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: Feb. 17, 2010

In 1921, along the East Branch of the Delaware River, rumors began to circulate: the City of New York was coming, and it meant to take the valley for its water supply.

A Catskill Catalog: Feb. 10, 2010

Two days before Christmas in 1890, The New York Times reported on the ice harvest upstate. “All the icehouses in the Catskill Summer boarding region and of the Delaware County dairymen are filled with the clearest and best ice ever gathered.”

A Catskill Catalog: Feb. 3, 2010

In 1888, Mr. Hill, proprietor of the Ackerly House in Margaretville, bought a full-page advertisement in Thompson & Breed’s Ulster & Delaware Railroad Directory. The ad featured a good photograph of his hotel, a substantial four-story frame building, fronted by three tiers of long wrap-around balconies, topped by a dormer-constructed fifth story tucked into the mansard roof.

A Catskill Catalog: Jan. 27, 2010

High school seniors around the Catskills, as elsewhere, are completing essays, gathering letters of recommendation, and sending off their college applications. Support of their efforts is an annual end-of-first-semester effort for teachers and guidance counselors. Students are lucky they only have to go through it once – barring transfer or grad school.

A Catskill Catalog: Jan. 20, 2010

Drive up state Road 270 into the Catskills one fair-weather day in 1907. 270: that’s how the 1907 Automobile Blue Book refers to the road into the mountains from Kingston, the road north of the brand-new Ashokan Reservoir, our Route 28. The road that travels south of the reservoir, our 28A, was 271.