We Want To Hear Your Story

Since the inception of the Reher Center Project in 2004, the recording and preservation of the oral history of Kingston and of its many ethnic and minority communities has been seen as a fundamental component of our mission.  Establishing an ongoing oral history program is a high priority in terms of urgency as every day we are in danger of losing another of our eldest community members to relocation to warmer climates or the natural consequences of aging.  There is hardly a time that the Reher Bakery doors are open that someone doesn’t stop by with a story to tell about the bakery, the family or the neighborhood before the urban renewal years.  Most are short, such as the recollection Vincent Fisher, a resident of Rondout in his youth, recently wrote on our Facebook page:

Mr. Reher, we all called him Willie, delivered his rolls to our house on Newkirk Ave. Times were different then. My grandmother would leave money on the kitchen table and the front door open. Willie would enter early on Sunday morning and leave us a dozen and exit without ever waking us. Unbelievable.  Vincent Fisher, March 9, 2013

Through such accounts we have learned that Elsie Reher, one of the four daughters of Frank Reher, who founded the Reher Bakery in 1907, was a voracious reader and could often be seen carrying armloads of books up the Broadway hill to return them to the library; that the Reher rolls, while the best in town, had to be eaten the same day they were purchased or they would get too hard; that the sidewalk in front of the side, Spring Street entrance to the family’s apartment was nick named “Spring Street Beach” by some because members of the family (the 2 sons and 4 daughters of Frank Reher) could often be found there, relaxing in beach chairs; and, that Willie had mapped out a route for delivering bread that maximized the down hills and minimized the up hills to economize on gas.

We have also begun conducting longer interviews on camera.  Click on the links below for brief excerpts from several of these.

  • Sy Cohen, from New Jersey, grandson of Frank Reher, who spoke with us at length about visiting Kingston in his youth to see his family, and throughout his working life as a salesman for Barclay Knitwear.
  • Edwin Ford, Kingston City Historian, who shared how he became interested in chronicling Kingston past, and what are for him some of Kingston’s finer moments.
  • Vincent DeLuca, owner of DeLuca Cleaners, retired, who related the long story of his family from East Kingston and Midtown, and his recollections of life in Kingston and Rondout in the middle decades of the twentieth century.
  • Julian Weiner, retired history teacher, Kingston High School, born and raised in Rondout, who described his family’s story from the time of their first arrival as immigrants from Eastern Europe in the late nineteenth century through the Urban Renewal years.

We would love to hear your story about the Reher Bakery and life in Rondout. If you have something to share with us, please send it to us using the form below. If you have a photo that accompanies your story, please email it to us separately (info.rehercenter@gmail.com).  Please follow the prompts to our “Share Your Story” page and leave us your recollections in writing.

If you would like to be interviewed for our archives, please send us your contact information or give us a call at the Jewish Federation office (845-338-8131) and we will get back to you to make arrangements.