Walkway Over the Hudson Oral History Project
By Samantha Cariani
I am a recent graduate of Marist College with a Political Science major and a Paralegal Certificate. As a student I was involved in different internships including one abroad in London where I worked for Hammersmith and Fulham Community Law Centre the spring semester of my junior year. I first became involved with the HRVI while assisting Dr. Geoffrey Brackett, Executive Vice President of Marist College, on his book project about the Hudson River. After graduation I decided to continue my work as a research assistant with the Hudson River Valley Institute.
I began the summer working on the Walkway Over the Hudson Oral History project. To make sure that the history of the Walkway project is preserved, the HRVI, in conjunction with the Walkway Over the Hudson Organization and Dyson Foundation, have interviewed over thirty-five individuals who have some affiliation with the project and bridge. The interviews were conducted from 2008-2009. As I edited and placed the different interviews conducted on the HRVI’s Youtube channel, I discovered the many different factors and opinions involved that made the bridge what it is today. Here are some of my favorites:
Edmond Loedy’s interpretation of what should be on the bridge when finished was ambitious; he essentially wanted to have a city on top of the bridge. There would be housing on the bridge, businesses, museums, and restaurants. While his plan never came to be, the thought of potentially having these elements on a bridge was exciting to learn about. For Edmond Loedy’s complete interview click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P7A5X6fenk
Carleton Mabee, who is the author of such works as Bridging the Hudson: The Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge and its Connecting Lines, also provided a unique perspective. He describes in great detail some of the stories of the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge before it became the Walkway Over the Hudson. Stories included everything from FDR’s involvement to how difficult and dangerous it was to paint the bridge. The historical background that he presents is extremely fascinating and insightful. For Carleton Mabee’s entire interview click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0zD5VPkEKE
For more information about the Walkway Over the Hudson please follow the link to the organization website: https://www.walkway.org/
To hear more interviews on the Walkway Over the Hudson Oral History click here to the Hudson River Valley Institute’s Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOrIrty1srmbXAmrH601v-Q
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Saturday July 5 from 5pm to 10pm
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The Hudson River Valley Institute Blog
By Jason Schaaf
On June 12th through the 14th Marist College and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum hosted the 35th Conference on New York History. The New York State Archives Partnership Trust along with the New York State Museum and the Hudson River Valley Institute joined together to make this year’s conference a great success. With over 300 people participating, this year ranks among the highest in attendance.
The first day of the conference was held at the FDR Library’s state of the art Wallace Center. I’ve gone to several conferences at this site and am always pleased with how well things are organized and presented. The staff there is always great. The opening session fittingly concerned Creating Collaborations among those involved in New York State history. It worked to set the tone for many of the panels I sat in on that made a point of drawing people from several fields and disciplines in an attempt to bring the subject material to life in a highly nuanced many.
There were several key note speakers present over the course of the conference. The most famous of which was arguably documentary film maker Ken Burns who spoke at the Wallace Center. He took the opportunity to show scenes from his upcoming documentary, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, set to premier on PBS in the Fall of 2014. Mr. Burns took a few questions from the audience but being a film lover that I am I found myself wishing he could have spoken for much longer. Still it was a very nice experience.
Aside from Ken Burns I was able to enjoy several other high profile speakers. For example we had the chief historian and VP of the History Channel, Libby O’Connel talk on Thursday evening which I sadly had to miss. But we also enjoyed talks from Myra McPherson on Victoria Woodhull and Tennie Claflin entitled The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Sufferage, and Scandal in the Gilded Age. I was particularly fond of this talk as it covered a subject I knew very little of an as Mrs. McPhearson is a journalist by trade, she brought an interesting perspective to storytelling that was pleasantly different than the academic approach. Other key note speakers included Barnet Schecter speaking on the 1863 Draft Riots of NYC and Douglas Brinkley talking on FDR’s close association to the Hudson Valley.
The conference also featured a host of panels. Having a deep affection for New York History, I frequently had to make difficult choices on which to attend as there were always three panels per time slot. I spent time in the ones that spoke to the remembrance of 9/11 which, being such a sensitive issue to all New Yorkers, was handled with care and professionalism yet offered many interesting ways to look at how that horrific event is remembered. I also sat on a panel on landscape architecture as well as another on the Roosevelts. In each of these the collection of presentations and perspectives raised interesting questions and points of interest. I can say that I was able to take something away from my experience in each. Finally I chaired a panel on Place Based History with Debi Duke of Teaching the Hudson Valley, Shaun Boyce of Arlington High School and Susan Stessin of the Town of New Paltz. It turned into quite the lively panel as is so often the case when discussing issues that pertain to education and its goals and limitations. All said and done, it was a pleasure to chair and I felt that a good discussion was had.
So in conclusion, the Conference on New York State History for 2014 was a well-organized and attended event. It was mentioned on numerous occasions how this one came close to breaking previous attendance records. The panels were lively and the speakers were highly informed and diverse. It’s a conference that anyone interested in New York history, be they educators, site administrators or casual fans should pencil into their summer schedules for the upcoming years.