Lansingburgh Historical Society Minutes
LANSINGBURGH HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Minutes of the first meeting on February 3rd 1965 at the Van Schoonhoven house. Now the home of Benjamin Romp, 538 3rd Ave. Lansingburgh.
Present: Mr and Mrs Benjamin Romp
Mr & Mrs John A. English
Mrs Warren J. Broderick
Mrs Irene H. Campbell
Mrs Anne Houghmaster
Mr George S. Reynolds
This was an informal meeting to propose the organization of an historical society to promote interest in our past of the Village of Lansingburgh and to plan for the preservation of historical landmarks. Also to promote the general welfare of the community and to awaken civic interest. The discussion touched on such matters as the improvement of parks, the river front, and the marking in some way of historical and interesting houses. Co-operation with the Junior Museum and the Rensselaer County Historical Society was suggested.
Nine ring binders were ordered for the members in order that they might be used for historical notes.
Mr Romp was elected president, George S. Reynolds Secretary, and the meeting was adjourned for refreshments.
[signed G. S. Reynolds Secy]
Lansingburgh Historical Society. March 2nd 
Minutes of the second meeting at the Van Schoonhoven house. Pres. Romp presiding. Minutes of the first meeting read by secretary Reynolds.
It was suggested that dues be $5.00 yearly, to begin in April. Associate dues to be fixed later.
Present: Mr & Mrs Romp
Mr Walter Catricala
Miss Ruth Clarkson
Mr & Mrs English
Mr T. M. Guerin
Mrs Joseph F. Kennedy
Mr G. S. Reynolds
Mr Guerin proposed that we get in touch with the State and local Historical Associations for information regarding the formation of Historical Societies.
By the courtesy of Mrs John F. Gardner a book of Jurors and a book of Minutes of the Town of Lansingburgh were shown. Also from the Troy Public Library a History of Rensselaer County. A photostat of an original deed from Abraham Jacob Lansing was shown. Mrs Broderick brought scrap books of clippings and an album with photographs of old Lansingburgh houses. Two propositions were put before the Society, one to create a new map of the village of Lansingburgh showing the old houses; two, to find the oldest house and have it marked.
The secretary offered to furnish loose leaf books size 8½x 5½ with reinforced sheets to use in collecting historical notes for 5¢. Eight orders were taken and later delivered.
Coffee and cakes were served by Mrs Romp before adjournment.
[signed G. S. Reynolds Secy]
Lansingburgh Historical Society, Apr. 1965
The third meeting was held in the Coach House 21 114th St. newly restored by Mr Romp, on April 13th. Mr John A. English was elected Treasurer. Rec’d dues $50.00.
No minutes were taken in the absence of the secretary.
[signed G. S. Reynolds]
The 8th meeting was held in the Coach House on Nov. 15th 1965 with 26 people present.
Pres. Romp called it to order and the minutes of previous meeting were read. It was decided to hold the Dec. meeting on Mon. the 13th as the third Mon. was too close to Christmas. Photos of Laureate Boat Club annual shows, given by George S. Reynolds, were passed around for inspection.
Mr. George Yamin, the speaker was introduced. His subject was “Journalism in Troy and Lansingburgh.” The only two state Governors from Troy were both newspapermen. John M. Francis, founder of the Troy Times (1851-1935) was the Ambassador to Turkey and to Austria, as was his son. The oldest paper in the county was the Northern Centinel and Advertiser, published in Lansingburgh May 21 1787, by Claxton and Babcock. The northern Budget was founded in Lans. on June. 30 1797, moved to Troy in 1849 and continued until 1940. The Troy Record was founded in 1896 and merged with the Troy Times in 1935. Other papers published in Troy were the Observer, Evening Standard and Daily Press. In Lansingburgh were the Federal Herald and American Spy. Questions were answered by Mr. Yamin, and a social hour followed.
[signed George S. Reynolds Secy]
The 9th meeting was held in the Coach House on Dec. 13 1965 Pres. Romp presiding. No minutes were taken as the secretary was absent.
The 40th meeting of the Lansingburgh Historical Society was held at the Coach House on Mar. 11 1969, Pres. Romp presiding.
Present 27. Minutes of previous meeting read by the Secy. Balance, $74.62 reported by the Treas. Gift was received from Miss May Holmes of a hand embroidered towel circa 1800. A letter was read by Mr. Guerin, gift of Arthur R. Gregg of Altamont, 84, dated March 9, 1831, inviting an instructor to a school for young ladies in Lansingburgh. It referred to Miss Willard’s School in Troy as being more expensive. The letter was written by Phineas L. Whipple. Pres. Romp reported that the Troy City Council had passed an ordinance designating the bank of the Hudson river between 103rd and 107th Sts. as Hudson River Vista forbidding future construction on the site.
A nominating committee was appointed to report at the April meeting on candidates for officers to be elected at that meeting and to be installed at the annual meeting in May. Members, Mr. and Mrs. LeRoy Morris, Mrs. Norton, Mrs. Hurd.
A committee to secure a new home for the Society by Sept. was appointed. Members, Mrs. Hawkins, Mrs. Lord, Mrs. Houghmaster.
Mrs. Campbell introduced the speaker, Dr. Vivian Hopkins whose subject was De Witt Clinton. She spoke on his life and times, illustrating them with stories which vividly brought those times to life for us.
After her address Dr. Hopkins answered several questions which showed her excellent knowledge of her subject. She is at present writing a book on the life of De Witt Clinton.
The next meeting was announced for April 15th at which Local Lore will be the subject.
Hostesses are to be Mrs. May and Mrs. Olsen. The meeting was then adjourned and refreshments served at the social hour.
G. S. Reynolds, Secy.
The 41st meeting of the Lansingburgh Historical Society was held at the Coach House on April 15th 1969. Pres. Romp called the meeting to order. Minutes of the previous meeting were read by the Secretary. The Treasurer reported a balance of $141.22.
Gifts were received as follows: A Troy and West Troy bridge token allowing a vehicle and two horses to pass, from Mrs. Le Roy Morris.
A livery stable record book, leather with ends and bands, containing certificates of service in the Civil War, from Mr. George Osborne. An early radio used in the Van Schoonhoven house, from Mr. Morris Bishop.
A letter containing a poem about David Flack’s wedding, dated in 1840, from Mrs. Harold Petrie.
Mrs. Hawkins reported for the committee on securing a new home for the Society. Several were investigated, among them the Lansingburgh Academy, not yet available and the Chester A. Arthur house at 626 1st Ave. which has since been sold. A motion to empower the committee to act with the board of Directors in the acquisition of a new home was made by Mr. Whelden, seconded by Mr. Reynolds and carried. The next meeting was set for May 20th—Hostesses Mrs. English and Mrs. Whelden. Mrs. Campbell then introduced our speaker, Warren Broderick Jr. whose topic was American Amusements with special reference to Rensselaer Park.
In 1853 the County Agricultural Society purchased the property in Lansingburgh known as the fair grounds. At one time a rare tropical fruit known as “Ban-anas” was exhibited. The preservation of order and the suppression of nuisances were stressed at some of their affairs as reported in newspaper accounts. During the Civil War the Park was used as Camp Willard and later as a hospital.
John La Mountain in 1858 built his balloon “Atlantic” here. It was 180 feet in Circumference and took 50,000 cubic feet of hydrogen to fill it. In one flight he traveled 1000 miles in 20 hours, 100 miles an hour at times. 10,000 people watched his ascension from Waterford for a flight to Pownal, Vt. Later he served in aerial reconnaissance in the Civil War.
The famous Haymakers baseball team was formed here in the 1860s.
A new Rensselaer Amusement Park was built here in 1907. Many Lansingburgh people remember the fireworks every Saturday night.
Mr. Whelden was then introduced and gave some highlights of the Village history. It was incorporated in 1786. The Phoenix Hotel was built in 1780. In 1791 officers of the village sat there and organized.
Among the first houses were those of Esek Hawkins and E. C. Delavan, shipbuilders. D. S. Flack and the Rev. Mr. Chichester built in the mid 1700’s. the Herman Melville and Horatio Gates Spafford houses, 1813-1912 are still lived in, side by side. A N.Y. State Historical Marker stands before the Melville house. Spafford was noted for the Gazetteers he wrote. The Daley Hotel, built in the late 1700’s still stands, but not in good shape. The Abbey, built by Cornelius Lansing and enlarged and improved by J. K. P. Pine was lived in by him for many years, was torn down a few years ago, but his son’s house, next door still is well kept. It was built for Charles L. Pine at the time of his marriage in 1890. (It burned in 1970)
Both of the speakers were warmly applauded for their interesting and often humorous addresses.
The meeting was then adjourned for the social hour.
G. S. Reynolds Secy.
The 44th meeting of the Lansingburgh Historical Society held at the Lansingburgh Academy on Thursday Oct. 23rd 1969 was a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Herman Melville, adventurer, author and resident of Lansingburgh while he wrote his books Omoo and Typee. An elaborate display of pictures, articles, and comments on his works, surmounted by a framed picture of Melville was prepared by Mrs. Frances Broderick and her son Warren, who had done much research in libraries and photographed pages of books and manuscripts for the display. Another display of books, including editions of all his works and volumes about Melville was assembled by Mr. Edward J. Keyes, a member of the Melville Society. It included some rare books and several in foreign languages. About [125?] guests assembled in the Academy where Melville once studied engineering to hear Dr. William T. Gilman of Syracuse University speak on the life of Herman Melville. Introducing his address with his efforts to locate the house in which Melville lived he noted the curious fact that a letter from his mother saying that “the setting sun shone in the windows of the room” determined the final selection as the other house said to be the one, faced the north. After the final decision a N. Y. State historical marker was placed before the house and dedicated in 1951, with Dr. Gilman making the dedicatory address.
Dr. Gilman followed the course of Melville’s life, the poverty, struggles and failures, and the sudden popularity of “Moby Dick.” After this, his marriage, his travels and his other books and poems which were not so well received. His final acceptance of a Federal clerkship in the New York Custom House provided him with a living for the rest of his life. A strange phenomenon was the tremendous popularity which became his in all the civilized countries of the world after his death, where he is considered one of the foremost American novelists.
A social meeting with refreshments followed at which Dr. Gilman answered questions and told us that our display of Melville’s Works comments in literary magazines, and mementos was the best he had ever seen.
G. S. Reynolds, Secy.
Trustee’s meeting Lans. Historical Society Aug. 28th 1973
Called to order by Prest. Broderick, 8:00 P.M.
Secy’s Report read and accepted.
Treas. Report read and accepted. Report of the Program Committee that Mr Carl Grimm will be the speaker at the September Meeting.
Mr Corbin, chairman of the House Committee reported progress on removing stones and grading the riverfront park and presented bills from Hansen for repairing leak in cellar $18.19 Madden Lumber Co, and Miller for grading lot.
Moved by Miss Hoffman, sec. by Mrs Ellis that we use pipe in cellar to make fence to keep cars out of park. Carried. Installation of water meter discussed. Moved by Mrs Greenwood, sec. by Mr Reynolds that 500 letterheads be printed including P.O. Box 219. Carried Moved by Mrs Greenwood, sec by Mrs Broderick that cupboard be made in recess at left of fireplace for display of gifts. Carried. Moved by Mrs Greenwood, sec by Miss Hoffman that Mr Corbin be elected to fill a vacancy on the Board of Trustees until next election. Carried. Moved by Mr Pine, sec. by Mrs Greenwood that help be obtained to finish the cleaning of cellar. Carried. There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned.
G.S. Reynolds Secy.