Bethlehem Historical Association

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Due to health concerns BHA has decided to cancel all April events.  This includes 

  • The Out and About visit to the Education Building - April 4
  • The Program by John Pipkin Washington Park - The Moral High Ground - April 15
  • The Afternoon Tea - April 25 ( paid reservations will be refunded.)
    Thank you for your understanding, and please take care. 
    (Posted March 14, 2020)

Speaker Series for 2019-2020 

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.

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.


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!

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.