Bethlehem Historical Association

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2015 -2016 Programs

Twenty-first Century Archaeology in New York State
Thursday, September 17, 2015   7:00 PM

Dr. Christina Rieth, New York State Archaeologist

Dr. Rieth will speak about Twenty-first Century Archaeology in New York State.  Dr. Reith oversees a collection of over 4 million items of Native and Euro-American manufacture.  It includes the largest Dutch Colonial archaeological materials in North America.  Her research of late Prehistoric populations of the Northeastern United States and Canada has led to greatly increased understanding of the movement of settlements, their trade and interactions with their environment and each other. 

The New York Rent Wars of the 1840s

Thursday, October 15, 2015   7:00 PM

Dr. William Batt

Dr. William Batt will give a presentation about the New York Rent Wars of the 1840s. 

Inventors and Inventions

Nov. 4, 2015

Don Rittner

Inventors and Inventions of the Capital District overviews the importance of the Capital District  as the 19th century "Silicon Valley" of the East.  Mr. Rittner will give an illustrated talk about a number of inventions and inventors that reveal how important our area was in the development of American Technology and its impact over the last 200 years. 

The Capital District is one of the oldest continually settled areas in the United States and many of the everyday items we take for granted, such as fluorescent lights, were invented here.  Albany, Schenectady and Troy were major industrial powerhouses during the 19th century. 

Blacksmithing:  Yesterday and Today

Thursday, November 19, 2015   7:00 PM

James Moran
Moran has been blacksmithing for over 40 years.  Many weekends he can be found at the forge at the Norman’s Kill Farm Park working and shaping iron and steel into useful objects.  He is an active member of the Capital District Blacksmiths Association and enjoys sharing the blacksmithing skills he has acquired over the years. 

Civil War Home Front: The War’s Impact on the Family

Thursday, January 21, 2016   2:00 PM

Gene Gore

The Bethlehem Historical Association presents Gene F. Gore’s talk The Northern Home Front in the Civil War. Gore will draw from his knowledge of his Tufts and Newman family ancestors using them to explore the common experience of Northerners during the Civil War.  

Gore is currently writing about his great uncle, Caleb Tufts. Tufts was a Union soldier with the 31st and 27th Massachusetts, was captured at the Battle of Drury’s Bluff near Richmond, VA and was held in four different Confederate prison camps. Tufts survived the war and died at age 78 in 1919. 

Women’s Suffrage Talk and Storytelling

Thursday, February 18, 2016   2:00 PM

Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Avenue*
Bonnie Mion

Performer Bonnie Mion presents a talk and storytelling about Women’s Suffrage that includes the suffrage activists in our local and regional area. During her research, Mion discovered that two of her great grandparents were active suffragists working as organizers, fundraisers and speakers. Her great grandfather, Nathaniel Schmidt, was often an honored speaker, giving talks and holding tent meetings alongside such leading lights as Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, Reverend Anna Shaw, and Harriet Mills May. 

Bonnie Mion is professional dancer and storyteller and a retired psychotherapist. She is a member of the Storycircle of the Capital District and the Capital Advanced Toastmasters.

The Wemples of Bethlehem

Thursday, March 17, 2016   7:00PM

John Wemple Jr.

John Wemple, Jr. will present a talk about the Wemples of Bethlehem. Come and find out more about a prominent Bethlehem family now remembered in the name Wemple Road.

Bethlehem Diners
Thursday, April 21, 2016   7:00 PM

Michael Engle

Michael Engle will present an illustrated talk about diners in Bethlehem and the Capital District. Engle has been researching diners since 1996.  A faculty member at HVCC, he co-authored “Diners of New York” and wrote “Diners of the Capital District.”  His current project focuses on the history of diners in the Great Lakes states.  He is passionate about Capital District diners and those built in western New York between 1921 and 1950.    Visit Mike’s website at