On November 3, I presented an historical stumper that showed a military insignia patch on display in our current exhibit and challenged the reader to identify it. I promised to reveal the answer a week later!
The answer is the 81st "Wildcat" Infantry Division and is generally credited with having the first shoulder patch as we know it today. The unit trained in Camp (now Fort) Jackson, South Carolina along the banks of the Wildcat Creek. When the division disembarked in France in 1918, they were wearing a shoulder patch that depicted a black wildcat on OD background. This caused a stir among the Staff types in France and the troops were first ordered to remove the patch. But with the insight of forward looking staff officers, General Pershing decided that this concept could have great positive morale aspect among the troops. He then ordered all units to come up with a design that could be made into a patch for their respective organization. This opened the floor-gates for every outfit and today we have this concept throughout the military establishments of the world.
The library's exhibit cases are filled with military patches from WWI and WWII on loan from the collector Roland Bartoloucci. Stop in and view this amazing collection! Military insignia has a long history beginning with Roman armies and continuing into current militaries. Can you guess this infantry division? One hint is that it was a history-maker. Contact Sally Pellegrini at ext 139 for the answer or wait for the answer to appear next week.
Rockland, the smallest county in the state excluding the five boroughs of Manhattan, was the center of so much of our colonial development. Separated from Orange County in 1798, the bounty of Rockland’s history surrounds us as we pass the many sites and buildings, beautiful mountains and the grand Hudson. Agriculture dominated the county through the centuries buttoday there remain only two working farms. One of these is the Davies farm located on Route 9W and 304. The library is most fortunate to have an exhibit that displays the history and beauty of this farm. Our thanks to Jan and Niles Davies, Jr. who shared their family’s memories and achievements as we celebrate Rockland History Month.
This web site offers free access to an extraordinary database of information on ten million immigrants from 1830 through 1892, the year that Ellis Island opened. Over 73 million Americans can trace their ancestry to this early immigration period. Castle Garden, today known as Castle Clinton National Monument, is the major landmark within the Battery. From the 1855 to 1890, the Castle was America's first official immigration center, a pioneering collaboration of New York State and New York City.
The Jacob J. Blauvelt House, located on Zukor Road in New City, stands majestically on the grounds of the Historical Society of Rockland. This farmhouse was owned by the Blauvelt family from 1741 until 1970 when the society acquired it. Its street location is equally historical as this road went from New City, spilled into today’s South Mountain Rd and then traveled the foot of the mountain into Haverstraw.
Each month I will pose a historical question about something in Rockland County and two weeks later, I will give the answer OR if you email me, I will send you the answer. Sorry there are no prizes!!
The Historical Society of Rockland County is featuring the fabulous exhibit, "The Tappan Zee Bridge: Transforming Rockland County" until the end of October. This exhibit, under the direction of noted author and professor, Dr. Roger Panetta is filled with photos, blueprints, oral histories and an actual film that shows the making of the bridge. This is an exhibit not to be missed! The opening of the bridge changed the county from an agricultural to a highly residential and commuter-based county. The museum is at 20 Zukor Rd across the road from the Kennedy Dells Park.
The question is: What day was the bridge officially opened for use?
Each month I would like to offer an online web page address that relates to genealogy research. I hope it will be of help to you. Again, I would like to hear from you!
For the month of September (I cheated for a week in August!), I choose the following site:
Hello and welcome to the local history blog of the New City Library. This is my first blog on our new web page and as introduction; I am Sally Pellegrini overseer of a special collection of local history materials called the Rockland Room. You will see reference to the collection name when searching our catalog or when visiting the library. It is my job to manage more than 4,500 print materials, 15 drawers of vertical files, a large collection of local family names and genealogy, the Budke collection, online genealogy subscription services and maps.