On the Street has been on a short hiatus for the past month, but we’re back. We’d also like to congratulate Julie Traywick. Julie is the winner of our Photo Friday contest and can redeem her prize for a free tour here at Historic Huguenot Street.
Additionally, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Faiqa and I’m a new intern here at Historic Huguenot Street. I’m a junior at SUNY New Paltz, studying Secondary Education and History.
I will be the new blogger on our site and hope to continue the Photo Friday posts, as they provide a glance into the past two centuries of local history. Working here for only a few weeks has already taught me that some of the streets of New Paltz share the same names of these old houses and the people that lived in them. I hope to learn all that I can and invite you to participate in my discovery of Huguenot Street.
This week’s photograph features twelve cadets standing at attention. They are standing at what was the New Paltz Normal School. Behind the cadets we can see bales of hay that were used for bayoneting practice. New Paltz has a long history of sending troops off to war. As early as the American Revolution, there have been soldiers from New Paltz and its surrounding areas participating in warfare.
The history of the New Paltz Normal School is a interesting one. The building once stood near the foot of Huguenot Street, where condominiums now stand. The term “normal” was used to designate schools that taught students to become teachers. From the school’s onset, its intentions were to groom and educate future teachers. These cadets are standing outside of a building that was very important to the early New Paltz community. The Normal School went through several additions, one major renovation and a devastating fire which occurred in 1906. Eventually, the decision was made to move the school to its current location on the SUNY New Paltz campus. In 1909, the State University of New York opened the new Normal School and gave the name “Old Main” to the cornerstone building.
As a current student at SUNY New Paltz, it surprised me to know that Old Main was so closely tied to Huguenot Street. It reassures me that I am studying education at a school that has been training teachers for decades.