Monday, March 1, 2010

Preserving the Burgh's Past

I don't think its a far stretch to say that outside of Lansingburgh many residents of Troy do not realize that there are two historical societies preserving the past in the city. Chartered in 1965, the Lansingburgh Historical Society was formed as a result of the Lansing House, a structure dating back to 1749, being demolished. Currently, a small group of individuals work hard to protect, interpret, and educate the history of what once was America's oldest incorporated village, Lansingburgh. The Society operates from the Herman Melville House on 114th St and 1st Ave. The home of the "Moby Dick" author has become the center of the groups mission. Each year the Board of Trustees and the volunteers maintain and update the building as well as the Society's many collections.

The Society has a seven person Board of Trustees who are the backbone of the groups success. Each year the group hosts several educational meetings at the Melville House that are open to the public. Many of these events feature special guest speakers presenting a piece of our regions past and are normally well attended. Other events that are held are fund-raisers in the form of book and porch sales, silent auctions, and dinners.

A note worthy project that the Society is currently putting together is the rehabilitation of the two cemeteries on the east side of 3rd Ave and lying on the north and south sides of 107th Street. The project is of interest to Senator Roy McDonald, whom the group met with and will be submitting a grant proposal to. A number of soldiers from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War are buried in these grounds along with descendants of many early Lansingburgh families.

The Lansinigburgh Historical Society has become a labor-of-love for all those that are affiliated with it. Currently, there are 248 members. According to the group membership has decreased slightly, which they attribute to the poor economy. This is unfortunate because the Society depends on these funds to continue the preservation and growth of their collections as well as their community. Lansingburgh holds a unique place in the history of Troy and the Capital District. Once the home of Chester A. Arthur, the 21st President of the United States, where Herman Melville wrote his first two novels, home and final resting grounds to many soldiers that sacrificed everything to protect what the volunteers of the Lansingburgh Historical Society are now looking to preserve.

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1 comment:

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