In the fall of 1991, CBS News anchor and American icon Walter Cronkite came to Peekskill,
New York, to inaugurate the new headquarters of the National Maritime Historical Society in the old Fleischmann Gin building on the banks of the Hudson River.
Egged on by our then-president, Peter Stanford, he agreed to chair our educational initiative to promote the seafaring legacy of our county to more people, and particularly to students.
We occupied that building for more than a quarter century.
While we kept to our mission indoors, outside our windows we could catch sights of ship traffic on the river, eagles soaring over the water, storms and sunsets, and the hubbub of a busy waterfront.
With our office space crammed with ship models, nautical prints, and maritime memorabilia,
we were always reminded of the mission and inspired to pursue it through good times and bad.
Last year, our landlord announced his intention to repurpose the building, and we began our search
for a new home—a task that is challenging on its own, but conducted in the middle of a pandemic, it was even more taxing.
We were delighted to find available office space just a few miles away in a converted historic brick building.
The Hat Factory was originally the 365-acre Sherwood Farm, which later became home to a relocated Yonkers hat factory that had been destroyed by fire.
The business relocated in 1923 following a labor strike, and the property was abandoned. Over the years,
After 27 years in one location, it was a herculean task to manage the move during COVID-19 restrictions,
and we thank our NMHS vice president, Wendy Paggiotta, who orchestrated the move and organized the layout of the new office space.
I will miss my old office, where so many plans were hatched and meetings were conducted with our trustees, members,
and guests, but I have discovered that being in a fresh new space has rejuvenated our spirits; I see it as a harbinger of better things to come.
I look forward to a time when historic ships can set sail for ports across the horizon, when museums can fully re-open, and, most of all, when we can meet in person.
I look forward to inviting our members to a glorious party to inaugurate our new headquarters once
it is safe to do so, in the spirit of Walter Cronkite, Peter Stanford, Howard Slotnick, and all those
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