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The Nature of Things

A blog about nature and the environment

Bear Mountain, West Point, Bannerman Castle captured in new books


The authors of several new books highlighting some of the best places of the Lower Hudson Valley will attend a signing Wednesday at the carousel at Bear Mountain State Park.

With the exception of one, each book is part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series. You’ve probably seen previous selections at the bookstore: each features a sepia-toned cover and is filled with scores of black and white images of the subject.

The event will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The parking is free; each book costs $19.99.

Here’s a look at the selections:


• “Bear Mountain,” by Ronnie Clark Coffey, a longtime Highlands resident who is a historical researcher, teacher and lecturer. She is also a member of the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference and former executive director of the Constitution Island Association at West Point.

• “West Point,” by Maureen Oehler DuRant and Peter E. Carroll. They tell the story of the United States Military Academy using more than 200 historical postcards, and include not only the military stuff, but the social angles, such as flirtation walks and dance hops.

DuRant is a writer and teacher who lives on the academy’s grounds and gives tours of “The Point.” She is also co-president of the West Point Ladies’ Reading Club and a board member of the West Point Women’s Club. Carroll is a lifelong are resident who is a member of the Highland Falls Historical Society and the Fort Montgomery Battle Site Society.

• “Bannerman Castle,” by Thom Johnson and Barbara H. Gottlock. Both give tours of the island and are members of the Bannerman Castle Trust, which works with the state to protect the island, which is now part of the Hudson Highlands State Park.


• “Hudson River Bridges,” by Kathryn W. Burke, includes a look at bridges and famous folks associated with them, such as FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt, Nelson Rockefeller and the Harrimans. The book also explains the political process, economic structure and decisions involving construction of the bridges, according to the press materials. Hmmmm. Kinda timely info considering the Tappan Zee needs updating or replacing.

Burke is an educator and author who has lived most of her life in the Hudson River Valley.

• “New York’s Palisades Interstate Park,” by Barbara H. Gottlock and Wesley Gottlock. The retired educators are both active docents at Bannerman’s Island, as was previously noted for Barbara. The book chronicles the creation of the PIP system, and doesn’t skip over the fact that scores of people were forced to leave their communities so that Harriman and Bear Mountain state parks could be created.

• “New Jersey’s Palisades Interstate Park,” by E. Emory Davis and Eric Nelsen. Davis volunteered to work for the PIP while in high school and has since spent her summers volunteering as she pursues a degree in linguistic anthropology. Nelsen has served as a historical interpreter at the park since 1992, and as director of the PIP’s historic Kearney House since 1998. He sered as project coordinator for “A New Deal for the Palisades” documentary in 2001.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 28th, 2008 at 6:58 pm by Laura Incalcaterra. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: Bannerman Castle, Bear Mountain, Palisades Interstate Park, West Point