Historic Huguenot Street Harvests History: Community Members Join to Celebrate Fall Fundraiser

Photo by Audrey Brand.

Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) is officially getting into their autumn groove, and fundraising to top it all off.

On the evening of Oct. 1, HHS held its inaugural Fall Harvest Celebration. With hopes to continue this new tradition annually or bi-annually, this hearty celebration hosted a cocktail hour in front of the Dubois Fort visitor center followed by a farm-to-table dinner catered by Harvest Real Food, the “leader in the local sustainable food movement for over 20 years,” according to their website, and located in Stone Ridge, New York.

Kaitlin Gallucci, communications manager of HHS, said that the purpose of this new fundraising event was to show community members what their donations have supported over the past several years. During the cocktail hour, the Jean Hasbrouck and Deyo Houses were open for tours so donors and supporters who don’t have the opportunity to come often could see the new changes that were made.

“They can see how their support helped make this come to life,” Gallucci said.

She said that the proceeds of the Fall Harvest Celebration not only go toward necessary renovations that the historic houses need, but toward their education programs as well.

Currently, HHS is paying particular attention to the upkeep of the Jean Hasbrouck House, which needs a roof replacement. The Lefevre/1799 House, Gallucci said, is also in need of renovations regarding its foundation.

“While we are the stewards of these houses and take care of them, just going through summers and winters every year does damage to them no matter what,” she said.

Thanks to their donors, HHS has reached 90 percent of their goal toward the new Jean Hasbrouck House roof. So far, they’ve raised a little over $36,000 toward their $40,000 goal. Gallucci and the rest of HHS have expectations to start that renovation this upcoming spring.

Gallucci said that the amount of school programming HHS has done has increased dramatically over the past several years. Some of these donations go toward creating reproductions of quill pens and objects for making candles and crimping linen.

“These items are generally on display in the houses because they were things that the settlers used everyday, but students can’t touch them because they’re original,” Gallucci said. “We have reproductions in what we call our Hands-On History room, where students can actually touch them, play with them, use them and see what they’re like.”

HHS also used this evening to recognize their new exhibit, Marking The Occasion, which features Dutch silver spoons from the collection of George Way and Jonathan Z. Friedman.

“Maybe spoons don’t sound that exciting, but honestly these look like works of art,” Gallucci said. “They’re much more symbolic than utilitarian, so depending on what carving is on the spoon determines what it means, why a person made it or why a person received it. It tells you a lot about some of those Dutch customs that really influenced the development of the Hudson Valley, and it’s right here in the Dubois Fort Center.”

The Dutch spoon exhibition runs from Oct. 1 until Dec. 18.

Because of the close ties HHS has with the Dutch consulate, the Honorable Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Dolph Hogewoning, attended the dinner. He spoke briefly about the Dutch connection with the Hudson Valley, as they were the first non-native colonists in this region, as well as how HHS helps to preserve Dutch artifacts and architecture.

Elisabeth Hines, a resident of High Falls, attended the celebration in order to support and learn more about HHS.

“It’s all about supporting the community that you live in and preserving the history,” Hines said. “This is an idealistic spot in the Hudson Valley so it’s important to preserve it.”