Bethlehem Historical Association

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Speaker Series for 2019-2020 

ALL presentations take place at Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Avenue, Delmar

TIMES and Day of Week are different from years past.  Please take note!

All are FREE and open to the public.

Fall Speaker Series

Thursday, September 19 at 2 PM

Nineteenth Century Business Women presented by Susan Lewis

Thursday, October 17 at 2 PM

Hudson River Day Boats presented by Dick Brooks

Thursday November 21 at 2 PM

The Irish Bridget presented by Margaret Lynch-Brennan

Spring Speaker Series

Wednesday, February 19 at 7 PM

Native American Site Along the Dowers Kill presented by Adam Luscier 

of Hartgen Archaeological Associates

Wednesday, March 18 at 7 PM

American Folk Art presented by Marilyn Sassi

Wednesday, April 15 at 7 PM

Washington Park, the Moral High Ground in Albany presented by Dr. John Pipkin

Programs for 2018-2019

Please take note of times and locations.  We've made some changes!

Thursday, September 20 7 PM

Location: Cedar Hill Schoolhouse Museum, 1003 River Road, Selkirk

Mohicans in Bethlehem, History and Today

Presented by Bonnie Hartley

Thursday, October 18 7 PM
Location: Cedar Hill Schoolhouse Museum, 1003 River Road, Selkirk

Geology, Landscape and the Iroquois Homeland

Presented by Chuck VerStraeten

Thursday, November 15 2 PM

Location: Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Ave, Delmar

The Schuyler Women

Presented by Jessie Serfilippi

Thursday, January 17 2 PM
Location: Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Ave, Delmar
The People of Beverwijck

Presented by Charles Gehring

Thursday, February 21 2 PM
Location: Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Ave, Delmar
An Afternoon with the People of Colonial Albany and their Neighbors

Presented by Sefan Bielinski

Thursday, March 21 2 PM
Location: Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Ave, Delmar

A Portrayal of Clara Barton

Presented by Phyllis Chapman

Thursday, April 18 7 PM
Location: Cedar Hill School House Museum, 1003 River Road, Selkirk
Skeleton Stories from Colonial Albany

Presented by Lisa Anderson 

Programs for 2017-2018

PROGRAMS for 2017-2018


All programs take place at the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse unless noted otherwise.


Thursday, September 21, 2017 7 PM

Portrayal of Ulysses Grant

Presenter: Steve Trimm

Grant as he was in early 1885, penniless and dying but determined to live long enough to 

finish his memoirs.


Thursday, October 19, 2017 7 PM

Slavery and Freedom

Presenter: Michael Lucas

How some slave holding families, including Bethlehem’s Nicoll-Sill house, handled the 

transition after slavery was abolished in 1827.


Thursday November 16, 2017 7 PM

Mapping David Vaughan’s New York

Presenter: Craig Williams

David Vaughan’s mapping of the enlargement of the Erie Canal is best known for his keen 

observations of life along the canal in the 1840’s.


Thursday, January 18, 2018 2 PM Delmar Reformed Church

David Lithgow - Albany Artist

Presenters: Bob Mulligan and Randy Patten

Presentation of the life and works of Albany’s foremost muralist and sculptor during 

first half of the 20th century.


Thursday, February 15, 2018 2 PM Delmar Reformed Church

Aconite and Agony

A Tale of 19th Century Medicine in Bethlehem NY

Presenter: Stuart Lehman

Exploration of medical practices in 19th century and how a local case made medical history.


Thursday, March 15, 2018 7PM

Lucy Larcom: New England Mill Worker

Presenter - Phyllis Chapman

First person presentation of a young worker in the textile mills in 1840’s.


Thursday, April 19, 2018 7 PM

Images of Childhood - 400 years Through Time

Presenter: Marilyn Sassi

Illustrated talk on children from the late 16th c through the early 20th c. – covering aspects of child’s life with comparisons of working classes/wealthy and English/Dutch.



Programs for 2016-2017

All programs take place at the Cedar Hill  Schoolhouse

unless noted otherwise. 


 Thursday, September 15, 2016   7:00 PM

The Greatest Show on Earth

Presenter: Tom Allison


Thursday, October 20, 2016   7:00 PM  

Capitol  Hauntings

Presenter:  Stuart Lehman


Thursday, November 17, 2016  7:00 PM 

Chilly Willy’s Winter’s Eve-How the Dutch Survived Winter

Presenter: Shelby Mattice


Sunday, December 4, 2016   1 – 4 PM 

Annual Holiday Silver Tea


Thursday, January 19, 2017     2:00 PM

Location: Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Avenue

Grave Stone Matters

Presenter:  Joe Ferrannini


Thursday, February 16, 2017  2:00 PM

Location: Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Avenue

Dutch Architecture and Furnishings

Presenter: Marilyn Sassi


Thursday, March 16, 2017   7:00PM 

Parker Dunn:  A Boy, His Bravery and a Bridge

Presenter:  Mark Bodnar


Thursday, April 20, 2017      7:00 PM

The Meneely Bell Foundry

Presenter:  Michael Barrett


Sunday, June 11, 2017  1-4 PM        

Summer Exhibit Opening Day and Ice Cream Social




Programs for 2015-2016

Please note: All programs are held at the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse, 1003 River Road, Selkirk except those in January and February. January and February’s meetings will be held at 2:00 PM at the Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Avenue, Delmar.  This move will accommodate a planned inventory of the collection.  


Thursday, September 17, 2015   7:00 PM

Twenty-first Century Archaeology in New York State
Dr. Christina Rieth, New York State Archaeologist


Thursday, October 15, 2015   7:00 PM

The New York Rent Wars of the 1840s
Dr. William Batt


Thursday, November 19, 2015   7:00 PM

Blacksmithing:  Yesterday and Today
James Moran


Sunday, December 6 & Monday, December 7, 2015  1 – 4 PM

Annual Holiday Silver Tea


Thursday, January 21, 2016   2:00 PM

*Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Avenue*
Civil War Home Front: The War’s Impact on the Family
Gene Gore


Thursday, February 18, 2016   2:00 PM

*Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Avenue*
Womens Suffrage
Bonnie Mion


Thursday, March 17, 2016   7:00PM

The Wemples of Bethlehem

Mr. John Wemple Jr.


Thursday, April 21, 2016   7:00 PM

Bethlehem Diners
Michael Engle


Thursday, May 19, 2016   TBA

Annual Membership Meeting


Sunday June 12, 2016

Summer Exhibit Opening Day and Ice Cream Social


Special November 2015 Lecture

November is New York State History Month.

Inventors and Inventions of the Capital District

As a special event to help promote an appreciation for our local history, the Albany County Historical Collaborative presents a talk by well known local historian Don Rittner.  Rittner’s richly illustrated talk stresses the major role that the Capital District played in the Industrial Revolution

Wednesday, November 4, 7 PM

 At the Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Avenue, Delmar, NY


Free and Open to the Public!

The Albany County Historical Collaborative is an initiative through which historical organizations of Albany County collaborate on historical events, lectures, tours, and research. Represented are Albany, Berne, Bethlehem, Clarksville, Cohoes, Colonie, Guilderland, Knox, New Scotland, Ravena-Coeymans, Rensselaerville, and Watervliet. 

Programs for 2014-2015

 All programs are held at the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse and are free and open to the public.
(Except where noted.) 
Thursday, September 18, 2014 7:00 PM

“Jack “Legs” Diamond”

Denis Foley


Thursday, October 16, 2014  7:00 PM

“The Mohicans – Who are We, Where from, What are We Doing

Here, What Did We Do and Are We Still Here?”

Emerson  Martin, Jr.


Thursday, November 20, 2014*  7:00PM

“Albany and Bethlehem's Changing Boundary Lines”

Anthony Opalka, Albany City Historian

Susan Leath, Bethlehem Town Historian

                                                * This is Memorial Recognition Night


Sunday, December 7, 2014 1- 4:00 PM  & Monday, December 8, 2014 1- 4:00 PM

“Annual Holiday Silver Tea”

Presented by B.H.A. Members for the Town and Friends


Thursday, January 15, 2015   2:00 PM

“Governor Martin H. Glynn of Albany & Bethlehem”

Bill Brandow, Project Manager John G. Waite Associates, Architects in Albany

UPDATE:  This meeting will now take place at the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse, 1003 River Road. Plans to meet at the mansion have fallen through. (Posted 12/30/14) 

NOTE: This program will be held at Gov. Glynn's former summer home, now known as the Mansion at Cedar Hill, 1016 River Road, Selkirk, diagonally across the street from the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse.  


Thursday, February 19, 2015  2:00 PM

 Three Twentieth Century Archaeologists Who Revealed the
Prehistory of New York State 

Galen Ritchie


Thursday, March 19, 2015   7:00 PM

“Lighthouses on the Hudson River”

David Chinnery


Thursday, April 16, 2015  7:00 PM

“Members Remember – 50 Years of BHA”

Norma June and  Others


Thursday, May 21, 2015 7:00 PM

Annual Meeting & 50th Anniversary Celebration Dinner


Sunday, June 14, 2015 1-4 PM

First Day of Museum Opening and Ice Cream Social

(museum open Sundays 2-4 throughout Summer)



Programs for 2013-2014


All programs are held at the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse and are free and open to the public.
(Except where noted.)

Thursday, September 19, 2013 7:00 PM
“Bethlehem Basics”
Susan Leath, Bethlehem Town Historian

Thursday, October 17, 2013 7:00 PM
“Five Rivers, the History of a Special Place”
Rose Ann Fogarty, Co-author

Thursday, November 21, 2013* 7:00PM
“Selkirk Yards and Nearby Railroads”
Randy Bushart and David Hamilton
* This is Memorial Recognition Night

Sunday, December 8, 2013 1- 4:00 PM
             & Monday, December 9, 2013 1- 4:00 PM
“Annual Holiday Silver Tea”
Presented by B.H.A. Members for the Town and Friends

Thursday, January 16, 2014 2:00 PM
On site Tour of Schuyler Mansion 32 Catherine Street, Albany
Led by Heidi Hill & Michelle Navigliano

Thursday, February 20, 2014 2:00 PM
“Working With Farm Animals”
Dr. and Mrs. Stuart C. Lyman

Thursday, March 20, 2014 7:00 PM
“Winne/Creble House”
Brian Parker and Bill McMillen

Thursday, April 24, 2014 7:00 PM
“The Corning Estate”
Paul Grondahl

Thursday, May 15, 2014 7:00 PM
Annual Meeting (Preceded by Membership Dinner)

Sunday, June 15, 2014 1-4 PM
First Day of Museum Opening
and Ice Cream Social

(Museum open Sundays 2-4 throughout Summer.)


Programs for 2012-2013

 All events are held at the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse, 1003 River Road, Selkirk
and are free and open to the public.



Thursday, September 20, 2012   7:30 P.M.
Civil War Medicine

Matthew Farina, MD


Thursday, October 18, 2012  7:30 P.M.

What Happened to Burgoyne’s Army after Saratoga?

Larry Arnold


Thursday, November 15, 2012   7:30 P.M.
Memorial Recognition and
From the Penguins of Patagonia to the Toucans of Rio’s Golden Beaches

Lois Dillon


Sunday December 2, 2012   1-4 P.M. and Monday December 3   1-4 P.M.

Annual Holiday Silver Tea


Thursday, January 17, 2013     2 P.M.
The State of the Town

The Honorable John Clarkson


Thursday, February 21, 2013   2 P.M.

Lincoln in Albany: The Strange, Twisted and Mysterious Connections

Between New York's Capital, Ford's Theater and Garrett's Farm

Judge W. Dennis Duggan.


Thursday, March 21, 2013 7:30 P.M.
Sparks from the Capitol Fire of 1911

Stuart Lehman


Thursday, April 18, 2013   7:30 P.M.
Captain Stewart Dean, An Albany Hero

Matthew J. Kirk


Thursday, May 16, 2013       7:30 P.M.
Annual Meeting and
Fire Engines, Mastodon, and Batteau: My Career at the

New York State Museum

John Anson


Sunday June 23, 2012   1-4 P.M.

Opening Day of the Summer Exhibit

and Ice Cream Social

(Please note this is a date change from the Yearbook.)


2012 Summer Exhibit

Our annual Ice Cream Social opens the Summer Exhibit at the Cedar Hill School House Sunday, June 17, 2012 from 1-4 pm. Many thanks to Stewart’s Shops for providing the fixings for a refreshing old fashioned sundae.

The summer exhibit this year highlights the local Westervelt family. The history of two branches of the family from Clapper Road and Wemple Road are explored through family items such as documents, toys, clothing, and coverlets many of which date from the 1790s to the civil War era. Our own Dawn Pratt, whose grandmother was a Westervelt, will be available during opening day with information on her family.

Other displays focus on Home Life during the Civil War. A local collector will showcase antique medical equipment and battlefield medicine. Another exhibit highlights the Albany Army Relief Bazaar. "On the 1861 home front, President Abraham Lincoln authorized the formation of the United States Sanitary Commission to raise private funds for the medical care of the Union Troops wounded in Civil War battles. In February 1864, a group of Albany women organized the Albany Relief Bazaar and raised $17,189. This three-week event included ethnic booths, art exhibitions, tableaux, souvenir shops, and lotteries, all well-documented with detailed photographs. " (Quote from the Albany Institute of History & Art)

 The Summer Exhibit continues through September 30, 2012. The museum at the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse is open Sunday afternoons from 2-4 pm, June 17 – September 30 (closed Sept.2). The Ice Cream Social and museum displays are free and open to the public. All are welcome!

A vintage photo of a Westervelt family home on Clapper Road.

Programs for 2011-2012


Thursday, September 15, 2011  7:30 PM
“Leaning Into the Storm: Albany County Before the Civil War”
Robert W. Arnold

Thursday, October 20, 2011  7:30 PM
“The Underground Railroad in New York State”
Paul & Mary Liz Stewart

Thursday, November 17, 2011*  7:30 PM
Potpourri Night – Members & Stories
*Memorial Recognition Night

Sunday, December 4, 2011  1-4:00 PM
“Annual Holiday Silver Tea”
Presented by B.H.A. Members and Friends

Thursday, January 19, 2012  2:00 PM
“The State of the Town”
Supervisor, Town of Bethlehem

Thursday, February 16, 2012  2 PM
“Cedar Grove, The Home of Thomas Cole”
Ashley Hopkins Benton

Thursday, March 15, 2012  7:30 PM
“The Albany Army Relief Bazaar of 1864”
Christine Valosin

Thursday, April 19, 2012  7:30 PM
“Indian Ladder & Thatcher Park in Historic Photographs”
Timothy Albright

Thursday, May 17, 2012
6:00 PM – Social Hour
7:00 PM – Annual Meeting

“The Civil War Remembered: One Family’s Story”
Valerie Thompson

All events are held at the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse, 1003 River Road, Selkirk
 and are free and open to the public.


Summer Sunday Presentation


The Bethlehem Historical Association announces a special series of Summer Sunday  presentations in conjunction with their summer long exhibition: “The Civil War Remembered.”  The exhibition features displays of relics and reproductions from members and friends, and looks at several aspects of army and navy life, as well as treating of several local families and their involvement in that time 150 years ago. 

Each presentation is given by a local expert, is free to the public, and lasts less than an hour.  Visitors are invited to tour the museum, which is also free every Sunday this summer, from 2 pm to 4pm.  The museum is located in the “Cedar Hill School House,” 1003 River Road, (Route 144) at the corner of River Road and Clapper Road in Selkirk. 

July 24, Robert E. Mulligan, Jr. will offer How and Why Do We Remember the Civil War? -  35 Minutes.  With brief examples, we see how song, story, poetry and prose (and the Movies and TV) have kept the Civil War alive in the memory of the American public.  Mr. Mulligan will also be able to answer questions about the museum exhibition, of which he was the Curator.  

August 14, Mark Bodnar will offer his entertaining power point:  “The Civil War in Albany Rural Cemetery”   Mark has discovered almost 800 veterans buried in this large and old cemetery, including some from Bethlehem.  But he also talks about the bankers, business men, politicians, wives and families of people caught up in the national trauma.  In the 1860s news from Albany was national news, as Mark will make clear. 

August 28, Michael Aikey, Director of the NYS Military Heritage Museum, will show his power point presentation: “Father Abrahams’ Boys: When We Sent Our Children to War”   New York State sent more soldiers to war than any other.  The youngest to die, was ten and a half years old.  Don’t miss this thought provoking presentation. 

September 11, Valerie Thompson will discuss “Mary Edwards Walker, MD”   Walker was not only the first American Woman to qualify for the medical degree of Doctor, but she is also the first and only woman to receive the Medal of Honor.  Her life was pioneering, controversial, and you will find it very interesting. 

            For further information, please call Robert Mulligan, at 439-3802.   


The Civil War Remembered

Our 2011 summer exhibit continues through September 25, 2011, Sunday afternoons from 2-4 p.m.(excepting July 3)  at the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse, 1003 River Road, Selkirk.  The museum is free and open to the public.


“The Town of Bethlehem sent 149 men to the Civil War. This was about 3% of the total population.  The majority of the 64 men were born in Germany.  This surprise is accounted for by the fact that the Town Supervisor set up a recruiting booth in the South End of the City of Albany, the German section of town.  Most of these Germans went to Captain David Burhans’ company of the 43rd New York.  36 of the 149 were born in the County of Albany.”   From “The Civil War Remembered” an exhibit mounted by the Bethlehem Historical Association.


Coming Soon.... BHA Programs for 2011-2012

BHA Programs for 2010-2011

All programs are free and open to the public.

They take place at the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse, 1003 River Road, Selkirk.


Thursday, September 16, 2010           7:30 pm
            Connie Frisbee-Houde            “The World Trade Center Memorial Exhibit”

Thursday, October 21, 2010               7:30 pm
            Liselle la France, Director       “Historic Cherry Hill”

Thursday, November 18, 2010           7:30 pm
            Potpourri Night – Members & Stories            (Memorial Recognition)


Sunday, December 5, 2010                 1-4 pm             Annual Holiday Silver Tea
            Presented by BHA Members for the Town and Friends


Thursday, January 20, 2011                2 pm
            Honorable Sam Messina, Supervisor   “The State of the Town”

Thursday, February 17, 2011              2 pm
            Lois Dillon “Beautiful South Africa:

                                   More than Just What You See in the News”

Thursday, March 17, 2011                  7:30 pm
            Dawn Pratt      A Red Schoolhouse Special Program

Thursday, April 14, 2011                    7:30 pm  (NOTE: Second Thursday)
            Deborah Emmons-Andarawis             “Philip van Rensselaer”

Thursday, May 19 2011          6 pm Social Hour        7 pm Annual Meeting
            Robert Mulligan          Brief Comments on Civil War Letters



Summer Exhibit 2010 Opens June 13

Opening day is Sunday June 13 and includes a free ice cream social.  The exhibit, which features recent acquisitions and vintage clothing, will be open Sunday afternoons until September 26. More details to follow!

BHA Programs for 2009-2010

 All programs are free, open to the public and take place at the
Cedar Hill Schoolhouse
1003 River Road, Selkirk, NY.


Thursday, September 17,2009 7:30 pm
The Hudson -Fulton Celebration of 1909
Stuart W. Lehman

Thursday, October 15, 2009, 7:30 PM
"The Duke of York & Albany's Colony"
Henry L. Hamilton

Thursday, November 19, 2009  7:30 PM
"Potpourri Night- Members & Stories
*This is Memorial Recognition Night

Sunday, December 6, 2009, 1-4:00 PM
Annual Holiday Silver Tea
Presented by BHA Members for the Town and Friends

Thursday January 21, 2010  2:00 PM
"The State of the Town"
Town Supervisor Sam Messina

Thursday, February 18, 2010  2:00 PM
"The Roaring 20's: Dolls in the Image of Famous '20's Personalities"
Ursula Mertz

Thursday, March 18, 2010  7:30 PM
"The Dutch Recapture of New York in 1674"
Peter R. Christoph

Thursday, April 15, 2010 7:30 PM
"The Preservation of Family Documents"
Susan Bove

Thursday, May 20, 2010 
6:00 PM - Social Hour
7:00 PM - Annual Meeting with A Brief Presentation to Follow
"Civil War Letters" - R.E. Mulligan, Jr.

Summer Exhibit 2009 - Cedar Hill Schoolhouse Museum

Bethlehem's Hudson River Heritage

Opening Day Ice Cream Social & Bethlehem Art Association Show & Sale
Opening Day is Sunday June 14 from 10-4 pm, ice cream served at 1 pm. 

The exhibit continues Sunday afternoons through October 25, from 2-4 pm.

Admission is free and the public is welcome.

Trolley Tours are here!


Here's the Aqua Ducks Trolley at the Schoolhouse on Friday March 20, 2009

Bob M.tells the group about the Schoolhouse

Two more tours are scheduled for this year, April 4 & 24. Contact the Albany Aqua Ducks and Trolleys for reservations.



Program Calendar 2008-2009


September 18, 2008

7:30 PM

Robert P. Halley -

"Locally Made & NYS Stoneware"


October 16, 2008

7:30 PM

Marilyn Sassi -

Furniture, Paintings and Decorative Accessories
of the Mohawk and Hudson Valleys

Thursday *

November 20 2008 7:30 PM

Tom Kernan - The Surprisingly Tumultuous
History of Christmas

* Denotes Memorial Recognition


December 7, 2008

1:00 PM - 4-00 PM

"Annual Holiday Silver Tea"

Presented by BHA Members for the
Town & Friends


January 15, 2009

2:00 PM

"State of the Town of Bethlehem"

The Honorable John Cunningham,
Town Supervisor


February 19, 2009

2:00 PM

Dorothy Sweeney - "The Inside of Radio
Drama: Making the Sound Effects That
Made Radio Real


March 19, 2009

7:30 PM

Michael Barrett - "The Anti-Rent Wars
of the 1840's"


April 16, 2009

7:30 PM

Craig D. Thompson

"The Civilian Conservation Corps in NYS
1933-1942 - with some Note of the Five
Rivers Site"


May 14, 2009

6:00 PM Social Hour with Refreshments

7:00 PM Annual Meeting

Short Historical Program to Follow




All Programs are held at the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse

Cedar Hill Schoolhouse
1003 River Road
Selkirk, NY  12158

The public is welcome.