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Art History Professor's New Book Highlights Old Kingston

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NEW PALTZ -- William B. Rhoads, a professor of art history at the State University of New York at New Paltz, presents a wealth of historic photography and architectural information about New York's first capital city in Kingston, New York: The Architectural Guide, recently published by Black Dome Press.

Rhoads' 205-page volume highlights 130 buildings and sites presented via nine walking tours, each accompanied by detailed maps and illustrations. SUNY has scheduled a two-part symposium with the preservation group Friends of Historic Kingston to celebrate the book's publication and Kingston's unique history on April 24 and 26, 2003

Written in association with The Friends, Rhoads' volume is built around succinct narratives that address the individual sites. It also includes a list of officially-designated historic locations; a timeline of city history from Henry Hudson's arrival in 1609 through the renovation of City Hall in 2000; biographies of pivotal figures, and a section called "Lost Kingston" that highlights twenty-five important buildings, now long gone.

To Rhoads' mind, the city's sidewalks are lined with stellar examples from 250 years of American architectural history, most of which are taken for granted. Some of the country's foremost architects are represented here, including Calvert Vaux, Minard Lafever, Richard Upjohn, and Wilson Eyre, as well as regional masters like J.A. Wood, Charles S. Keefe, and Myron S. Teller.

More than just a survey of Kingston's historic buildings, Rhoads' book with contemporary photographs by James Bleecker is an impassioned plea for further preservation efforts. The foreward by John Winthrop Aldrich, deputy commissioner for historic preservation in the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, puts it thus:

"There is not one building pictured or discussed in the walking tour portion of this splendid and useful book that the people of Kingston can afford to lose. Not one! May the reader find inspiration here to become informed, to celebrate, indeed to champion and protect the matchless landmark heritage of Kingston's neighborhoods."

Rhoads earned his Ph.D. in architectural history at Princeton University in 1975. He is the author of "The Colonial Revival" (1977) and contributed to "Charmed Places: Hudson River Artists and Their Houses, Studios and Vistas" (1988).

KINGSTON, NEW YORK: The Architectural Guide by William B. Rhoads, photography by James Bleecker, foreword by John Winthrop Aldrich; 6 x 9, trade paper, 208 pages, 180 photographs, maps, index, ISBN 1883789354, $16.95. Published by Black Dome Press Corp., 1011 Route 296, Hensonville, New York 12439. 518 734-6357.

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