Take a stroll through one of the old neighborhoods of Kingston, and you are likely to find yourself walking on slabs of a bluish-gray, fine-grained sandstone, none other than the storied Ulster County bluestone. Visit the Hurley Museum or the new Hurley Library, and you walk past displays of old road stones with deep grooves worn into them by heavy wagons coming from the bluestone quarries. Stop by the Reservoir Inn in West Hurley (formerly the Bluestone Inn) and marvel at the huge bluestone slab gracing their entrance. Ulster County was once the largest supplier of bluestone in the nation, so it is not surprising to see so much of it still in use here. Our September lecture focuses on the local bluestone industry and the hard working people that made it happen.
Between the years 1840 – 1900, bluestone, drawn from quarries along old Route 28 northwest of the City of Kingston, had a major impact on the construction of buildings, sidewalks, bridges and monuments in cities and towns along the Atlantic coast of this nation. It was an industry that made a number of pioneer investors fabulously wealthy and at the same time, employed thousands of Irish immigrants fleeing a land of famine in desperate need of work.
Drawing from his historical anthology, Chronicles of Ulster, Volumes I & II, Rhinebeck author Robert Donaldson will present stories of the Ulster County bluestone trade, its origin, commercial progress, effect on the growth of cities, and eventual decline. He will discuss the impact on those who benefited from the trade as well as those who labored in the quarries. Throughout his presentation Mr. Donaldson will present stories from news articles taken from the Kingston Daily Freeman and other newspapers around the state. He will also display pictures of the bluestone trade found during his research.
About the speaker: Robert Donaldson is a graduate of Marist College and the SUNY at New Paltz. He is retired from Rhinebeck High School where he taught law and European History. At Dutchess Community College, he was an adjunct instructor in law and legal research in the paralegal program. He currently serves on the Town of Rhinebeck Conservation Advisory Board and volunteers at the Dutchess County Office of the Public Defender. He lives with his wife in the Town of Rhinebeck.
Thursday, September 28th
West Hurley Firehouse
7:00pm – 8:00pm
No Registration Required