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: May 16, 2012

My Uncle Eugene served in the First World War. I have his service medal. World War I was still a horse-drawn war, and Private Birns was a groom, attending the mules and horses that served his engineering regiment, paying particular attention to the Colonel’s horse, a thoroughbred, no doubt.


A Catskill Catalog: May 9, 2012

Don’t normally associate the woman’s suffrage movement with Keeney Hollow. In fact, until last week, I didn’t even know where Keeney Hollow is. If you do know, you’ve been around these parts a long time.

Keeney Hollow is on the uphill side of Southside Road, in Margaretville. It’s an obscure, depopulated stretch of brook-washed hollow, obscured now by decades of watershed-protecting city ownership.


A Catskill Catalog: April 25, 2012

In 1977, the late Harriet Smith, of Roxbury, told me about the Firemen’s Museum in Hudson. I was the father of two small boys, and Harriet assured me that taking the boys to the Hudson museum would be a real treat. The kids will love it, she said.

So, being a bit slow on the uptake, a couple of Saturdays ago, I went, with one son and his five-year-old daughter in tow. And Harriet was right! Twenty-five years later, the more modernly named Museum of Firefighting proved a delight for three generations.


A Catskill Catalog: April 18, 2012

I watched the eight-minute film “Game Warden” this morning. The 1955 theatrical short focuses on Margaretville Game Protector Bryan Burgin, the father of Hunter Safety programs in New York, a major figure in the history of outdoor conservation in this state. A video of the film is at catskillarchive.com. It is also available at YouTube.


A Catskill Catalog: April 11, 2012

In April 1952, Delaware County played a pivotal role in a presidential primary. April 22nd, 60 years ago, was the New York Republican primary. At stake were two delegates to the Republican National Convention in each of the state’s 43 congressional districts. Delaware County was in the 29th Congressional District.

Dr. Ogden E. Bush was the leader of the Delaware County Republican Party and, one of two party leaders chosen to represent Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, and Delaware County Republicans at the Chicago convention.