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events

'Hats Off' Event To Benefit Beacon Historical Society

A hat by artist James Antonie focused on the interrelationship between land, water, air, architecture, and technology. It will be auctioned off Saturday at a fundraising for the Beacon Historical Society. Photo Credit: Beacon Historical Society
Artist Jesse Navarra's bowled over bowler hat was inspired by Bannerman Island. It will be displayed, and auctioned off, Saturday at the Beacon Historical Society's fundraising event. Photo Credit: Beacon Historical Society
Rebecca Finlay's "Tails" is a mythological hat inspired by the Hudson River. This artist considers what the river may have been like in the past ... clean and full of life as the mermaid's tail foresees. Photo Credit: Beacon Historical Society
Alice Judson was Beacon's first famous female artist. She was born in 1867 in what was then called Matteawan. Artist Linda T. Hubbard's hat depicts some of Judson's work and the painting believed to be her self-portrait. Photo Credit: Beacon Historical Society

BEACON, N.Y. -- Beacon residents will doff their headgear, both figuratively and literally, this weekend to an important bit of the city’s history – hat making.

The local historical society, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, will hold a silent auction from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, of 50 wooden “hats” depicting Beacons past and present.

The "Hats Off" fundraiser and other festivities will take place at the Howland Cultural Center, 477 Main St.

The hats were created by local artists, says society president Robert Murphy.

There will also be exhibits of objects representing World War I soldiers, banking, Van Tine’s Stationery Store, African-American stories, Highland Hospital and more.

Items donated by local merchants will be raffled off and light refreshments will be served.

According to Murphy, Danbury, Conn., may still be called “Hat City,” but it was Beacon that was No. 1 in New York state in the chapeau biz, especially in the 1920’s.

Sadly, the last maker of hats in Beacon closed up shop in 2005, Murphy said.

The Dorel Hat Company on Main Street, established in 1967, also made caps, millinery items,  belts, mufflers,  gloves, umbrellas, sweat bands and clothing hangers.

The 40th anniversary exhibit (including the artist-created hats) will stay up until Saturday, Nov. 27, Murphy said.

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