Middletown Historical Society announces program plans for 2014

“Reading the Land”, two programs on prehistoric Middletown, will lead off another busy series of events and activities for the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown (HSM).
The 2014 season will include the Third Annual Living History Cemetery Tour, a rousing folksong sing-out, a program on the lost community of Arena, and a slide show on the history of skiing in the Catskills.
There will also be special events and an art raffle to raise funds for a new roof on the HSM hall. Donations from HSM members and friends, and history lovers who appreciate the work of the Society in preserving and presenting local history, are gratefully received. Contributions may be sent to HSM, PO Box 734, Margaretville, 12455, or via PayPal at www.mtownhistory.org.
Donations of baked goods for a February 15 bake sale at Freshtown are also sought. Call Anne Sanford at 607 326-4817 if you can help.
The dynamic geology duo of Bob and Johanna Titus will give an illustrated talk on the physical formation of our region on Saturday, Mar. 29 at 1 p.m. at the HSM hall, 778 Cemetery Rd., Margaretville. They will explain how glacial activity and geologic forces shaped the landscape, which dictated how humans came to occupy and use it.
On Saturday, April 26, “Reading the Land” continues with a 1 p.m. presentation by Linda Carroll of the Public Archaeology Facility at Binghamton University. She will describe and interpret artifacts found at a 2005 archaeological survey of the Arkville site where Laurel Gardens Housing project was later built.

Holiday fun
Fundraising events include a Mother’s Day Weekend Penny Social and Chinese Auction on May 10, and an informally elegant Summer Soiree Friday evening, July 11, at the Victorian home of Tom and Connie Jeffers in Margaretville.
HSM will hold an Open House as part of Headwaters History Weekend June 6-8, when history organizations and sites in Middletown, Roxbury, Andes and Halcott will open their doors, sponsor events and host special exhibits.
The much-acclaimed Living History Cemetery Tour will be held on the first day of summer, June 21. This year’s tour will be at the Sanford Cemetery on county Route 36, Dunraven. Area residents will portray individuals buried there as guides lead visitors through this picturesque burial ground. A section of the cemetery was used for reinterment of remains taken from the Arena, Millbrook and Dunraven areas flooded by the Pepacton Reservoir in the 1950s.
One of those communities, Arena, will be the focus of an illustrated talk by HSM President and author Diane Galusha. “Sixty Years Gone: Remembering Arena” will be presented Sunday, Sept. 14.
Back by popular demand, the 77th Regimental Balladeers who brought down the house with a concert of Civil War music in 2013, will return to HSM on Sunday, Aug. 24 with “Rise Up Singing: America’s Best Loved Folksongs.”
The Society will once again mount a farm-related exhibit in the History Tent at the Cauliflower Festival September 27.
The HSM season will conclude October 26 with its Annual Meeting. George Quinn, author of History of Skiing in the Catskills, will be the featured speaker.
Details on these and other events still in the planning stages can be found on the HSM website, www.mtownhistory.org.