Terrific Weeds at the Brinckerhoff House Historic Site

Patch of Weeds 9

A couple of months ago, this large patch of weeds used to look like a few pine trees and a berry bush.  There were still some weeds around the pine trees, but in such a short amount of time, they grew into large, thick, competitive vines.  In the photograph above, the pine trees they cover are barely noticeable.

My director and I spoke about the grounds of the Brinkerhoff House Historic Site in East Fishkill, and we both agreed that this patch of weeds had been left to grow rampant for too long.  The pine trees that the vines were growing on and around were almost completely dead, and it was an ugly addition to the East Fishkill Historical Society’s beautiful property, so I decided to clear out this mess.

Patch of Weeds 5

A couple of days ago, I started to try and figure out what exactly in this patch of messy vegetation was salvable, and was not invasive weeds.  I was very excited to clear a small section, but something clicked when my old college buddy came over for a visit.

When my friend, Anthony Mancini, came to the Brinckerhoff House Historic Site, I gave him a tour of the Brinckerhoff House, the 1885 Carriage Barn, and the 1820 One-Room Schoolhouse.  He was pretty impressed, and mentioned that he has been recently been playing a large part in his community in Putnam County.  As a journalist, he writes articles about local history and current events.  He was always an inquisitive person.  When we started to walk back to the Brinkerhoff House, I pointed out the yard work I was in the process of finishing.  When he saw the large patch of weeds that I was working on clearing, he immediately smirked and said “Ah, you have a bad case of Oriental Bittersweet, huh?”

Patch of Weeds 7

He told me that he already wrote six different articles of the Oriental Bittersweet – how this year they are growing more rampant then ever before, and that their presence is really effecting the vegetation in the Hudson Valley.  When he left the site, I Googled “Oriental Bittersweet,” and he was right.

Everything I read about this weed made it clear that the whole entire patch of “weeds” was actually just a patch of one huge weed, the Oriental Bittersweet.  Even more surprising, was the berry bush which I thought was good looking and planted on purpose, was actually an Oriental Bittersweet itself.

Over the next several days, I have been working on clearing all the vines from the trees, and removing that “berry bush,” but here are some picture of the process.

An attacked pine tree:

Patch of Weeds 1

Half-way rescued:

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Its sad reality.  Now it can breathe. Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree:

Patch of Weeds 2

Cleaning up:

Patch of Weeds 4

Renovations, Research, and Recognition

In the upcoming months, the East Fishkill Historical Society will be updating you on the renovations of the Brinckerhoff House Historic Site.  The recently moved 1870 Ice House, which was moved from across the road of Town Hall, will be getting a new roof, and the large unfinished attic will be cleared from its old display.  Once the roof of the Ice House is fixed, we will install an exhibit of the ice industry in the Hudson River Valley.

We are also due for a detailed, yet brief, update on the research of Sergeant Clinton J. Peterson of the 369th Infantry of World War I.  The resources are abundant: in newspapers, and through personal diaries and scrapbooks.  A narrative and exhibit is definitely in the works, and his personal possessions are under good care in our Collections Room.  As a matter of fact, we just ordered new archival material, such as extra large newspaper boxes to store newspapers, maps, and indenture documents.

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The East Fishkill Historical Society does not only serve as an organization which preserves our local history, but we also want to encourage those in our community, who are interested and who have time, to get involved.  Our team at the Brinckerhoff House Historic Site is active, and we are slowly receiving more and more recognition from the public and the press.  A couple of weeks ago, the Directors of Mid Hudson Historic Destinations, Roy Jorgenson, and Lynn Eberle, invited the Southern Dutchess Press to the Brinckerhoff House to talk with our Curator, Michael Barootjian, and our Director, Malcolm Mills.  A few months ago, Michael finished designing and creating a brochure for MHHD, and they launched 20,000 to 27 different historic sites and cultural centers in the Mid Hudson region.

Make Plans for Our Annual Strawberry Festival on Sunday, June 9th


Sunday, June 9th, everyone is welcome to The East Fishkill Historical Society, from 2PM-5PM, at the Brinckerhoff House Historic Site, 68 Kensington Dr., Hopewell Junction 12533, as we will host our annual Strawberry Festival. This year, there will be a petting zoo consisting of goats, lambs, rabbits and other furry creatures, and the 1750 Brinckerhoff House, 1845 Carriage Barn, and 1820 One-Room Schoolhouse will be open for tours. Drinks will be available all afternoon. As usual, there will be a tent to provide shelter from the sun, and hopefully not the rain. There will be live music from a local musician, and our evening will end with strawberry shortcakes.

The Brinckerhoff House

Part of the Brinckerhoff House was built in 1750, and then renovated and added to in 1785. Serving as the Home of East Fishkill Historical Society’s since the 1970’s, on our historic site, the Brinckerhoff House will be open for tours, this season, every Sunday from 12PM-4PM.