Last week I was invited to a dinner hosted by the Fishkill Democratic Commitee in honor and recognition of local Ronald Greene’s work in historical research on his property, located on Baxtertown Road in Fishkill, NY. On his property, there is a foundation of an Zion Church which was probably used until the 1930’s. What we have here is a history, that of which would have most likely been lost, but is now just starting to be uncovered. Mr. Greene, however, has been working to get this foundation recognized by NY State Parks to be put onto the registrar of historic buildings. His main concern is having an historical marker placed which reads that “This was the Zion Church, and it was a stop on the Underground Railroad.”
The next day after the dinner, I met with Ronald Greene at his home, where the foundation lies, and learned that he was was a social worker who developed his skills by working for the state of New York, and now he his managing his own company.
I have been helping minimally with this project by giving reference to certain maps he was looking for, but after we talked that afternoon, I made it clear that my real work for Mr. Greene will be performing historical research on that road and around that area.
Nevertheless, I was very impressed with the amount of research he already did. He showed me how he laid an old map onto Google Earth to prove that the dot on the old map lined up exactly with where the foundation is today. Some other old maps, and engineering maps all made it clear that this foundation was indeed the foundation of the church in which other references read that members of this church conducted stops on the Underground Railroad. We walked outside on the property and he actually showed me the exact spot where the developers filled in the foundation.
I am sure that this year, Ronald Greene’s research will be recognized on the national registrar of historic places. All of the awards that we was given and granted from leading politicians in Fishkill, Dutchess County, and the state of New York will definitely give the project more legitimacy, and it would be irrational for NY Parks to deny an historic place marker on Baxtertown Road.
Ronald Greene’s work is important and he needs as much help as we can offer. This foundation of a Zion Church which he located is just the beginning of including African American and Native American peoples and history into an historical narrative of the Hudson River Valley and New York City.