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History Hikes, Cemetery Walks, and Paddles

Bethlehem town historian, Susan Leath, has been leading

history hikes, cemetery walking tours and history paddles for several years.


The Bethlehem Historical Association partners with the

Town of Bethlehem Parks and Recreation Department to sponsor these events.


You can email Town Historian Susan Leath with questions, [email protected] 

For more pictures of previous hikes and paddles click here.

2021 History Hikes, Cemetery Walks, and History Paddles

History Hikes are centered on local parks. Town Historian Susan Leath will provide a wealth of historic information as we walk about these historic areas, each with its own unique character.


Cemetery Walks explore Bethlehem’s historic cemeteries where you will hear fascinating family stories while walking in these quiet, green spaces.


History Paddles take off from the kayak launch at Henry Hudson Town Park. Join Town Historian Susan Leath for a guided kayak paddle along the Hudson River and Vlomankill. Learn about Bethlehem’s historic river connections from the unique perspective of actually being on the water. Experience the historic Nicoll-Sill House, Winne’s dock, Parda Hook and, if the creek is passable, the waterfall on the Vlomankill.


Participants must bring all of their own gear, including personal floatation device, and be proficient paddlers. Ms. Leath will provide the history info, but is not a boating instructor.

All hikes and paddles are free but registration is required

Click to register.

Saturday, September 11 9:30 AM Elmwood Cemetery

922 US Route 9W, Selkirk. Gather near the fountain on the main entrance road. Elmwood Cemetery, also known as Bethlehem Rural Cemetery, was established in 1860 on land transferred from the First Reformed Church. Noted families include Becker, Lasher, Myers, Selkirk, and Schoonmaker. One family story sure to be highlighted is that of Garrett Niver who lost his life at the Battle of Little Big Horn.


Saturday, October 16 9:30 AM Selkirk Park:

Thatcher Street, meet in the parking lot. Walk along Thatcher Street and Maple Avenue and learn about American Revolution veteran James Selkirk, one of Bethlehem’s oldest family run business Lehmann’s Garage, and the West Shore Railroad. Enjoy a mix of old and new architecture with Victorian era homes amid the ranch styles of the 1950s.


Saturday, November 13 9:30 AM Bethlehem Cemetery:

286 Kenwood Avenue, Delmar. Gather near the maintenance shed. Bethlehem Cemetery was established in 1865, yet the folks buried here, like Revolutionary War veteran Christian Bender and his wife Elizabeth Cramer, touch history back to the 1700s. Nathaniel and Rhogenia Adams, early residents of the Delaware Turnpike, are also here. Many other family stories will be explored including Blanchard, Haswell, Slingerland and Van Allen.

Saturday February 13, 2021 at 10 AM Hike around Henry Hudson Town Park.


Saturday, March 13 9:30 AM Slingerlands Fire Fighters Memorial Park: The history of the hamlet and its lovely Victorian homes will be discussed.


Saturday, April 10 9:30 A M Normanskill Farm Park: Take a walk along the yellow brick road, look at the historic Whipple bridge, the remains of Pappalau’s ice house and wonder about the days when visitors to Hinkel’s Hotel enjoyed a sandy beach and boat rides.


Saturday, May 8 9:30 AM South Bethlehem Park: Explore South Bethlehem, once a bustling community with a hotel, stores, and station on the West Shore Railroad.


Saturday, June 12 9:30 AM Bethlehem Cemetery: Bethlehem Cemetery was established in 1865, yet the folks buried here, like Revolutionary War veteran Christian Bender and his wife Elizabeth Cramer, touch history back to the 1700s. 


Saturday, July 10 9:30 AM Delmar Four Corners: 445 Delaware Avenue, Delmar. Beginning at Bethlehem’s Town Hall, the walk highlights historic Adamsville and the Four Corners. Find out about the Adams Hotel, Paddock Place and the passenger station on the old D&H Railway.


Saturday, July 17 9:30 AM History Paddle: Henry Hudson Town Park 


Saturday, August 14 8:30 AM History Paddle: Henry Hudson Town Park 

History Paddles 

Town Historian Susan Leath has led guided kayak paddles along the Hudson River and Vlomankill since 2014. View historic Nicoll-Sill House, Winne’s dock, Parda Hook and, if the creek is passable, the waterfall on the Vlomankill.

Cemetery Walks 

Cemetery walks 2018-2020


Walks have been held at Bethlehem and Elmwood Cemeteries.

Bethlehem Cemetery was established in 1865, yet the folks buried here, like Revolutionary War veteran Christian Bender and his wife Elizabeth Cramer, touch history back to the 1700s. Nathaniel and Rhogenia Adams, early residents of the Delaware Turnpike, are also here. Many other family stories will be explored including Blanchard, Haswell, Slingerland and Van Allen.


Elmwood Cemetery, also known as Bethlehem Rural Cemetery, was established in 1860. Noted families include Becker, Lasher, Myers, Selkirk, and Schoonmaker. One family story sure to be highlighted is that of Garrett Niver who lost his life at the Battle of Little Big Horn.

History Hikes with the Town Historian

Centered on local parks, History Hikes explore Bethlehem’s hamlets. Town historian Susan Leath will provide a wealth of historic information as we walk about these historic areas, each with its own unique character.


2020

Winter History Hike at Henry Hudson Park Susan Leath led a brisk winter walk around Henry Hudson Park. An informal slide show of Cedar Hill and Hudson River history followed a the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse Museum. Saturday January 11, 2020


National Take A Hike Day Susan Leath led a hike at the Moh-He-Con-Nuck Nature Preserve (806 River Road Selkirk) to learn about the Native Americans who lived in our area. The park's address is 806 River Road, Selkirk. http://townofbethlehem.org/275/Moh-He-Con-Nuck-Nature-Preserve. November 17, 2020


2019

Winter History Hike at Henry Hudson Park January 12, 2019


2017

Slingerlands Fire Fighters Memorial Park: The history of the hamlet and its lovely Victorian homes will be discussed as we walk along New Scotland Road and Bridge Street. Learn about the old Home Lawn Hotel, Slingerland Printing Company and the Ironweed House. April 8, and Aug 5, 2017


Henry Hudson Park: Meet at the gazebo for a loop through the park on the shores of the Hudson River and along Lyons and Barrent Winne Roads. Catch a glimpse of the historic Nicoll Sill House, the water fall on the Vloman Kill and the Gov. Glynn Mansion. Learn about the days of ice harvesting, steam boats and summer homes. June 24, 2017


Selkirk Park: Beginning at the Selkirk Park, hikers will walk along Thatcher Street and Maple Avenue and learn about American Revolution veteran James Selkirk, one of Bethlehem’s oldest family run business Lehmann’s Garage, and the West Shore Railroad. June 10, 2017


Delmar Four Corners: Beginning at Bethlehem’s Town Hall, the walk highlights historic Adamsville and the Four Corners. Find out about the Adams Hotel, Paddock Place and the passenger station on the old D&H Railway. July 8, and Nov 4, 2017


South Bethlehem Park: Meet in the parking lot for an exploration of South Bethlehem, now a quiet hamlet, once a bustling community with a hotel, stores and station on the West Shore Railroad. Take in the Onesquethaw Creek, Baumes-Snyder House and the Methodist church. September 9, 2017


Normanskill Farm Park: Meet at Albany’s Normanskill Farm Park parking lot, for a walk along the yellow brick road and over the Normans Kill to the hamlet of Normansville. Look at the historic Whipple bridge, the remains of Pappalau’s ice house and wonder about the days when visitors to Hinkel’s Hotel enjoyed a sandy beach and boat rides. October 14, 2017


2016

Henry Hudson Park: same as above April 9

Delmar Four Corners: same as above May 14 and October 1

Normanskill Farm Park: same as above June 18

South Bethlehem Park: same as above July 16

Slingerlands Fire Fighters Memorial Park: same as above August 6 and November 5

Selkirk Park: same as above September 10

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