About the Reher Center

The Reher Center is developing our site into a cultural center and museum focusing on immigrant stories of the Hudson Valley. We are preserving and revitalizing this rare, intact 19th-century building to create a vibrant new resource that welcomes local residents and visitors alike. Our tours and programs, on the themes of immigration, community, work, and bread, honor the Reher family’s legacy and the history of the Rondout neighborhood.

Brief History of the Reher Center

2002-2007: The idea for the Reher Center was hatched in 2002 when Geoffrey Miller peered into the window of 101 Broadway and observed a time capsule: the space was left untouched since Hymie Reher closed his family’s bakery in the early 1980s. Geoff describes it as “falling down a rabbit hole,” as he envisioned preserving and opening the site as a museum. Through a conversation with his friend Barbara Blas in 2004, Geoff learned that the Rehers and Blases were longtime members of Kingston’s Orthodox synagogue, Agudas Achim, and old family friends. Hymie was pleased with Geoff’s vision (Barbara remembers him singing “Happy Days are Here”) and arranged to deed the Reher’s property at 99-101 Broadway to the Jewish Federation of Ulster County.

The bakery interior as it looked in 2007, soon after Geoff Miller initially saw it.
Members of the original Reher Center committee pose around the City of Kingston Designated Landmark plaque in 2007. Left to right: Geoffrey Miller, Howie Blas, Barbara Blas, Barbara Cohen, Susan Basch, Randy Myerson.

A core committee quickly formed to develop plans to preserve the buildings and expand on Geoff’s initial vision for the site as a museum and cultural center that would honor the Reher family’s legacy and the broader immigrant history of Rondout neighborhood. Its tagline became “Building community by celebrating multiculturalism and our immigrant past.”

2008-2016: Geoff led the all-volunteer Reher Center Committee to restore the storefront and raise $750,000 in funding to stabilize the property under the guidance of preservation architect Marilyn Kaplan. Read more about this extensive and ongoing work on our Building Preservation page.

A state-mandated archaeology study uncovered numerous household artifacts.
Performers inspire the audience to dance at the 2018 Kingston Multicultural Festival.

The Reher Center developed a range of off-site public programs to bring together many communities and celebrate the cultural diversity of the Hudson Valley. Rondout Revisited, an exhibit that documents the immigrant history of the Rondout neighborhood from the 1820s through the 1970s. Originally shown off-site, this exhibit is now on permanent display in our Gallery. Working with a variety of local organizations and partners, the Reher Center also spearheaded a series of popular programs including an annual Kingston Multicultural Festival, Deli Dinner and Immigrant Gifts to America series.

2016-2018: The Reher Center Committee expanded its Steering Committee and hired its first professional staff to leverage a range of new expertise and develop an interpretive plan for the site. In 2017, Sarah Litvin, Interpretive Planner, and Samantha Gomez-Ferrer, archivist, were hired to inventory, catalog, preserve, research, and digitize the Reher Center’s collection and expand it through conducting oral histories. They created several Digital Exhibits to make our collections accessible.

This “Sunday List,” an artifact left behind when Reher’s Bakery closed, inspired Sundays at the Bakery, a digital exhibit.
Reher Center Director Sarah Litvin leads a Preview Tour of historic Reher’s Bakery in July, 2018.

In 2018, thanks to a generous matching donation from the Norman I. Krug family and our committed funders, the Reher Center was able to hire our first Director, Sarah Litvin, to open the site for public programming during summer, 2018. From May to August, the Reher Center was abuzz of activity as we created a new window display featuring historic photos from our collection; created a gallery and mounted our first exhibit, “The Story Continues”; and shared the site and our vision for its future on Preview Tours of our historic bakery. Our July 7th Open House marked the first time the Reher Center was open for regular on-site programs.

Reher Center Director

Sarah Litvin

Steering Committee Chair

Geoffrey Miller

A Project of:

 

Steering Committee Members

Barbara Blas
Howard Blas
Barbara Cohen
Nancy Donskoj
Jeff Farber
Kevin Godbey
Carol Super Gold
Lewis Kirschner
Ward Mintz

Director Sarah Litvin shows off our new window display in 2018.
Chairman Geoff Miller at the Open House on July 7, 2018.

The Reher Center remains a museum and cultural center in-the-making. We need your help to “raise the dough” and help us rise.