By Fred Stabbert III
Town of Delaware Supervisor Ed Sykes sat back in his seat last Wednesday night, looking his...
The 1969 Woodstock festival has been officially placed on the National Register of Historic Places, formally acknowledging the significance of the site’s heritage.
The National Register is a program of the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Department of the Interior which recognizes the significance of buildings, structures and sites throughout the country.
“We are thrilled to be officially placed on the National Register. We take our role as stewards of the land very seriously, and have done so since the beginning,” Darlene Fedun, Chief Executive Officer of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts said. “We understand how important the festival was to American history and Sullivan County’s, and we use that as inspiration for all that we do.
“Our programming, whether it be in The Museum, in our education initiatives, on our grounds, or on our Main Stage, embodies the spirit of the ‘60s and Woodstock festival.” Fedun said. “Being placed on the National Register will only further our efforts and ensure that these hallowed grounds are preserved for generations to come and enjoy.”
Through a challenge grant from the Lindsay and Olive B. O’Connor Foundation and matching funds from National Trust for Historic Preservation and several individual donors, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts takes has begun the first phase of projects to enhance the site’s authenticity and give heritage visitors more opportunities to explore the historic site.
These projects include:
• the protection of several venerable old trees that witnessed the festival,
• propagation of the historic Message Tree so that its own offspring may one day replace it when that day comes,
• clearing the viewshed and other improvements at the Woodstock monument, and
• the creation of a contemplative overlook at the top of the festival field nestled amidst a pair of black cherry trees which also bore witness to the events in 1969.
The centerpiece of the initial preservation project is the restoration of several of the footpaths that crisscrossed the Bindy Bazaar woods across Hurd Road from the festival field.
These restored paths will offer visitors the opportunity to explore what was once an important vending area and crossroads of the Woodstock festival, enhancing the site experience.
The colorful sign that marked the entrance to the woods during the festival will be reproduced, as will the famous, hand-painted directional signs that proclaimed the “High Way,” “Groovy Way,” and “Gentle Path” in the woods.