The Downing Park Planning Committee has announced plans to honor David Schuyler, a Newburgh native and celebrated author who passed away on July 24.
Schuyler was a professor of American Studies at Franklin Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and he edited, authored and co-authored many additional works on architecture and historic preservation.
He was an author of three books surrounding the history and importance of the Hudson River Valley. His 1996 book, “Apostle of Taste”, was the first full-length biography of the Newburgh native, Horticulturist and Architect, Andrew Jackson Downing, 1815-1852. The book describes a time in the mid 19th century when our country and city were young and searching for identity. It showcases how Downing pioneered architectural elements along with landscape gardening that sought to immerse humans symbiotically to the American landscapes in which they lived beginning here in the once pristine Hudson Valley. The author’s insight highlighted how Downing’s short life left an indelible mark.
Schuyler’s 2012 book, “Sanctified Landscape”, successfully intertwined the disparate disciplines of iconic American 19th century cultural figures such as author Washington Irving, painter Thomas Cole and architect Andrew Jackson Downing around their mutually shared cultural interests that all happen to coalesce in the larger Hudson Valley.
His 2018 book, “Embattled River”, illuminates the early, hard fought, environmental movement and its’ court cases that reverberate today and that can be traced to the fight for Storm King Mountain when the mountain was threatened to be carved out and transformed into an electric plant.
David Schuyler grew up on Grand Street just one half a city block from the footprint of the property on which was once Downing’s home and orchards. David Schuyler and Andrew Jackson Downing are both buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Middlehope.
When David’s wife passed away of cancer 18 years ago, he was excited to have a tree planted in her name at Downing Park. Now, in the near future, the Downing Park Planning Committee intends to plant a tree and erect a plaque in the park for David Schuyler to commemorate his love and dedication to the City Newburgh.