Newburgh Again: The North Plank Road Tavern- 1981

Bypassed by bulldozers, tavern restored

The Evening News – Dec 1, 1981

NEW LEASE ON LIFE – The North Plank Road Tavern bas been around more than 100 years and may see another century. The owners, Thomas and Lucie Costa, have applied for the building to be listed on the National Historic Register. Photo by Jean Yanarella

TOWN OF NEWBURGH – The North Plank Tavern is alive and well after more than 100 years. With a couple of enthusiastic owners and a recent decision by the Department of Transportation to spare it, the building’s future seems secure.

The structure was the most ambitious acquisition of Thomas and Lucie Costa. Although they bought a restored five area buildings before this one, the North Plank Road purchase has become their home and business.

The owners are attempting to have the tavern listed on The National Historic Register.

Its alleged historic value is partly responsible, for the Department of Transportation’s decision to take six private homes across the street for a road-widening project and spare the bar.

The process of getting on the National Registry may end in 1982 with the North Plank Road building receiving the official designation.

The ponderous process started in 1980, involved a large amount of research by the owners, Thomas Costa and his wife, Lucie Provencher Costa. The youngest member of the Costa beverage family, Costa is the son of county Legislator Joseph Costa, who runs the soda plant of the same name.

Thomas Costa studied mathematics and education in college and his wife, a native of Montreal, studied civil engineering. They’ve combined forces to make use of what they call an opportunity unique to Newburgh.

Newburgh is one of the best places, they say, to find a beautiful, historic building at a very low price that can be turned into an exquisite, livable structure.

The first building the couple restored was on Grand Street. After facing the horrible state the structure was in, the Costa said the rest of the houses they acquired and refurbished were easy.

The Costas say restoring old buildings is a help to the community. They pointed out that the Farmworkers Legal Services was going to move to Poughkeepsie until t he group approached the couple and asked about renting a Liberty Street house. Getting a good deal from the couple convinced the agency to stay in Newburgh, the Costas say.

The couple hopes to turn the latest acquisition into a restaurant. The tavern now offers a selection of beer and folk-oriented music on weekends. With a new stove, they hope by next summer to offer food with a French flavor.

The move to a restaurant has taken them since 1979 when they bought the building. Financing for a restaurant was difficult to find, they explain. The Newburgh Savings Bank was willing to help them.

Financial help was not all the couple needed. An incredible amount of physical labor was done to get the structure into shape in1979.

Its claim to a place on the National Historic Register apparently begins in the 1850swhen the tavern was said to be a hotel and meeting place. During Prohibition the establishment became a speakeasy. Gambling was most likely part of the building’s appeal. It was also rumored to have a bordello operating out of some rooms.

Politicians and gangsters frequented the spot. Within its walls, alcohol was diluted and bottled with counterfeit labels.

The Costas have benefited from the fact that the previous owner, Anthony Nixon, never threw anything out. The results are displayed in the walls of the tavern, including hand-embroidered hankies on black felt and decades old business cards.

Newspapers, one proclaiming “Beer is back” (March 23, 1933) also decorate the walls. These were not saved as precious souvenirs, said Costa, but were used as padding under linoleum. The couple can tell by the dates on the newspapers when the work was done.

The ornate wooden bar back originally stood at the United States Hotel on Front Street. It is believed to be 150 years old. It was brought into the tavern around 1910.

All in all, the Costas say they have found a link with history, a home, and a livelihood, “Newburgh is working,” said Costa. “It’s been good to us.”

Newburgh Again: Joseph Sculley’s Hotel

Illustrated and Descriptive Newburgh (1906):




 -136 Broadway, Newburgh. Local and Long Distance Telephone. Joseph F. Sculley, proprietor. Mr. Sculley has made his name one that is well and favorably known during the fifteen years that he has been established here in his business. He keeps a lunch-counter that can’t be beat and that it is appreciated need only to be seen to prove that, for it is always comfortably full. The fine pool-parlor that forms another department of the business contains a and some pool table and is well patronized. The stock of wine, liquor, etc., is a large one and to be properly appreciated must be tested. An especial attraction in this cafe is Ballanatine’s Celebrated Beers, which are always on draught. A choice line of fine cigars is kept in stock for the patrons who appreciate “the weed.” One genial clerk is employed.

Newburgh Again: Andy Glynn’s Saloon

Illustrated and Descriptive Newburgh (1906):


142 Broadway, Newburgh.

Wines and Liquors, Fine Cigars. When you find a man who has a nickname and who puts it on his cards, shorn of dignity, you may always be sure that behind it stands one of the jolliest and best-natured fellows in the Universe. Mr. Andy Glynn is no exception to the rule and his genial personality has brought many patrons to his saloon. Mr. Glynn employs four men to attend to his patrons’ wants.

Newburgh Again: Granite City Soap Co.

Illustrated and Descriptive Newburgh (1906):


Proprietors of the old Oakley Soap Plant. This Company was organized in Fall River, Mass., in 1888, under Maine laws, as a Co-operative Soap Manufacturing Company, and acquired the present property in 1891 for manufacturing a general line of laundry soaps, under advertised and private brands, as well as soap Powder, Chip Soap, etc. The officers of the company are: A. J. Lovell, Boston, Mass., President ; H. W. Durgin, Newburgh, N. Y., Treasurer and General Manager; R. A. Atwood, Boston, Mass., Secretary.

Newburgh Again: The Clinton Hotel

Illustrated and Descriptive Newburgh (1906):


Hugh McGuigan, proprietor, No. 102 and 104 Washington street. The Clinton Hotel, effeciently managed, thoroughly equipped for entertaining guests, and conveniently located is one of the most popular hotels in the city of Newburgh. The house has been established here for about 20 years and since the present manager took charge, h is geniality and solicitous care of the guests of the house have built up for him a fine custom. The house is conducted on the American plan, has a nicely equipped and popular bar, and the rates are from $1.00 to $2.00. It has 32 well lighted and heated and nicely furnished rooms; the dining room has a seating capacity of one hundred and the cuisine is all that could be desired.

Newburgh Again: Howard & Company

Illustrated and Descriptive Newburgh (1906):


Wholesale Grocers and Coffee Roasters. Strictly up-to-date in every particular is the large grocery emporium of Howard & Company, of which the proprietors are, Messrs. G. E. Howard, H. M. Kennedy and J. C. Cubit. It was established here in 1894, by its present owners, who are representative business men of long experience in the grocery business. Their building is an immense one, covering one entire square block, opposite the Ferry House and fronting on Carpenter, Front and Ferry streets. It has four large stories and a basement, presenting in all about 38,000 square feet of floor space. The shipping facilities are perfect, as an Erie Railroad switch connects the building with the main lines. The large and increasing trade of the concern is derived mainly from the city and the country included within a radius of fifty miles from the city, this territory, being covered by five traveling men. They make specialties of canned goods, Easter Lily, and Snow Ball brands being the leaders.

Newburgh Again: Schoonmaker & Son

Illustrated and Descriptive Newburgh (1906):



According to the best obtainable information there is no other stock of Dry Goods so large in any retail store between New York and Albany. As a buying and selling organization this store ranks with the best. Probably no store in a city of the size of Newburgh in the United States sends its buyers to the New York market so often. John Schoonmaker and Son average about two buyers a day in the New York market for every business day in the year.