Historic Bell Hiding in Hudson Valley Since 1800s Discovered
A historic bell discovered in the Hudson Valley was rung for the first time in almost 200 years.
A bell from a famed Hudson Valley ship was sitting in a Kingston lumberyard for decades until it was finally discovered by a restaurant owner in Long Island. That dusty rest in Kingston, however, was just a part of this bell's incredible journey.
Back in 1820, the bell was originally used on the Rip Van Winkle steamboat. According to Greater Long Island, the vessel was operated by Samuel Schuyler who was a recently freed slave. Before the Civil War ended, Schuyler eventually purchased the towing company, becoming a prominent business owner in a time when many people of color were not even seen as equal citizens.
Eventually, the business was taken over by his two sons in the mid-1800s. At some point, the Rip Van Winkle was retired and the ship was broken up. The bell once sat above the Cornell Shops in the Rondout, which is now where Ole Savannah sits in Kingston. The bell was then forgotten in a lumberyard where it was purchased in the 1970s by restaurant owner, George Wallis. The bell was moved to Poughkeepsie, where it sat for another 40 years before finally being restored and brought to Long Island.
This weekend the bell was unveiled at its new home in Port Jefferson, NY. Completely cleaned and restored, the bell now sits in a garden on East Broadway near the Steam Room restaurant, owned by Wallis. At the unveiling ceremony on Saturday the bell was shown to the public for the first time in over a century. It now sits proudly next to a plaque honoring Samuel Schulyer and his important place in Hudson Valley history
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