Ossining Town Historian Keeps a Running Account

Caroline Curvan, Ossining’s town historian. Contributed photo

Caroline Ranald Curvan, Ossining’s recently appointed town historian, is a writer, adjunct professor, stage manager and blogger whose passion for running dovetails nicely with her interest in uncovering the past. 

Curvan, who’s lived in the unincorporated part of Ossining since 2000, majored in history in college and later received a master’s in writing from Sarah Lawrence College. While teaching and freelance writing, she’s worked on Broadway shows including Kinky Boots, Chicago, Movin’ Out, Aida, Grease. 

Here’s a Q&A with Curvan about her background and what she’ll be doing in her volunteer role as Ossining’s historian: 

River Journal: What sparked your interest in local history?  

Caroline Ranald Curvan: Honestly, I guess it was my parents – we were always going to museums, traveling, watching documentaries (The World at War, I’m looking at you!)  Both of them presented history to me as fascinating stories and not just boring names and dates and battles. My mother especially could find history anywhere.  

RJ: Do you often stumble upon historic discoveries while out on a run? 

Curvan: I pass by lots of curious things when I’m out running, like old gates, ruins, and overgrown cemeteries.  

RJ: Tell me about your blog, History on the Run, and will that be your main platform for sharing your discoveries, or do you have other activities planned? 

Curvan: My blog is a space where I can research all those things I see and wonder about. It’s mostly Ossining-based (because that’s where I usually run) but sometimes I go farther afield and write about things I see outside of the town. 

For now, I plan to continue using this blog as a platform to share brief snippets of Ossining history.  

Ruth Murray Underhill’s house. Photo by Caroline Curvan

I have three presentations coming up at the Ossining Public Library on the history of Ossining (from 25,000 B.C. to the present!) on Wednesdays, April 12, May 17 and June 7 — all at 7 p.m. in the Budarz Theater.    

I’m also in the early stages of planning some exhibits that will open in the fall of 2023/spring of 2024.  

RJ: Can you name one of your favorite places to run? 

Curvan: Croton Point Park. You can run a variety of distances there. You can run hills or stay on the flat. You can run along the Hudson. You can see eagles and hawks flying over your head. You can see all sorts of ruins from the many lives that bit of land has experienced. And the views from the top of the old landfill are terrific. (Shameless plug – read our book, Croton Point Park: Westchester’s Jewel on the Hudson for more on its history.)    

RJ: What’s the most surprising historical discovery you’ve come across?  

Curvan: I’d say the Heady family cemetery on Spring Valley Road in New Castle was one of my most surprising finds. Born into slavery in 1751, Lazarus Heady would become one of the very first (if not THE first) African American landowners in Westchester County. You can read more on my blog here: https://ossininghistoryontherun.com/2016/04/17/the-heady-family-cemetery/  

RJ: How can people contact you with questions or suggestions?  

An old well at Teatown Lake Reservation Nature Preserve. Photo by Caroline Curvan

Curvan: You can email me at HistorianTownofOssining@gmail.com  

I also have a Facebook page for the blog Ossining History on the Run: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100081598125880




  1. I am honored to have you as my dear friend and personal historian as we’ve run together over the years. Ossining couldn’t be luckier than to have you as their town historian!

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