Town Historian Recounts History & Future Of School House


Town of Newburgh – The Town has begun another change to a building which has had many incarnations over the past years, and which I have previously written of, the Gardnertown School. It was most recently the home of our Town of Newburgh Code Compliance Office. Our Code Compliance Office, has been relocated to a large, more modern building over on 21 Hudson Valley Professional Plaza, off Gidney Avenue, across from Market 32, or Price Chopper. Included in this building are the Building Department, Fire Inspection Department, Zoning Department, and Planning Department.  So, what’s to become of the little, old school house which has been modified, repurposed, and renovated many times? It will begin a new life as the home of the Town’s Water, Sewer, and Engineering Departments. Inside, the renovations have begun to dress it up to accommodate these new demands along with new furniture, and phone system.

The weather vanes date back centuries. Some of the oldest text references are found around 139 B.C. in China. And, they were independently invented and adorned buildings in ancient Greece. These were decorated with different ornamentation, characters, and art based on the customs at those times.The word vane comes from the Old English word “fana”, meaning “flag”. Most early communities would place a weather vane on the highest building in the center of the town so everyone could see which way the wind was blowing and help predict weather changes.

A ninth century Papal Decree commanded all European churches have a dome, steeple, or figural cock weathervane or weathercock atop their roofs. This was done as a reminder of the story told in the Gospel according to Luke 22: 34-35 that notes how the cock uncharacteristically remained silent on the morning after the Last Supper.

Story by Alan Crawford

Caption 1 – Town of Newburgh Supervisor Gil Piaquadio admires historic weathervane

Caption 2 – Code Compliance Office relocated; Schoolhouse becomes home of Water, Sewer, and Engineering departments

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