Landmarks Preservation Society of Southeast, Inc.

(914) 290-6167

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The Way We Were

Historic Public Landmarks

Old Southeast Church

The Old Southeast Church in the town of Southeast is the oldest house of worship in Putnam County and in 1972 became the first site in Putnam County to be named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Landmarks Preservation Society purchased the building in 1977. Much money has been raised over the years by many dedicated people, and the church now has a new roof, been painted inside and out, and had windows repaired and painted. Significant work to the understructure has also been carried out.

The church was built in 1794 on the old meetinghouse plan of the 18th century. Although an unfortunate fire in 1830 altered it; the structure has survived without further modifications. Erected on a hillside, it overlooks Doansburg, which was the principal hamlet of Putnam County until the 19th century when the railroad diverted both population and enterprise southwest to Brewster.

Old Southeast Church Group Old Southeast Church Image Exterior Southeast Church Piano

Doansburg Schoolhouse

Directly west of the Old Southeast Church is the Doansburg Schoolhouse. It was built before 1841, and sits beneath shady maples, tucked away off of Route 22. It shares the landscape with the Old Southeast Church and remains much the same today as it did when its doors were closed in 1947. It is the oldest unaltered schoolhouse in Putnam County.

Inside are bench-style desks that could seat 16 children in grades K through eight. A woodburning stove heated the building, and high vaulted ceilings circulated the warmed air. In one corner sits a ceramic water jug which was filled from a nearby stream. Schools like this one were often focal points in small rural communities, becoming centers of social and civic activities. Groups of schoolchildren visit the structure today, to learn about the schoolrooms of the past.

Doansburg Schoolhouse Interior Doansburg Schoolhouse Front Doansburg Schoolhouse Tour