Harlem New York City’s own Country Haven: Memories of Snowdale Farm

Years before Victor Hugo Green first issued The Green book as a travel guide for African-Americans, Augustus and Mary Moran ran advertisements in The New York Age to invite travelers to vacation at Snowdale Farm in Towners, NY. It offered “all the conveniences of city life, yet having all the pleasures of a mountain resort…” They catered exclusively to African-Americans.
Located off “Dykemans Road” (CR 62), the Morans hosted many city-dwellers from Harlem, lower Westchester and from as far away as Houston, Texas for overnights, long weekends and conferences. They operated year-round and offered farm-to-table meals, horseback riding, hiking, and fishing among other outdoor sports. Eventually the Morans installed a swimming pool and tennis courts and hosted large Decoration Day and 4th of July gatherings with fireworks.

Snowdale advertising as it appeared in The New York Age, July 27, 1929

During the 1920s, Snowdale Farm was among a number of Putnam County hotels offering recreational tourism. The Morans advertised only in metropolitan newspapers and boasted that Snowdale was easily reached by the State Highway from New York City and New York Central trains that ran directly to Brewster.

Augustus, known as A.J., and his wife Mary were both of African-American lineage and came to Putnam County around 1918 and raised their family at the farm. They suffered hardship in 1924 when their 9-year-old son Elbridge, was kicked in the head by a horse. He died a few days later and The Brewster Standard reported that his Big Elm District school mates served as pallbearers. The Morans other children, Robert and Sue, grew up at Snowdale and the farm remained in the family for another generation.

The Moran’s hosted many notable guests and oftentimes their visits would be published in the society pages of The Age. Some interesting guests include:

  • Dr. E. R. Alexander, a prominent medical specialist at Harlem Hospital who also served on the Medical Committee of the NAACP; he was the only African-American in his graduating class at the University of Vermont School of Medicine and was eventually elected to the New York Academy of Medicine
  • Members of the Entre Nous Bridge Club of White Plains
  • Mrs. Cecelia Cabaniss Saunders, General Secretary and legendary fundraiser, along with committee members of 137th Street YWCA, New York’s first black YWCA branch

    Above: Cecelia Cabaniss Saunders The New York Age, 1/27/1923

  • Rev. William Lloyd Imes, then leader of St. James Presbyterian Church and pioneer in race relations
  • Stafford Neilson, an immigrant chauffeur who became one of the first black officials of the Harlem Unit of the Taxicab System running green and silver model K Checker cabs
  • Rev. & Mrs. Adam Clayton Powell and family; the Reverend was the founder of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, and grew it to the largest Protestant congregation in the country; he was also an author, activist and father of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
  • Dr. Eugene Perry Roberts and family; Dr. Roberts was one of New York’s earliest black physicians receiving his M.D. in 1894, appointed as the first black assistant medical examiner in 1898; a founding member of the National Urban League; appointed to the New York City Board of Education in 1917

In the 30s, Snowdale served as the headquarters for the Berkshire Rod and Gun Club. Members included Assemblyman Robert W. Justice, James H. Hubert of the New York Urban League, and Levi Florance of Carmel. By 1934, this group had 60 members and 40 members in its ladies auxiliary.

Above: Stafford Neilson, The New York Age, 1/1/1932

(Note: Unfortunately there aren’t any records or photographs of Snowdale Farm in the Putnam County Historian’s Collection. Research for this article was based on The New York Age archives available through FultonHistory.com)

Putnam County continues to monitor the weather as strong winds move into our area. NYSEG & Central Hudson on standby. Gusts up to 36 MPH are possible

The Putnam County Emergency Operations Center is monitoring the strong winds that will transition into our area this evening. Winds are expected to pick up in intensity through the night with gusts of up to 36 MPH possible by 4 PM Monday evening. Winds are expected to diminish by early Tuesday morning.

“Our Emergency Operations Center has been in contact with both NYSEG and Central Hudson to confirm that both agencies are prepared for this event” said Putnam County Executive Odell. “We will continue to monitor the storm as it comes into our area and respond to any incidents that may occur”.

Residents are reminded to report any outages to their local utility company. NYSEG can be contacted at 800-572-1131. Central Hudson Gas & Electric can be contacted at 845-452-2700. Both companies have an app available for download to track outages.

A mix of snow, sleet and rain is expected in our area that will persist through the night. At this time we are not expecting any delays or cancelations. Employees should use caution when traveling.

Snow will continue shifting through over the next few hours, continuing through 8-10pm. Afterwards, a changeover to freezing rain is anticipated as temperatures slowly warm up through the overnight/early morning hours. It is expected that there will be a changeover back to rain/snow just before dawn. Conditions are then expected to dry out after dawn. An additional 0.5 – 1.5” of snow is anticipated through this evening, then up to 0.10” of ice accumulation is possible.

At this time we do not expect any delays or cancellations in the morning however employees should continue to monitor the situation for updates. Please drive safely as you head home this evening.

Following an emergency that had the building shut down, the Putnam County Health Department and Department of Motor Vehicles building has reopened.

Following an emergency that had the building shut down, the Putnam County Health Department and Department of Motor Vehicles building has reopened.

Full Volume Test for Indian Point Sirens Set for Wednesday, February 20th, 2019, at 10:30 AM

Full Volume Test for Indian Point Sirens Set for Wednesday, February 20th, 2019, at 10:30 AM

Entergy is conducting a full-volume test of the Indian Point siren system in Westchester, Rockland, Orange and Putnam counties on Wednesday, February 20th at approximately 10:30 AM.
During the test the sirens will sound for four minutes. WHUD Radio (100.7 FM) will test the Emergency Alert System immediately following the siren test.

NO RESPONSE ON THE PART OF THE PUBLIC IS NECESSARY DURING THESE TESTS.

County officials will use the siren system to alert the public during an emergency at Indian Point. A sample of the Siren Sounds can be found at our website. www.putnamcountyny.com/pcbes/oem/indian-point/
In an actual emergency, all the sirens would sound at full volume for four minutes. Sirens are not a signal to evacuate; but to alert the public to tune to their local Emergency Alert System (EAS) radio or TV station for important information. The EAS stations are listed in the booklet “Are you Ready ? Putnam County Indian Point: Emergency Guide,” which was distributed, as well as available online.

Due To the Storm All Putnam County Offices With the Exception of Essential Services Will be Closing at 12 Noon Today, Tuesday February 12, 2019

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell met with her Executive ICS Team to discuss the current weather conditions. The forecast calls for steady snow throughout most of the day changing to sleet and ice as the evening approaches. These conditions will make travel dangerous as the day progresses. Due to these conditions, Putnam County with the exception of essential services, will be closing at 12 noon today, Tuesday February 12, 2019.

As you begin your journey home please travel safe.

New Electronic Cards for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program

eWic Debit Cards Create Easier Food Shopping for Putnam Families

BREWSTER, NY— Putnam County residents can now shop for WIC food using a new electronic benefit card. The card, which looks like an ordinary debit or credit card, allows a more discreet shopping experience and eliminates delay at check-out. The card also can ease the “roll-over” of unused benefits, so that shoppers can take full advantage of the nutritional benefits the WIC program provides.

“A well-balanced meal of healthy foods is an important part of caring for young children,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “This new technology will make the WIC program more accessible to families in our county who need extra assistance, without having to endure any stigma. This is a very welcomed change.” The first eWIC purchase occurred in Albany last April. The system started in Putnam last December as part of a planned roll-out across New York State.

“The importance of good nutrition for proper childhood development and overall good health cannot be emphasized enough,” says interim Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, who encouraged residents who think they may qualify for the program to get more information. For example, a family of four earning $46,000 a year can qualify for WIC benefits.

Residents can learn more about qualifying for WIC by going online at www.health.ny.gov/wic, or by calling or visiting one of the two Putnam County WIC offices. One is located at the main office of the health department at 1 Geneva Road. The second is at 121 Main Street in the Village of Brewster. Appointments are preferred, but not required. Call 845-808-1337 for the main office, or 845-808-1416 for the village location.

The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

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Please let us know if we can provide any additional information. Feel free to contact our Public Information Officer Barbara Ilardi with any questions at 845-808-1390.

Football Memories: A Brewster High School Throwback

As we approach Super Bowl LIII this weekend, here’s a throwback from Brewster High School’s football team.

70 years ago the Brewster Bears had a winning season of 5-1-1 and they were crowned County Football Champions.  Some of the great players that year included quarterback Jim Casey, left halfback Doug Ruffles and fullback Doug Scolpino.  This group and team photos are featured in the 1949 yearbook Resumé as part of the Putnam County Historian’s research library.

One of the earliest references to this team coined as the “Brewster Bears” can be found in an article in The Brewster Standard dated October 23, 1931 when the “Bears” clawed, blocked and tackled their way to beat Croton-on-Hudson 44-6. The full article can be found online through the archives available through the Brewster Public Library’s Links.

Thanks to a local estate sale donation by J. Rocco in 2016, the Historian’s Office has a number of BHS yearbooks from 1948-50 and 1952. You can also find assorted copies of Resumé from 1928 -2012 in the Local History collection of Brewster Public Library. Please be sure to keep them, and other local libraries and historical societies in mind if you have any old yearbooks or school photos to digitize or donate.

BHS 1949 Back row—G. Fox, D. Scolpino, G. Vetare, E. Ritchie, E. Farrell, E. Wunner, R. Herdman, D. Ruffles, J. Palmer, F. VanCougnett, H. Salmon, J. Casey, C. Bruno.  Middle row—D. Bruen, Q. Puglsey, J. Sterry, J. Mattioli, E. Schneider, J. Heinchon, N. Prisco, T. Mastrangelo, A. Polverari, D. Stevens, A. Forschner.     Front Row—Coach Opdyke, J. Markel, D. Newcomb, J. Folchetti, D. Smith, G. Foster, E. LaMere, N. Blackwood.