Spangled Anner", Woodbury's own "Expression Board" displaying love of our country and our flag, volunteer presentations and more! Express your thoughts and contribute as we develop Woodbury's "Expression Board."

Boy Scout Troop 149, headquartered in the Carriage House behind the Gatehouse ,will also open their doors to share an interesting afternoon --- and some Scout-made refreshments. In addition, a display will be exhibited listing  Woodbury Boy Scouts who have earned Boy Scouting's highest achievement, the Eagle Badge, going back almost 50 years to 1967.  (If you are one of them, you are specially invited to visit and enjoy the afternoon at the Gatehouse.)
PLEASE NOTE: As part of the Flag Day celebration, Woodbury Post 779 will conduct a Flag Retirement Ceremony at Earl's Reservoir in the morning. All are invited to this solemn and respectful ceremony which will be followed by refreshments at the Remembrance Garden behind the Gatehouse.
All Flag Day events are free and open to the public. There will be refreshments and a gift of an American flag, courtesy of the Gatehouse Committee volunteers. Please join us for this special day of patriotism!

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Sunday, May 17th at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills

Orange County Office for the Aging RSVP Coordinator Allison Johannessen will visit the Gatehouse from 2:00-4:00pm. She will update available resources for Seniors (and all interested county residents).

Also, 2015 exhibits include Visual history of Woodbury Community Association’s 95 years of service to Woodbury, 19th century school books from the Seaman Collection, and photographs and narrative of the Open Space Institute’s acquisition of Woodbury property.

Free and open to the public.

If your organization would like to participate in this season’s programming (through October), please contact email: dorothymorris0@gmail.com

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Sunday, April 19th at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills

The Gatehouse Learning Center opened its iron gates for the 19th season and honored those who volunteer for the numerous organizations in Woodbury. Each month, different organizations will be showcasing their mission, service to the community and honor those who so freely give of their time.

April 19th featured the Woodbury Community Association for its nearly 100 years of service to Woodbury. Ms. Allison Johannessen, Coordinator for the RSVP program (Orange County Office for the Aging) joined us to discuss this very important service which uses local volunteers. Although not widely visible, its services are invaluable.

Volunteers from the Friendly Visitor Program, the newest organization in Woodbury, were represented at the opening of the Gatehouse 2015 season. Response to the formation of this service organization is reflected in the volunteers who participate in the training sessions.

These volunteers explained the mission of the Friendly Visitor Program - an opportunity for those in need of services and those who wished to offer their time and service to enhance the quality of life in Woodbury. We are “all in this together”…neighbors, relatives and friends.

The Gatehouse Committee, managers of this satellite of the Woodbury Historical Society, hosted this event, shared its history through photo albums, talked about this historic building, and served refreshments.

If your organization would like to participate in this season’s programming (through October), please contact email: dorothymorris0@gmail.com

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Sunday, November 16, 2014 - 2-4PM at the Gatehouse Learning Center in Highland Mills.

The Annual “Callahan Christmas” heralded the conclusion of our 2014 season. The public was invited to enjoy the tradition established by the 11 member Callahan family who celebrated the holiday in the historic and unique Gatehouse. Wreaths and winter décor made the rooms festive and welcoming.  The dining room table was set as Mary Callahan did each year. Holiday cookies and candies were reminiscent of the past. Our guests enjoyed a cup of warm cider and chatted with friends, new and old.

The Gatehouse Committee take this opportunity to thank our community for the loyal support given to us every year since our little Learning Center was formed. We wish all good health and peace and look forward to April 2015 when we reopen with a new theme.

Thanks to the efforts of Sandy Hawthorne, Gatehouse Committee member, we now have a number of photo albums beginning in 1996 to the present which depict the renovation of the building and the numerous exhibits, programs and projects which we have produced up to the present.

We are pleased to announce that the “Fill the Staircase” drive was a huge success again. Guests brought nonperishable food for our local Food Pantry. They placed the items on the stairs as they entered the lobby and then joined us at the dining table for refreshment and conversation. In addition to traditional décor of the Callahan years, we also offered a display of the White House ornament collection and a display by a local artist.

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Saturday, September 27th at the Woodbury Senior Center in Highland Mills

“Who Was Margaret Cochran Corbin?” Dr. Raymond Cooper, Central Valley native, answered that question by illustrating the myths and misconceptions surrounding this Revolutionary War woman. Known as “Molly Pitcher”, she has become a legend who made contributions which are enjoyed by women today.

The program, “Margaret Cochran Corbin: A History of Women in the Military” was held on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27TH AT THE WOODBURY SENIOR CENTER at 1:00 pm. Everyone was invited to review the exhibits of other women who were heroes and made major contributions to the Hudson Valley, while enjoying refreshments.

We concluded our Summer Series close to home, West Point, which is the resting place of Margaret Cochran Corbin.

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Sunday, August 17th, 2014 in the Remembrance Garden at the Gatehouse Learning Center on 224 Smith Clove Road, Central Valley, NY.

Tea in the GardenThe annual “Tea in the Garden” will be held on Sunday, August 17th from 2:00-4:00pm in the Remembrance Garden. All are invited to enjoy “iced tea and conversation” while viewing the displays about “Hudson Valley Women’s Contributions to Our Nation”. Also, enjoy viewing a collection of coffee mugs depicting historic sites once located in the Palisades Park. A small collection of Quaker schoolbooks from the Seaman family, dating from the 1800’s, will be displayed.  Inclement weather: Program will be in the Gatehouse. Further additional information: email: dorothmorris0@gmail.com

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Sunday, July 20th, 2014 at the Woodbury Historical Society's Gatehouse Learning Center on 224 Smith Clove Road, Central Valley, NY.

The series of summer exhibits highlighting Women in History continue on Sunday, July 20, 2014 at the Gatehouse Learning Center.  Featured will be a brief history of lighthouses along the Hudson River beginning with the Indians’ efforts to assist in maritime safe passage. It continues with the description of the original 9 lighthouses stretching from Albany to New York City. Learn about the life style of the lighthouse keeper’s, his responsibilities and dedication, and the role women played in this endeavor.

Unfortunately, women’s contributions have been grossly understated and although much discrimination occurred, women preserved and stood side-by-side with their husbands, prepared to step in when needed. Ruth Reynolds Glunt, the wife of a “Keeper”, whose husband spent 28 years in the charge of the U.S.Coast Guard LIGHT ATTENDANT STATION Turkey Point, Saugerties, NY. spent many years photographing the way of life, describing the women’s’ role and recording the evolution of river travel, changes in marine craft, river industry, role of the “keepers” and the eventual demise of the lighthouses.  Her dedication and attention to detail have enabled us to reconstruct a once lucrative fishing industry and the ice industry, both of which have vanished.

Join us in this walk back into history at the Woodbury Historical Society’s Gatehouse Learning Center on 224 Smith Clove Road, Central Valley on Sunday, July 20th, from 2:00-4:00 PM. All programs are free and open to the public.

Further information: email: dorothmorris0@gmail.com

Check this website for each month’s “journey”.

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“Lost Amusement Parks of New York City: Beyond Coney Island” - presented by authors Barbara & Wes Gottlock.
Sunday, June 1st, 2014 at the Woodbury Senior Center in Highland Mills

“In the good old summertime!” the Gottlock’s newest book traces the development of “dream parks” in the 5 New York City boroughs from their “hey-day”, to decline and final demise. Thanks to all who attended this casual afternoon to renew memories or learn about entertainment in the neighborhoods of New York City in the early 20th century.

The Woodbury Historical Society’s Gatehouse Learning Center sponsored the program and invitees enjoyed light refreshments following the program. The Gottlocks also autographed their books which were available for purchase.

This program was free and open to the public and was funded through a grant from the Orange County Historical Society, Johanna Porr, Historian.

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Sunday, May 11th, 2014

Woman SpyThe Gatehouse May Open House on Sunday, May 11th, featured “Women Spies in the Revolutionary War”. Women played significant roles in this war. Women on both sides of the conflict were passionate in their beliefs and took extraordinary risks to contribute. They were thought not to be a risk because of their “lack of intelligence”. But they devised many ways to seek and transmit information to the proper authorities. Patriot women, left to run the farms and businesses while their husbands fought, were good listeners, observers, unobtrusive and creative in developing ways to help the cause.  Number “355” in the Culper Spy Ring was a woman who has never been identified but an important link for the Patriots.  Likewise, women whose husbands remained loyal to the throne developed spying techniques as well. One famous woman was Peggy Shippen Arnold, wife of Benedict Arnold, who used her social status to great advantage against the Patriots. Allison Pataki depicts accounts of her style in “The Traitor’s Wife”.

Slowly, many documents and diaries are telling the story.  The exhibit shared some of these accounts at the Open House.

Reminder: The April exhibit, featuring Sybil Ludington is still available for your enjoyment. We also invite you to visit our Remembrance Garden in back of the historic stone building. All programs are free and open to the public.

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Season Opening
Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Women PatriotsThe Gatehouse Learning Center opened its 2014 season Sunday, April 27th. During the season, we will ‘travel’ through the Hudson Valley using displays to honor Hudson Valley patriotic women since the Revolutionary War.

Monthly displays will portray a variety of subjects, some focusing on the military.

Our April “journey” took us to 1777 Putnam County where a 16-year-old young girl’s heroic mission saved a city. Yet her accomplishment went unnoticed for 107 years. Once uncovered, her mission has been compared to Paul Revere’s ride.

We will end our journey in September at West Point, with a presentation by Dr. Raymond Cooper, Central Valley resident, who will give us an inside view of women’s roles in the 2014 military.

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"Callahan Christmas" Open House & Woodbury Food Pantry Drive
Sunday, November 17th, 2013

“Christmas comes but once a year – Now it’s here, now it’s here – Bringing lots of joy and cheer …” Those words from a cartoon more than 75 years ago set the spirit of fun and excitement for the holiday season each year.    They also set the spirit for the annual “Callahan Christmas” Open House which was hosted by the Woodbury Historical Society’s Gatehouse Committee on Sunday, November 17th, from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M.

The event at the Gatehouse Historic Site was extra meaningful as those who attended were asked to bring canned goods and/or other non-perishable grocery items for donation to the Woodbury Food Pantry at the Highland Mills United Methodist Church.  In the best spirit of Christmas, committee members saw that the beautiful chestnut wood staircase in the Gatehouse were filled with food for those less fortunate in our community.

“The Gatehouse” was once the entrance to vaudeville impresario, Frederick Freeman Proctor’s large estate called “Proctoria” which was built over 100 years ago.  Years later, the Gatehouse later became the home of the Callahan family which included Mr. and Mrs. Callahan and their nine children.

It was a family tradition that each year after Thanksgiving, Mrs. Callahan would bake delicious cookies, cakes and other treats and then place them around the dining room table. Each night after dinner, the nine Callahan children excitedly entered the room and selected a plate of “goodies” to enjoy with the family.  The next day, Mrs. Callahan replenished the supply and the tradition was repeated until Christmas arrived.

The Gatehouse Committee is very happy to continue this tradition to honor the Callahan family as well as to thank the Woodbury community which has been so supportive in preserving the Gatehouse and making its numerous programs and exhibits possible.  

The stone building is now decorated in all its holiday finery. And for holiday shoppers, there were lovely ornaments and other items on sale, along with commemorative bricks which are ordered in memory or to honor that special person with a gift which will last for all time.  Plus, visitors were treated to delicious holiday refreshments.

It was a wonderful way to spend an enjoyable Sunday afternoon and to get in the holiday spirit with favorite friends and neighbors at the Gatehouse!  Thank you so much for coming. See you again next year!

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Sunday, April 21st, 2013

It’s been said that “April showers bring May flowers.”  It’s true, but even better for Woodbury, April brought the re-opening of the Gatehouse in Central Valley after its long-winter’s nap.  And this year was no exception.  On Sunday, April 21st, from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M., the Gatehouse Committee hosted its first Open House of the season with the theme, “One Hundred + One,” marking the start of the next century for the unusual structure which dates back to 1912. The stone building on Smith Clove Road was once the grand entrance to the early 20th-century Proctor Estate.  After a major restoration in recent years, it is now the Woodbury Historical Society’s Historic Site and Learning Center and home to numerous programs and displays which strive to keep alive the history of the town.

For the season-opener, the Gatehouse Committee had some particularly interesting displays and exhibits. Recalling that Woodbury has a long history as a place where people came to visit “for the fresh country air,” one exhibit focused on the hotels, inns and taverns which once dotted Central Valley, Highland Mills and the almost-forgotten Woodbury Falls area at the most northern end of town.  Also featured was “Businesses Then and Now,” focusing on some of the buildings and stores in present day Woodbury – and what else they had been years ago.

The Gatehouse Committee is also continuing its Family Genealogy series which began a few years ago, “honoring families who came to Woodbury as immigrants – and stayed to build our community.”  This time, the Adams and Weygants were the subjects.  And finally, a permanent exhibit was unveiled on “Proctoria,” the name theater impresario F.F. Proctor gave to his home in Central Valley.  The Gatehouse is the last remaining vestige of what had once been his estate of over 1,000 acres.  It is this building which the Committee strives to preserve in order to remember some of what has come before in Woodbury.

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Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Callahan ChristmasThe Gatehouse Historic Site and Learning Center closed out its season with its annual open house tradition known as “The Callahan Christmas”. This special event is when the Gatehouse Committee decorates the site for the holidays and recreates the traditions established by the Callahan family, which once resided in the gatehouse building. It has also served as the Gatehouse Committee’s way to say “thanks” to all volunteers and those that have supported the Gatehouse in so many ways throughout the year. 

The Gatehouse Committee would like to wish all of our supporters- Happy Holidays and a blessed New Year.  The Gatehouse site will reopen in the spring.  Stay tuned for opening date information in 2013.   

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Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Our “Light the Lantern” project has come to a close with the October dedication of the lantern, the last of the exterior restoration projects to be completed at the Gatehouse site. It was dedicated to a special Woodbury friend who lost her battle to ovarian cancer recently. Her courage and positive attitude always brought happiness and “sunshine” when she visited the Gatehouse. The lantern will serve as a beacon and inspiration to all. The public was invited to attend this very special, meaningful event. We extended a special welcome to all those who donated the funds toward the purchase of this antique replica of the original lantern. Thanks again to everyone!

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