Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Corridors Issue Going to Print Soon

We are now putting the finishing touches on articles, columns and graphics for the launch issue "Corridors". We still need more advertisers. Our ad rates are extremely reasonable already, but we are short handed with staff to spread the word. So....we are offering a 50% ad rate discount to any business or non-profit that pays for their membership this charter period! Please tell your friends and business contacts.

Many paths converged to form the corridor leading to the release of this our first issue. Designs, financial projections, conferences, membership drives, collaborating partnerships, author choices, advertiser recruiting, web site and blog—all joined to form our current path. Similarly, the settling of Dutchess County resulted from many corridors—native trails, migration paths, commerce routes and church ministries.

One aspect of routes and corridors—that of steering a course—speaks well to a thread running throughout this issue: our success yesterday and today results from the determination to stay the course, the intuition to know when to change course and the courage to create a new course. These traits are well illustrated by our center montage contributor, the Woodstock School of Art, whose 41-year history embodies the determination to meet difficult challenges that so characterized our early settlers. What is an Ulster County institution doing in the Dutchess County magazine, you may well ask? We do consider it proper to include material from neighboring regions of interest to Dutchess County residents. Also, the featured exhibit was partially funded by a grant from an Anonymous Fund of the Community Foundation of Dutchess County, and local artists submitted entries. In this our Quadricentennial year, no issue about corridors could be deemed complete without covering the Hudson River. For this we wanted to begin with a dramatic graphic treatment, and the “Banks of the Hudson” exhibit presented a golden opportunity to do just that. Our columns this month cover challenges varying from making period landscaping sustainable for today to developing new construction compatibly with historic preservation. Several local historians contributed their take on the crisis facing our County Records Archives and the need for filling the vacant County Historian office.

Genealogists and historians will appreciate two articles on migrations this issue. Award winning author Frank Doherty uses his Settlers of the Beekman Patent research to examine trends in early settler routes. History is always a tale of the forces that act upon a people as well as their response to those forces. Therefore, we must consider both the places the early settlers migrated from, and as well, what they took with them when they left that made a contribution to the history of other places. This article satisfies both requirements in equal measure, providing a fascinating look at early 18th century roadway development at the same time. The spread of religion affected migration. Dutchess County boasted the largest concentration of Quakers outside of Philadelphia during the mid to late 1700’s. Steven Mann, a noted authority on local Quaker families provides a look at those early settlers who came here by way of Long Island.

A glance at the map will show that most of our corridors run north and south. The Hudson forms the western boundary, Route 22 hugs the east and the Taconic Parkway bisects the county vertically. Traveling east to west is not as easy—jogs and angles are required. The same was true in the early days. Bernie Rudberg’s Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge article tells about the nearly insurmountable challenges facing the railroads traversing the county and crossing the river. With determination and ingenuity the hurdles were overcome. Funding the ambitious project of reopening the bridge as a pedestrian park in these difficult economic times provides an appropriate counterpoint of barriers and triumph that you will read about in Fred Schaeffer’s companion piece. Now, as it did then, linking the two sides of the river provides a key asset to economic progress. Whereas then the bridge supplied a way of getting goods to market faster and cheaper, now it gives us a tourist attraction that will bring much needed dollars into our area. This bridges the river, but the east and west sides of our county are still too often “far apart.” Those who live on the edges consider destinations on the other side of the county far away, while thinking nothing of traveling the same miles south or north. Perhaps we can use our ingenuity now to foster more cross-county relationships?

Valerie LaRobardier, Managing Editor

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