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. 11, 2009

In the late 1800s, “the best known and most reliable guide” in the Catskills, was James W. Dutcher of the Big Indian-Oliverea Valley. So stated the Commemerative Biographical Record of Ulster County, published in 1896.


A Catskill Catalog: Feb. 4, 2009

I was amused a few years back by a cover story in New York magazine. The August 2003 article was about the Catskills’ second-home real estate boom that followed the horrible events of September 2001, when hundreds of New Yorkers discovered the Catskills and many bought homes and acreage here in the mountains.


A Catskill Catalog: Jan. 28, 2009

In 1883, one of the richest men in America bought 60 Catskill Mountain acres to build a summer colony for his extended family. Charles Fleischmann was a 32-year-old master distiller and yeast production superintendent on the estate of an Austrian nobleman when he first visited the United States in 1866. He came to New York City to attend the wedding of his sister Josephine.


A Catskill Catalog: Jan. 21, 2009

When the first January inauguration took place in Washington, D.C., this part of the Catskills was roiling in resentment, anger, and neighbor-against-neighbor ill feeling. It was January 20, 1937.


A Catskill Catalog: Jan. 14, 2009

Zena R. Travis. I must have walked by an inscription of that name thousands of times. You may have walked by it, as well. Her name appears on a commemorative plaque in the front hall of the Roxbury school, of the Margaretville school, of the Stamford school, of the Gilboa school, of the Windham school…