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History (a brief overview)
The first non-indigenous settler arrived around 1770. The Town of Woodstock was established in 1787. Later, Woodstock contributed some of its territory to form the Towns of Middletown (1789), Windham (1798), Shandaken (1804), and Olive (1853).
The Arts and Crafts Movement came to Woodstock around 1902, and, afterwards, Woodstock was always considered an active artist colony in the 19th and early 20th century, including playing host to numerous Hudson River School painters. Its reputation as an arts center contributed to the original Woodstock Festival's organizers planning their concert around the town. Such American painters as E. Charlton Fortune and Spencer Trask were known to use the Woodstock venue.
The Woodstock Elgin Creamery was established in 1898 at a site now located on the corner of Maple Lane and Deanies Alley.
The 1903 Byrdcliffe Art Colony is the nation's oldest Arts & Crafts colony. It brought the first artists to Woodstock to teach and produce furniture, metal works, ceramics, weaving and established Woodstock's first painting school. Byrdcliffe forever changed the cultural landscape of the Town of Woodstock.
In 1916, utopian philosopher and poet Hervey White built a "music chapel" in the woods. It was the Maverick Concert Series, the beginning of what is now the oldest, continuous chamber music festival in America. Composers such as Henry Cowel, John Cage, Robert Starrer and Peter Schickele created works that were premiered there. Today, this hand-built concert hall with perfect acoustics, is a multi-starred attraction on the National Register of Historic Places with world-class musicians playing there from June to September.
The town is home to the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (WAAM), one of the oldest artists organizations. The WAAM Permanent Collection features work by important American artists associated with the region, including Milton Avery, George Bellows, Edward Leigh Chase, Frank Swift Chase, Marion Greenwood, Philip Guston, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and many others. WAAM founders were John Carlson, Frank Swift Chase, Andrew Dasburg, Carl Lindin, and Henry Lee McFee. The Art Students League of New York's summer school was in Woodstock for nearly fifteen years from 1906 until 1922, and again after the end of World War II from 1947 until 1979. The Woodstock School of Art has been operating since 1980.
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