The Town of Highlands Historical Society was founded in 1980 by a group of history minded citizens who are interested in perpetuating the historic heritage of the Hudson Valley and its environs. Leading us into our 34th year is 34 year President: Stella Bailey - Vice President : Michael Graber - Secretary: Georgia Wallace - Financial Officers: Stella Bailey, Michael Graber. Our main purpose is to provide continuing educational services to the community through the preservation of maps, photographs, videos and any materials relating to our local heritage. We maintain, preserve and display these historic items of interest at our headquarters.
The Society Headquarters are located in the former First National Bank building on Main Street. This building became the Village Hall in 1967. On the second floor we have a research room where one can browse thru our many items and old newspapers. Our meeting room also features on-going and changing displays of local interest to our many visitors. We also feature a display window on Main Street.
The Society has recently started a genealogical file of family members since the documenting of families has become of immediate interest. Our files are growing rapidly with numerous inquiries from outside the Community. The research is done on a volunteer basis and there is a minimum charge depending on the number of pages copied and mailed.
We are especially proud of our Capt. Colin Key collection of prints of Hudson River Steamers and Day-liners. We also have a large collection of railroad information.
Our Iranian hostage collection of memorabilia is second only to that on display in The President Jimmy Carter Library in Georgia.
When the hostages were released in 1981 they came by bus thru Highland Falls on their way to a rest stop at the nearby Hotel Thayer. They were met with such a tremendous outpouring of patriotic spirit the area was nicknamed - "HOMETOWN U.S.A." One of the hostages - Mr. William Dougherty, gave us his complete collection of memorabilia and, in addition, the liaison group in Washington, D.C. called "FLAG" donated over 400 other varied items. These items were sent to the hostages from people all over the world. We are fortunate to be able to share these items with our visitors.
The societies Heritage Quilt is on display in the adjoining Historian's office and it is a magnificent work of art that should not be missed. There are 25 squares depicting in vivid color some of the historic and interesting sites throughout the community. There is also a booklet on the quilt which gives the history of each square and lists the names of the persons who worked so hard to bring the quilt to completion.
The Historical Society is chock full of fascinating materials, for instance, of particular interest to everyone is our picture display of local Veterans. First started with copies from the newspaper, when word passed around, pictures started arriving. We now have over 300 local Veterans shown. The display can be moved and is brought to different places where ceremonies take place for Veteran's Day or Memorial Day. A very worthwhile display to visit when in our area.
Working in conjunction with the Historian's Office, The Historical Society has put together a Historic Heritage Buildings Register, using information supplied through a 1979/80 research program. In addition, local residents submit information from their particular homes. Listings are in book form and make interesting reading.
A walking tour trail guide is available for any interested party wishing to browse through the newly designated "Local Historic District " in the Village of Highland Falls. The trail starts at the West Point Visitor's Center and continues through Highland Falls' Main Street. The adventurous walker can continue right through to the hamlet of Fort Montgomery to the Bear Mountain Circle. All sites are pin-pointed in the guide. These trail guides are free and available at the Historical Society, Village Hall, Library and the West Point Visitor's Center. The Local Development Corporation working with of the Village of Highland Falls, West Point and the Historian have adopted a Walk of Fame marker program which features those individuals who have had a direct impact on our Community. As you walk through the Village you will be able to read the noteworthy and interesting subject matter on these markers which are all strategically placed and were all generously sponsored by local organizations.
For more information on any topics mentioned or how to obtain a Heritage Quilt book or if you are interested in becoming a Historical Society Member, click on the CONTACT PAGE.
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