Tivoli marks an historical moment

A village rich with history has passed from one historian to another.

On Nov. 20, Gregory Moynahan assumed the role of Village Historian, replacing Bernard B. Tieger, who retired on Sept. 16.

At the Village board meeting, Tieger was presented with a framed certificate of appreciation from Mayor Bryan Cranna.

“One of the best parts of being mayor is that I get to do things like this, I get to thank you on behalf of the village,” Cranna said.

He thanked Tieger for his dedication to the village’s history. Tieger served as Village Historian for the past four mayors, since 1994. In 2012, he published a book, “Tivoli: The Making of a Community,” which is the third history published on the village.

“I’ll stick around,” Tieger said in response to the tribute. Although his speech was labored and he breathed through an oxygen tube, he spoke with sincerity and appreciation for the village.

There were only 14 people in the meeting at the American Legion Hall, including Dutchess County Historian William P. Tatum III, but the room filled with loud applause in Tieger’s recognition.

When Tieger first came to Tivoli over four decades ago, he was a Bard College professor fresh from New York City.

The new historian, Moynahan, also has ties to the college, as its Director of Historical Studies. He called his new role in Tivoli thrilling and exciting.

Moynahan said he has had been in a series of discussions since September with Trustees Susan Ezrati and Jeanann Schneider about ways that the role of Village Historian can be effective in today’s modern world.

He has developed plans to interview members of the village as part of an oral history, and to create a related walking tour of the village via podcast.

He also plans to bring his background in Dutch and German history to the study of Tivoli. He said he might not have time to write a fourth book on the village, but he is eager to expand on the study of Tivoli.

New York is the first state to require municipal historians; the bill was passed by the state legislature in 1919. Today, the role has expanded to satisfy Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Path Through History” program, a $1 million initiative introduced in 2012.

“There is a real concern over preserving past and interpreting it for future generations,” said Tatum at the meeting.

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