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291 main st
beacon, new york 12508


Gilded Twig reflects art conservator and master gilder Deborah Bigelow's long career in art conservation and current business interest in handmade gold leaf art jewelry. 

william foster photo mt beacon.JPG

hudson river dreams

Chance brought me to the Hudson River Valley many years ago, where sunrise to sunset, this sparkling tidal river flows by Mount Beacon. No matter how far I roam, this landscape spells HOME.

In 1992, I purchased Beacon's original telephone building to house my studio. Now impeccably restored, the interior has been transformed into spaces for collaborative work and community. When people ask to see my latest project, I reply, "You're in it."

transforming 291 main street

One autumn evening in 1907, the switchboards of the Hudson River Telephone Company lit up for the very first time. The handsome new building on Main Street employed the latest technology. When subscribers lifted his or her receiver off the hook to make a call, a small light automatically lit up on the switchboard. When the operator connected the call, another light came on, and the light went off when the call was over. This great advance in communications technology was quite impressive to the turn-of-the-century man or woman. Since many did not yet have their own telephones, special booths on the building’s first floor were available to “transient users of the service.”

Over one hundred years later, and after a long, artful restoration, Beacon's original telephone building is home, once again, to those in the business of communication! Today, where rows of operators once staffed state-of-the-art electric switchboards, BEAHIVE members share a creative, co-working environment making calls on cell phones and working from laptops to communicate with clients locally and worldwide. Its twenty-first century tenants infuse the building with their business energy as well as support for each other and the local community. Stairwell Exhibit Space regularly showcases the work of emerging local artists. Meeting rooms host educational programs and presentations on pertinent topics. 

Renovations on the facade in 2016-2017, restored the cornice to its majestic “limestone white”.  The words “TELEPHONE BUILDING” now gleam with gold leaf from high overhead. Lights were installed on the front of the building in 2012, funded by a New York State Main Street Improvement Grant.

Hudson River Photograph : Bill Foster