What do prehistoric animals, double agents, witches, and a mysterious cave dweller have in common? Besides the ingredients for an epic thriller, they are all part of Westchester County’s history and are featured prominantly in the Pound Ridge Historical Society’s exhibit Tell Me a Story of Pound Ridge: 50 Objects-50 Stories.
The PRHS invites visitors to travel back in time and discover the peculiar histories that have made the town of Pound Ridge the hidden bohemian treasure that it is today. Here’s just some of what visitors can look forward to seeing:
A local man creates Pound Ridge oyster baskets.
Where the Wild Things Are
When we think of where ancient bones are discovered, Westchester doesn’t usually come to mind. But according to a New York Times article, in 1978, a science student named Robin Ward found what looked like a small bone near her Pound Ridge home. With curiosity getting the better of her, she dug up the eight-inch bone, which was later revealed to be the tooth of a 15-million-year-old mastodon.
One of the many intriguing artifacts on display at The Pound Ridge Historical Society.
Not only in the movies
Long before the flashy adventures of James Bond, there existed a spy ring that might have been the key element to the demise of the British in the US. The Culper Ring, a network of double agents orchestrated by George Washington, passed along British intel that thwarted Colonel Banastre Tarleton’s surprise attack in Pound Ridge. Known as Tarleton’s Raid, the failed attack did, however, result in the confiscation of a battle flag, represented by facsimile at the museum, along with a diorama resurrecting the battle.
“Long before the flashy adventures of James Bond, there existed a spy ring that might have been the key element to the demise of the British in the US.”
If superstitious practices recommend garlic to ward off vampires, what would one use to deter witches? Well, in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was customary for those who feared these entities to hide charms, such as shoes, in the walls of homes. By doing so, they hoped to somehow stop malevolent forces in their tracks. The shoes shown in the 50 Objects-50 Stories exhibit were found concealed in the walls of homes in Pound Ridge.
The Legendary Leatherman. Photo by Elizabeth Colombinik
Take a walk in my shoes
Trek the 365-mile journey that was once taken every 34 days by the infamous Leatherman — one of the most mysterious figures in Westchester history. The meticulous recluse foraged for food and always cleaned his caves before moving on and did not communicate with anyone except for an occasional grunt. On display is a replica of his famous leather suit.
“Learning about the early Pound Ridgers and how they lived makes me not only appreciate central heating but also how brave and industrious they were, using every resource available from nature to create supportive communities, fire stations, ambulance corps, and schools,” says Natasha Seery, recording secretary of the Pound Ridge Historical Society. “History is important because understanding the past helps us see where we came from and who we are now.”