In This Place: Stories from the News Archives by Trish Adams

In This Place: February 25, 2015

February Potluck
A glance back at News stories from this time of year decades ago illustrate that some challenges — freeze ups — remain timeless, while other tales strike us as period melodramas. In honor of this Chinese New Year, which began “The Year of the Goat,” I share with you an educational foray into one of the Catskills’ first chronicled goat farms.
February 24, 1905 — Cold Causes Water Famine
A Fire Would Be Serious — Repairing Old-fashioned Hand Engines—Ice 30 Inches Thick
The intense cold weather that has prevailed for some weeks has had a most serious effect on the water supply hereabouts. The fall rains were not heavy and the water was low at the beginning of the winter. The severe fronts have had a greater effect than a prolonged drought. Margaretville is well-nigh without water, there being none in the reservoir. The water main is fed by a tiny stream that runs down through the middle of the empty basin and directly into the main. What would happen should there be a serious fire is hard to say.

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In This Place: February 18, 2015

Down on the Farm
In This Place readers are in for a real treat this week, as I feature some columns written by Emmeline Scudder, a multi-faceted woman who chronicled her family’s life on the farm for the News for a few years in the 1950s. Mother, wife, homemaker, teacher and writer, “Maggie” was a force to be reckoned with. Her daughter Sally Scudder Fair­bairn, who inherited her mother’s “writing gene,” graciously said of her mom: “Let’s let Maggie tell her stories. That voice, combining the matter-of-fact with the hint of marvel behind it, was what I remember as a kid. As I grew up, of course, I came to rec­ognize that behind that ‘isn't life jolly’ facade was a worrywart who recognized the need to do the college and start a new career at age 45.”
Like Clarke Sanford and Lincoln R. Long, Maggie’s contributions to the News paint a vivid portrait of life “in this place,” in her case 60 years ago. You can expect that I will dig out more “Feminine Furrows” as the seasons come and go, for her inimitable voice and unforgettable rendering of family farm life truly deserve to be read and enjoyed by later generations.

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In This Place: February 11, 2015

Of Thee I Sing
Time to celebrate presidents and sweethearts, and we start with a Valentine’s boy who grew up to be a fine civic leader in Roxbury, Rudolph Gorsch. Many editions around Valentine’s would have tales of his birthday parties.
February 19, 1904 — Charles’ Valentine
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gorsch of Locust street were presented with a bouncing boy Sunday, February 14. Charles says he is certain he received the finest valentine in town. — Roxbury Times.
Rudolph Gorsch eventually became the town’s undertaker, like his father, and sadly, died on September 12, 1955, just 51 years old. He fell from a truck while return­ing furniture that did not sell at a Roxbury Rotary auction, an organization of which he was the president.
The next incident has absolutely no bearing on Presidents or Val­entine’s but was just too bizarre to exclude:

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In This Place: February 4, 2015

Mid-Winter Whimsies & Wonder
These paeans to the Groundhog need no explanation, although one thing I did learn this week is that February 2 on the religious calendar is Candlemas Day, marking the mid-point of winter, when traditionally farmers and families would take stock and hope that they still had half of their fuel and food to see out the last weeks of winter. By this time, almost everyone can find a complaint about the weather — either too much winter or not enough — except of course Clarke Sanford, who found something magical even in the dead of winter.
From the issue of January 31, 1936From the issue of January 31, 1936

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In This Place: January 28, 2015

Risky Business

As we all work ourselves into a football frenzy, I thought we could take a look back at the serious dangers the game posed especially to high school players. One would say “back in the day” but as it turns out there were at least three high school football fatalities just last year. Our mountain villages did not maintain football teams for most of their histories — often the game was only play­ed as an intramural sport, and even then serious injuries were known to happen.


In This Place: January 21, 2015

The Other Side of the Mountain

Since we focused last week on Belleayre exclusively, I thought it would be fun this week to look back at our other local ski slopes and their beginnings. Not all of them are still with us, but all played a vital role in providing excellent skiing, often helping to alleviate overcrowding at the larger ski centers.


In This Place: January 14, 2015

From January 27, 1950. The opening paragraph read: “The dedication and official opening of the Belleayre Mountain ski slope Saturday afternoon was the greatest day the Cats­kills have known since the Ulster & Delaware railroad ran its first train to Pine Hill nearly a century ago.”From January 27, 1950. The opening paragraph read: “The dedication and official opening of the Belleayre Mountain ski slope Saturday afternoon was the greatest day the Cats­kills have known since the Ulster & Delaware railroad ran its first train to Pine Hill nearly a century ago.”
First Tracks

I knew I wanted this week’s column to be about the early days of Belleayre and possibly ski patrol but then I stumbled on the Woodward and Bernstein of ski report­ing: Frank Elkins. Although a Long Islander, Elkins spent plenty of ink promoting skiing in our area. So I leave a large part of this column to his portrait of the new ski area just as it was entering the 60s.


In This Place: January 7, 2015

Happy New Year — Some “Firsts” on the “Fives”

This first column of the year is dedicated to beginnings and fresh starts. I scouted for happy news in the first issues of years ending in five, although 1925 was missing, and I felt it was inappropriate to cheat on that year.
Let’s start with an old-fashioned skimelton in Roxbury. Some of the type in this item was cut off, so I don’t know if the “skimeltoners” were young men or young people of both genders. Too bad none of them is still here to ask!


In This Place: Dec. 31, 2014

Going, Going, Gone
This ad, and the one below, both come from the Dec. 29, 1944 edition, when the war in Europe had been won but Allies still fought the Japanese in the Pacific.This ad, and the one below, both come from the Dec. 29, 1944 edition, when the war in Europe had been won but Allies still fought the Japanese in the Pacific.


In This Place: Dec. 24, 2014

Here Comes Santa Claus
From December 23, 1938From December 23, 1938


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