A Catskill Catalog by Bill Birns

Bill Birns presents a weekly essay on history, geography, day-trips, arts and culture in the Catskill Mountain region.

A Catskill Catalog: June 9, 2010

Orvan W. Hess grew up in Margaretville. His family moved up here in 1908 from Pike County, Pennsylvania, downriver on the Delaware. It wasn’t a happy move: little Orvan’s mother had just died. I would guess she died trying to give birth to another child. Maybe that’s why Orvan became an obstetrician.


A Catskill Catalog: June 2, 2010

In the Catskills, Memorial Day traditionally marked the beginning of the season. Hotels and boarding houses often opened for business, or, at least, opened the winter-shuttered place for air. Summer residents opened the country house. Old acquaintances renewed.


A Catskill Catalog: May 26, 2010

A friend and former student is an engineer with an Ivy League education. “This was a great place to grow up,” he’s said to me, more than once, on visits home to the mountains. His buddy is a successful Catskill Mountain businessman. He says the same thing.


A Catskill Catalog: May 19, 2010

Saturday was Slabsides Day. Open House at John Burroughs’ Hudson Valley retreat is the third Saturday in May and the first Saturday in October. I went.


A Catskill Catalog: May 12, 2010

Lincoln R. Long was a teacher, Methodist clergyman, public-school administrator and state legislator. Born in 1861, Long grew up in Jefferson, over in Schoharie County, and taught, preached, or administered schools, at various times, in Sidney, Callicoon, Hancock, New Paltz, Walden, Kingston, and Margaretville. In Margaretville he served, first, as Methodist pastor, then as high school principal, and, finally as district school superintendent.