The Neversink Valley Museum of History and Innovation is in Cuddebackville, NY, in western Orange County, about 80 miles NW of New York City and 10 miles NE of Port Jervis, NY. We have a special focus on the Delaware & Hudson Canal, which transported anthracite coal from Honesdale, PA to Kingston, NY (over 108 miles) from 1828 to 1898.
The coal was carried down the Hudson River to New York City for homes, factories and businesses; the Canal was thus a major influence on the settlement and development of not only our region but also of New York City during the 19th century.
The museum is located in the D&H Canal Park, a 249 acre park owned and run by Orange County The park offers locations along the Neversink River ideal for fly fishing for trout. For more information please see the entry about the park.
Our mission is to preserve, document and interpret the history of the peoples and industry of the Neversink and Shawangunk Valleys of New York's Catskill region - its commerce and technologies and their effect on the transformation of our society from an agrarian to an industrial one. We put the D&H Canal in its historical and technological context.
There is also more than one mile of the D&H Canal, the remains of the Neversink River Aqueduct built by John Roebling, (builder of the Brooklyn Bridge), and a freight basin. On the western side of the Neversink River is a flight of locks leading southward from the remains of the Neversink River Aqueduct. The land the Museum stands on also includes canal-era structures (all in situ), a lock tender's' house, canal grocery store, blacksmith's house and carpenter's house. There are well preserved remnants of four locks in the vicinity of the Museum.
A one-mile section of water-filled canal was damaged in a series of major storms about a decade ago; local residents and government are working to restore the canal and fill it with water again.
The Museum was founded in 1967 by a group concerned about encroaching development; the group raised funds necessary to purchase land to be preserved as a historic site, focusing on the Delaware & Hudson Canal, a key element in the settlement of the valley. This site is included on the National Register of Historic Places.
Local museums are a vital part of the educational process, often serving as the first exposure in a child's education to the relevance of history to the present. Local museums preserve information and artifacts about what is distinct and unique about a particular region's past, which, once lost, is almost impossible to recover.