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Duo Brings Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow History Alive

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. — Sara Mascia apologized a few minutes into her presentation on local history.

“I tend to talk and talk,” Mascia, the curator of the Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow Historical Society , said.

Her colleague, MaryAnn Marshall, agreed. “Yes, she does,” she said.

Mascia and Marshall spent Friday evening showing a small audience some of their favorite monuments, memories and people from Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow at the Washington Irving Chapel in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

The lecture’s topics varied widely from Washington Irving to the Civil War and the Rockefellers. The pair had dug out their favorite photos and illustrations from the Historical Society’s archives and discussed events around them.

Mascia and Marshall would deadpan jokes or say something sarcastic while explaining the history, making the small audience laugh, such as when they discussed the area’s automotive history.

During the war, the General Motors plant had been “totally retooled” to build wings and other parts for the Avenger airplane, Marshall said. The Avenger was a torpedo bomber. Approximately 2,900 women went to work at the plant, called the Eastern Aircraft Division, Marshall said.

“Of course, after the war they were all fired,” Marshall said.

Tarrytown resident and famous poet Minna Irving was one of the pair’s favorite characters. Irving “tended to wear rather loud makeup” for the time and was always calling the police at the slightest sound, Mascia explained.

Irving make extra money by sending poems to sea captains and then later sending those same captains another letter saying she was ill and needed money, Mascia said.

Irving’s story provided one of the lecture’s unofficial themes: “When you’re rich, you’re eccentric,” Mascia said. “when you’re poor, you’re crazy.”

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