Monday, June 15, 2009

The New Historian Mails Today!

Today the hardy Historical Society volunteers gather once more to prepare the Hastings Historian for the post. They have even more work than usual because this Historian is going to all the households in the village – more than 4,000 of them!

No one who has followed the Society’s doings over the past six months will be surprised to learn that the lead article in this issue is on the 1909 Hudson-Fulton Celebration. With Roger Panetta’s lecture in January and the opening of our own Hudson-Fulton exhibition here at the cottage in April, we have been immersed in this festival that galvanized the entire village one hundred years ago.

And you know how it is when you have something on the brain – you find it everywhere. A couple of weeks ago, after the Historian had gone to press, we were looking through Arthur C. Langmuir’s scrapbooks on Hastings history. They have never been thoroughly indexed, and on page 51 of volume II, we found this wonderful photograph that we didn’t even know we had. The caption says that it is a photograph of the Protection Engine Company firehouse decorated for the Hudson-Fulton Celebration.

Those who recognize Langmuir’s name may wonder why his scrapbook contains such an early photograph. Langmuir moved to Hastings in 1919 and his incredible collection of 1000+ photographs of the village all date to the 1920s and 30s. But Langmuir was a history nut. He begged and borrowed photographs of early Hastings from other local photographers, like Harriet Draper, Fred Berbert, and Joseph A. Devine. The photograph you see above has a handwritten note next to it reading “copied from a negative loaned by George T. Sackett.” Sackett was a local druggist and amateur photographer who came to Hastings in the 19th century. Some of our earliest photographs of the village, and the best photographs we have of the Hudson-Fulton celebration, were taken by George Sackett.

On page 55 of the same scrapbook, there are two more of Sackett’s fire company photographs from the Hudson-Fulton Celebration. The first is a copy of a photograph we have in our Sackett collection, and it is up in our exhibition. It shows the Protection Engine firetruck in front of the same firehouse, maybe even on the same day. The caption with the photograph adds the information that the horse used was borrowed from the Chrystie family who owned the large estate at Five Corners where the A&P grocery store is today.

The other photograph on the page shows a fire hose on wheels decorated with bunting and flags. The photograph does not have a caption, but this same equipment appears in the background of another photograph showing the National Conduit & Cable Company’s fire brigade. They marched along with the Protection Engine Company and the Uniontown Hose Company in Hastings’ own Hudson-Fulton parade on October 5th, 1909. (You will read much more about this parade and all the other Hudson-Fulton festivities in the Historian.) The place where the photograph was taken, however, is a mystery. Does anyone recognize the location?

We hope you enjoy this Historian, and that it makes you as excited about the Hudson-Celebration as we are. If it does, make some time to visit the Historical Society and see our exhibition!
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1 comment:

  1. Ooops! My mistake! There are only approximately 3,750 households in the village, and the volunteers are still sticking labels on those "Historians"! They will not go into the mail until Monday, June 22nd.