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: July 8, 2009

by Bill Birns
July 4, 1776 several farms sat along the banks of the upper Pepacton, as the East Branch of the Delaware was then called. Farmers named DuMond and Von Waggoner, Hendricks and Kittle, Slyter, Green, Yaple and Carpenter made up a little outpost of settlement on the frontier. Similar groupings of farms sat in the Shandaken Mountains along the upper Esopus Creek.


A Catskill Catalog: July 1, 2009

Every organization I’m associated with is obsessed with having a Web site. Well, maybe obsessed is too strong, but every meeting I attend seems to include at least one discussion about developing, maintaining, and improving people’s ability to gain, through the Internet, information deemed important by that organization.


Catskill Catalog: June 24, 2009

Today, the term Yankee refers to the baseball team in the Bronx or, perhaps, to any American abroad, but once the term clearly identified New Englanders. The Red Sox Nation of the six states of New England (can you name them?) must swallow hard and recognize that they were once, eek, Yankees!


A Catskill Catalog: June 17, 2009

My arrival in the mountains and the publication of Alf Evers’ monumental history The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock (Doubleday, 1972) occurred at about the same time, so I have always felt a bond with the author. Alf Evers died in 2004, a month short of his 100th birthday. He was a Catskill Mountain institution.


A Catskill Catalog: June 10, 2009

“Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Bloom!” Those of a certain age will immediately recognize the catchphrase of the character Molly Goldberg, leaning out of her Bronx brownstone kitchen window calling to her neighbor across the air shaft. Molly was played by pioneering comedian Gertrude Berg.
I remember well the television show “The Goldbergs,” one of my favorite early childhood TV watching experiences. My neighbor Bud remembers the show from the radio. Either way, Gertrude Berg was a fixture in American popular culture from the 30s through the 50s. She learned her craft in the Catskills.