Economic Development of Rhinebeck vs. Red Hook, and Bard’s Influence – Hannah

My research paper explores how certain economic aspects of Rhinebeck and Red Hook’s past, respectively, have affected the key sources of income for the towns in present day. Through my research, I discovered that events such as the construction of the Hudson River Railroad and thus the Rhinecliff train station were major factors in changing the actual economy as well as shaping the economic appearance of Rhinebeck, as it may be perceived by an “outsider”, such as a Bard student. Through interviews with Red Hook residents/business owners and employees, I learned more about the impact Bard students have directly had on the Red Hook economy. However, speaking with local citizens also revealed the potentially greater effect that Bard indirectly has on the economy of both Red Hook and Rhinebeck, a result of Bard-hosted events such as Family Weekend in October, and the SummerScape festival each summer. Ultimately, my paper invites further questions that should be addressed regarding the relationship of the Bard community to each town, whether there is a desire to change that relationship, and if so, whether it should or could be changed.

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Red Hook 1890

Raking hay in Upper Red Hook, about 1920. Before bailers began to appear on the nation’s farms in quantity after World War II, “loose” hay was the norm for Red Hook farmers. It was a painstaking, labor-intensive, time consuming business: horses, men and rudimentary machines working round the clock, “making hay while the sun shines.” Photo by W.S. Teator.

Upper Red Hook 1920

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The Beekman Arms, Rhinebeck

 

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