Woodbury Historical Society

Rushmore Memorial Library


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Calendar of Events


March 1st, 2014

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

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

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

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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Season Opening
Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Women PatriotsThe Gatehouse Learning Center will open its 2014 season Sunday, April 27th. 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” takes 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.

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


Women Spies in the Revolutionary War

Local Authors Barbara and Wesley Gottlock take us on a summer excursion to leisure times  of days gone by. A fun departure from our theme.

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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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