Black Dome Press

Legacies on the Land: Historic Houses, Hamlets, and Landscapes


Legacies on the Land
Historic Houses, Hamlets,
and Landscapes of Southern Ulster County

edited by Vals Osborne
published with Historic Huguenot Street
Trade Paper, 7″ x 10″, 456 pages
Historic maps and more than 400 illustrations including over 300 full-color photographs
ISBN 9798985692174 $35.00

Legacies on the Land follows the early settlement of southern Ulster County by the Dutch, Huguenots, Walloons, English, Palatines, and enslaved Africans on the homelands of the Indigenous Esopus Lenape as farms and homesteads spread outward from New Paltz to neighboring townships. The nineteenth-century influx of Germans, Irish, Italians, and others added to the rich cultural mix and to the visible legacy that has been passed down generationally for 350 years.

This is the history of the land, the people, and the architecture of one of the earliest regions of New York State to be colonized by Europeans. The book provides detailed discussions of more than 150 architectural gems displaying every style from early Dutch fieldstone houses to 21st-century modernism. Researched and written by a score of dedicated volunteers including historians and noted authors, the book explores ten communities and includes 17 maps and more than 400 archival and contemporary photographs and artworks, including 300 in full color. The introduction on the region’s natural and social history, consisting of 6 essays by authorities on local geology, architecture, and demographics, sets the stage for the in-depth essays on the historic buildings, their builders, and their legacies.

Wineries, orchards, and grassfed meat farms have replaced the original 17th-century subsistence farms, and hamlets have become villages, but as the 300 color photos illustrate, this historic land retains its rural character and a diverse beauty that remains a beacon today as it has since the 1600s.

About the Editor
Vals Osborne was an art historian and gallerist in New York City for over ten years. As founding director of Sotheby’s Institute, she designed numerous programs on the arts and architecture in the United States and Europe, in addition to the accredited annual graduate-level American Arts Course. She served on the boards of Village Preservation (Greenwich Village), the Wallkill Valley Land Trust (New Paltz), and continues on the board of Historic Huguenot Street. She donated an easement on her farmlands outside the Village of New Paltz and restored her 1831 farmhouse, now on the National Register of Historic Places.

With its all-star cast of authors, great diversity of places, and many exclusive color images, Legacies on the Land is an essential book for enthusiasts and scholars of our region’s rich history. Originally researched and written as guidebooks for historical house tours that covered ten communities in southern Ulster County across several centuries, the material has been thoroughly revised and expanded upon with an all-new introduction on the region’s natural and social history setting the scene for detailed discussions of well over 150 remarkable examples of its buildings, its builders, and their legacies.
Christopher Pryslopski, Editor, The Hudson River Valley Review

This extraordinary book on the history and architecture of towns in southern Ulster County has been produced under the auspices of Historic Huguenot Street, based on booklets prepared by Wallkill Valley Land Trust for a series of house tour fundraisers. Their embrace of the cultural landscape and historic preservation in their mission is a model for other land conservancies to follow. The book represents a prodigious undertaking of local history research, fieldwork, and construction histories done by a cadre of dedicated volunteers including municipal historians, special librarians, historical societies and architectural historians, as well as dozens of amateur enthusiasts. There’s nothing new about historic house tours, but the bar has been raised as far as information goes with updated, expanded, and authenticated stories about these towns and their distinctive historic architecture for the next generation. Artfully produced, the book will be a valuable addition to anyone’s Ulster County bookshelf or coffee table.
Neil Larson, Hudson Valley architectural historian, Kingston, N.Y.

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This product was added to our catalog on Friday 28 June, 2024.

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