Updated: Sep 2, 2022
On Tuesday, August 9, 2022, Geoff Welch, Harmony Hall’s historian and curator, was honored as a recipient of Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick’s 2022 History and Heritage Award. The celebration took place on the Great Lawn in front of Harmony Hall’s front veranda.
For the past 20 years, Welch has researched and lectured on the Hudson River School artists who depicted the 19th-century and 20th-century Ramapo Valley and the Highlands Region by photo-documenting the paintings’ sites in the region. For the past 40 years, Geoff Welch has been photographing the environment of the Ramapo Pass area, the Ramapo River Valley in New York and New Jersey, and the Hudson River. His photographic slide shows of Torne Valley played a key role in the battle to defeat two proposed large power plants and a quarry. His photographs have been published by the Highlands Coalition in brochures and calendars, The NY/NJ Trail Conference, Sierra Club, Appalachian Mountain Club, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Clearwater Newsletter, Hudsonia, Hudson River Regional Council, (Book Cover), The Trust for Public Lands (Photo Book) and the Rockland Journal-News. Calendars featuring Welch’s photographs were produced by the Friends of Harmony Hall in 2009 and 2013.
He has extensively photographed Harmony Hall and the restoration work,
grounds, and events, as well as the surrounding visual setting in Sloatsburg and Harriman State Park and other historic sites in the Town of Ramapo. Geoff lectures at universities, community colleges, environmental organizations, and community interest groups. An accomplished pianist, he composes and performs a variety of musical pieces to accompany his photo montage slide presentations for his events.
Geoff’s tireless commitment to research, in coordination with the New York State
Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, resulted in successfully listing
Torne Brook Farm and Harmony Hall-Jacob Sloat House on the National and State
Register of Historic Places. His photojournalism and research were integral to the Friends of Harmony Hall-Jacob Sloat House obtaining a provisional charter issued by the New York State Education Department.
The Friends of Harmony Hall Board of Trustees would like to extend congratulations to all the honorees. James and Phyllis Dodge - Tappan Historical Society, Rick Esnard - Piermont Historical Society Historian, Thano Schoppel - Tappan Historical Society, Chris Sorensen - John Green House, Drusilla Kinzonzi - African American Historical Society, Berthilde Dufrene - Haitian Cultural Preservation, Veronica Boesch - Rockland Historical Society, Board President, Robin Rosenberg - Garner Arts Center, Miguel Hernandez - Ossining Historic Preservation Commission, Karen Kotter Smith - Director of the Briarcliff Manor and Scarborough Historical Society, and Dr. Sankanran Krishnan - Indian Cultural Society, Former President.