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
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HVR on facebook

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Textures of Hudson Valley Decay




























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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 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.)

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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.

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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 | 8 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:

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.

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Harmon Railroad Shop

Commuters along the MTA Metro-North Hudson Line should have noticed that the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Maintenance Shop at Harmon (Croton-on-Hudson) is undergoing substantial demolition and reconstruction. The work will include demolition and replacement of the eastern side of the Harmon Main Shop building with a two-track, 10-car double-ended Consist Shop; demolition of the Blowshed building, and demolition of the existing Recycling Center facility.

The Harmon Shop was featured in Frank Sanchis’ landmark book “American Architecture: Westchester County, New York.” Sanchis stated, of the shop:

“At Croton-Harmon stands a tremendous building, constructed in 1906 as the shop building of the Harmon Yards. This was, and still is, the terminus of the electric service on the Hudson Line, and the shop was designed to service both diesel and electric locomotives. A separate shop, servicing steam engines, which were discontinue din 1953, was demolished. The remaining shop features a saw-toothed, skylighted roof – a characteristic of many other large industrial buildings as well.”

Further details of this project can be found at the following links:–phase-v-design-build-project-award-89/
Thomas Rinaldi photographs are from August 14, 2015.

Posted in Demolition Alert, Non-ruins, Westchester County | 3 Comments

HVR 2015













Happy Holidays, and thanks for viewing.

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Reflections On and With Mr. Bannerman’s Tower

Hello Friends of Hudson Valley Ruins,

Please read below for information about an upcoming photography exhibit by a good friend of mine, which I think would be of interest to you.



Reflections On and With Mr. Bannerman’s Tower
By Thom Johnson

I am presenting this series of photographs of Francis Bannerman VI’s tower for a number of reasons. First and foremost to show the public the amazing structure that he created. Second, to show how I used it, as a photographer who is fascinated with mirror-images. Another reason is that, when one looks with care at these images, new and sometimes unexpected items, or even creatures, appear. Can you find Mr. Bannerman? Also, I hope to show some of the odd variations, textures, repeated patterns, and other elements in the architecture that add to the rich story of Bannerman’s Island Arsenal.

I recorded the photographs over fifteen years ago using a Toyo-View 4×5 field camera that produced a larger negative than standard 35mm film. Then I contact-printed the negatives, and reprinted them with the image flipped. When the final prints were mounted as a mirror-image, I was happy with the results but not with the seams in the center of the pictures. To print them on one piece of photographic paper is possible but requires much work in the darkroom. With digital photography and computer software I am now able to make the images seamless.

Working with photographic software is a rather new experience for me and, given that I don’t enjoy spending time looking at a computer screen, one that I needed motivation and help with. Patrick DiBennedetto was my student twenty years ago in art and photography classes at Irvington High School. He is now teaching some of my classes and has developed a graphic design program at the school. So it was logical for me to work with Patrick and I hope he had as much fun as I did learning from him.

Another note about using the ruins of Bannerman’s Island Arsenal as an art project is that I think Francis Bannerman VI would have been very happy. My knowledge of him and how he worked is that he reused materials in the construction of the castle. Wood from old barges made into floors, old gun barrels and bayonets used to reinforce concrete; he could find a way to repurpose most anything. Using my images of the ruins of his creation in a creative way are much like his inventive reuse of materials for building construction. Another way that the ruins are being repurposed for creative art is through the project Constellation by Melissa McGill, which I think would also please Francis Bannerman.

So please enjoy what I have created using one of the Hudson Valley’s most famous ruins. I hope that viewers will find new and interesting ways to see what I have long seen as a piece of sculpture, one that I hope many more artists, photographers, writers, and others who create will use to enrich our lives.

Reflections On and With Mr. Bannerman’s Tower
Opening Reception:
Saturday November 14, 2015
4:00pm to 8:00pm

Bannerman Island Gallery
150 Main Street
Beacon, New York
Open weekends and by appointment.
To arrange a visit, please call Neil Caplan at 1-845-831-6346.


If you did not already know, Thom Johnson was my high-school photography teacher. At the time I had a prior and general interest in photography, and a familiarity with manual-control film cameras. I also had this growing interest in the old buildings of Irvington and Tarrytown. Perhaps sensing an opportunity to inspire me to find a photographic subject that I could focus on and develop a dedication to, Thom lent me his personal copy of Hudson River Villas. The book included photographs of all the famous local historic houses – Sunnyside, Lyndhurst, Philipsburg Manor, Kykuit, as well as long-lost mansions and estates of which I found remnants in the woods off the Old Croton Aqueduct. It even showed some outright abandoned mansions, and of course Bannerman’s Island Arsenal. Using Hudson River Villas and other books as guides, I researched the histories of these ruins and then began to explore further up the Hudson River.

As he was a founding member of the Bannerman Castle Trust, it was through Thom that I had legal and frequent access to one of the more sought-after and hard-to-access ruins, an association that I still maintain as a part-time tour guide with the Bannerman Castle Trust. Thom and I have explored other ruins together, and recently we have focused more of our attention on the Northgate (Cornish estate) ruins. It was because of his inspiration to me to find and photograph these ruins in the Hudson Valley that I included Thom in the dedication of “Hudson Valley Ruins: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape.” Here is a photograph of Thom at home with one of his paintings of Bannerman’s Island Arsenal.

I hope to see you at Thom’s show!

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