Friday, June 12, 2020, Carmel, New York – Today marks the 208th birthday of Putnam County, a celebration of a new county in a new country. Unfortunately, the annual observation of Putnam County Day at the Historic Courthouse has been canceled this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as the Hudson Valley region strives to reopen. However, a virtual celebration is available online!
“This traditional day of ceremony and celebration has been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Putnam County is rich in history and this year is no exception given this unprecedented time,” says Michael C. Bartolotti, County Clerk and RMO. “I am happy to report that the Historian’s Office has been busy working with local historians, historical societies, and schools to record the experiences of this time. We are truly living history and this year’s virtual celebration will be yet another record for the archives.”
Putnam County Day is an annual event that typically includes a ceremony, historic presentation, and awards for outstanding people, projects and publications that enrich and record Putnam County’s history. “This year we will observe Putnam County Day virtually,” says Bartolotti. “The Historian’s Office has created a video presentation that features great history, special guests, and the unveiling of the Charles Sherwood Hill, Jr. collection at the Historian’s Office.” The Hill collection features an amazing array of turn of the century farm diaries, photographs and ephemera from the Hill, Dykeman, Bloomer and Townsend families from Carmel, Kent, and Brewster. It includes a stunning and rarely, if ever, seen photo of the Tilly Foster area in the Town of Southeast. This video is available to the public on the county website, www.putnamcountyny.com.
This year’s celebration has been dedicated to Gregory Amato, a long-time volunteer with the Historian’s Office who persuaded Charles Hill to donate his family’s collection. Amato passed away in April 2020.
Fifth grade students from across the county were recruited to take part in the virtual ceremony by attending classes online or by recording themselves during their time spent in “distance learning”. Their projects including leading the ceremony in the Pledge of Allegiance, providing history on the founding of Putnam County, creating a special COVID-19 time capsule entitled “Living History” and even singing Happy Birthday to Putnam County! These 10-11-year-olds were asked to participate based on their age. “They will hopefully be the ones around to tell the story of how Putnam County fared during the pandemic 50 years from now,” says Bartolotti. “They play an incredible role in this celebration.”
“I trust that with time and the continued dedication of medical experts throughout our country we will once again gather next year at the Historic Courthouse to celebrate our great history.”
About the Historian’s Office
The Historian’s Office preserves, interprets, and promotes the history of Putnam County as a local government office. According to New York State criteria, the work of the Historian’s Office includes: research and writing, teaching and public presentations, historic preservation, and organization, advocacy and tourism promotion. To support these efforts, the Putnam County Historian’s Office has been collecting historical records, maps, books, photographs, and periodicals since 1953. In 1992, the Putnam County Archives was established in the Historian’s Office to preserve, arrange, describe, and make accessible the governmental records of Putnam County.
For more information call 845-808-1420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A sampling of the “farm diaries” and photographs included in the Charles Sherwood Hill Jr. collection in the Putnam County Historian’s Collection.
A rare, early 20th century view of the one room Tilly Foster schoolhouse and children at play, overlooking the
Middle Branch Reservoir and former Tilly Foster community and mine store from the Hill Collection (HC561).
Charles Sherwood Hill, Jr., donor of the collection of diaries, photographs and ephemera from the Hill, Dykeman, Bloomer and Townsend families from Carmel, Kent, and Brewster.
“Living History” COVID-19 Time Capsule participants Christopher and Kevin, representing Austin Road Elementary School in Mahopac, NY.
Eric Gross unveiling the Charles Sherwood Hill, Jr. collection at the Putnam County Archives.
Title Slide for “Living History” a virtual celebration for Putnam County Day 2020.