Historic Hudson Valley Receives Federal Grant for Philipsburg Manor Millpond Restoration

A $438,979 Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will help Historic Hudson Valley restore and dredge the millpond at Philipsburg Manor, a National Historic Landmark in Sleepy Hollow owned and operated by Historic Hudson Valley. The non-profit education organization uses the site to educate schoolchildren and adults about the history and impact of slavery in the colonial North. With this challenge grant, NEH requires Historic Hudson Valley to raise approximately $1.4 million in matching funds, nearly $400,000 of which has already been committed by several of its generous supporters.

A series of storms, including Hurricane Ida, deposited large amounts of sediment and debris into the millpond, disrupting the water flow necessary to power the waterwheel of the site’s working gristmill. This disturbance hindered Historic Hudson Valley’s ability to showcase the skilled labor and knowledge of Caesar, the enslaved miller who operated the mill in 1750. The NEH grant will help fund the multi-million-dollar capital project to remove sediment and restore the millpond to the appearance and function it held when first created by the Philipse family in the mid-1600s, as well as help protect the property from future storm damage.

“We are thrilled to have been awarded a major infrastructure grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities,” said Peter Pockriss, chief operating officer of Historic Hudson Valley. “With the help of this grant, we can offer visitors and schoolchildren the opportunity to experience hands-on, interactive demonstrations of the mill, providing another visceral connection to the past during our tours. We thank the NEH for this significant boost to our ongoing campaign that will help us protect this site, which is so critical to sharing the story of our nation’s history. We look forward to working with our community of supporters to raise the remaining funds for this important work.”

Philipsburg Manor, which was home to 23 enslaved individuals in the 1750s, is an essential resource for teaching about Dutch colonization, the institution of enslavement in the North, and the impact this history had on the settlements that became New York City and New York State.

Historic Hudson Valley is honored to have been the recipient of a number of significant grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities over the years, from the 1998 award that allowed the organization to reinterpret Philipsburg Manor around the stories of the enslaved individuals who lived and worked there in the 18th century to the Webby Award-winning online interactive documentary People Not Property: Stories of Slavery in the Colonial North, which launched in 2019. A grant from the NEH also supported the development of Kofi’s Fire, a digital graphic novel to be released shortly that tells the story of Kofi, a man enslaved by the Philipse family who was tried and executed for his alleged role in the New York Conspiracy of 1741.

Philipsburg Manor is located at 381 North Broadway (Route 9) in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. Public tours are offered May-December. Information: 914-366-6900, www.hudsonvalley.org.

1 Comment

  1. Congratulations to HHV! Restoring the Millpond is a critical effort for the ecology of the nine-mile Pocantico River from the Lake to the Hudson River. Thank you.

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