Historical Society of the Nyacks Share

Welcome to the Historical Society of the Nyacks where local history is alive with House Tours, John Scott ArmChair Tours, interesting excursions, and exhibits at the Nyack Library and other venues. New members are welcome.

  Local History Calendar

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Building the Tappan Zee Bridge: Photographs by Leonard Cooke, 1952-1955

The Historical Society of the Nyacks’ Fall exhibition will feature the photographs of the construction of the original Tappan Zee Bridge taken between 1952 - 1955 by Leonard Cooke of Nyack. Mr. Cooke took frequent progress photographs from his boat and from other vantage points, and he selected a set from a large number of views on which he provided his comments that tell the step-by-step story of the construction of the bridge. These photographs were believed lost for decades, but after the deaths of both Mr. and Mrs. Cooke, the photographs were found in the attic of the Cooke home. The Historical Society is pleased to share these images in its new exhibit this September.

B. W. Church—Boat Builder:
An Exhibit of His Life & Work in the Early 20th Century
Open on Saturdays and Sundays Beginning June 6

From June 6 to July 26, we presented a new exhibit titled B. W. Church—Boat Builder curated by T. Robins Brown, an architectural historian who lives in Nyack in the house where Church resided from 1919 to 1947.

B. W. Church was the president of the newly-formed Church Motor and Launch Company. During the following decades he constructed boats at four Hudson River locations in the Nyacks under this company’s name, his own name, and the ambitious Hudson Yacht & Boat Company, located at the current Petersen Boatyard. His career reveals the rapidly evolving boat-building industry in the early 20th century. Local recreational boat builders continued the tradition of making wooden boats while responding to rapid innovations in engines and boat design, and to sometimes ill-fated corporate investment. Read more ...

An Underground Railroad Monument Comes to Nyack
Historical Society of the Nyacks Museum

Saturdays in April and May, 2015
50 Piermont Ave., lower level, behind Nyack Library parking lot

Cynthia Hesdra was a Nyack woman who rose from slavery to become an entrepreneur and abolitionist. After her freedom was secured, she went on to own and operate a laundry business in New York City and Nyack, and to acquire real estate in Greenwich Village and Nyack. When Hesdra died on February 9, 1879, her net worth was around $100,000, the equivalent of $2.3 million. Read more ....

Helen Hayes, First Lady of Nyack

Helen Hayes, First Lady of Nyack, was the subject of the Historical Society of the Nyacks' display at the Nyack Library in February and March, 2015. Beloved actress of stage and screen Helen Hayes, and her husband playwright Charles MacArthur made their home in Nyack from the early 1930s until her death in 1993. They lived on North Broadway in a house they named Pretty Penny, the subject of a painting they commissioned Edward Hopper to make. Come by the display cases in the Carnegie Room, the original stone part of the library, to revisit this charming and gracious lady who once walked with us and shared life in our community.

TOYS OF THE PAST– Our Childhood Memories

This holiday-inspired display ran from February through March of 2015 in our museum at the DePew House, 50 Piermont Avenue in Nyack.

The Great Nyack House Tour 2014 - Houses with a Secret

As featured in the media. Click here for the Journal-News and click here for the New York Times.
The Historical Society of the Nyacks hosted its sixth biennial house tour on Saturday, May 3, 2014. Titled "Houses with a Secret," this special tour invited visitors to explore 10 houses that have mysteries hiding behind the doors. Our volunteer docents were there to demystify the local history surrounding each property.

We thank Event Sponsor Alan Englander of A L Sustainability LLC, and all of sponsors,
for their support of local history.


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