Celebrate A.J. Davis' 201st Birthday!

    City of Newburgh — For immediate release
201st Birthday Party for Architect of Dutch Reformed Church


A.J. Davis: Self-Portrait as a Young Man (courtesy Bill Krattinger)
  Is it silly to celebrate someone's 201st birthday? Volunteers working for the restoration of Newburgh's 1835 former Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) think it makes perfect sense. They will celebrate the birthday of the building's architect, Alexander Jackson Davis, on the grounds of the former church on Grand Street next to the Newburgh Free Library, on Saturday, July 24, from noon- 4 p.m.

To help celebrate the architect's birthday and the National Landmark building, a group of historic preservation scholars are coming to Newburgh for the occasion, arriving from Troy, Albany, Ithaca, and as far away as St. Paul, Minnesota.

"The Dutch Reformed Church is one of the great architectural treasures of the Hudson Valley," said Erin Coryell, a recent graduate of Cornell's preservation program, who is now working for the National Trust in Philadelphia. She is organizing a "field trip" for a group of preservationists to come to Newburgh to celebrate the DRC and Davis.

In addition, a group of local artists have been invited to set up their easels and create drawings, watercolors, and paintings on the spot. With plans under way to begin the first steps of restoring the facade, "this may be the last chance to capture the splendid ruin in all its crumbling decay," according to painter Peter Billman.

The celebration, organized by the Newburgh Preservation Association, is open to anyone. Visitors will be able to go inside the building, which is usually closed to the public. Refreshments will be served about 2 pm. For more information about the building, its architect, and the restoration effort, go to www.newburghdrc.org.

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