Harvey Flad ~ Geography

Since retirement in 2004, I’ve remained quite busy in both scholarly and civic activities. Much of the first five years was spent researching and writing Main Street to Mainframes: Landscape and Social Change in Poughkeepsie along with Vassar colleague and co-author Clyde Griffen. Since its publication in 2009 by the State University of New York Press, I have given countless presentations on the history of Poughkeepsie and the region including a six-lecture course for CLS. Parallel to the 450-page book is A Digital Tour of Poughkeepsie, produced by the College’s Urban Studies Program and placed on the Vassar You Tube web site. Other recent publications have included an essay on landscape photography for the Smithsonian Institution, a landscape history of Mohonk Mountain House for Geographical Review, and an essay on the influence of the Hudson River School of Art in the evolution of preservation law published in Environmental History of the Hudson River (SUNY Press, 2011). The latter evolved from a series of lectures at the New York Historical Society, Thomas Cole House, and Frederic Church’s Olana, as well as various colleges. For Vassar College’s Sesquicentennial, I wrote two departmental histories: Earth Science & Geography and Urban Studies, while for a conference at Vassar I offered a history of environmental research in Dutchess County. Testimony on the visual impact of a proposed cement plant in Hudson, NY helped Scenic Hudson and Friends of Olana defeat the project.

During this time I’ve continued various civic efforts as a member of the Waterfront Advisory Committee in Poughkeepsie; active in the restoration and celebration of the Fall Kill creek and “Springside,” Matthew Vassar’s historic site designed by Andrew Jackson Downing; and the boards of Mohonk Preserve and the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks.


Posted: January 2012