Get a Festive Look Inside Some of Newburgh’s Historic Homes With the Annual Candlelight Tour

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For the architecturally curious who want to get a glimpse inside some intriguing homes with a holiday atmosphere, Newburgh’s Annual Candlelight Tour is returning this month. A tradition for more than 40 years, the self-guided tour offers a chance to step inside spaces both public and private, from grand homes to newer construction.

The tour is sponsored by the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands and is a major fundraiser for the organization. The exact locations included on the tour are kept under wraps until ticket buyers check in on the day of the tour, December 9.

costumed soldier at the front door of the stone building

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site is typically open during the tour event. Photo by Susan De Vries

Perched overlooking the Hudson, Newburgh, N.Y., is an architectural treasure of a town. It was strategically important during the Revolutionary War, and Washington’s headquarters is now a New York State Historic Site. The town was a hub of commerce in the early 19th century, its waterfront a stopping point between Manhattan and Albany. Business owners and ship captains built up the small town with mansions and warehouses.

Newburgh became the center of an architectural scene, with a group of designers who would have a lasting impact on the American home — including native Andrew Jackson Downing, a designer and horticulturalist, along with architects Alexander Jackson Davis, Calvert Vaux, and Frederick Clarke Withers. By the late 19th century, the town was a popular resort destination in the warm months with its impressive views over the Hudson River and clutch of grand hotels.

Newburgh remained a shipping and industrial center through the early 20th century, but by the 1960s changes in transportation and other economic forces hit the city. While blocks of buildings were demolished for urban renewal projects, the town also worked to document its significant architectural legacy. It established a historic district in 1973, which includes building styles from the 18th to the early 20th century.

newburgh ny architecture captain david crawford house

The interior of the Captain David Crawford House decorated for the tour in 2017. Photo by Susan De Vries

The annual candlelight tour begins at one of those historic sites, the Captain David Crawford House. The grand Federal-style mansion was constructed in 1830 and has been the headquarters of the historical society since 1954. When not spruced up in seasonal decor, the house showcases a collection of 19th century furnishings and decorative arts, and hosts exhibits and lectures.

The tour takes place on Saturday, December 9 from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 purchased at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Newburgh Annual Candlelight Tour event page online.

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