Saturday, December 22, 2012

Largely Misunderstood

Days ago, the Nelson House Annex on Market Street in the city of Poughkeepsie was demolished. It opened in 1876; about twenty years after the Gregory House opened on South Cherry Street in the city of Poughkeepsie. The Gregory House, formerly the Eastern House, was operated by Theodorus Gregory, a prohibition advocate. As a temperance house, the Gregory House became the best hotel in the city, "far surpassing the Forbus House and Poughkeepsie Hotel."1 After the Civil War, it was sold to George Morgan (who Morgan Lake was constructed by and named after) who appropriately renamed the hotel the Morgan House.2 In addition to running the Morgan House, George Morgan also converted the College Hill School into the College Hill Hotel after acquiring the building and its grounds from Charles Bartletts' estate auction.        

Knowing that the Nelson House emerged on the scene about ten years after George Morgan began operating two popular hotels in the city of Poughkeepsie, I began to further investigate the story of the Nelson House. I came across the video below on the Poughkeepsie Journal website.

I'd like to highlight the following quote made by City of Poughkeepsie Historian George Lukacs in the above video:

“As far as the Nelson house being a loss to the community, it has been largely misunderstood and it’s more or less faded into the background. People walk by it, the man on the street doesn't possibly understand it, but that doesn’t make it less significant as a location." - George Lukacs

The above statement rings true with Morgan Lake as well. The man on the street walking (or driving) to Stewart's or Dutchess Community College may not understand why Morgan Lake is historically significant, but that doesn't make it less significant.

The goal of my research and community development project at Morgan Lake is to prove that while Morgan Lake has forever been a "largely misunderstood" place, it doesn't have to lose its' significance to the community as a result. There are so many community members who understand both its contemporary and historical significance, and once they band together, Morgan Lake will no longer fade into the background.    

1. The Eagle's History of Poughkeepsie: From the Earliest Settlements, 1683 to 1905 by Edmund Platt. 1905. 
2. The Eagle's History of Poughkeepsie: From the Earliest Settlements, 1683 to 1905 by Edmund Platt. 1905.