Stone House Day Returns to Historic Huguenot Street

Old Stone House Day will return from a 10-year hiatus following the recession of ‘08 in September. Photos Courtesy of Kara Gaffken. PHOTO BY STEFAN THALEMANN

Candle making, re-enactments, performances and skits are some of the activities happening in celebration of a special revival.

After nearly 10 years, Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) is bringing back Old Stone House Day. 

HHS is partnering with the Town of New Paltz to celebrate the 340th anniversary of the settling of New Paltz. Stone House Day is being celebrated from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 8, 2018.

Some may ask why Stone House Day ever left in the first place. The tradition ended in 2009 because the event was too difficult to sustain following the recession of ’08. 

The history of Stone House Day dates back to 1677, when 12 French Huguenot refugees founded New Paltz. 

According to Ralph LeFevre’s “History of New Paltz, New York and its old families:” They traded various goods for 40,000 acres of land with the Esopus Munsee, a subgroup of the Lenape Native Americans who had settled this region for thousands of years prior to European contact. Though the Huguenots fulfilled their part of the land deal and were granted an official patent for the land in September of 1677, it wasn’t until 1678 that they ‘proceeded to occupy the land and built shelters for their families.

In 1950, the Reformed Church of New Paltz organized a fundraiser called Stone House Day. People would dress up in colonial guard, and visit and tour the homes. HHS’s website says “HHS acquired the historic houses and continued hosting the event, which became a popular draw for both local community and visiting tourists.” 

The event gained so much popularity and traction that it was featured in The New York Times. The event was highly anticipated up until 2009, but, it is back and ready to relive its older times, with a new angle

This year, Stone House Day will focus on the diversity of  Hudson Valley history. HHS will acknowledge all cultures of New Paltz and the event will involve historically underrepresented groups too. 

“It will be a celebration of all the cultures that impacted New Paltz and Ulster County including African, Dutch, English, Esopus Munsee and French,” said Kaitlin Gallucci, director of marketing at Historic Huguenot Street. 

All seven historic stone houses will be available for tours. Two of the houses have been kept out of the public’s view for multiple years, and there will be a sneak peek into them this Old Stone House Day. The Freer House and the 1799 (LeFevre) House have been closed for years due to preservation. 

“Visitors will get a better understanding of what it might take to get these houses up and running, and open to the public again. Visitors won’t necessarily be able to tour the entirety of the homes, but will have the opportunity to peek into these structures, which many tourists and community members have never had the opportunity to see,” said Kara Gaffken, director of public programming at HHS. 

There will be performances by the 77th NY Regimental Balladeers and Early American Music & Arts. The 5th NY Regiment will be re-enacting scenes in the time of the Revolutionary War, along with sewing and blacksmithing. Erik Lichack and Eliza Vincz, from The Ministers of Apollo, will be performing early American music throughout the day.

“[Vincz] will be putting on a presentation on lady’s toilette, which shows how a fashionable lady of the 18th-century did her hair and got dressed every day,” Gaffken said. 

New Paltz Brewing Company will be selling beer and small plates of food. More vendors can apply to sell products and services, including craftspeople and artisans specialized in historical fashion, along with weavers and candlemakers.

People can also apply to volunteer for the event. The application can be downloaded from their website. 

You can pre-register for the event by visiting HHS’s website: