Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer History Camp

Warwick Historical Society’s Living Experience
  • History Camp for Boys and Girls
  • Monday-Friday, August 6-10th, 9-2PM
  • For Ages 8-11
  • Bring your lunch. We will provide early American healthy snacks and drinks
  • Unearth and take home fluorescent crystals
  • Learn and complete a felting project
  • Create clay pottery
  • Make historic artifacts such as string bead wampum
  • Step back in time to 1700 local Indian life
  • Historical role playing with artifacts from the Society’s collection
  • Assist in making a ring with a real blacksmith
  • Located at the Shingle House and Baird’s Tavern, Warwick, NY
  • $175.00 per child, $150.00 for siblings
To Register Call 845-986-3236 or Contact us, and we will email a registration form to

                                                               horseshoe nail ring

Friday, June 29, 2012

Recent Press Coverage

Blacksmithing at the Farmers Market

Recent Press: Farmers' Market and Living History

We have been at the Farmers' Market recently sharing living history scenarios. The current emphasis has been on tools and the things that were traditionally made with them, but the Historical Society includes much more. Come and see the exhibition "Children and Their Playthings, 1880-1910" at Francis Baird Tavern Thursdays-Sundays, 1-4PM, or walk arounf the Village and see nine historical structures that have been preserved by the organization.


Recent Press

At the end of April, we had our first blacksmithing class here at the Warwick Historical Society. We are offereing another class August 11-14. Scroll down for further details.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Living History at WHS         

Blacksmithing Classes

Re-creating the Tools that Transformed a Wilderness: Knives, Tomahawks, Froes, Mortising Axes and Other Edge Tools

August 11-14, 2012, 9-4 PM

Instructor: Adriaan Gerber

Hasbrouck Carriage House (Behind Francis Baird Tavern) 105 Main St., Warwick

Tuition: $325 for two days (16 hours) and $50 for each additional day ( 2 more day limit). 

Prior Registration: 845-781-3729, Class limited to six so register now.


Class includes use of tools and materials (coal and metal stock)

Traditional knife making methods can be described as inseparable from the particularities of the places from which they have evolved; both their form and function has been dictated by the natural materials available to the artist as well as the challenges of terrain, flora and fauna, and occupations which have inspired them. Particularly, the demands of the northeastern woods and the woodsmen who sought shelter, harvested its bounty for sustenance and trade, and protected themselves from the imminent dangers of the wild were especially influential in the vernacular design of hunting knives in the 17th and 18th century. Wood, bone, antler, and locally forged metal were the earliest mediums of this artistic expression.

Through the use of blacksmithing tools, particularly a heavy hammer, drift, hot cut or cutting hardy, and metal file, the blacksmith/knife maker would refine the metal blanks that they initially hammered out of trade metal or metal crudely forged from local iron ore in the populated hamlets, villages and cities of early America. With added difficulty, harder, more expensive steel was forge welded to softer metal blanks to form a composite forming composite. This would result in strong, serviceable cutting edges on knives and other tools.

These knives had a unique identity dictated not merely by the choices of materials to make them but the hammering techniques employed and the refined process of tempering the steel metal edge on them as well as the additional choices of blade size and shape based on their particular uses.  The composite handle construction was suited to functionality and durability.

These forms were unique to a northern American identity; their purpose was dictated by the demands of an unprecedented terrain characterized by virgin forests, untrammeled mountain tops, wildlife, and sometimes feared indigenous populations. The availability of a unique variety of raw materials for the purpose of knife manufacture like bone, antler, and wrought iron were further differentiated from European antecedents by the choices of fuels and methods available to the artisan in a frontier situation. Although there was a common thread that linked the work of these artisans, there are even more unique techniques like the choice of when a knife is finished to their satisfaction, the style they preferred, and the level of non-functional ornamentation realized.

Function would dictate form, and amongst specifically knife makers there were those who specialized in the simplicity of a one piece wrought iron knife for the purpose of skinning or a more complex construction of a wide blade hunting knife with a steel edged blade and a composite handle of trade brass, stag, moose antler, and sometimes plain iron.

The similarly primitive crook knife had the multiplicity of both form and function in the northeastern woods. Early American artisans did not limit their skills solely to the creation of hunting knives, for they would manufacture  any of the tools necessitated initially in the forest and the eventual cleared farm land.

The froe undoubtedly served in the early settlement of Warwick. Bringing their knowledge of construction from the earlier settlement in  the Wyoming Valley of Connecticut, Warwick’s settlers recreated the  salt-box design for their homes. Using local cedar and hard woods they fashioned shakes/shingles needed to sheath these structures. This is best exemplified in the original shingles extant on the Warwick Historical Society’s circa 1764 Shingle House (Forester Avenue). This is the oldest structure in the Village of Warwick. Built by Daniel Burt for his son and his new bride, the froe was likely an invaluable tool in this pioneer’s tool box, as the shingles exemplify to this day the signs of having been split and sheared with such a tool (Also, notice the original hand-forged rosette nails attaching the shingles) .

The broad axe, distinguished by its singular edge, was used for glancing strikes on a log to square it off. From the log would evolve a square beam to frame the house. The more lightweight mortising axe would serve in slotting beams for joinery. Mortise and tenon were formed and then joined by wooden pegs/nails shaped with another important edge tool of the pioneer’s tool box---the draw knife.

Edge tools were also necessitated in fashioning inland boats, like the bateau, and canoes adopted from local Indians for the rivers, lakes, and ponds characteristic of the area. The forge artisan created caulking irons and slicks---chisels invaluable to custom wooden boat construction to this day. 

For more information, email:, or call: 845-781-3729
Summer History Camp at the Warwick Historical Society
August 6-10, 9AM-2PM at the Warwick Historical Society there is a wonderful program of living history hands-on learning activities being offered for kids ages 8-11.

There will scenarios that re-create life and culture of Native Americans in 18th Century Warwick. Pottery and weaving activities will be presented by local artists. A felting project will result in a multicolored felt "geode".

Kids can unearth fluorescent crystals native to Warwick and bend a horseshoe nail into a ring with a blacksmith. Step back in time to Civil War camp life as well as Revolutionary War life as it was in this community.

Experience 18th and 19th century tools, spin wool, and cook food al fresco. Bring your own lunch. Snacks and drinks provided. $175 per camper, siblings $150 each. Make your reservation now by registering and payment.

Call: 845-781-3729, or 845-986-3236. Email: We are located at the A.W. Buckbee Center (the former library), 2 Colonial Ave., Warwick.

Living History: Saws and Axes

At the Warwick Historical Society's booth at the Warwick Farmers' Market will be presenting another living history experience to call attention to our ongoing restoration of the Shingle House (1764), the oldest house in the Village of Warwick.
his structure is truly a pioneer structure, as it was constructed when the area that is now the Village was a frontier. A hole was hand dug to create a cellar. Rock were rolled out of that hole and others were added as a small plot was cleared for faming. The fieldstone were hand stacked to form a foundation and a central chimney that exist to this day. Limestone mortar was used to construct the chimney.
After the stone work was completed, or in the process of construction, as the chimney was likely constructed in stages obtaining its eventual height only as wooden frame and flooring were put into place to reach it for that completion. Timbers were hand-hewn. Boards were sawn by dragging them over the cellar hole and pit sawing them.  
Before sawmills, there was the land owner with the task of shaping timbers to build house and barns from felled trees to shelter his family, his crop, his livestock, his possessions and himself. The knowledge and skill required to hand hewn a log came by doing. Today, with a mortising axe, adze, and several broad axes, a 14 plus inch in diameter oak log will be shaped into a beam with tenons at both ends.

With a spud, bark will be peeled from the green log. Then glancing strikes with a broad axe will make round square, and a beam will begin to be formed. The log will be rolled and each side shaped accordingly. With this type of work, tools must be sharpened with a stone.

Additionally, a saw buck is being presented with lengths of white ash. The ash will be sawed using a two-man saw. Participation in this activity is encouraged, as success in sawing depends on coordination between sawyers. The saw was hand sharpened with a flat file and whetting stone. Saws were also maintained by a set tool that would serve to offset teeth in order to achieve a bite with each pass.

New York Heartwoods is a specialist in reclaiming and re-purposing dead, dying and diseased local white ash and other local woods. All wood for these presentations is courtesy of New York Heartwoods.

Blacksmithing Class at Warwick Historical Society, Aug. 11-14

August 6-10, 9AM-2PM at the Warwick Historical Society there is a wonderful program of living history hands-on learning activities being offered for kids ages 8-11. There will scenarios that re-create life and culture of Native Americans in 18th century Warwick.

Pottery and weaving activities will be presented by local artists. A felting project will result in a multicolored felt "geode". Kids can unearth fluorescent crystals native to Warwick and bend a horseshoe nail into a ring with a blacksmith.

Step back in time to Civil War camp life as well as Revolutionary War life as it was in this community. Experience 18th anbd 19th century tools, spin wool, and cook food al fresco. Bring your own lunch.

Snacks and drinks provided. $175 per camper, siblings $150 each. Make your reservation now by registering and payment. Call: 845-781-3729, or 845-986-3236. Email: We are located at the A.W. Buckbee Center (the former library), 2 Colonial Ave., Warwick.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

1st Annual Orange County Silent Film Festival

The Warwick Historical Society and the Neversink Valley Museum of History and Innovation Present

1st Annual Orange County Silent Film Festival

This program was curated by Seth Goldman, Executive Director of the Neversink Valley Museum of History and Innovation and Director of the Neversink Valley Institute of Early Film Studies (located at 26 Hoag Road, Cuddebackville, NY 12729) and Gretchen Weerheim, Education Director of the Neversink Valley Museum of History and Innovation and Associate Director of the Neversink Valley Institute of Early Film Studies.
An introduction by Seth Goldman includes a film short done in Cuddebackville by D.W. Griffith.

The festival also calls attention to Warwick’s own cinema palace, the Oakland Theatre, which served the community as a location for vaudeville, opera, music, and film from the silent era until the 1970s when the structure was demolished.      

“For many, the Oakland Theatre was the site of both their first movie and their first date; I, for one, savior memories of B horror movies starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee I saw during the last years of the Theatre’s existence. Recently, I acquired a World War I era poster advertizing a concert for the “Permanent Blind Relief War Fund For Soldiers and Sailors at the Oakland Theatre”, which exemplifies the integral civic role these early opera houses and cinema palaces played in communities like Warwick and others in addition to providing a public space for “movie going”, a seemingly rarer occasion these days. 

We want to contribute to bringing a little bit more of that back from the past at the A.W. Buckbee Center,” said Dr. Robert Schmick, Executive Director of the Historical Society.

Sunday, July 29, 7-9PM

I. Seth Goldman presents selections of local films by D.W.Griffith shot in Cuddebackville, NY.

II. Horror Selections:

The Haunted Castle (1896)
Frankenstein (1910)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde (1912)
The Avenging Conscience (1914)

Monday, July 30, 12-2PM Matinee

I. The Enchanted Drawing (1900)
II. Delivering Newspapers (1903)
III. Fantasmagorie (1908)
IV. Little Nemo (1911)
V. Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)
VI. A Boy and His Elephant (1913)
VII. Our Gang Short (1920s)
VIII. Felix the Cat (1920s)
IX. A Trip to the Moon (1902)
X. The Bat

Piano music accompaniment

Tickets: $10 ( per day )

Where: A.W. Buckbee Center, 2 Colonial Ave., Warwick, NY

For more information, call: 845-781-3729    Email:


Le Manior du Diable ( The Haunted Castle)
Released: December 24, 1896, Paris, France
Directed and Written: Georges Melies
Studio: Star-Film Run
Time: 3:00
Featuring: Georges Melies, Jeanne d’Alcy

Plot Summary: A large bat flies into a medieval castle, circling and flapping its wings before suddenly changing into Mephistopheles(Georges Melies). He prepares a bubbling cauldron that produces symbols of evil: skeletons, witches, ghosts before one of the summoned underworld cavaliers holds up a crucifix, sending Mephistopheles back to Hell in a puff of smoke. This early film uses traditional pantomime elements seen in stage productions, common for the time. The action takes place on a basic set with camera tricks to give the illusions of appearance and disappearance. This film initially was meant to amuse, not frighten, but is considered by Many scholars to be the first horror film.

Released : March 18, 1910
Directed and Written: J. Searle Dawley
Studio: Edison Manufacturing Company, Bronx, NY
Run Time: 16 minutes
Featuring: Charles Stanton Ogle (The monster), Augustus Phillips (Frankenstein), Mary Fuller (Dr. Frankenstein’s Bride).

Plot Summary: Frankenstein, a young student, bids farewell to his father and fiancée as he leaves to enter college to study the sciences. He becomes Absorbed in the mysteries of life and death and resolves to create a human being. His grand experiment results in the creation of a hideous monster. which frightens Frankenstein. The experiment takes a great toll on Frankenstein’s health and he returns home. The monster follows him home and reveals his presence, insanely jealous of anyone else who may be in Frankenstein’s life. Terrorized, a scuffle ensues wherein Frankenstein casts the monster to the floor, who sees his reflection for the first time in a mirror. The monster is appalled by his reflected image and leaves, only to eventually return on Frankenstein’s wedding day. Still, the monster believes his only place is beside his creator and goes into the bride’s room to find the cause of his jealousy. She rushes out and faints at Frankenstein’s feet. Eventually, Frankenstein’s own power of good over evil rids the home of his horrific creation and Frankenstein and his bride embrace.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Released: January 16, 1912
Director: Lucius Henderson
Writer: Robert Lewis Stevenson (book); Thomas Russell Sullivan (screenplay)
Studio: Thanhauser Company, New Rochelle, NY
Run Time: 11:31
Featuring: James Cruze ( Jekyll and Hyde), Harry Benham (Hyde, some scenes), Florence La Badie (Jekyll’s sweetheart), Marie Eline (Little Girl knocked down by Hyde), Jane Gall (extra), Marguerite Snow (extra).

Plot Summary: Dr. Jekyll has secretly locked himself in his laboratory, taking a drug of his own creation. One it takes effect, he slumps in his chair, only to awaken as his evil alter ego. Mr. Hyde. A hideous beast, after using the drug repeatedly, Dr. Jekyll can no longer control Mr. Hyde’s emergence, who goes on to commit evil. Mr. Hyde discovers that the antidote is finished, and he will remain his evil personality forever. A policeman breaks down Dr. Jekyll’s door to find the doctor dead after taking poison.

The Avenging Conscience
Released: August 14, 1914
Directed and Written: D.W. Griffith, based on Poe’s “the Tell-Tale Heart” and “Annabel Lee”. Studio: Majestic Motion Picture Company
Run Time: 56 minutes
Featuring: Henry B. Walthall (Nephew), Blance Sweet (Sweetheart), Spottiswoode Aitken (uncle), George Siegmann (The Italian), Ralph Lewis (The Detective), Mae Marsh (The Maid), Robert Harron (Grocery Boy) George Beranger A young man falls in love with a beautiful woman, but his uncle disapproves of her. Because his passion for her is strong, the young man kills his uncle and hides him behind a wall he builds. Guilt torments him over this murder and he begins to hear noises, and eventually his uncle appears to him as a ghost. The nephew loses his grip on reality as the police figure out what he’s done and close in on him. It all turns out to be a nasty dream and his uncle is really still alive.

Children’s Films:

The Enchanted Drawing
Released; November 16, 1900
Studio: Vitagraph Studios/ Edison Studios
Run Time: 2 minutes
Featuring: J. Stuart Blackton

Plot Summary: This short features a combination of animation and live action showing a man drawing a cartoon face on an easel. First he draws a hat on the head, then a bottle, then more. The cartoon man seems to have a life of his own and reacts to whatever the artist draws and does.

Our Gang Short
Released: 1920s
Run Time: Various, 10-15 minutes

Short to be named. These are the classic shorts that eventually became known as the Little Rascals when sound took over in the 1930s. They are timeless and need little explanation!

Felix the Cat
Released: 1920s
Run Time: Various, 5-7 minutes

Delivering Newspapers
Released: 1903
Created: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company
Run Time: 56 seconds (will show twice)

Very short film showing newspaper boys gathering up their copies of New York World to sell and fight breaks out at the end. Take place in New York City , most likely Union Square. An early glimpse of what children used to do.

Released: August 17, 1908
Created: Emile Cohl
Studio: Societe des Etablissements L. Gaumont
Run time: 1 minute, 20 seconds

Meant to recreate a chalk figure on a blackboard, this animation shows a variety of objects morphing from one object to another. The main characters are a clown and a man and are drawn by a man’s hand on camera. The title is a reference to the fantasmograph, a mid 19th-century variant of the magic lantern that projected images on walls for audiences to enjoy.

Little Nemo
Released: April 8, 1911
Created: Windsor McCay and James S. Blackton
Run Time: 10:34
Featuring: Windsor McCay

Windsor McKay tells his friends that he will create an animated film using 4000 pages of drawings. The film shows how he goes about the process, albeit comically. The last two minutes of the film are the Little Nemo animation. It is remarkable for its beauty as well as each of the 4000 cells are hand-painted.

Gertie the Dinosaur
Released: September 14, 1914
Created: Windsor McKay
Run Time: 12:00
Featuring: Windsor McKay, George McManus, Roy McCardell, Max Fleischer Windsor McKay interacts with Gertie, a brontosaurus, who does tricks on command. When she misbehaves, McKay scolds her and she cries. McKay and Gertie ride off together at the end of the cartoon. This is the first cartoon to feature a character with a personality and was the first to use key frame animation, or drawing that defines the starting and ending points of transition. McKay also drew each frame himself, on individual 6.5” x 8.5” sheets of rice paper, and hired John A. Fitzsimmons to draw the backgrounds.

A Boy and His Elephant
Released: 1913
Directed: Louise Feuillade
Run Time: 9:17

A little boy steals a little elephant from a band of gypsies and together they have a series of misadventures. Charming French film that anyone could enjoy and is reminiscent of Our Gang features.


A Trip to the Moon (La Voyage dans la lune)
Released: September 1, 1902, France
Directed and Written: Georges Melies
Studio: Gaston Melies Films
Run Time: 11:18
Featuring: Georges Melies, Jeanne d’Alcy

Color Version: Six astronomers agree to build a space capsule in the shape of a bullet, put it in a cannon and shoot it to the moon. Landing safely, the astronomers have all sorts of adventures but make it home to tell the tale at a great celebration. The color version was thought to be lost but one was discovered in 1993 in a near decomposed state. A hand frame-by-frame restoration was launched in 1999 and completed in 2010.

The Bat
Released: March 14, 1926 Produced, Directed and Written by: Roland West
Run Time: 85:36
Studio: United Artists
Featuring: George Beranger (Gideon Bell), Charles Hartzinger (Cortleigh Fleming), Emilyu Fitzroy (Cornelia Van Gorder), Louise Fazenda (Lizzie Allen), Arthur Housman (Richard Flemming), Robert McKim (Dr. Wells), Jack Pickford (Brooks Bailey), Jewel Carmen (Dale Ogden), Kamiyama Sôjin (Billy the Butler), Tullio Carminati (Detective Moletti), Eddie Gribbon (Detective Anderson), Lee Shumway (The Unknown)

A silent film based upon the Broadway Play by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood. The Bat, a masked criminal, terrorizes a mansion filled with the guests of a mystery writer. This mansion has hidden within it $20,000 of stolen money. The guests, along with a detective, search for the clues to the identity of The Bat. Interestingly, this film was remade twice: Roland West remade the film with sound in 1930 and released it as The Bat Whispers with Chester Morris and Una Merkilin 1958 with Vincent Price and this is also the film where Bob Kane got the inspiration for the comic superhero “Batman”; there is a bat-signal used in the film to frighten the guests before the attacks. Jack Pickford is also a star in this film and if his last name sounds familiar, you might think of his older sister Mary, perhaps one of the most famous film stars of all time.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Blacksmithing Demonstration at the Warwick Farmers' Market, Sunday, June 9, 9AM-2PM

At the end of April, 2012 the Warwick Historical Society had its first blacksmithing class behind Francis Baird's Tavern. The fact that blacksmithing hasn't occurred on this spot since the time of Francis Baird himself did not escape us. With the realization of this class we are motivated to continue this and other traditional arts programming to connect with new people in our community and to offer these types of hands-on learning experiences more frequently.

This Sunday there will be a free demonstration at the Farmers' Market in Warwick. The impetus for this is not only to call attention to specifically our blacksmithing programming but to offer living history experiences on a regular basis to our community. Other scenarios will be orchestrated in the weeks and months to come. The opportunity for a spectator to pick up a hammer and to pound hot metal for the first time has immeasurable power to not only inspire the individual particpating but those standing nearby; participation is our goal.

We hope to offer such experiences regularly at the Farmers' Market also contributing to the further development of the local market as not merely a place to shop but a place to learn about good food choices, local agriculture, and the area's rich heritage. When talking about traditional art programming like blacksmithing the discussion is often relegated to using tools from another age to recreate products anachronistic to our own time.

Strap hinges, J-Hooks, and S-Hooks made by a contemporary blacksmith are ubiquitous, as often there is a percieved necessity to do as was done. What isn't often considered is that living history programming is not realized to its fullest potential as a teaching tool or a skill in the repertoire of the creative individual/artist. The skills imparted by the traditional artist to a group of eager students of blacksmithing, loom weaving, woodworking, or a host of other scenarios appropriate to recreating life in the past should begin with the task of recreating material culture of the past and soon evolve into using these traditional art skills as a medium for contemporary creative expression.

In a recent discussion about the use of traditional blacksmithing as a medium for contemporary artistic expression with a working blacksmith we happened upon the idea of using our skills to create tools and objects representative of an mythological extraterrestial culture of our own design. The backstory would be that these "beings" visited Earth at some point in the distant past leaving behind, under the surface, "remains" to be recovered and studied. The created tools would be contributive to the creation of a mythopoetic world with instances of phenomena that was, or could have been. It is the tangible that has often proven what was or is.

Creating a fictional world and tangible evidence of it through a traditional art medium is a logical creative expression for working with a material that is among a few appearing in nature that can weather time exposed to the elements. Creating objects and then using them as props and in a faux archaeological dig of unexpected occurrence seems as good as it gets when applying the old artist skills to new artistic expression as well as the lessons of history to our lives in the present.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lecture Series: Glenn Rhein Speaks On the Discovery of Spectacular Giant Crystals in Amity, New York in Town of Warwick, Thursday, June 7, 2012, 7-8:30PM

Not long ago Glenn Rhein had a geological survey done of his property in Amity, NY in the Town of Warwick. The geologist came back scratching his head explaining that what he had on his property was something of an anomaly; there was a treasure trove of all types of crystals to be found on and under the surface of his property.

What we had and what was more commonly known as far back as the 1820s is a stop along a vein of crystalline formations that runs between Canada and Franklin, New Jersey that was formed some 800 million years ago when Mt. Adam and Mt. Eve pushed up through a marble belt forming these giant and sometimes fluorescent crystals. Many of us know about the crystals to be found in the Franklin, New Jersey, and many us even had a class trip as Warwick students to the mine and broke open a geode or two in search of some spectacular crystals, but most people from the area know nothing about the world-class minerals and stones that literally lay in our backyard.

Minerals like Edenite, Warwickite, and Clintonite are particular to this area with small quantities in existence. Mr. Rhein, a contractor, not long after getting the news from the geologist, dug a huge pit which uncovered a cornucopia of crystals of both rarity and quality. Within a short time he has become somewhat of an expert on this particular vein identifying 19 distinctive varieties on the property. The most obvious distinction of many of the samples that have been uncovered is large size; some of them measure in excess of four inches in diameter.

Since uncovering these crystals, he has shared them with both professional and amateur mineralogists alike. Travelling to Paris with wife Karen, the Rheins presented samples to the Ecoles de Mines where supposedly the largest collection of minerals and rocks from Orange County, NY is housed. Many colleges and universities have expressed much interest in the discovery sending many to the site to document it and to accept samples for their collection.

This Thursday, June 7, 7-8:30PM a presentation will include a talk about the discovery and its relevance to other area finds. There will be many real samples on display as well as a slide presentation narrated by Mr. Rhein which will illustrate the largess and aesthetic magnificence of this discovery. The fluorescence of some of these samples will also be revealed; it is the Rheins' intention to present a display vitrine fixed with a black light that will share the fluorescent qualities of these minerals with Warwick residents on semi-permanent basis.