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2021-2022 Programs

We continue to hope for the best by planning events. 

Please pay attention to developments as we might have to make changes with little notice 

due to changes in Covid-19 recommendations.

October 21 David Hochfelder:  98 Acres in Albany

November 18 Ron Gabriele: The Second Battle of Gettysburg

Spring 2022 – Wednesdays at 7 pm at Delmar Reformed Church

 February 17 Marilyn Sassi: American Folk Art

 March 17 (Cosponsored with Tawasentha and Mohawk DAR) Phyllis Chapman: Women of the Revolution

 April 21 Jessie Serfilippi: An Odious & Immoral A Thing: (Alexander Hamilton, true history with slavery)

David Hochfelder will present: 98 Acres in Albany 

October 21, 2 pm at the Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Ave, Delmar.

In 1962, the State of New York appropriated via eminent domain 40 blocks located south of the capitol building for the massive urban renewal project that resulted in the Empire State Plaza. Over a thousand buildings were demolished and thousands of people found their homes and livelihoods uprooted. The 98 Acres in Albany project tells the stories of those acres and the changes wrought by urban renewal.

David Hochfelder, PhD is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Albany. Hochfelder’s research interests are in the U.S. history of technology, U.S. urban history, and digital scholarship. He is deeply involved in the 98 Acres digital history of urban renewal project.

The talk is free and open to the public. Masks and social distancing will be required.

 John S. Pipkin: Washington Park: The Moral High Ground  

September 16, 2021

Washington Park is Albany’s gem of mid-nineteenth century landscape design. It was born at the intersection of aesthetics and social control, as elites in the 1860s and 70s confronted their anxieties about public health, immigration, spreading tenements, and violent urban disorder. We will look at the genteel but spirited debate over the “if” and “where” of the park; at Frederick Law Olmsted’s intervention in 1867; and at the most important maker of the park, William Egerton.

Today’s park is a rich compendium of Victorian landscape aesthetics – pastoral, monumental, and gardenesque. Less obvious are the anxiety-laden mechanisms of social control the park embodied. We will explore how the park’s carefully contrived landscapes invited some kinds of behavior and curtailed others, how the project changed in the making, and how a close look can reveal the hidden traces of its past.

John Pipkin is Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Geography and Planning, University at Albany. He grew up near a Roman road in a small town in England that had received its modern name, and some of its layout, by the sixth century. Then he went to graduate school in suburban Illinois, where most of the built environment was a few decades old. Coming to Albany he was relieved to find historical depth again. He became an enthusiastic student of our rich urban fabric. His interests are in urban design, landscape history, and public space. His early work focused on urban social space and travel behavior. More recently he has dealt with symbolic and ideological aspects of landscape, working in two distinct traditions: cultural geography, and planning history.