Resolution J5761-2013

Commemorating the 300th Anniversary of the Gomez Mill House in Marlboro, New York, June 19-22, 2014

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Actions

  • Jun 10, 2014: ADOPTED
  • Jun 10, 2014: REPORTED TO CALENDAR FOR CONSIDERATION
  • Jun 6, 2014: REFERRED TO FINANCE

Text

LEGISLATIVE  RESOLUTION commemorating the 300th Anniversary of the Gomez
Mill House in Marlboro, New York, June 19-22, 2014

WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body to commend the efforts
of those who seek to bring recognition to historical places  within  the
State  of  New  York,  and in doing so, help to ensure that the complete
history of our State and Nation is preserved  and  shared  with  present
generations of citizens; and
  WHEREAS,  Attendant to such concern, and in full accord with its long-
standing traditions, this Legislative Body is justly  proud  to  commem-
orate  the  300th  Anniversary  of the Gomez Mill House in Marlboro, New
York, to be celebrated June 19-22, 2014, at ceremonies in both New  York
City and Marlboro; and
  WHEREAS, Built in 1714, the Gomez Mill House in Marlboro, New York, is
one of the oldest continuously lived in residences in the United States;
a  home to numerous historic families of traders, artists, and patriots,
this institution also holds the distinction of being the oldest  surviv-
ing Jewish dwelling in North America; and
  WHEREAS,  This  remarkable landmark was founded by Luis Moses Gomez, a
prominent Sephardic Jewish businessman who with  his  family  fled  from
Spain  to  escape  persecution;  this  leader of the early New York City
Jewish community helped finance and construct America's first synagogue,
the Mill Street Synagogue in New York  City  for  Shearith  Israel,  the
oldest  congregation  in  America,  and  also served as its first parnas
(president); and
  WHEREAS, At the age of 60, Luis Moses Gomez purchased the  4,000  acre
property  in  Marlboro,  New  York,  to  build  the Gomez Mill House; he
erected a single-story fieldstone trading post and dwelling for his sons
to trade European and Caribbean  goods  with  travelers,  settlers,  and
Native Americans; it remains the foundation and first floor of the house
to the present day; and
  WHEREAS,  In 1772, ownership of the Gomez Mill House passed to Wolfert
Ecker, a local Revolutionary War hero and post-colonial leader; the site
served as center of patriotic activism against the  British  and  hosted
numerous  secret  intelligence  meetings to further the cause of the War
for Independence; and
  WHEREAS, After the war, Wolfert Ecker expanded his timber business and
started the Ecker Ferry, while also becoming the first elected  official
in  Orange County; he added a second story level to the Gomez Mill House
in the classic colonial-Dutch style; and
  WHEREAS, In 1835, the historic grounds were purchased by Edward Armst-
rong, a Scotsman and military officer who planted orchards, added  mills
for grain, and built one of the first plank roads; and
  WHEREAS,  A  renaissance  family  of  diplomats, artists, authors, and
entrepreneurs, the Armstrongs contributed greatly to the quality of life
of the people of Newburgh and New York State;  their  relatives  include
former  New York Governor Hamilton Fish and former members of the United
States House of Representatives; and
  WHEREAS, The Gomez Mill House was then purchased in 1912, by  renowned
Arts  and Crafts artisan Dard Hunter, who built his iconic paper mill on
the site; it was here he produced America's  first  completely  handmade
book; visitors from around the world have come to visit this place where
Hunter worked and to study his papermaking, typography, and book binding
methods; and
  WHEREAS,  This  property's  final owner of historical significance was
the extraordinary human rights activist, Martha Gruening; a white found-
er of the NAACP and confidant of W.E.B. Du Bois, she was  a  noted  poet

and  muckraking  journalist,  as well as an advocate for civil, women's,
workers, and children's rights; and
  WHEREAS, Martha Gruening established a Libertarian school at the Gomez
Mill  House modeled on the Modern School of Will and Ariel Durant in New
York City; at this school, children of all races,  creeds  and  economic
backgrounds would receive an education without prejudice; and
  WHEREAS,  In  1979, the Gomez Foundation for Mill House was founded by
the descendants of its  former  owners  and  other  dedicated  community
members;  its mission was to preserve this unique historic house, and to
educate the public about the contributions of its former owners  to  the
multicultural  history  of the Hudson River Valley; six years later, the
foundation purchased the site and established a public museum  chartered
by the State of New York; and
  WHEREAS,  Today,  this important touchstone of the American experience
hosts over 4,000 local, national and international visitors  each  year,
offering regularly scheduled informative and interactive public programs
and  tours; a popular program offered in the Newburgh Educational School
District has brought third graders to the site for the  past  19  years;
and
  WHEREAS, The Gomez Mill House with its remarkable history, is a testa-
ment  to  the tenacity, entrepreneurial spirit, and diversity of all New
Yorkers; and
  WHEREAS, This Legislative Body is pleased to have this opportunity  to
express  its highest admiration for the Gomez Mill House, and for all of
the individuals who have worked to bring proper attention to a place and
time which merits recognition in the grand panorama of  the  history  of
our State and Nation; now, therefore, be it
  RESOLVED,  That  this  Legislative  Body pause in its deliberations to
commemorate the 300th Anniversary of the Gomez Mill House  in  Marlboro,
New York; and be it further
  RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to the Gomez Foundation for Mill House.

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