The goal of this newsletter is to share a bit of local news and shine a spotlight on the interesting things that are happening  in Hillsdale and nearby.

Here's a simple way to help out.  A "Blessing Box" has been set up behind the Hillsdale United Methodist Church and  typically needs to be replenished 2 to 3 times a week.   Though the case is not officially managed by the church or the food pantry, it is designed "for anyone to take what they need when they need it or leave what they want." 

If you'd like to help keep the case stocked, please include items you want in your pantry: canned vegetables and fruits, cereal, healthy snacks, nuts, peanut butter, jam, tuna, salt, pepper, non-condensed soups, crackers, spaghetti and sauce.  Multi grain-bread is gone in a day.

Other household items are also welcome: detergent, shampoo, soap, sponges, and tooth paste.
The Columbia County Department of Public Works held a public informational meeting in Town Hall on Thursday, June 28, to review a culvert replacement plan that will affect Columbia County Route 21 near Harlemville over a tributary to Agawamuck Creek.

The County, in cooperation with the County's consulting engineer, Greenman- Pedersen Inc., the New York State Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration, is developing design alternatives for the replacement of the County Route 21 Culvert. The project proposes to replace the structurally deficient culvert with a new structure that will provide a minimum service life of 75 years.   Headlines from the meeting:
  • We expect construction to get underway in May or June 2019.
  • These type of projects typically take 3 months to 5 months to complete, depending on the weather, contractor's workload, site conditions, etc.
  • Co. Rte. 21 and the structure will be completely closed at the project location; an off-site detour will be posted.
  • 100% of the funding for this project comes from the Governor's BRIDGENY local bridge improvement program.
We will remind everyone about this next spring!
Representatives of Hillsdale's Broadband Committee (Andrew Dash and Tod Wohlfarth) attended a meeting on June 28 with Jeff Nordhaus of the State Broadband Program Office (BPO), other members of area broadband committees and public officials. Some headlines from the meeting:
  • The original June 5 switchover date for existing Spectrum customers to install new cable TV equipment slipped and is now July 24.  It is unclear if that revised date will hold or the cause of the delay.  Significant problems with Spectrum customer support have also been reported.
  •  The BPO has added information in the resources section of its website with general information on the State's $500 million investment in broadband development.
  • Charter/Spectrum continues to maintain a look up tool for its expansion.  The Committee has been told that the results of a search will not be binding on Charter/Spectrum, which reserves the right to decline to extend its system to particular residences and roads.
  • Hillsdale's committee continues to question the assertion by the BPO that Charter/Spectrum will expand their lines throughout Hillsdale and press for details. The BPO insists that their plan coupled with the Charter expansion will cover 99.9% of New Yorkers.  However, they have no authority over or insight into Charter/Spectrum's expansion or implementation of their merger terms.
We're working on scheduling an informational meeting with Consolidated.  They told the County Broadband Committee that they want to schedule an open house this summer to provide an update on progress and answer questions - but have ye to set a date.  Stay tuned.
Farmers' Market Coupon books are available through The Columbia County Office for the Aging.  Each booklet is worth $20 and contains five $4.00 checks which can be used to purchase produce at approved local farmers' markets.  Eligible individuals must be 60 years of age or older; have an income of $1,860 /month or less for a single person household; $2,504/month or less for a two person household; $3,149 or less for a three person household.

These coupon books are issued on a first come, first serve basis and are available at Columbia County Office for the Aging, 325 Columbia Street in Hudson Monday - Friday from 8 am to 3:30 pm .  Seniors must be present and sign for the checks.  Please call 518 828 4258 for pick up of a coupon book.

Matthew White of Hillsdale General Store has created a small exhibit in front of the store's cast iron stove showcasing antique artifacts from when the general store was known as Dimmick's.  Included is a 19th century wallpaper book found in the attic during the restoration and a ledger book from 1865, opened to the day that Lincoln was assassinated. It's interesting to see the items sold that day, many of which they sell today!  Also on display are old Dimmick's calendars and a newspaper article about the store when Dimmick's closed after more than 100 years run by the same family.  There are advertising cards and even a 19th century tobacco sign. Matthew White and store manager Paul Amash welcome everyone to drop in to see these artifacts and share their memories of the building over the years.
The Hillsdale General Store building was built in 1855 and restored eight years ago.  It now houses four businesses including the General Store, CrossRoads Food Shop and LABspace art gallery.

A beautiful new blog post by our Town Historians:  We've written about Hillsdale cemeteries before, but Lauren's imagination has been captured by one in particular: the McKinstry Family Plot on upper Hunt Road. Its beautiful headstones, many still legible, have lain mostly undisturbed for more than 200 years. Many of them date to the American Revolution era....


Local Collections by Local Collectors is on display at the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society in Copake Falls.   The summer exhibit brings together an eclectic selection of collections that have been compiled by residents of the Roe Jan area and objects that have been donated to the archive.  It also includes many objects belonging to one of our community's most avid collectors, Mike Fallon of the Copake Auction House.

The museum, located at Miles Road and Route 344 in Copake Falls, is open on Saturdays and Sundays in July and August from 2 to 4 pm. 

If anyone needs evidence that historic preservation and economic growth go hand-in-hand, look no further than Hillsdale.

Hillsdale Mercantile LLC recently purchased a venerable old building on Anthony Street and ha s  begun construction to overhaul this  registered  historic 170 year-old structure. The first major phase , the raising of the entire building several feet (see bottom photo)  will make room for replacing the foundation.
T he new building owners and Hillsdale residents, Steve and Kathy Bluestone , are hard at work   on this project and are excited to contribute to the revitalization of Hillsdale's historic hamlet.   Work beg a n on refurbishing this forgotten piece of Hillsdale's industrial history into a new ly restored  facility that will house  mixed commercial/residential use, potentially including a craft beer brewery.
The wood frame commercial building was constructed around 1851.   The Hillsdale Mercantile Association operated here along with a number of other businesses over the years including a seed store, a shirt factory, and Hillsdale's original Agway.  It closed in 1987 (photo below) when the new Agway, now Taconic Valley Lawn and Garden) was built on Route 23. 


Lisa DeLeeuw, Executive Director of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association, reports that her team is focused on the design of State Route 22 crossing and connecting the lower trail to the new Hillsdale stretch.  The next big fundraising push will target construction funds for this crossing.

To that end, Kelly Sweet at the Mount Washington House is hosting a Paint and Sip Fundraiser for the Harlem Valley Rail Trail on Friday, July 27 at 7 pm at the Mount Washington House.  Cocktails, appetizers, materials and instruction are included for $40. HVRT will also be running a raffle.  Seating is limited; a dvance registration is required. 

On August 11, the Hillsdale ArtsWalk celebrates the vibrant art community in our area.  Enjoy art in many forms: fine art, heirloom furniture, pottery, handcrafted jewelry, professional photography, mixed media compositions, sculpture, watercolor, stained glass, metalwork, woodcraft.  Artists will be set up under tents in the Hamlet as well as hosted indoors by several businesses on Main Street.  Run by local volunteers and not for profit, the event is designed to give artists a venue to share their work.  Email for more information.

Below: a painting by Margot Trout, a local artist who has sold her work at the ArtsWalk.  This painting of the view from the Roe Jan Park hangs in Town Hall. 

Back for its third year as one of the most tantalizing evenings of the summer, GRILLSDALE proudly spotlights the bounty of Columbia County, Dutchess County, and the Berkshires-featuring some of the best grilled small plates from top restaurants, chefs, and purveyors from the area.  Saturday, August 25!


The date is set and registration has opened for the 6th annual, and increasingly popular, Roe Jan Ramble Bike Tour, which will take place on Saturday, September 22, 2018.    Mark your calendar now to join over 300 riders on this non-competitive and enjoyable ride through beautiful Hillsdale, Copake and Ancram.

The routes vary from the easy & flat family-friendly 10 mile route, up to the experienced & challenging 50-miler. Sign-up free to reserve your spot on   The event raises donations to benefit the Harlem Valley Rail Trail.
Thanks to Suzy Allman for the cool photo.
Thanks for reading this newsletter.   If you want to promote your upcoming event on the Hillsdale calendar (or share an old photo), I'd love to hear from you.
Peter Cipkowski, Town Supervisor and Town Crier