Historical Society

PO Box 22
Amenia, NY 12501

Genealogy Information: Besty Strauss  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

General Information: Maureen Moore  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


About the Society

The Amenia Historical Society was formed in the 1960’s by a group of town citizens interested in preserving Amenia’s long and rich history.

The mission of the organization has been to uncover and collect documents, photos and memorabilia of historical significance to this local area and to promote community interest in the Amenia’s past.

Over the years the Society has assembled archival material such as local family genealogies, vintage photographs, written records, books and articles that tell the story of Amenia and its people.

Other than the annual meeting prescribed by the by-laws, there are no regularly scheduled meetings. Periodic meetings are held as members research and develop presentations on specific subjects. Typical of these events are Smithfield – talk and tour of the historic church and cemetery, Perry’s Corners – lecture and PowerPoint presentation by Betsy Strauss, Button talk at South Amenia given by the late John Whiteford, and the Civil War presentation with members of the Dutchess County 150th Regiment reinactors at Maplebrook School with a paper on the Civil War read by John Quinn.

The periodic newsletter is designed to stir members’ interest and involvement. The newsletter is published on-line and in hard copy. Many requests for information are answered by e-mail, both genealogical requests and questions about local sites and events.

The outreach displays by members in Amenia Town Hall, the Wassaic Firehouse, the Post Offices of Amenia and Wassaic, and M & T Bank in Amenia are intended to foster community enthusiasm about local history.

Then and Now - M&T Bank

Amenia Bank 4amenia bank modern

In 1860, one of the “alternative communities” established during the American spiritual revival of the mid-nineteenth century, The Brotherhood, began in Wassaic.  The group founded the First National Bank of Amenia and built the building at the intersection of 22/44 & 343.  The Brotherhood was founded by Thomas Lake Harris, their prophet.  His New York City disciples helped him found the First National Bank of Amenia and installed him as president.  The bank was a one-room wooden structure with a safe, woodstove and chairs for the townspeople to sit and chat.  In 1865, the bank built its 5-sided stone building which continues to anchor the main street of the hamlet.


Historical Society Projects

  • Archives Partnership - The joining together of three of Amenia’s local history organizations (Amenia Historical Society, Indian Rock Schoolhouse Association and the Archives Committee of Immaculate Conception Church) has resulted in the receipt of a grant from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation, Northeast Dutchess Fund.   The grant provides funds for a museum quality software program and dedicated computer to digitize photos and documents from all three collections, insuring their safety and accessibility. 
  • Baseball - Studies of this baseball town’s stars, managers, fields and fans
  • 300th Anniversary (2004)