of the NPA
The Newburgh Preservation Association (NPA) is a nonprofit citizens
membership organization dedicated to rebuilding, preserving, and promoting
the architectural heritage and historic viewsheds of Newburgh, New
Preservation efforts began in Newburgh in the 1960s, when people first
became alarmed at the destruction of historic buildings under the
banner of "urban renewal." Local architect Ray Ruge, city
historian Helen Gearn, and planner Barry Benepe worked tirelessly,
as did local citizen groups such as Newburgh Now and the Greater
Newburgh Arts Council. Preserving the Dutch
Reformed Church was a major cause. Key accomplishments of these
early efforts were the state's designation of the East End Historic
District in 1973 and volunteer Libby Lyon's saving of "the
five bricks" (Victorian houses) on Montgomery Street.
on these earlier efforts, the Newburgh Preservation Association was
started in 1978 as a volunteer nonprofit organization. Lamenting the
historic buildings already lost to "urban renewal," the
NPA worked to increase public awareness of Newburgh's historic architecture
and attact more residents and businesses to the older parts of the
NPA members bought derelict buildings without plumbing or electricity
and commenced restoration. When copper pipes were installed, vandals
stole them, so the new homeowners would sleep in their buildings to
protect them. Those who had running water would allow the new pioneers
to use their facilities. Members shared tools and knowledge on how
things were constructed so restoration could be done.
Since its formation, the Newburgh Preservation Association has undertaken
numerous preservation activities, including the following:
||Volunteers conducted weekend tours
of the vast array of architectural styles represented in Newburgh's
downtown buildings. The tours led to several home purchases.
||NPA mounted plaques identifying several historic
buildings in Newburgh.
||The NPA published a newsletter, named "Five
Bricks" after the buildings saved by Libby Lyon.
||In the 1980s, the NPA operated a Visitor Center
at 87 Liberty Street, opposite Washington's Headquarters, encouraging
both homeowners and businesses to relocate in the city core.
||In the mid-1980s, NPA volunteers began maintaining
the Old Town Cemetery. On the
first Saturday, volunteers hauled out seven truckloads of rubble!
A series of small grants helped buy lawn mowers and rakes. Volunteer
John McCormick mowed regularly for 11 years, followed by Jim
Wanamaker, who continues to the present day.
||In 1985, NPA volunteers contributed to the inventory
historic buildings in the East End Historic District,
which was expanded that year to include about 4,000 buildings.
||In 1999, the NPA formally established
the Old Town Cemetery Committee, including the mayor
of Newburgh and the pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church, and
the Friends of Old Town Cemetery, a volunteer group,
which now operates as a committee under NPA.
||In June 2001, after a talk by NYS preservation
officer Bill Krattinger, local volunteer Carla Decker formed
a new Dutch Reformed Church
Restoration Committee, which later elected Jim Hoekema as
chair. In the Fall, the NPA elected new officers, including
Pat Favata as president, and the DRC group became an official
committee of the NPA. In November, the NPA and the DRC committee
helped plan the ceremony dedicating the Dutch Reformed Church
as a National
||In 2002, the NPA added another committee, Newburgh
for Newcomers, an annual workshop designed to attract new
residents to Newburgh. The task force is led by founder Dick
Bedrosian (who became president of NPA in 2004) and co-chair
John McCormick & Jim Hoekema. Last updated
March 25, 2012