Historic marker missing from power station

Posted 6/9/21

A historic marker commemorating Thomas Edison’s connection to the City of Newburgh and the city’s heritage as one of the nation’s first to be wired for electricity, is missing from …

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Historic marker missing from power station

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A historic marker commemorating Thomas Edison’s connection to the City of Newburgh and the city’s heritage as one of the nation’s first to be wired for electricity, is missing from its post on Montgomery Street.

The apparent theft was first reported in a Facebook Post last week.

“I get notified of missing markers a lot unfortunately,” wrote Orange County Historian Johanna Porr Yaun in response to the post. “I’d say that it usually ends up about 50/50 that someone stole it or someone removed it to repaint and return it. But honestly I don’t remember this one needing a paint job. I will put out a request for info in my next newsletter. We’ve already had one stolen from Goshen this year and in the last few years we lost two from Montgomery and one from Campbell Hall. It’s really sad when people steal or damage them. Believe it or not, historic markers bring a lot of joy to many people so the theft of one has a lasting negative effect on the community.”

The blue and yellow historic marker was erected by Central Hudson in 1984 at its Montgomery Street power station. The brick building was built a century earlier under the direction of inventor Thomas A. Edison, a pioneer in electricity.

In the spring of 1883, Edison established a new enterprise called the Thomas A. Edison Construction Department. The company’s focus was to promote and install central power stations in cities and towns. Their first venture was the Pearl Street Station in lower Manhattan. A year later, Edison traveled to Newburgh to oversee the construction of a second power generating plant at a cost of $41,000. Newburgh became the second municipality in New York State to be wired for electricity.

The Newburgh Illuminated Festival, currently on a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was established to commemorate Newburgh’s role in the widespread distribution of electricity.

Anyone with any information on the missing marker should contact the county historian at jporr@orangecountygov.com.

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