Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

10th anniversary opening weekend at the Lincoln Depot Museum

Over the last decade, the Lincoln Depot Museum has brought high quality history, artifacts, lectures, and reenactments to Peekskill

To kick off the 2024 year and 10th anniversary of the Lincoln Depot Museum, a small celebration will take place on the grounds of the Lincoln Depot Museum on Water Street on Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28th.  In recognition of the 10-year milestone, the Lincoln Depot Board of Directors announced that on Saturday, April 27th, at 11:00 am, the Lincoln Depot Museum will host a small public ceremony for all to attend which will include several local, county and state representatives to help celebrate this milestone. Regular museum hours begin at 1 p.m. On April 28th at 2:00 pm, local author Vincent T. Dacquino will discuss his book Sybil Ludington a young 16-year old local patriot and heroine who is said to have made an all-night horseback ride over 40 miles to rally militia forces in neighboring towns after the burning of Danbury, Connecticut, by British forces.

The Lincoln Depot Museum is the only such museum in the entire state and has gained national attention and interest. Inside the museum, visitors will find the museum’s main exhibit, “New York and Abraham Lincoln: The Indispensable Relationship,” not only shows the impact of Lincoln to Peekskill and the Hudson Valley region but to New York as a whole. In addition, there are rotating displays and artifacts throughout the year. 

“We are proud of the result of our many years of hard work. This historic site has become the educational center we all dreamed of. We thank everyone who has supported and assisted us in making the museum such a success,” said Museum President John G. Testa. Testa was the Mayor of Peekskill from 2002-07 when the building was acquired, and the grants awarded.

Lincoln Depot reenactors in front of Lincoln Depot Museum
Photo Credit: Lincoln Depot Museum Facebook Page

The Lincoln Depot Museum 2024 Season 

The Lincoln Depot Museum will be featuring a full lineup of events for 2024. The popular monthly program “First Saturdays at the Museum” will return. The first Saturday of each month throughout the year there will be a variety of historical presentations, some on topics beyond the Civil War era. Other activities and events will be planned as the 2024 Lincoln Depot Museum season progresses, including films, musical performances and living history demonstrations by civil war reenactors. On September 21, 2024, a special 10th Anniversary reception will be held at the museum. 

The 2024 season for the Lincoln Depot Museum will run from April 27 to November 24. The museum will be open every Saturday and Sunday, excluding holidays, from 1-4 pm. General Admission is $8.00 for non-residents, $5.00 for seniors, veterans, active military, and children under 12. Peekskill residents enter free of charge. Museum memberships are also available. For further information, visit the museum website at or call at 914-402-4318. 

A touch of local History: President-Elect Abraham Lincoln, Chauncey Depew and James Husted 

Tucked in on one side between Homestyle Desserts, a 40 year business in Peekskill, and Dains Lumber, one of the oldest continuously running businesses in Peekskill (circa 1848) and one of the oldest in the State for over 176 years, sits a small patch of green grass and two buildings which houses the Lincoln Depot Museum. The building on the left is the Lincoln Depot Visitor’s Center, built in 2019 and houses the museum offices, additional exhibits, a small gift shop and an open meeting room to hold events. The building in the back is the original Peekskill Train Depot where President-elect Abraham Lincoln visited on February 19, 1861 at the invitation of one of Peekskill’s most prominent citizens, William Nelson, a local lawyer and former Congressman serving with Lincoln from 1847-49. The historic Depot was bought in 2003, with the help of a $3 million NY Environmental Protection Fund and NY Empire State Development Corporation grants obtained in 2006, thanks to then Governor George E. Pataki. The Lincoln Depot Foundation was able to reach their goal of restoring the original structure and creating a museum and historic site where President-elect Abraham Lincoln’s visited on February 19, 1861. The current train station that sits on Railroad Avenue, dates back over 150 years and opened on May 4, 1874.

Lincoln statue outside the Lincoln Depot Museum in honor of the President-elects stop in Peekskill on February 19, 1861.
Photo Credit: Lincoln Depot Museum Facebook Page.

When President-Elect Lincoln arrived in Peekskill, he delivered a small speech to over 1,000 village attendees. His stop in Peekskill was the only stop in Westchester. Two young men  in attendance that day were two Peekskill residents who would go on to gain prominence of their own. Those two individuals were Chauncey M. Depew (who was 26 years old at the time) and James Husted (who was 27 years old at the time). Both men were local lawyers, supporters of Lincoln, and Chauncey Depew became a NY State Assembly member, NY Secretary of State, Westchester County Clerk, a United States Senator and President of the NY Central Railroad. His former home still sits high above the Hudson on Main Street, just before the Peekskill Inn. It was his gift of “his family’s farm, which had been his great grandfather’s from 1684, to the village of Peekskill in 1901, consisting of farmland, meadow and woods for the sole use of a public park to be called “Depew Park.”

James Husted served 22 years as a member of the NY State Assembly spending time as Speaker and Minority Leader and he became a Major General for the Fifth Division of the NY National Guard. Additionally, he spent time as Superintendent of Peekskill Public Schools and Harbor Master of NY. Chauncey Depew and James Husted have statues dedicated to them in Depew Park and streets named after them in Peekskill as well.

Chauncey Depew was still very much alive and well at the September 24, 1918 dedication of his statue which had between 1,00-2,000 residents at the ceremony. Less than a month and a half later, on November 11, 1918 The Great War, World War 1 officially came to an end. More information and part of Chauncey Depew’s speech at the dedication ceremony can be read here

Video Credit: YouTube video from John G. Testa @LegJohnGTesta

Visit the Peekskill Herald Events Calendar Features and the Peekskill Herald Event Calendar to see more local events.

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About the Contributor
Dave Mueller
As a Peekskill native, Dave is thrilled to be working with the Peekskill Herald showcasing featured calendar events. A 1999 graduate of PHS, he remembers reading and enjoying the original weekly print edition of the Peekskill Herald every Thursday. He especially liked the political stories, local features and sports coverage when it was written by Peekskill Runner columnist Jack Burns who always managed to weave history into the running times. An avid hiker, he enjoys exploring the local trails as well as the concrete ones in his job as a conductor for Metro North Railroad. He’s a former teacher and co-founder of the Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park, where he frequently can be found with his Koda. He’s happy to be part of the Herald’s growth as the source of local news for Peekskill and looks forward to highlighting a few of many of the events and happenings in Peekskill and the surrounding communities. Reach Dave at [email protected]