Meeting of 9/18/14: A photo tour of Nassau

Picture 3Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush
September 11, 2014

Attending (15): Bill Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Roberto Martinez, Terry Brewer, Jim Butterworth, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Stewart Wagner, Charlie Foote, Debbie Rodriguez, Dick Drumm, Rommel Tolentino.

Guests (1): Kurt Vincent.

Program: “A Short Photographic Tour of Nassau,
and 3 Things Maybe You Never Knew”

Historian Kurt Vincent addresses the club.
Historian Kurt Vincent addresses the club.

Kurt Vincent, a local historian who has written a book on the history of the Town of Nassau (available for purchase at the Nassau Public Library), presented a program using projections of maps, post cards, photographs and newspaper clippings dealing with major points in the history of Nassau.

He traced it from its beginnings as part of the sprawling Dutch colony of Rensselaerwick. He continued with slides showing historic scenes in and around the Village along with information about the early years.

Kurt entertained us with little-known facts, such as:

1. Nassau Lake is a man-made body of water, created in 1792 from a diverted stream to supply power to a local mill.
2. Maury Park was an early planned development.
3. Boyce Road is named for the Boyce family farm.

Kurt noted that several local short-line railroads used third-rail electric power, meaning electrical current ran through an exposed rail between the two outer rails, which meant potential danger to humans and animals who came in contact with them. Parts of the system still can be seen from County Route 7 that runs from Hudson to Albany. As an aside, he noted that efforts are being made to create a rail trail on an abandoned portion of railroad.

Kurt also spoke about the Park at Nassau Lake. As part of a promotional effort by the major local newspaper of the time, The Knickerbocker Press, very small plots were sold around the lake. Many people bought them as tent-camping sites for summer escape from the hot cities. During the Great Depression, virtually every one of the parcels suffered from foreclosure. He also showed photos of the small hotels that dotted the area, which was a major vacation region.

One of the local characters Kurt spoke about was Claude “Doc” Avery, the controversial one-man Nassau police force who made national news in the 1950s because of the number of speeding tickets he wrote. Because the Village of Nassau is located in a dip between two hills, it was common for vehicle traffic to gather speed coming down either slope and Avery would write tickets for as little as one- or two-miles-per-hour violations. The police court judge of that period resigned, citing the overwhelming caseload Avery’s actions created.

Kurt also spoke about various plans over the years to create a bypass around Route 20 — Nassau’s main street. Each would have meant the demolition of many homes and farms, and local opposition to such projects was strong. After all the upset, nothing ever came of such an idea.

We thank Kurt for a fascinating look at a part of our local past.


Murray Forth (left) and Terry Brewer, half of the winning foursome.
Murray Forth (left) and Terry Brewer, half of the GOL Golf Tournament’s winning foursome.

GOLF CHAMPIONS — President Bill Dowd congratulated the SRC foursome that won the 15th annual Gift of Life Golf Tournament on September 11, a major fundraiser for the District 7190 GOL program. The winners: Jim Mendrysa, Rob Mangold, Murray Forth and Terry Brewer. Murray reported that our GOL child, Danny Sarmiento, made an appearance at the event and Murray treated him to a golf cart ride. (Danny and his mother and translator were scheduled to return home to Honduras today.)

Rotary Home Cooking logo 2ROTARY HOME COOKING –– Event coordinator Terry Brown said beginning next Thursday he will have a signup sheet for any members who wish to host one of these casual dinners. Hosts determine the date, number of guests, a theme and what they wish to charge. Cost generally is in the $35 to $50 range per guest. The host(s)’ contribution is the food and drink for the evening. Funds raised go to the club’s general treasury. This is an event meant not just to raise money, but to promote social interaction among members and guests in an informal setting. Bill & April Dowd already have volunteered to host one of the dinners, with a date to be determined.

Debbie Rodriguez asked if something other than a full-fledged dinner would work with the series, such as a holiday cookie exchange. It was noted that it would be preferable to see such an undertaking as part of a regular meeting since the dinners usually are for 8 to 10 people, whereas a meeting would at least double that and, thus, make it a bigger event. Debbie concurred, and was appointed coordinator of that event, with a date to be decided.

Rotary United Nations Day logoROTARY AT THE UNITED NATIONS — Four members have been registered for the annual “Rotary Day at the United Nations,” this year scheduled for Saturday, November 1: Bill Dowd, Murray Forth, Terry Brewer and Jim Butterworth.  Bill said because Rotary International was one of the advisory organizations for the founding of the UN, and noted that “Rotarians have always had a relationship with the UN, even if not always agreeing with its actions or inactions.”

RLI logoROTARY LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE — Tonight was the club deadline for indicating intent to sign up for any level of the annual RLI workshop, to be held October 18 at Siena College. No one stepped forward. Bill expressed disappointment over the lack of interest, and noted that because the District Governor and Assistant District Governor are visiting us next week, we probably will be prompted to reconsider since RLI is a major District activity.

Screen shot 2014-09-19 at 12.54.42 PMPROGRAMS — Bill reminded members to line up their speakers and/or programs for the dates assigned to them. He noted that the schedule can be viewed by going to our club website — — clicking on “EVENTS,” then simply scrolling down and clicking on the calendar link. He noted the 2014-15 assignment chart has been e-mailed to all members at least twice, has been available on the website since May, and that hard copies have been distributed on several occasions.

Screen shot 2014-09-19 at 12.56.30 PMMISCELLANY — Debbie Rodriguez informed the club that the state’s School of Public Health is presenting a free program discussing public health matters that anyone can audit. Contact her for details. … Bill informed us of attractions and speakers for future meetings and explained who was up in the coming weeks. … The club received a thank-you note from member Doris Calamaras for flowers sent to her during a recent hospitalization.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, September 25, at Quigley’s. Visitors will be District Governor Dave Hennel and Assistant DG Bob Van Alstine. Members are encouraged to attend and to bring a guest.


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