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Minisink Valley Historical Society
About the Society

The Minisink Valley Historical Society celebrates the 120th anniversary of its founding in 2009. Its founding members were leaders in the community whose original goals were to collect and preserve local history and archaeological materials of various townships in the counties comprising the Minisink region. These goals still guide the Society.

researchers using our photograph collection
Two local researchers using
the Society's photograph collection.

Our organization owns a fine collection of papers related to the civil, political, military and general history of Orange County and adjoining counties. It gathers relevant genealogical, biographical, and topographical information relating to the early settlers of the region. Another organizational goal is to collect and preserve specimens of natural and archaeological history. In this way, it aspires to influence the use of solid historical methods for interpreting the records of our rich past.

Charles and Roger King
Charles & Roger King are completing the
reorganization of the William Westbrook Collection.
The Society's Programs

The Society sponsors a number of regular programs, including its annual meeting, summer hours at its museum along with eighteenth century cooking demonstrations and a Colonial Thanksgiving celebration. See our calendar of events for our upcoming programs.

Research at the Society
Port Jervis Library
The Port Jervis Free Public Library

The Society archives are located on the second floor of the Port Jervis Free Library in Port Jervis, New York. MVHS maintains a rare collection of data in its reading room. Here you will discover these unique and often difficult-to-find genealogical and local history references. The society has computerized part of its genealogical collection and is beginning to undertake an extensive scanning program. Volunteers are on hand to assist on Thursday afternoons and evenings by appointment.

Carol Baumel
Carol Baumel organizing our
historic deeds and maps
The Society's Collections
Stella Kelsch
Stella Kelsch helping to sort a member mailing.

Over the years our Society has received many distinctive items as gifts to our fine collection. The application of curatorial standards for display, cleaning and rotation enhances the life and usefulness of our treasures. All artifacts receive professional care. Members of the Society are assisting in the efforts to organize the books, files, maps and deeds and to make the collection available for use.

the wednesday volunteer crew
The Wednesday Crew after a long hard workday
Fort Decker Compound
Fort Decker, Port Jervis, NY

The Society owns and operates the Fort Decker Compound in Port Jervis at 127-133 West Main Street which is the focal point of its preservation efforts. The stone house museum known as Fort Decker Museum of History, or the old Decker Stone House, has been gradually restored since the Society purchased the building in 1970. The house demonstrates the skilled handiwork of expert artisans and has a long and interesting history. The stone house was originally built in 1760 as a fortification for the defense of settlers from Indian attacks and as a trading post.

The structure was burned in July 1779 by Joseph Brant and his Mohawk Indian and Tory raiders, and subsequently rebuilt in1793 by patriot Martinus Decker. The house was used for a short time as a headquarters for John B. Jervis and his team of engineers during the construction of the Delaware and Hudson Canal in the 1820s. It served as a private residence until 1958.

the Kleinstuber House
The Robert Kleinstuber House

Since 1970 the Society's membership has made additional purchases of property adjacent to the fort. The Robert Kleinstuber House, directly behind the fort, was acquired in 1980 and serves as an annex for material and personnel. Additional properties were purchased in 1982 and 1988 to provide space for an herb garden and historic tree grove on the grounds.

The Society welcomes gifts to its museum which is open to the general public and members on a regular basis, and its programs, where readily achievable, are accessible to the disabled.

Peter Osborne, Former Executive Director
Minisink Valley Historical Society
125-133 West Main Street
Post Office Box 659
Port Jervis, New York 12771
Phone: (845) 856-2375
Copyright © 2015 The Minisink Valley Historical Society. All rights reserved.
Revised December 31, 2013