As you might well have imagined, the Austerlitz Historical Society will be cancelling some of our scheduled summer events due to the pandemic. This is a time when we have been forced to look at things with a new perspective as we make our way through this difficult time. AHS continues to look to the future and prepare for a time when we will once again be able to welcome visitors. We’re currently in the midst of creating exhibits and exploring the possibility of setting up outdoor activities which would easily allow for social distancing.
Even during these difficult times, work at Old Austerlitz goes on. Tim Hawley is creating a base to display a beautiful weathervane. Clarke Olsen is working on rustic wood stanchions for the barn exhibit, and Francene Samuels will soon begin scraping and painting the south side of the Austerlitz church.
One of the things we discovered when reviewing the period rooms in the Morey-Devereaux House is that our collection of lighting sources was woefully inadequate. Here is a recent acquisition:
What is it?
It is a pewter whale oil lamp created by Roswell Gleason (1799-1887). Gleason set up shop in Dorchester, MA and created this piece circa 1825. His wares were in high demand and he sold his works up and down the east coast. And here is a portrait of the rather elegant Mr. Gleason:
As lighting was primarily provided by candlelight or oil lamps during our period, we are also looking for brass candlesticks. Of course, if you happen to own a few and would like to donate them—we wouldn’t refuse. We’ve seen a few appropriate pairs in the $45-$75 range, if you’d like to sponsor their purchase, that would be appreciated too! We are using the wonderful handmade beeswax candles made by Frances Culley of Spencertown.
If you’d like to help with some of our projects we need someone to help research the making of butter—all you’d need is a home computer. We plan a butter exhibit and would like to explain the butter making process from colonial times to about 1930. We’d also like to research butter making items that we can acquire for our collection.
Another way to contribute is to scour your basement and/or barn for old worn-out brooms—yes, you read that correctly. We would like to collect antique and vintage brooms and whisk brooms for our display on broom making. If you are interested in any of these projects contact me at [email protected]
As we settle in for the remainder of the long winter and welcome spring we are actively exploring new possibilities. Listed below are some of the projects planned for this year. We will send out further information as details are finalized.
ART GALLERY OPENS IN THE CHURCH WILD AUSTERLITZ CELEBRATES THE BOUNTY OF OUR AREA OLD CRIMINALS OF AUSTERLITZ OUR MOHICAN CONNECTION AHS COLLECTION EXHIBITS CONSTRUCTION/PLACEMENT OF THE MENEELY BELL HOUSE MOVIE NIGHT ON THE GROUNDS OF THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY FLEA MARKET- JUNE 13TH THE BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL-JULY-26th Autumn in Austerlitz presents: WILD AUSTERLITZ -Celebrating the bounty of our area. OCTOBER-3rd.
The Austerlitz Historical Society will host a Flea Market and Tag Sale on the site of Old Austerlitz. Though vendors will take the majority of spaces, we will once again we offer members a table for $15.00 (while supplies last ) to sell household items only. There will be baked goods, coffee and food trucks on the premises.
Whether you have household items to get rid of or are a flea market vendor, call or email us for more information.
On December 7th from 1-3 pm the Austerlitz Historical Society will open it’s doors and celebrate the season . The Morey- Devereaux House will be decorated for the holidays with fires lit and refreshments served. As a thank you to all our members and volunteers, we will have a wreath decorating activity (reservations needed) in the Morey-Devereaux house and the Gift Shop will be open, offering a 10% discount to all members and volunteers. Stop by for a visit, decorate a wreath and stroll through our unique gift shop. Reservations for the wreath decorating activity are needed by 11/25/19.
Adults-$7.00 Children under 12- Free No pets please
This year’s Autumn in Austerlitz Festival is held on Saturday, September 28th, 11-4 pm. Rain or Shine. Admission is $7 for adults and children under 12 are free. With attendance averaging at well over 750, the event features a wide array of live demonstrations from sheep shearing to butter making, antiques, live music, entertainment for children, unique vendors, silent auction, quilt raffle and a variety of hot and cold foods to satisfy your hunger including our community soup station featuring over 6 home made soups.
During the summer, we start listing our Crafters, Food Vendors and Entertainers who will be participating in the year’s festival. Please check back for updates. If you’d like to see the vendors that have been at past Autumn in Austerlitz Festivals, please visit our archives page by clicking HERE
Autumn in Austerlitz began in 1997 as a home grown festival to raise money for the Austerlitz Historical Society to expand their educational programs.
Vendor space for our 2019 festival is now OPEN. If you are interested in applying to become a vendor please contact us by email at [email protected] or by calling 518-392-0062.
Following is a list of our 2019 participants as of 9/10/19:
Children’s Area Bubble blowing Pumpkin Carving Magic Show-In the Music Tent Corn Husk Doll Making Corn Kernel play area Wanda Halton’s -Crafting with Natural Materials.
NEW – Ed Simonson and Friends-OLD MACHINES NEW- Antique Tractors NEW- Windsor Chair Making with John Porritt Wild Goose Chase NE, New Lebanon, NY Wanda Halten – Heritage Poultry Breeds, Canaan, NY Berkshire Hills and Dales Spinning Guild – Lee, MA Blacksmithing in the Forge Tin Smith-Walter Fleming-Ballston Lake, NY Cider Making
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Robert Herron, one of the original founders of the Austerlitz Historical Society. Bob continued to be an active member and strong presence in all aspects of the society. He will be sorely missed.
A Memorial Service will be held on August 17th at 12:30 pm, on the grounds of the Austerlitz Historical Society.
Famed Columbia County Auctioneer, Preservationist and
Robert Herron (August 3, 1927—June 29, 2019)
Known by many as the “Mayor of Austerlitz,” Robert Herron of
Austerlitz, NY died on Saturday, June 29th, 2019 at the age of 91. A life-long resident of Austerlitz and
well-known expert on American antiques, auctioneer and local philanthropist,
Robert “Bob” Herron was born on August 3rd, 1927 to Mary Varney—a descendant
of an old New England family which settled in Austerlitz by the end of the
eighteenth century—and William C. Herron, whose family moved to Austerlitz in
the mid-nineteenth century.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy who later attended the University
of Denver, “Bob” Herron began collecting early American furniture as a young boy
and later ran a highly-successful auction house. One of the premier auctioneers
in New England, in 1997 the New York Times wrote that Herron had found “one of
the few major discoveries of the year”—an important collection of early
American furniture which brought antique dealers and connoisseurs from across
the country to the small hamlet of Austerlitz.
Continuing his family’s long tradition of serving the
community and fostering its civic life, Herron and his good friend, Richard
Mugler, Jr., were responsible for the preservation of the local schoolhouse,
the Austerlitz Church, a number of houses in the hamlet and the establishment
of the Austerlitz Historical Society. A generous benefactor, Herron donated
both funds and land to the Historical Society, which now boasts a collection of
late 18th and early 19th century buildings and a local
history collection. In 1987, the New York Times—along with a number of other
media outlets—reported on the restoration of his early house.
“Bob” also made substantial donations to community
organizations, most recently to the Columbia County Land Conservancy and for
the building of the hamlet’s new firehouse.
Known for his keen eye, “sharp as a tack” mind, and
unfailing wit up to his death, Herron will be missed by his family, friends,
neighbors and colleagues and the many volunteers he recruited in his life-long
quest to preserve the best of this country’s and Columbia County’s history.
He is preceeded in death by his brother, William Lee Herron
(1922-2007), and survived by his nieces Ruth Horak, Janet DeMonaco, Janet’s
husband Louis, and his nephew William Jr.’s widow Cheryl.
A memorial service will be held on the grounds of the Austerlitz Historical Society, at a time to be determined this summer. For further information, please check the historical society’s web site www.oldausterlitz.org or call 518-392-0062.
Memorial Donations may be made out to the Austerlitz Historical Society or the Austerlitz Cemetery (please indicate your preference), and sent to :
The Austerlitz Historical Society-PO Box 144- Austerlitz, NY 12017
Town and Historical Society are hosting events this Sunday in connection with
the installation of markers in Austerlitz and Spencertown celebrating their
designations as Historic Districts on the National Register of Historic Places.
These designations bring honor to the communities, and the placement of the
markers warrants a celebration.
two related events will be informal affairs with brief remarks, a few
photos, and then some refreshments at the old Town Hall.
At 3 pm we gather at the Austerlitz Historical District marker, which is
being installed on the Dan and Shani Palladino property, formerly Sally
Light’s, at 11622 Route 22 (east side). Brief remarks will be
made, surely including reflection on the sad loss of Bob Herron, and a
photograph or two taken for the historical record.
3:30 pm. we gather at the Spencertown Historical District marker, being
installed just outside the old Town Hall. Again, brief remarks and a few
photos. After which we enjoy some refreshments at the old Town Hall.
June 9th & June 15th 10:00-2:00 at the Austerlitz Historical Society
Fly Tying Workshop Morey-Devereaux House June 9th, 10-2 June 15th, 10-2 Join Bill Newcomb, noted fly tyer and trout fisherman in this interactive workshop. Bill will entertain you with the fascinating lore of trout fishing as well as the rich history of the men and women who fished in this area, as you learn to tie a fly and cast a rod.
” Not as complicated as you think” Bill Newcomb
June 9th- Learn to tie a fly that catches a fish!
June 15th – Learn how to cast a rod that will catch that fish!
Cost: $25.00 per session. Space is limited . Call 518-392-0062 to register. Snacks and beverages provided Bring a bag lunch or Lunch can be pre-orderd and picked up at an additional cost.