Exhibition on the East Gate and West Gate Toll Houses now at Hudson Area Library

Emily Chameides, Hudson Area Library Director, and a young patron view our new exhibit, “All Roads to the River”.

The Library’s History Room in collaboration with Roeliff Jansen Historical Society is featuring an exhibition and video installation of “All Roads to the River: The 1799 Columbia Turnpike and Historic Tollhouses” at the Library. Residents of Hudson and Greenport now have the opportunity to see the summer exhibition that was launched at Roeliff Jansen’s Copake Falls location.

The exhibit in the Community Room of the Library includes large colorful panels that explore the story of the Columbia Turnpike and its impact on the history of Columbia County. A separate video installation consists of a presentation given by Peter Cipkowski, President of the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society, on the topic. It is viewable at the back of the library where the History Room is located.

“The Columbia Turnpike had a major role in the development of early Hudson and Columbia County,” said Cipkowski. “It was the first turnpike in Columbia County and became part of a giant network of roads designed to promote commerce after the American Revolution.”

Two tollhouses still stand on either end of Route 23 in Columbia County – both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Known as the East Gate (Hillsdale) and the West Gate (Greenport), they marked the beginning and end of Columbia County’s first turnpike, established in 1799 by the New York State Assembly. “Local folks are on a mission to help find a way to rescue and reuse the Greenport and Hillsdale toll houses,” Cipkowski said. “The buildings are irreplaceable cultural resources and can hopefully be put to good use.”

These exhibitions will be on display through November and are viewable during library open hours and wheelchair accessible. For more information email brenda.shufelt@hudsonarealibrary.org, call 518.828.1792 x101, or visit the main desk in the library.

The Roeliff Jansen Society was founded in 1974 and chartered in 1975 as a non-profit organization by the Board of Regents of the State of New York. The Society serves the Towns of Ancram, Copake, Gallatin, Hillsdale and Taghkanic. Its mission is to preserve and present the history and cultural traditions of the Roe Jan community. Through publication, ongoing research, a speaker series, and a multimedia archive, the Society documents and conserves our heritage – too easily lost.

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