of New York State
See Status Report on 1999 Seven to Save
Portion of the East End Historic District (Newburgh)
The neighborhood of modest early and mid 19th century Federal Style dwellings and rowhouses west of Washingtons Headquarters (the Hasbrouck House) has been deteriorating over the past two decades. This neighborhood not only stands next to the oldest designated historic site in the United States, but is also the oldest neighborhood in Newburgh. The simple brick and wood frame individual and attached houses appear to have sprung up around an 1830's African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (the present A.M.E. Zion Church was built on the same site and dates from the 1860s). The neighborhood was most likely an early African American neighborhood, whose residents probably for generations worked on the Hasbrouck Estate. Also leading to this assumption of an early African-American neighborhood is the correlation between the construction dates of the homes with the date of the final manumission act in New York State which ended, once and for all, slavery in this state.
Many of these architecturally, historically and culturally significant structures now stand vacant. A high degree of vandalism and destruction from exposure to the weather have taken their toll on the neighborhood. Despite recent efforts to stabilize the East End, the neighborhood continues to suffer from disinvestment. A tremendous story still remains to be told about this once vibrant African-American neighborhood.
According to Newburgh architect, Peter Smith, I sense that this place is a time capsule that holds useful information about the evolution of a segment of American life from the mid 1700's through 1850. This little enclave has the potential to tell the story of that transition from the old Dutch patroonship system through the period of a free African neighborhood (whose economy, one suspects, was based on cottage industry skills), through its change when larger scale manufacturing began to play an increasing role in this countrys evolution and European immigration increased.
A recently-formed organization, Project Newburgh, plans to promote and preserve this neighborhood. They hope to make the public aware of the neighborhoods significance, and encourage individuals to purchase, restore and reside in its homes.
Contact: Peter Smith, 914-565-8113 or Marc Shenfield, Project Newburgh, 914-271-3141