City’s East End historic district celebrates 50 years

By Alberto Gilman
Posted 10/11/23

Over the course of the weekend of October 6 - 8, residents and visitors to the City of Newburgh took part in public workshops and community engagement events to learn about on-going preservation …

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City’s East End historic district celebrates 50 years


Over the course of the weekend of October 6 - 8, residents and visitors to the City of Newburgh took part in public workshops and community engagement events to learn about on-going preservation efforts and engage in awareness about Newburgh’s architectural treasures. This inaugural weekend was fittingly named Archtober Newburgh.

The weekend featured over 20 programs that included architectural walking tours and a child focused scavenger hunt. Community workshops included a Historic Tax Credits workshop by the New York State Historic Preservation Office, a screening of The Sixth Section, which documented the immigrant labor experience in Newburgh, a presentation on Latino culture and preservation by architect Enrique Silvia and an exploration of technological resources like Urban Archive or Minecraft to amplify historic collections.

The planning, promotion and engagement of this celebration was spearheaded by The Fullerton, a Newburgh-based non-profit. The work of the Fullerton encourages and offers community engagement opportunities and endeavors to celebrate and learn more about the history of Newburgh. Board members Naomi Hersson-Ringskog and Liz McEnaney led the community engagement activities and discussions for neighbors and visitors to gain a better understanding of their purpose for the celebration.

“I think this weekend has been incredible. This is the hopefully inaugural Archtober Newburgh weekend and that this will be something that continues on,” McEnaney said. “What’s really been great is I think across the board, we’ve heard people just say that really Newburgh’s architecture is one of its greatest resources.” “Archtober Newburgh is something that anyone can contribute during the month of October,” said Hersson-Ringskog. “There are layers of history and everything needs to be uncovered.”

Other forms of preservation and recognition of the past can take place in the digital space with groups such as Urban Archive, a 501(c)(3) organization that incorporates technology and photography into historical storytelling and community study. For Newburgh, Parker Limon of Urban Archive had the opportunity to partner with City Historian Mary McTamaney and add to the digital collection photographs that captured what Newburgh once was. “I think events like this weekend feel really successful, and that they drum up a lot of excitement. It’s kind of like, it gives people some pride in where they are,” said Limon. “It exposes people to ideas that maybe they didn’t think about.”

While many were not able to see what the City of Newburgh once was prior to Urban Renewal, Ember Beeler, a senior in college traveling all the way from Texas, has worked over the past several years in recreating pre-Urban Renewal Newburgh in the popular video game Minecraft, recreating notable landmarks such as the Dutch Reformed Church and the Palatine Hotel. Her work is available to view at her Instagram and Youtube page titled The Newburgh Project.

“I think you have to remember history in order to not repeat it, and presenting it through Minecraft, it’s kind of a fun way that’s not a boring presentation, or anything that’s confrontational. It’s just a way to kind of get people to be like, “Oh, so this was what was here, this is what happened, this is why things are the way they are,” she said. “What I would want to see is talk to the younger generations about what happened here. Explain what happened, why it happened.”

While the weekend did experience several rain showers, a sunny day concluded the weekend, and with the end, it also marked the 50th Anniversary of the East End Historic District. Friends and supporters enjoyed cake and conversed with one another at Spirits Lab on Ann Street in the City of Newburgh, who also debuted their newest product East End Gin as a nod to the area of the city the business calls home.

For more information about Archtober Newburgh and the work of the Fullerton, please visit The Fullerton’s website,