Kingston’s Annual Bluestone Festival at the Maritime Museum in October

By Rebecca Martin

How many of you are familiar with the city of Kingston’s Bluestone and its history? Whether you are a novice or an expert on the subject, plan on visiting the annual Bluestone Festival on Sunday, October 3rd at the Maritime Museum in Kingston. was able to have a quick sit down with organizer Ed Pell on how you can participate and what you can expect this year. Can you tell us how you came to be one of the organizers of the Bluestone Festival?

Ed Pell: The first step in problem solving is becoming aware that there is a problem.  At a meeting in 2001 of Rondout citizens, Robert Sweeney (currently the Town of Ulster’s Historian) alerted us that the work on Abeel Street was affecting the historic bluestone sidewalks and curbs.  We spoke about this and I suggested to raise awareness, we might organize a Bluestone Festival to celebrate our heritage, sidewalks, curbs and other bluestone infrastructure. The first Kingston Historic Bluestone Festival began that year and has continued annually since with more and more homeowners, civic groups and others supporting this significant component of our history, heritage and pride.

KC: How did you chose the Maritime Museum location, and how is Bluestone and the Maritime connected?

EP: Bluestone was shipped from Rondout Creek in Kingston and was the largest exporter of Bluestone in the nation in the nineteenth century. The Kingston Maritime Museum has included Bluestone shipping as a significant exhibit, so hosting the annual Kingston Bluestone Festival on the grounds of Maritime Museum is congruent with its history, message and intent. Additionally, Betty Osterhoudt and the Maritime Museum staff are warmly hospitable.

KC: What can people expect on that day? What vendors and masons will be on hand?

EP: The booklets that we sell each year give a history of Bluestone which was formed just short of 400 million years ago!  There will be open mic song and music from noon to 6 PM that will encompass folk, bluegrass, traditional, and original music. For instance, Kelly McNally, a songwriter, musician and singer whose Italian grandfather was a stone mason, will sing and play a song which she has written about bluestone and a tribute to her grandfather.  We welcome all musicians and singers and invite them to contact us at: to secure their time slot.  The same is true for visual artists, who are invited to exhibit and sell artwork without an entry fee or commission on pieces sold. We only ask that they contact us to register early at

Dean Osterhoudt, whose family has been quarried and dressed Bluestone well before 1886 (and continuously since) will exhibit historic Bluestone quarry and dressing tools, Bluestone working, making Bluestone walks and walls.  Representative of Opus 40 will be on hand with exhibits. Local resturants will offer “blue plate” specials at their place of business and others will be on site with wares.

Tom Keegan of Keegan Ales and Howard Johnson of Johnson Signs and Tees will be on site, too.

KC: Please provide the date, location and time of the festival. Parking is available across from the Maritime and is free, is that correct?

EP: The 9th Annual 2010 Kingston Historic Bluestone Festival will be at The Kingston Maritime Museum Grounds, Rondout Landing, (next to Rosita’s Resturant, 89 Roundant Landing), noon to 6 PM on Sunday, October 3. Parking is available across the street and is free.

KC: Anything else you wish to add?

EP: Come and join us for a good amount of Kingston’s Bluestone history and fun!

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