All events are free and open to the public. Unless otherwise noted, the events take place in
the Ottinger Room at the Croton Free Library, 171 Cleveland Drive, Croton-on-Hudson, NY. Please join us!


Wildlife in the Hudson River Valley

People have been interacting with wildlife in the Hudson River Valley for more than 8,000 years. This relationship has constantly changed and continues to change and create controversy today. Want to know which ancient relative of the elephant visited Haverstraw Bay? The pros and cons of inviting a turkey vulture to your Fourth of July barbecue? Why Acme anvils are not actually a good idea when dealing with coyotes? Scott Craven, who has two degrees in American History and lectures extensively about the Hudson River Valley, will share his unique understanding, perception and appreciation of our relationship with wildlife.

Thursday, September 5 at 7:00 p.m.


Bear Mountain and the Bridges of the Hudson Valley

When the Bear Mountain Bridge opened in 1924 it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, the first large bridge built to carry automobiles and the first to rely on auto tolls to pay for its construction. It also opened the floodgates on an era of American bridge construction. Harry Stanton will recount history of the Bear Mountain Bridge, the historical significance of the site it occupies and the other unique crossings that followed along the river, creating the society and the prosperity of the modern Hudson Valley. He is a member of the board of the New York State Bridge Authority, where he was Executive Director for 12 years, and a 40-year veteran of New York State and local transportation agencies. His experience includes managing critical bridge, transit and aviation programs.

Thursday, October 3 at 7:00 p.m.


Rails Around Westchester County

Developed by a stagecoach maker in lower Manhattan, Westchester County’s first railroad, the New York & Harlem Railroad, arrived in the 1840s. Since commuting by train allowed convenient short travel, its arrival accelerated growth and commerce throughout the county due to New York City’s proximity. Within the same decade, the New Haven Railroad arrived in Westchester from New England, followed by the upstate-backed Hudson River Railroad in 1849. At its peak in 1930 and on the eve of the Great Depression, Westchester County maintained as many as eight rail lines and branches. Today, three of the county’s original rail lines, the Harlem line, the New Haven line, and the Hudson line, are still in use and as busy as ever. Kent W. Patterson, who worked for MTA-Metro-North as well as its predecessor railroad, will tell the story of railroads in Westchester. His presentation is based on his book Rails Around Westchester County, published by Arcadia Publishing.

Thursday, November 7 at 7:00 p.m.

Drawing by Theodore Coru of one of the mills on the lower Croton River.

Drawing by Theodore Coru of one of the mills on the lower Croton River.

Milling in the Hudson River Valley: Yesterday and Today

This special program will tell the fascinating history of the mills on the lower Croton River—which supplied badly needed flour to George Washington’s troops during the Revolutionary War—and take a look at the milling business in New York State today. Croton’s Village Historian, Marc Cheshire, will give a brief presentation about the Van Cortlandt and Underhill mills. Thor Oechsner, owner of an organic grain farm in Newfield, New York, will show us how he processes, cleans, and ships food-grade grains to small flour mills, bakeries, malthouses, distilleries and breweries. Amy Halloran, author of The New Bread Basket, will tell us how a new crop of grain growers, plant breeders, millers, maltsters, bakers, brewers, and local food activists are redefining our daily loaf of bread.

Thursday, December 5 at 7:00 p.m.