Ice House Under Construction

On Tuesday morning construction began on the Ice House of the Brinckerhoff House Historic Site.  Several months ago the Ice House was moved from the property of an old farm which used to be directly across the street from the Town Hall of East Fishkill.

When it was built in the 1870’s its purpose was to store ice over the spring and summer months for the farm.  Probably for a dairy farm, this ice probably helped to keep milk cold.

Inside of the ice house will soon be an exhibit of ice harvesting and the ice industry in the Hudson Valley during the nineteenth century.   There will also be local history of the farm which the ice house came from.  Once the roof is complete, the display cases from the 1785 unfinished attic, which used to hold the Civil War diary of Richard T. Van Wyck, will be moved to the ice house to hold this new display.

Here are some pictures from Wednesday morning.  In this shot is also the red 1820 One-Room School House which was moved from where the corner of the Taconic Parkway and Beekman’s Road intersects.  Behind the tree is the ice house.

 Ice House Under Construction 1

This photograph shows the front of the ice house.   Notice how the doors go up and down the whole façade.  At the peak of the roof there is a hook in which a pulley would be used to move heavy mounds of ice and milk up and down from the shelves inside.

Ice House Under Construction 3

From this angle, behind the tree is the 1885 Carriage Barn which was moved from the “John Jay” house which was owned and occupied by Van Wyck’s for many centuries.

Ice House Under Construction 2

Behind the Scenes off Palen Road

I spent most of my evening inside of and walking between the Bailey Room and Collections Room of the Brinckerhoff House.

Currently, there are two display cases set up in the Bailey Room with a journal written by Richard T. Van Wyck while he fought in Gettysburg and other major battles during the American Civil War.  Also on display are various dishware, medicine bottles, pipes, and large glass jugs, all which was excavated from the grounds of Abraham Van Wyck’s house in Wiccopee.

As of the Collections Room… Well, let’s say that it is under construction.

Collections Room 2

I am currently working inside the Collections Room, organizing everything.  It will finally not only be an accessible collection of materials, maps, and paintings of the Hudson Valley from the 18th and 19th century, but it will be a collection that people will want to access.

Blue Clamshell Boxes Filled with Records of the Van Wyck family in the Hudson Valley, and Sergeant Clinton Peterson.

Blue Clamshell Boxes Filled with Records of the Van Wyck family in the Hudson Valley, and Sergeant Clinton Peterson.

I hope that in the near future this Collections Room will be used by college students who are enrolled at colleges which are relatively local to East Fishkill.  Aside from just organizing this data is analyzing it and extending the historical narrative of the Hudson Valley.

With all this said, there is a lack of space inside the Collections Room, and that is because I opened up too many folders without putting them in sorted piles or folders.  So, for a night, I turned the Bailey Room into an archival laboratory, and started to categorize what I have already looked through over the last month.

Bailey Room 1

The EFHS recently bought three extra large newspaper boxes, in which I filled with newspapers, maps, indentures, and diplomas.  This new addition to the EFHS’s Collections Room will be utilized alongside the numerous blue clamshell boxes that the EFHS purchased in previous years.  Even though the boxes are empty, already they make the room more aesthetically pleasing.

Collections Room 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.

DF162664_97818 (2)

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.

Moving and Creating New Exhibits in the Brinckerhoff House

ImageThis is a picture of the Bailey Room in the Brinckerhoff House of the East Fishkill Historical Society.  The Board has agreed that it would be the historic site’s best interest if we made a new exhibit inside of our main building.

These two display cabinets were emptied and moved from the 1820 One-Room Schoolhouse into the Bailey Room.  Some documents of Robert Van Wyck’s war diary, from the Civil War, will be moved from the older exhibit, which is currently in the upstairs of the Brinckerhoff House. The display cases from the upstairs of the Brinckerhoff House will be moved into the newly moved Ice House.  Inside the Ice House, there will be an exhibit of the history of the Ice House, other ice houses, and the ice industry of East Fishkill (and the larger Hudson Valley).  A lot of moving around and working hard, but our goal is to have a really nice exhibit room for this summer’s season.

If you, or anyone you know, has any information on ice houses, and the local ice industry in the Hudson Valley, please contact us (or have your friends contact us) as we encourage involvement from anyone interested.