Have you ever wondered what Gardiner used to look like in the mid-1800s through the mid-1900s? Jack Murphy, a circulation desk member at the Gardiner Library, has been creating a photographic survey of the Village and Town of Gardiner that is available to the public.
In March 2019, the Gardiner Library closed to the general public because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although regular duties continued, librarians and staff members were encouraged to source a project that would benefit the community during this time. While at the library, Murphy discovered a binder of postcards from Gardiner and the surrounding area. He decided to visit these locations and take updated photos of each.
“Then vs. now photo collections interest me,” said Murphy. I have done this sort of project before, and I thought it would be interesting for the community to see these vintage postcards paired with the state of the current locations.”
Murphy has documented over 30 locations separating the collections into two parts, “The Village” and “Beyond the Village.” Some within the village include the Gardiner Library, Post Office, and Town Hall, while others step outside of the village, Main Street Modena and Tuthilltown Schoolhouse. Each side-by-side photograph comes with a bit of history about the location. This project gave Murphy, a New Paltz resident, some Gardiner history and a sense of what it was like living in Gardiner in past decades. There were a few locations that he couldn’t determine right away by just looking at the postcard, which surprised him. For example, one of the postcards showcasing a tree-lined street with many homes was labeled “First Street.” This stumped Murphy as he was searching for a street that no longer existed. He soon determined that this shot was just north of Main Street, now Dusinberre Road.
“Step one is to lay out a map of the area,” he said. “I then take each postcard and search online and on the map for things I recognize.”
Murphy often ran into community members when shooting and was greeted with positive feedback and sometimes photographs of the resident’s house or old photographs of Gardiner that they may have had.
As Murphy continues photographing the village of Gardiner and beyond, he looks forward to seeing how much the town and surrounding areas have changed and sharing that with the community. “I would like to continue this project and feature more ‘then vs. now’ photographs of Gardiner and the surrounding area. It could be a really interesting way to engage with the community.”
If you have old postcards or photos of Gardiner that you would like to share for this project, feel free to digitally scan them and email them to Jack, firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view Jack Murphy’s Gardiner “Then and Now” re-photogenic series, visit gardinerlibrary.org click the About tab then the Local and Regional History tab.