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Historical Society fetes Vanderpoel House at 200

The circa 1820 James Vanderpoel “House of History” is the site of this year’s annual Columbia County Historical Society gathering. Photo contributed

KINDERHOOK—On Saturday, August 21st the Columbia County Historical Society of New York will “throw open the shutters” and host a party to (belatedly) celebrate the 200th anniversary of one of its historic properties, the James Vanderpoel “House of History” located on Broad Street in Kinderhook. The stately Federal redbrick home turned 200 last year, but live celebrations were postponed due to the pandemic.

“We were forced to reschedule the original bicentennial birthday celebration several times and are very excited to finally be able to choose a safe date to host a party this summer on the Vanderpoel lawn so people can get out, see old friends, make new friends, and learn a bit about our programs and exhibitions,” Historical Society’s Executive Director Lori Yarotsky said. Tickets to the cocktail and wine the celebration are $300 and can be purchased online at www.cchsny.org/first-columbians-2021.html

The James Vanderpoel House is one of four historic properties the society owns and operates for tours, school programs, exhibitions, lectures, and to house its research library and permanent collection of more than 15,000 objects related to Columbia County’s history and culture. The collection includes many prehistoric and early tools and artifacts from the area’s original native inhabitants, the Algonquin-speaking Mohicans, now known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community.

The Columbia County Historical Society (CCHS) also owns and maintains the c.1850 Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse and 1737 Luykas Van Alen House, both located on Route 9H, as well as the former Royal Arch Masons Temple (built 1915) in Kinderhook, home to the Historical Society’s research library, archives and museum.

This is the interior of the 1737 Luykas Van Alen House in the Town of Kinderhook, another restored historic building of the county Historical Society. Photo contributed

“In some ways, the Historical Society has been a silent hero in Columbia County, quietly carrying out its mission, even during the pandemic,” said Bob Peduzzi, co-president of the Trustees Board. Peduzzi referenced the mid-pandemic launch of their Drive Through History road trips last summer. Diverse, historically-themed trips were created by the programming staff with help from the curatorial department consisting of unique road maps and itineraries, released monthly in series form, and available online for free download. “People love the road trip program. It got them out of the house and was good for the kids,” Mr. Peduzzi said. DriveThrough History road trips guides are available to download on the Society’s website.

Now that life may be returning to normal, the CCHS will resume a roster of live events for the remainder of 2021 and 2022 and a call for all members, new and old, to join one of the Historical Society’s committees for the coming year. “There is so much opportunity right now to broaden our reach throughout Columbia County. We’ve had so many new people moving here bringing a wealth of experience and energy. We want to tap into that experience and energy. Joining a committee is a great way to learn about the County and the Historical Society, dive right into the community, and carry on a good cause. Becoming a member is easy and getting involved is fun,” Trustee Greg Pettyjohn said. Membership details and a list of committees seeking volunteers are available at https://www.cchsny.org/join.html

John Delikanakis is a member of the board of Trustees of the Columbia County Historical Society.

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