Upcoming Hike to the Northgate Ruins (Cornish Estate)

Upcoming event sponsored by the Putnam History Museum:

“Join Rob Yasinsac & Thom Johnson for a hike to the Northgate Ruins, known locally as the Cornish Estate, on Saturday, September 10 at 10am.

Rob & Thom will guide us on a hike through the Northgate Ruins and discuss the property’s history. Please be sure to bring water, tick repellent, and wear hiking boots or sneakers.

This is a free event but we ask that you please RSVP to Rachel at rachel@putnamhistorymusuem.org or call 845-265-4010.

Hope to see you there!”


Posted in Putnam County, Tours Lectures and Events | 1 Comment

Photography Exhibit Opens Today!!

Our Hudson Valley Ruins photography exhibit at the New York State Museum opens today! We are very excited, and we will remain completely grateful and honored that the New York State Museum has chosen to display our work through the end of 2017.

Sneak-peek from last week’s installation.

Several gallery events will be held over the fall and winter, with the official opening reception and gallery talk to take place on September 24. If you happen to be in the Albany area this afternoon, Tom Rinaldi and I will also be present from about 2m to 4pm if you’d like to be among the first to see this exhibit with us.

In addition to over 80 photographs, the exhibit will feature historical artifacts, architectural fragments, and ephemera associated with pictured sites and long-vanished buildings from the Hudson Valley.

I plan future blog posts around this exhibit. For those of you not familiar with Albany, or looking for more reasons than one to make the long drive, I’ll be posting some recommendations of things to do and places to eat nearby, etc. Stay tuned!

For more information about the exhibit, please visit the following links:
New York State Museum
Press Release & Press Kit Images
Hudson Valley Ruins

We look forward to seeing you at our exhibit!

Posted in Tours Lectures and Events | 4 Comments

General Motors Redevelopment, Sleepy Hollow

Redevelopment of the General Motors property in Sleepy Hollow (North Tarrytown) is about to begin, twenty years after the factory closed and was subsequently demolished. Nearly 1,200 residential units, a hotel, and retail space will be constructed on 67 acres of the 96-acre site, to be rechristened “Edge-on-Hudson.” To be covered up will be all traces of the vast automotive factory known simply to locals as “the G. M. site.” Entrepreneur John Brisben Walker constructed one of the earliest factories for the production of steam cars here in 1899 and, over the years, the site was expanded through landfill and new construction. The concrete pad that remains visible dates to GM’s last expansion in the mid-20th century. I sent some current photos of the site to my uncle, Arthur See, who worked there, and he had this to say:

“As you moved to the final assembly area which at that time was the “Chevrolet” side, the pits you photographed were the outline of a “flat topconveyor which was used in the final assembly. The wide end was where the drive for the system was located.
I was part of the team which laid out and designed the actual pits which you captured.”

My uncle also told me that before worked at G.M. his father was a test driver for the Maxwell-Briscoe company, one of the early entities that built cars at the North Tarrytown factory. I found a newspaper article which references his father driving Governor Smith’s Maxwell from New York to Jacksonville, FL, in 1911!

How about that! I knew that my uncle worked there, but I did not realize how much of a hand he played in re-building the site, and that evidence of his work can still be seen today, and that our family’s connection went back to the early days of automotive history! Oh, and my uncle also met and married my Aunt Patricia (my dad’s sister) while they both worked at General Motors. Funny how this connection has come around to a site that I photographed.

One of Tom Rinaldi’s photographs of the G.M. factory demolition will appear in our upcoming photography exhibit at the New York State Museum, which opens next weekend!

More Information:
Hudson Valley Ruins by Tom Rinaldi

Edge On Hudson Groundbreaking

Posted in Westchester County | 7 Comments

Hudson Valley Ruins Photography Exhibit


We are excited to announce that Hudson Valley Ruins will be on display at the New York State Museum in Albany, NY, August 20, 2016-December 31, 2017!

This photography and architecture exhibition is based on our 2006 book, “Hudson Valley Ruins: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape”, which studies the region’s forgotten cultural treasures. In addition to great river estates, the book profiles sites more meaningful to everyday life in the Valley: churches and hotels, commercial and civic buildings, mills and train stations. Included are works by some of the most important names in American architectural history, such as Alexander Jackson Davis and Calvert Vaux.

The exhibit is divided into three parts: the upper, middle, and lower sections of the Hudson River Valley. Sites have been selected for their general historical and architectural significance, their relationship to important themes in the region’s history, their physical condition or “rustic” character, and their ability to demonstrate a particular threat still faced by historical buildings in the region. The exhibition will look at sites that have changed, for better or for worse, in the past ten years since the book’s publication. Featuring over 80 photographs of approximately 60 locations, the exhibit is supplemented by architectural fragments and historical ephemera from the museum and private collections.


OPENING: Saturday, August 20, 2016
RECEPTION & GALLERY TOUR: Saturday, September 24, 2016, 2:00pm
LECTURE: Saturday, November 12, 2016, 1:00pm
GALLERY TOUR: Saturday, January 14, 2017, 1:00pm

Exhibition page:

Museum hours and visitor information:

Hudson Valley Ruins webpage:


Thank you all for your support, for visiting our website, for following and “liking” our social media accounts, and for attending our book lectures, over the past nearly-twenty years. We look forward to sharing our work with you in this new exhibit, and we hope to see you at the events!

Rob & Tom

HVR on Instagram
HVR on facebook

Posted in Tours Lectures and Events | Leave a comment

Textures of Hudson Valley Decay




























Posted in HVR Various | 10 Comments

Northgate Lecture May 21 in Cold Spring

The Northgate Ruins
Putnam History Museum, Cold Spring, NY

This Saturday, May 21 at 5pm, Thom Johnson and I will present our research on the Northgate Ruins (popularly known as the Cornish Estate). We will present the property’s history, including recently revealed historic photographs and information that has been shared with us by descendants of the Stern and Cornish families who lived at Northgate.

Admission is $5 for the general public and is free for members RSVP at rachel@putnamhistorymuseum.org or call 845-265-4010.


Historic image of the Northgate estate showing mansion with swimming pool in foreground. This and next photo: Collection of Robin Huntington.

What is this mystery structure? Come to the lecture to find out!


Also of interest, Tom Rinaldi will discuss New York neon, storefronts, and vernacular design with James and Karla Murray this Wednesday night, May 18. (Tonight, by the time most of you read this.) 6:30pm, at the Neighborhood Preservation Center, 232 East 11th Street, Manhattan (betw. 2nd and 3rd Aves.)

Posted in Putnam County, Tours Lectures and Events | Leave a comment

HVR Lecture April 23 in Hyde Park

Thomas Rinaldi will present Hudson Valley Ruins Saturday April 23 at 2:00pm at the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home. The presentation will be one of four author talks as part of the fourth annual Hudson Valley History Reading Festival. Full details are below, as copied from FDR Presidential Library and Museum website.

Saturday, April 23, 2016
Hudson Valley History
Reading Festival
Location: Henry A. Wallace Center
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

The FDR Presidential Library and the Friends of the Poughkeepsie Public Library District will present the fourth annual Hudson Valley History Reading Festival on Saturday, April 23, 2016 in the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home.

In four sessions, beginning at 10:00 a.m., authors of books on Hudson Valley history will present author talks followed by book signings. Copies of all of the authors’ books will be available for sale in the New Deal Store located in the Wallace Center.

10:00 a.m.
Jessica DuLong
My River Chronicles:
Rediscovering the Work that Built America;
A Personal and Historical Journey

11:00 a.m.
Lowell Thing
The Street That Built a City:
McEntee’s Chestnut Street,
Kingston, and the Rise of New York


1:00 p.m.
Edythe Ann Quinn
Freedom Journey:
Black Civil War Soldiers
and The Hills Community,
Westchester County, New York

2:00 p.m.
Thomas Rinaldi
Hudson Valley Ruins:
Forgotten Landmarks
of an American Landscape

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives
4079 Albany Post Road
Hyde Park, NY 12538

Free public event. For information call (845) 486-7745.

Posted in Tours Lectures and Events | 1 Comment

Brandreth Pill Factory demolished

In a true crime-against-architecture, Ossining’s Brandreth Pill Factory has been demolished. The 1872 factory building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of Westchester County’s most significant industrial buildings, and it was an especially handsome example of the French Second Empire style of architecture. Following a lengthy period of time during which the building was undergoing a classic case of “demolition by neglect” by its owners Plateau Associates (Peter and Nicholas Stolatis), who wished to redevelop the property, the factory building’s west facade was torn down in April 2015 without permit. The rest of the building was demolished sometime in the last two weeks. Other Brandreth buildings remain standing and in use nearby; the 1872 structure was the largest building from the complex and the only one to not be in use in the last fifteen years.

March 13, 2016

February 28, 2016

February 5, 2005

March 13, 2016

February 28, 2016

February 5, 2005

Posted in Demolition Alert, Westchester County | 7 Comments

Teaching From Ruins – Lecture March 18

Irvington Historical Society presentation by Thom Johnson and Rob Yasinsac. “Teaching from Ruins” is dedicated to Irvington’s Peter K. Oley whose “out-of-the-box” teaching of history inspired Yasinsac to learn about ruins in and around the village. At Irvington High School, Yasinsac was a student of Johnson who taught photography and instilled an urgency to document architectural treasures in Irvington and beyond.
The combined learning led Yasinsac to co-author the book Hudson Valley Ruins, uncovering lost and endangered properties. Twenty-one years after high school, Johnson and Yasinsac continue to inform visitors to the Hudson Valley about its ruins.

Friday, March 18, 7:30 pm., Irvington Public Library,
12 South Astor Street, refreshments, free.


Posted in Tours Lectures and Events, Westchester County | 4 Comments

HVR February 2016 Updates

Recently there have been notable developments regarding abandoned and endangered buildings in the Hudson Valley – the planned demolition of a 19th century bluestone house, a listing of preservation-worthy structures, and the proposed reuse of a significant endangered site.

Nathaniel Booth House, Kingston
A 19th-century bluestone house in Kingston’s Rondout section is slated for demolition under a city program that targets vacant/neglected structures for demolition. Historically associated with Nathaniel Booth, grocer, freelance bookkeeper and shipper of Kingston bluestone, the house was granted a temporary reprieve by Kingston Mayor Steve Noble. The purpose of Noble’s reprieve was to allow the homeowner to seek assistance for stabilization of the house. However, a representative of the owner stated that the city can proceed with demolition of the house .

Albany Endangered Buildings
The Historic Albany Foundation recently announced its every-five-years list of endangered structures in the Albany area, inclusive of a number of buildings familiar to us.

See the full list here: www.historic-albany.org/ehr/

St. John’s Roman Catholic Church

St. John’s Roman Catholic Church

Third Precinct Police Station

Third Precinct Police Station

Third Precinct Police Station

Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church

Hutton Company Brick Works, Kingston
In what may prove to be great news for one of the Hudson Valley’s most significant endangered sites, the Daily Freeman reports that a real estate company called MWest Holdings has acquired the Hutton Company Brick Works property in Kingston and has engaged in partnership with Brooklyn Flea to operate a weekly market, “Smorgasburg,” at the formerly abandoned brickyard. The Daily Freeman’s article implies the preservation of the brickyard site; we await confirmation of what will be preserved, and for the long-term overall site plans.

Posted in Albany County, Demolition Alert, Historic Preservation, Ulster County | Leave a comment