In a press release on Tuesday, Aug. 28, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of New York’s “Path Through History,” a statewide roadmap detailing New York’s most important historic sites, their locations and popular events. Included on the map is New Paltz’s own Historic Huguenot Street.
The map will work to promote tourism and economic development in many of New York’s most enriched historical preservations.
“‘The Path Through History’ will highlight the rich history that exists in New York State by showcasing more than two hundred of our most significant sites and historic milestones,” Gov. Cuomo said in the press release.
The tourism plan will include customized themes for the 200 sites throughout New York State. The themes include arts and culture, canals and transportation, civil rights, colonial history, innovation and commerce, Native Americans, natural history, the revolution, sports history, U.S. Presidents, War of 1812 and women’s rights.
The press release mentioned a grant of $1 million to implement the tourism plans. Funding will be used to add more than 200 new signs to highlight these historic sites on major state roads, such as the New York State Thruway.
“On the thruway [signage] is particularly costly,” Executive Director of Historic Huguenot Street Tracy Doolittle McNally said. “The state is going to find ‘The Pathways Through History’ signage on the thruway and at exit 18.”
Ashley Trainor, an intern at Historic Huguenot Street and a third-year history major, said the “Path Through History” will bring more advertising to the hidden area of town.
“There’s so much history at Historic Huguenot Street and a lot of people don’t know it’s there,” Trainor said. “It’s not a place that’s advertised a lot.”
McNally said she was enthusiastic about Cuomo’s announcement, and she hopes that such a statewide project will continue to bring economic prosperity into New Paltz, especially Main Street.
“Hopefully, more tourists will be getting off the thruway and may want to shop and dine in town,” she said. “Therefore, this project may contribute to the economic welfare of New Paltz.”
Nally said Historic Huguenot Street was selected to be in the top 200 sites under the state’s criteria. In order to be on this list, the historic area must be an authentic site according to historians connected to the “Path Through History.”
McNally said Historic Huguenot Street was chosen because it has unique buildings that were created in the early 1700s.
Historic Huguenot Street would like to collaborate with the Senate House on joint tours between the two historic sites, which could create an increase of tourism for both, McNally said.
According to Trainor, students and the elderly from the area are for the most part the only individuals that visit the colonial historic area. However, the new statewide project will hopefully increase the site’s popularity as a place like no other, she said.
“It’s truly a magical place, and I’m glad Governor Cuomo thinks so too,” McNally said.