| Tappantown Historical Society Annual Meeting
November 2, 2018
President’s Annual Report for 2018
Good evening and welcome to the 53rd annual meeting of the
Tappantown Historical Society. I am Carol LaValle, president. Thank you
for coming tonight and for all your support in ensuring that we are
successful in fulfilling our mission of education and preservation. A
successful year such as this one is only possible with the support of our
members and volunteers, collaboration with other community
organizations and historic societies, and a committed board of directors.
They are Tom LaValle, John Morton, Joe Napoli, Marilyn Schauder, and
Keith Walker. Officers are vice-president Chris Gremski, treasurer Michael
Fiorentino, recording secretary Harold Jones, and corresponding
secretary Betsy Walker.
Particular thanks also goes to the Jones family and the Masons for
the use of this beautiful historic site, where we meet every month and
have held Colonial Day every September for many years. For only the
third time in 34 years, we had to cancel Colonial Day because after a
week of steady rain, the grounds were saturated and would not be able to
sustain the heavy car and foot traffic that Colonial Day brings.
Colonial Day is our most significant event and so it was with great
reluctance that we had to cancel it. Still, there are many other ways in
which THS carried on with our mission of education and preservation.
One way is to recognize the efforts of others who contribute to education
and preservation. We do that at our annual preservation awards dinner in
February. The 2018 awards went to Tom and Dottie Kilroy for their
perennial garden in front of their 18th century home on Oak Tree Road, to
author Selene Castrovilla and illustrator John O’Brien for Revolutionary
Rogues, a children’s book about the Arnold/Andre conspiracy, and to
Evan Pritchard, director of the Center for Algonquin Culture, for his map
of the Native American settlements in Rockland County and his new
book The Tappans: Keepers of the River Crossings. Both books and the
map are on display in the local history room in the Tappan Library. The
framed map was a gift from Jose and Eileen Cardona.
Another way we recognize other’s accomplishments is through our
THS Scholarship for Excellence in US History. The 2018 recipient was
Tappan Zee senior Thomas McKiernan.
Developing and maintaining the local history room in the Tappan
Library is another major commitment. Local historian Ken Kral has been
organizing our archives over the past several years — quite a daunting
task! — and Larry Vail is slowly ticking away at digitizing our records.
They are available to the public, and several students have used our
material in their research. Most recently, a great niece of Tom and Lee
LoMedico, past presidents of THS, visit-ed Tappan and found material for
a memoir she is writing about the LoMedicos. In the future, we will be
adding new titles to the collection, and we have been thinking of starting
a reading group. Currently on display in the room is a pictorial history of
the Dutch settlement of Tap-pan and its environs. The panels were
donated by the Orangetown Museum and Archives.
Another major commitment this year has been “to do something!”
about the small triangle installed by the Highway Department 10 years
ago and which was adopted by THS, the Tappan Library, and the TRC. In
June, we asked landscape designer and Tappan resident Mary Ellen
LeWarn to design a low maintenance plan for the triangle. Her plan of
perennials, shrubs, ground covers, bulbs, and annuals was approved by
the Orangetown Highway Department, which recently prepared the site
and is paying for half the cost of the plants. Through the efforts of John
Morton, we received a $500.00 grant from Constellation Energy for
plants, as well, and THS will pay for the rest and their installation, which
Mary Ellen says will happen soon. Of course, maintenance is the key to
keeping the triangle in good shape so we will be working on a plan for
that. Also, the historic markers that had been in the larger Memorial
Triangle, one about the first courthouse and the other about the Tappan
Reformed Church, have been refurbished and will be put back in the
historic area with the help of the Highway Department. Later this month,
we will once again be decorating the lamp posts on Main Street and
around the triangle for the holidays.
All of these improvements in the historic area enhance our walking
tours, which are an important part of the THS program. This year, Thano
Schoppel, Marilyn Schauder, and Keith Walker gave tours to over 350
people. Many are students from the local elementary schools, but an
increasing number are adult groups. For them, Marilyn has developed
several talks that go into lesser known details of the way in which the
ordinary lives of local residents were shaped by the larger events of a
volatile time in our history.
Over time, our membership has changed, and although we continue
to attract new members and renewals, we have inevitably lost members
because they have moved away or died. We need to increase our active
membership, especially in having more people volunteer their time at the
Tappan Zee Thrift Shop for the benefit of THS. THS and the Thrift Shop
both were founded 53 years ago, and this relationship has sustained us
quite well over the years. Now, however, there are only two members
donating time for the benefit of THS and we are in danger of losing our
share of the disbursements from the Thrift Shop. Your donations and
purchases are an important part of the equation, but a few more
volunteers spending a few hours a month helping at the shop would
make all the difference.
For the coming year, we will continue our usual activities, and work
on new projects, and try to increase our active membership. Again, our
success has always depended on the support of you, our members, local
businesses and community organizations — the Masons, the TRC, the
VFAT, the American Legion, the Tappan Library, OLSH, the HSRC,the
Orangetown Museum, and the town of Orangetown. Thank you.
Following the Annual Report, Michael Fiorentino gave the Treasurer’s
The final order of business was the election of new officers and
directors: they are Betsy Walker for Corresponding Secretary, Alan Ryff
for Recording Secretary, Keith Walker for a 3-year director term, Tom
LaValle for a 2-year director term, and Larry Vail and Joe Napoli for 1-year