November 26, 2014 | 8:38am    area forecast: Today: Snow High 38°F, Low 25°F

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UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Monday, November 24 - Tuesday, November 25
    Chamber Jazz Ensembles
    Jazz works performed by students in the Jazz Studies area. $8; $6 seniors, faculty & staff; $3 students. 8pm. Url: http://newpaltz.edu/music.

  • Tuesday, November 25
    Anthony Musso Book Signing
    Musso will show a DVD and speak about Staatsburg: A Village Lost in Time. Autographed copies of his book will be available for purchase.Refreshments and business meeting to follow. Phone: 845-229-2559. Url: http://townofhydeparkny-historicalsociety.org.

  • Thursday, November 27
    11th Annual Turkey Trot
    Thanksgiving morning 5K walk & fun run to benefit Family of New Paltz. 8am registration, 9am Mashed Potato Kids 1/4 Mile run, 9:30 Turkey Trot. Race begins and ends at Water Street Market. Url: http://newpaltzturkeytrot.com.

  • Thursday, November 27
    Town of Rochester Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon
    11:30am-2pm. The Community Center invites seniors, families, and anyone who may be spending the day alone to join the community family for a delicious Thanksgiving meal. Free, reserve your seat by Nov. 21. Donations & volunteers needed too! Phone: 845-626-2115. Url: http://townofrochester.net.

  • Thursday, November 27
    Free Community Thanksgiving Dinner
    The churches of Highland are providing a free Thanksgiving dinner for the community. Serving begins at 1pm, all are welcome.

  • Thursday, November 27
    2nd Annual Kingston Turkey Trot
    5K Run/2 Mile Walk. Race starts at 9am. Children under 5 are free. Sponsored by the Junior League of Kingston to benefit Kingston Kinderland II. Phone: 845-331-1682. Url: http://forsythnaturecenter.org.

  • Friday, November 28
    Sinterklaas Kingston
    Sinterklaas arrival day in the Kingston Rondout. 10:30am-7pm. A day of open houses, musical performances, workshops creating beautiful crowns and branches, a march down Broadway, a parade of stars, and puppets galore. Kingston sends off Sinterklaas and his white horse on a tugboat across the river. After his send off, there will a Sinterklaas Soiree, Tree Lighting Ceremony and plenty of specials at all of the local restaurants. sinterklaashudsonvalley.com

  • Friday, November 28 - Sunday, November 30
    Farm & Flea
    Showcase for the agricultural bounty & craft making richness of our region. Shop, hear music, taste local treats, attend a workshop or lecture. All day: 9am–7pm. Email: info@basilicahudson.com. Url: http://basilicahudson.com.

  • Friday, November 28
    Kingston Tree Lighting
    6-8:30pm. Local entertainment, refreshments, Santa & friends. Phone: 845-331-1216.

  • Friday, November 28 - Sunday, November 30
    Museum Shop Holiday Sale
    10am-4pm. Phone: 845-338-1661. Url: http://hurleyheritagesociety.org.

  • Friday, November 28
    2nd Annual Green Friday
    11am-2pm. This free, outdoor event will showcase a variety of ways to "green" your home this year. This will include rain barrels, home composting, solar energy, permeable pavers and asphalt and much more. For more information or to participate in this event, please contact Steve Noble at 845-481-7336. Phone: 845-331-1682. Email: recreation@kingston-ny.gov. Url: http://kingstonparksandrec.org.

  • Friday, November 28 - Sunday, November 30
    A Gilded Age Christmas
    Lavish holiday decoration, special programs & holiday shopping at the Mills Mansion 11/28–12/31.Tours Fri–Sun from noon–4pm; then every Thu–Sun in December; also every day 12/29–12/31. Phone: 845-889-8851 X300. Email: Donald.Fraser@parks.ny.gov . Url: http://staatsburgh.org.

  • Saturday, November 29
    ARTspace Holiday Gift Fair
    Opening reception 5–7pm. Continues Sat & Sun thru 12/13. Phone: 518-537-4469. Url: http://germantownartspace.com.

  • Saturday, November 29
    Holiday Show Opening
    2014 show opening from 5–7pm. Winter gallery hours: Thu–Sat 11–5pm; Sun 11am–4pm. Phone: 845-516-4435. Email: betsyjacaruso@gmail.com. Url: http://betsyjacarusoartist.com .

  • Saturday, November 29
    Magic, Mind Reading & Comedy
    llusionist David Garrity and mind reader Denny Corby present awesome illusions, magic and mind reading w/a comic twist. $20. Phone: 845-876-3080. Url: http://centerforperformingarts.org.

  • Saturday, November 29
    Introduction to Fermentation
    Learn how simple it is to make your own kimchi, kefir, and other fermented delicacies and watch Sandor make a simple sauerkraut. Learn about the healing qualities and nutritional importance of live-culture ferments, as well as their illustrious history and integral role in human cultural evolution. Empower yourself with simple techniques for fermenting these healthful foods in your home. Presented by Sandor Ellix Katz. 3-5:30pm. Phone: 845-255-1255. Url: http://gardinerlibrary.org.

  • Sunday, November 30
    Village Tree Lighting & Activities
    Family fun throughout the day w/ tree lighting taking place at Rhinebeck Bank parking lot on East Market St around 5:30. Phone: 845-876-5904. Email: info@rhinebeckchamber.com. Url: http://rhinebeckchamber.com.

  • Sunday, November 30
    Naughty Sweeties
    A 1920s cabaret: Molly Parker-Myers (w/Joel Flowers on piano) presents an afternoon of songs and stories from the Roaring 20s. $20. Phone: 845-876-3080. Url: http://centerforperformingarts.org.

  • Sunday, November 30
    Families: Nature Collages
    Come join other families at Minnewaska to make art, using materials from the natural world. First, we will look at examples of collage and explore a few assembly techniques. Then, we will search nearby trails to gather items to use in our art project. The fun begins when we return to the Nature Center and we create our collages. This program is recommended for children aged six to twelve years old accompanied by a parent or guardian at least 18 years old. Pre-registration required. 10-11:30am. Phone: 845-255-0752. Url: http://nysparks.com.

  • Wednesday, December 3
    Bard College Symphonic Chorus
    Handel, Esther; chamber singers, and baroque ensemble. Directed by Alexander Bonus, conducted by James Bagwell. Phone: 845-758-7900. Email: fishercenterboxoffice@bard.edu. Url: http://fishercenter.bard.edu.

Browse The All AboutTown Articles:

General Interest  |  Local History  |  Building & Home  |  Food & Wine  |  Health & Wellness

Postcard showing Mill Pond, Amenia. credit Courtesy Amenia Historical Society.

Amenia and the Birth of "The Brotherhood"

Spring 2014   

Ever wonder about that stone bank building at the corner of routes 343 and 22 at the center of Amenia village? If it looks to you like it came from another world, you’re right. In 1860, Dutchess County was the birthplace of the Brotherhood of the New Life, one of the many "alternative communities" born during the great American spiritual revival of the mid-nineteenth century. The Brotherhood began in Wassaic, and grew onto additional property in nearby Amenia where, after accumulating a sizeable amount of capital, the group founded the First National Bank of Amenia and built that stone building.

The Brotherhood’s founder was Thomas Lake Harris, a hypnotic and otherworldly minister who cobbled together his own eclectic set of beliefs during an evolving career. Harris started out as a young preacher in Western New York, where he became known for the poetical passion of his oratory. Then he embraced spiritualism, claiming to be in touch with the angels and publishing three books of poetical revelations dictated while in trances during his visits with dead poets in heaven.


Thomas Lake Harris in is late seventies. credit Courtesy Bart Casey.

Soon he declared that he had spirit-traveled to celestial communities on Mars, Jupiter and other planets—all part of his training to become the pivotal go-between between fallen man and the Deity.

By 1859, at age 36, Harris was the leader of New York City’s Church of the Good Shepherd, an independent, progressive and well-heeled congregation holding Sunday services in the chapel of New York University in Washington Square. Followers included Horace Greeley, future presidential candidate and editor of the New York Tribune, as well as wealthy heiress Jane Waring, daughter of a successful New York State stove manufacturer.

Harris traveled around the South on the eve of the Civil War and in Great Britain after the Crimean War. The civil and social unrest he witnessed convinced him that the tumultuous period was beginning,which would precede the final struggle between Good and Evil, itself the precursor to the second coming of Christ. To counter this cataclysm, he convinced a close inner circle of followers to pool their money and buy property in Dutchess County where they could prepare for the changes to come and become ready to play leading roles saving mankind in the new post-apocalyptic order.

For a brief period in the years before founding the Amenia settlement, Harris had been co-leader of a failed utopian community in West Virginia. Here he learned that any community attempting to set up a new world order should have only one leader—and a well-funded one at that. Sound finances and savvy business practices became his hallmarks. At the start, Harris’s main benefactor and deputy was Jane Waring, the heiress, who contributed millions of dollars in today’s money to the community. Jane also ran the farming operations, having grown up on a farm with her agriculturalist brother George, manager of Greeley’s farm in Chappaqua and lead sanitary engineer for the draining of Manhattan’s wetlands and the ensuing creation of New York’s Central Park. Joining from New York City and contributing commercial expertise came several experienced businessmen with their families, During the Civil War three large families arrived from Georgia, escaping the depradations of that battle-ravaged state and adding the proceeds from the sale of their properties and slaves. From Britain came Arthur Cuthbert and his fiancée, Emily Fawcett, to be married in Amenia by Harris; Cuthbert would become Harris’s lifelong disciple and biographer.

This founding group spent their days in healthy manual labor building the first house in Wassaic, which was located across from the famous Gridley kilns, on the wooded hillside overlooking the deep gorge creek of the Wassaic River, just off today’s Route 22. Today, forest has grown over the original stable’s grounds and garden. An early member recalled that the structure was "a very fine one at the time, and known locally as the House in the Woods." Evenings were spent in "right breathing": reaching out for contact with the celestial realm, where Harris was already a frequent visitor and confidant of the archangels. As more people came, new properties were bought around Mill Pond, on today’s Lake Amenia Avenue, where the Brotherhood operated a mill as a first base of commerce in the community. Jane Waring then planted the Brotherhood’s vineyards on the adjoining hillside, near today’s Silo Ridge Golf Course.


The stone bank building in Amenia built by the Brotherhood, now a branch of M&T Bank. credit Courtesy Amenia Historical Society.

As the community flourished, Harris decided they should spread the word more to local villagers about the great changes to come. To do this, his New York City disciples helped Harris found the First National Bank of Amenia, installing the prophet as president. At first, the bank was a modest one-room wooden structure with an imposing safe, a welcoming woodstove, and a wealth of chairs for townspeople to rest on and chat. Eventually, in 1865, the bank built its distinctive five-sided stone building now gracing the main street of the village.

More exotic members began to arrive. J. W. Hyde, an expert winemaker from Missouri, joined with his wife Lucy and son John to take over vineyard operations. In London Emily Fawcett Cuthbert talked up Harris to her close friend Lady Maria Oliphant, and soon this widow of the chief justice of Ceylon petitioned to join the Brotherhood. Before long she brought along as well her son Laurence, a prominent writer, war correspondent and member of parliament. The Oliphants brought wealth and an implied endorsement for Harris from the highest levels of British society, where they were friends and intimates of ministers, aristocrats and the royal family. And when Laurence completed his probationary period in England and arrived in Dutchess County, he brought with him a group of Samurai students on a secret mission from their lord in the southern Japanese province of Satsuma to learn the mysterious ways of the West. They were, in fact, some of the earliest visitors from Japan to ever come to the USA, and several went on to high office as ambassadors for the modern government set up by Meiji-era Japan; one even became minister of education.

Since everyone joining the Brotherhood contributed all of their worldly funds, the safe at the First National Bank of Amenia might well have been bursting at its seams. By 1867, it was decided the entire group should re-scale itself and relocate to larger properties 400 miles to the west on Lake Erie, , at Brocton, New York, where a more sizeable wine business could be cultivated. So, after a successful birth and seven-year childhood in Dutchess County, the Brotherhood moved on to adolescence in Brocton, and eventual adulthood in Santa Rosa, California, where from 1876 to 1934 it became a leading Sonoma County winery on the fabulous Fountaingrove estate. One family, disgruntled with Harris’s leadership, eventually returned east to Washingtonville, in the Hudson Valley, where as competitors to Harris they took over the oldest winery in the country and renamed it after the Brotherhood. This winery is still in operation today.

Harris’s later years brought scandals about sexual shenanigans and financial deceptions, casting a permanent cloud over the reputations of both Harris and Oliphant (who broke with Harris as well and went on publishing bestselling books about his exotic travels). At its inception in Dutchess County, however, this colorful community was full of hope and idealism. Writing in 1930, Robert Martin, who grew up in the Brotherhood, addressed questions about any possible "lax morals, or improper conduct" in the early Dutchess County days. He stated then they were all "a straightlaced, God-fearing band of men and women" intent on leading mankind to salvation. However, Martin didn’t pull any punches about his final assessment of Harris and the Brotherhood for his somber ending to the story, where he judged Harris "a charlatan, with feet of the most ordinary clay" who eventually squandered the members’ money and dashed their dreams of glory.

 
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845-750-5627

The Augustine Nursery has been creating landscapes of distinction throughout the Hudson Valley for 40 years. We specialize in larger scale, estate-grade trees and plants that you simply won’t find at the typical garden variety nurseries in the area.

9W & Van Kleecks Ln., Kingston
845-338-4936

Our company has ranked 8th in dollar sales for the last two years in a row out of 150 companies belonging to the Mid Hudson Multiple Listing Service. Our offices, located in Millbrook and Rhinebeck, specialize in country and village properties in Dutchess and Columbia Counties.

51-3 East Market St, Rhinebeck
845-876-6676

Practice yoga in our beautiful studio located in the heart of Rhinebeck Village. We offer a Very Beginner series four times a year, plus ongoing classes for all levels, Chair Yoga at the Starr Library, Restorative yoga, special workshops, teacher training certification and private instruction. Visit our schedule online or check for regular updates on Facebook.

6400 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck
845-876-2528

Family owned & operated serving the Hudson Valley since 1973. We provide quality service & installations to homeowners, contractors, architects & commercial businesses. Let the "only real door company in the valley" exceed your expectations. Full showroom & parts counter. Like us on Facebook!

40 Arlington Ave, Poughkeepsie
845-471-1130

Home repair and improvements. Field and brush mowing. Year-round property maintenance. Excellent local references. Insured.

845-687-4589 or 845-721-4741

Attorney in Rhinebeck and New York City with thirty plus years of experience. Specializing in Wills, Trusts, Estates, Elder Law, Real Estate Closings, and Tax Grievances, Income and Estate Taxes and Corporate and Business Law. Free initial consultation.

PO Box 343, Astor Square, Rhinebeck
876-4433 or 1-800-845-4403

Watercolor classes with Betsy Jacaruso for beginning and advanced painters. Four 3-hour classes on Mon, Wed & Sat, in a relaxed group setting w/focus on basic watercolor techniques while developing and cultivating a personal style. Classes in drawing and pastels also offered w/Keith Gunderson. See also under "Galleries & Studios" and in the calendar under "Classes & Workshops."

The Rhinebeck Courtyard 43 E. Market St., Suite 2, Rhinebeck
845-516-4435

Math tutoring for college level coursework and adults at any stage. From algebra to calculus to dynamical systems, certification courses to licensing exams, GED to GRE, Leigh Noble, PhD is ready to work with you.

New Paltz
845-256-8340

A 185-acre farm in our family since 1916. Come pick plump pumpkins and many varieties of apples, Enjpy your own lunch at an orchard picnic table. then visit our rustic farm stand for a colroful array of fruits and vegetables—all grown right here. Weekends 10am–6pm. Off Rte. 9, four miles north of Red Hook light. More on website.

15 Scism Road, Tivoli
845-756-5641

Classes designed to discover the artist within your child. Children 5-12 years old in small group settings with much individualized instruction and attention in multi medias, including assemblage, collage, print making and paint. Great gift idea for grandparents who want to give new experiences instead of "things". Five - one and a half hour sessions are just $75.

830 Route 9W Broadway, Ulster Park
845-532-2280

The most progressive florist in the area carrying local and imported flowers from globally responsible farms. Specializing in making your everyday floral needs an enjoyable, creative experience. Worth the visit.

2356 Rte 44-55 in Gardiner and 10 Church St. in New Paltz
845-255-3866

Health Quest Medical Practice (HQMP) is a multi-specialty medical group offering  Primary Care in many locations: Boiceville, Carmel, Fishkill, Highland, Hopewell Junction, Hyde Park, Kingston, LaGrangeville, Millbrook, Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck and Woodstock. Specialists within the group include: Behavioral Health, Breast Surgery, Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Geriatrics, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Neurosurgery and Spine Surgery, OBGYN, Pulmonary Medicine, Surgery, Thoracic Oncology and Urgent Care. Meet our providers before your appointment by visiting our website and find the right doctor for you. Call for scheduling and information.

1-888-525-HQMP (4767)

Kathryn Whitman Architecture specializes in residential design—new construction, renovations and restorations. Combining overall design strength and fine detailing, we offer architectural and interior design services in the Hudson Valley and New York City. Let us collaborate on your vision for your home.

845-640-1636 or 845-640-1636

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518-537-4521 or 518-965-1922

AboutTown Ulster: PO Box 474, New Paltz, NY 12561, 845-691-2089  EMAIL US
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