Erected in 1915 to 1917 by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union using a bequest left by businessman and community leader John R. Hunt, the building was always intended to be made available to the community for civic events, lectures, meetings, theatrical productions, debutante parties, balls and receptions. Author Georgia Ann Mullen points to the inclusion of the Hunt on the New York State Women’s Heritage Trail list as historically significant to the women’s temperance and suffrage movements. A portion of the building was to be used for rental/business purposes to help sustain the structure. It has housed the Ellenville Public Library and the Ellenville/Wawarsing Chamber of Commerce, and has been owned by the Village of Ellenville since 1999. In 2005, the Hunt was the first Village structure to receive national status as a Historic Landmark.
HMPC is mounting several fundraisers during the year. The Hunt Bookstore opened on June 20 and will welcome curious shoppers every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the October season. Thousands of hardcover and paperback books, and a selection of art books that are specially priced, can be found there. Butler says, “Most people can walk away with plenty of summer reading for less than $10. The bookstore is also opened during special events in the Village, like Music in the Square and the Blueberry Festival on August 21.” She explains that the inside of the building is not constantly in use, but is occasionally opened for educational events. “It is also used during the Blueberry Festival to exhibit local artists’ work. We are making every effort to open it up to the community for appropriate use.”
Watch for the opportunity to contribute a couple of your hard-earned dollars on August 21, when volunteers will be stationed along Route 209 to collect donations. Also, raffle tickets are on sale now until the Hunt Fest on October 3, at $1 for one or six for $5 for the chance to win one of four grand prizes: a Swedish needlepoint quilt, an art print from Monica Cohen, a beautiful basket chock-full of fall decorations and foods and $100 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets. The drawing will take place on the day of Hunt Fest, a giant book and bake sale to benefit HMPC.
Butler says, “The bulk of our fundraising is aimed at the exterior restoration, since we have a matching grant from New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The work will be starting later this summer and will entail restoring the entryways, windows, cornice and brickwork along the Canal Street side of the building. Interior work is being coordinated by the Hunt board members and is done as time and money permit.”
By joining HMPC and supporting these fundraisers, you can help Ellenville’s revitalization. For further information, call Butler at (845) 647-6943 or e-mail HMPC at firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks and correspondence may be sent to HMPC, PO Box 719, Ellenville, NY 12428. And be sure to visit www.huntmemorial.com/about.html to learn more about this landmark building.