Strengthening our community through historic preservation, cultural tourism and economic development.

The Reher Bakery Building offers the Kingston community a singular opportunity to preserve and bring alive for the public the nineteenth and early twentieth century social history of Rondout and its environs. Four features combine to make the Bakery building particularly well-suited for this purpose:

  • Its location within the Rondout National Historic District
  • Its potential contribution to the economic revitalization of the Rondout
  • The unique state of its preservation
  • The value of its mission to the community

Location Within the Historic District

Photograph Courtesy of Jack Matthews (ca, 1888)

The Bakery building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located on the corner of Spring Street and Broadway. This intersection was at the center of a once a thriving immigrant neighborhood and business district. It is also directly across the street from the court house, police station and fire department built in the late 1960s as the center of the City’s plan to revitalize the Rondout after urban renewal.

 

Potential Contribution to the Economic Revitalization of the Rondout

Photograph by Geoff Miller

The Reher Bakery’s location as the northern-most building in the Rondout-West Strand Historic District and the Kingston Urban Cultural Park Heritage Area makes it particularly important as a gateway structure. Fully restored, the Reher Bakery will provide a powerful first and last impression for visitors and offer them a compelling and informative opportunity to learn about what makes the Rondout National Historic District historic. Further, once restored and open to the public with exhibits and programs, the Reher Center will also serve as an important anchor for the northern end of the historic district, drawing people up the Broadway hill to the benefit of all business and cultural institutions between the waterfront and Spring Street.

 

The Unique State of Its Preservation

Photograph by Marilyn Kaplan

Because the building was occupied by the Reher family from 1908 until 2004 when it was deeded by Hyman Reher to the Jewish Federation of Ulster County, the interior of the bakery is little changed from its first construction in the late nineteenth century, providing an exceptionally vivid and evocative window on the past. As the Reher Bakery stands today, little needs to be recreated to bring to life the 19th and 20th century immigrant and mercantile histories of Kingston in much the same way the Senate House serves to illuminate Kingston’s colonial past.

 

The Value of Its Mission to the Community

The mission with which the Jewish Federation is proceeding, is to develop the entire property as a cultural center to document, embrace, and promote regional cultural history and diversity. Since the social history of Rondout centers around the experience of the several major immigrant groups that first settled in the area, beginning with the building of the D & H Canal, immigration and the immigrant experience will be an important focus of our programming. With immigration reform occupying such a prominent place in our national dialogue at the present, the Reher Center will offer the community a unique and timely venue to study and discuss the topic and its local ramifications in open forums. Likewise, with issues relating to bullying, especially bullying that stems from a lack of respect for or appreciation of diversity, the Reher Center will offer the community a valuable resource for workshops and educational programming.

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