NEW CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Portraits of Rockland County’s past are being painted with words and preserved for posterity.

New City’s history librarian, Brian Jennings, has compiled more than 60 audio interviews with Rockland residents, with the average age of 80. The project is called “Share, Listen, Learn: Stories of Rockland County.”

“The idea is that we can learn something from our elders,” Jennings said. “The memories of these folks are really priceless.”

There was a time when Rockland County was considered the country and dotted with farms.

“There were 500 in the ’50s before the Tappan Zee Bridge and now I think maybe five or six,” Jennings said.

Some interviews chronicle social change.

“We have Travis Jackson’s story about going to a segregated school in Hillburn and when Thurgood Marshall came to Rockland County,” Jennings said.

Other tales are harrowing.

“If I get a World War II vet that wants to talk to me, you gotta sit down and listen and you let them talk as long as they want,” Jennings said.

The interviews are available online.


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