Welcome to the MTHS website

The Mountain Top Historical Society is dedicated to discovering and preserving the unique and rich history of the Catskill High Peaks. The Society is a not-for-profit organization and maintains a Visitor and Art Trail Center and the Ulster and Delaware train depot (shown above) on our campus in Haines Falls. We are located on scenic Route 23A at the gateway to the Mountain Top and are easily accessible from Exit 20 or 21 of the New York State Thruway.

 The Town of Hunter, home to MTHS, has been designated a Preserve America Community.

 

 

 

 Our Next Events:

 

 August 24 (Sat) 10:00 a.m. Rip’s Country Bazaar /Open House -- Note the corrected starting time!

See details of these events and our Full Schedule: 2019 Event and Hike Schedule.

The Heximer Survey courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia

An 1883 Survey brings the Hotel Kaaterskill to life.

 

 

MTHS News and links:

  From our Archives -

Follow the "From Our Archives" link in the "Preserve" menu on the right to see information about some of the items in our Justine Hommel Archive Room.

Included are posts on:

one of several letters from Civil War soldier William Young. Donated by Odile Dwyer.

A collection of glass plate negatives. The gift of Shirley and Gerald Dunn See details here.

After you come back from the MTHS hike to the Hotel Kaaterskill site on May 11, you may want head down to this event for the Coxsackie Historic Preservation Committee:
AN EVENING OF MYSTERY, MAYHEM AND MURDER at Pegasus Restaurant on Route 9W in Coxsackie.Doors will open at 7:00 p.m. Reservations required: CALL 518-731-8084.
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 South Mountain - On the Once Beaten Path

Our June 8th, took the historic Direct Path to South Mountain. The path was the main way to climb from the Catskill Mountain House to sites such as Puddingstone Hall, Druid Rocks, and the Second Ledge seen in this illustration from Van Loan's Catskill Mountain Guide and called the Lemon Squeezer by some photographers.

By 1891 a new path approximately the current state trail was established and eventually the "Direct Path" was abandoned. Check back for more details which will be announced when they are complete.

 

Volunteers always needed
We have openings for volunteers, and possible board members, in these areas: membership chair, fundraising chair (including grants writing), volunteer coordinator, and groundskeeping chair. We would love to have more regular volunteers to work on maintaining the grounds, staffing the Visitors' Center, working with us on our Spring Clean-up Day in May, and sorting files for the archives. If you are already on our volunteer list, we will be in touch. If you would like to know more about volunteer activities that will be personally fulfilling and rewarding, contact us by phone at 518-589-6657 or by e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We also ask for your support in the form of membership dollars and your donations to our upcoming capital campaign. Our annual membership drive will begin in May. Watch for the information in the mail and please respond generously.

Working together, we can continue to discover, interpret, share, and preserve the history of the Mountain Top for ourselves and our children.

Mountain Top Historical Society
2018 Hike & Event Preliminary Schedule

Check back here at our website for any last minute changes in our schedule as the hikes & events that interest you approach.

April 14 (Sat) Colgate Lake and Colgate Family Homestead. Join Moe Lemire, New York State licensed guide, for a hike to explore the old Colgate Family Homestead. Walk around Colgate Lake during this easy 3 mile round trip excursion. Meet at the MTHS parking area at 9:00 a.m. and return around 1:00 p.m. This is a fundraiser event for MTHS - $10 suggested donation.

April 22 (Sunday) Celebrate Earth Day with the MTHS. Explore Sloan Gorge and Snake Rocks, two Woodstock Land Conservancy Preserves. Hike with Catskill Geology Prof. Robert Titus in the picturesque hidden Sloan Gorge canyon (1.5 miles). Explore an interpreted trail of distinctive Catskill geological features. If there is enough time and interest, an optional hike to Snake Rocks Preserve (1.5 miles) will be coordinated by MTHS VP Adrienne Larys. Snake Rocks is an enchanting mountain top bluestone quarry with panoramic views of the Catskills. Meet at the MTHS Visitors’ Center at 8:30 a.m. for carpooling, or meet at the Sloan Gorge parking area at 9:30 a.m. (2195 Stoll Road). Parking is very limited at both Preserves and carpooling is encouraged. No dogs please at the WLC request for these hikes. Rating: Moderate — rough ground with a few steep sections and rock scrambles.

May 5 (Sat) Campus Clean-up Day 9:00 a.m. - the Mountain Top Historical Society will emerge from its annual winter hibernation into the sunlight of another exciting season of hikes, programs, and special events. A thorough cleaning needs to be done in the Visitors' Center, in the Train Station, and around the grounds. The more volunteers we have there, the quicker the chores will be completed. Looking forward to seeing you then and throughout the summer.

May 12 (Sat) Rochester Hollow Walk 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Led by New York State licensed guide Moe Lemire, Explore the old Homestead, 5.60 miles, difficulty: moderate, meet at the parking area on Matyas Road in Shandaken, this is a fundraiser event for MTHS - $10 suggested donation

May 19th (Sat) Annual Spring Fling - 'Robert Selkowitz - Presentation will be in the Ulster & Delaware Railroad Station on the MTHS campus on NYS rt. 23A in Haines Falls, NY at 7:00 p.m. Car Clubs will be contacted and invited to a Cruise-In beginning at 6:00 p.m. The presentation will include the history of the 1903 run and the birth of macadam stone road building in New York State, as well as mention of the 1908 motorcycle endurance run which came up the Mountain Top. Robert Selkowitz is an artist, his book A Painter's Path through the Catskill Mountains features a series of maps showing where the 50 pastel landscapes in the book were painted. He has been active in the Catskill Region for more than 40 years. Come on over for the first presentation of the 2018 season, our Annual Spring Fling! We are requesting a $5.00 per person donation for the talk. The money we collect goes to Building and Grounds maintenance.

May 26 (Sat) - Tory Fort. Led by Rick Brooks. In 1975, as a Bicentennial Project, MTHS worked with Ed West, Buck Farrell, and our hike leader, Rick Brooks, who led an Edward G. West Associates mapping and survey crew. We visited and West Associates then mapped the location of Tory Fort. The fort was more accurately a small holding area where Native Americans associated with Joseph Brant (seen here in a painting by Gilbert Steward in the collection of the Fenimore Art Museum) held captured Hudson Valley settlers before a long trip to the British headquarters at Fort Niagara where the settlers were turned over for profit.  Meet at the Mountain Top Historical Society Visitors' Center at 9:00 am. The hike should be considered moderate to difficult with some bushwhacking. We expect to return by 3:00 pm
In a recent email Rick gives this update on the route.Joseph Brant Leaving from Byrne Road hiking an existing woods/mill road to the intersection of Canda Creek and the Forest Preserve line then hiking the 1000-1500 feet to the Fort site.  [The] hike ... would allow us to travel through interesting abandoned agricultural fields, a few different forest types, explore the former Holtz Railroad and its associated mill, and experience the Canda Creek.  Our meeting place and time hasn't changed - 9:00 am at the Visitors Center Rt. 23A Haines Falls
Thanks to Rick and Patti Brooks and Bert Winne who led our  successful hike to Tory Fort. Rick led the 1976 crew who surveyed the location Bert drew the original survey map. Both returned to the spot 42 years later.

June 2 (Sat) Dedication – Justine Hommel Highway – 11:00 a.m. on the lawn of the Visitors' Center - Come join the MTHS in honoring Catskill Mountain icon Justine Hommel and celebrate the dedication of the entrance to Kaaterskill Clove, Route 23A as the Justine L. Hommel Memorial Highway. With the sponsorship and great efforts of Assemblyman Peter Lopez and Senator George Amedore, the New York State Assembly and Senate passed bills that officially memorialize Justine’s contributions to New York State and Greene County history. The "Justine L. Hommel Memorial Highway" will be a constant reminder of Ms. Hommel's remarkable contributions to the mountaintop region of Greene County and her life-long dedication to enhancing and preserving the natural splendor of the Catskill Mountains landscape.

June 9 (Sat) Historic Harding Road Walk 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Led by New York State licensed guide Moe Lemire, 7.60 miles round trip, difficulty: moderate, meet at the MTHS Kaaterskill Rail Trail parking lot, this is a fundraiser event for MTHS - $10 suggested donation

June 22 (Fri) Bill Horne Presentation - The Improbable Community – 7:00 p.m. in the Ulster & Delaware Train Station. In 1939, a group of idealists inspired by the spirit of New Deal reform put their vision of American democracy into practice by creating Camp Woodland, a racially and ethnically inclusive summer camp for city kids located in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The camp’s innovative programs profoundly influenced campers for 24 summers from 1939 through 1962. Bill was a camper at Camp Woodland from 1950 through 1960. The impact of his experience at Camp Woodland was one of his primary motivations for writing The Improbable Community.

July 7 (Sat) Annual Meeting. The MTHS will hold its Annual Meeting at 10:00 a.m. at the Train Station. All members of the MTHS are invited to attend.

July 13 (Fri) Hotel Kaaterskill: an Illustrated Presentation by George Harding and Bob Gildersleeve – 7:00 pm in the Ulster & Delaware Train Station. George Harding, great-great grandson of the original owner of the Hotel Kaaterskill has generously donated approximately 50 photographs of the Hotel Kaaterskill, its grounds and out-buildings. The photos were apparently taken in preparation for the sale of the property. George and Bob have been making a careful study of the photos which include interior views of the billiard room, bowling alley, kitchen, theater, a guest room and other surprises. Included is the only photo we’ve ever seen of the wood frame hotel laundry. Further details to be announced.

July 14 (Sat) Hike to Hotel Kaaterskill Site – 9:00 am – mid afternoon. In connection with the presentation on July 13, join George Harding, Art Fries and Paul LaPierre on a two-part hike and exploration of the grounds of the Hotel Kaaterskill and its Laundry. There are still some open questions that we will try to resolve. Exactly where did the laundry building stand? How many people did it employ? What was the function of the extant stone building sometimes referred to as the Wash House? The morning session will concentrate on the Laundry area. Immediately following the morning session we will climb the carriage road to the Hotel site where we will stop to eat (bring your lunch) and explore the grounds looking to identify the sites seen in the newly acquired photographs. The hike should be considered Easy (morning) to Moderate (afternoon or full hike). Meet 9:00 am at the Mountain Top Historical Society 5132 Route 23A Haines Falls, Kaaterskill Rail Trail parking lot.

July 28 (Sat) The Justine L. Hommel 3rd Annual Memorial Lecture: Talk by Vernon Benjamin  7:00 p.m. at Twilight Park Clubhouse. Vernon is the author of "The History of the Hudson River Valley: From Wilderness to the Civil War" and "The History of the Hudson River Valley: From the Civil War to Modern Times".

Aug. 4 (Sat) Wittenberg Mountain HikeCanceled Led by New York State licensed guide Moe Lemire. See a part of the Catskill very view get to see and search for the historic "Boy Scout Cave." This 10.3 Mile  Round Trip hike will meet at Woodland Valley Parking at  9am. Bring a bagged lunch, water and wear appropriate hiking shoes for this difficult hike returning by 5pm. there will be a $10 fee to benefit the Mountain Top Historic Society.

August 11 (Sat) Thacher State Park NYS Museum geologist Chuck Ver Straeten and Thacher Park naturalist Nancy Engel will co-lead a 3 hour hike through John Boyd Thacher State Park in Voorheesville. Meet in the Paint Mine parking area, south side of Rt. 157 at 10:30 a.m. for an 11:00 a.m. start. If that lot is full, the Mine Lot parking area is across the street.; The hike will follow the Indian Ladder Trail and Mine Lot Creek through scenic glens, past impressive sinkholes, and other beautiful views and geological features.  Bring a lunch, water and wear good hiking shoes. NO dogs please. Register by calling MTHS at (518) 589-6657 (leave name/phone number/# in party) or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Aug. 25 (Sat) Rip’s Country Bazaar/Open House – The MTHS campus will be filled with tents full of vendors: craftspeople, antique dealers, local food products, flea market items and more. Music for toe-tapping and hand clapping will be provided by John Quinn and the 77th Regimental Balladeers. Food for fun and food for lunch will be available for purchase. The Visitors’ Center will be open for browsing maps, books, brochures, or checking out the Archives. The Ulster & Delaware Train Station will be open for a presentation by Jonathan Palmer from the Vedder Research Library of the Greene County Historical Society. There will be kites and bubbles for kids and wannabe kids. Wildflowers and grass for running around. Rip Van Winkle may even appear! It will be a beautiful day for chatting with friends and family, learning something new about local history, listening to music from the Civil War Era, finding treasures among the offerings of over 35 vendors. The excitement begins at 9:00 a.m. and continues all day! Come on over to the Mountain Top Historical Society’s campus on Route 23A in Haines Falls and join in the fun.

Sept. 15 (Sat) 7th Annual Postcard Show & Talk - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. @ the U&D Train Station. Talk by John Duda at 2:00 p.m. Food will be available. The MTHS will also be selling ephemera from its attic in a special sale. A $3.00 entry fee will be charged at the door.

Oct. 6 (Sat) 5th Annual Hikefest - Plans for our contribution to the Lark in the Park are complete Click Here Register by calling MTHS at (518) 589-6657 (leave name/phone number/# in party) or by email [mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

Oct. 6 – Owl Prowl Hike -A Special Addition to the Hikefest Schedule at the MTHS, October 6, 2018
An Owl Prowl/Night Hike led by Moe Lemire. This special hike will be limited to 12 people so register early!
Meet at the U & D Train Station on the MTHS campus at 7:30 p.m. Moe will give a brief talk about night hiking: safety and wonder. Depending on the size of the group and ability of the hikers there a couple of options for viewpoints as you walk along the Kaaterskill Rail Trail. Moe will lead this opportunity to listen as the forest wakes up and surrounds you with the sounds of the night. There’s hope that you’ll hear the call of an owl (no guarantee).
What you need to bring: head lamp or flashlight with fresh batteries; sturdy shoes (boots or trail runners for the inevitable mud), water, snacks, a sense of adventure and wonder.
The trail is relatively level and round trip mileage is about 3 miles. A $10 donation is requested.

MTHS does not require membership for hike participation however, we encourage you to join as a member or make a donation to the MTHS to support our work. We do request that you register for each hike. Participants can register on our contacts page or by calling (518) 589-6657. Please leave your name, phone number, and # in your party. Schedule subject to change. The latest information is available on our web site  http://www.mths.org. Notification of changes, including cancellations due to weather will be made on the web site up to the day of any given hike.'

The 2019 hiking and events schedule Has been very diverse and interesting, and we're not through yet.

Here is another view of the Second Ledge on South Mountain--this one a Loeffler stereograph which names the site The Lemon Squeezer. Loeffler's choice of the name caused us a great deal of confusion because it was also the name of a crevice near the top of South Mountain and differed from the name given by Van Loan in his trail description. Note Loeffler's use of a young boy in the center of the photo, perhaps to make the site look larger than it actually is.

 

 

Thanks to our business sponsors:

2019 Business Sponsors:
Boardwalk Builders, Inc., Brookside B&B, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Chateau Belleview, Haines Falls Auto/Hunter Towing, Hotel Vienna, Kaaterskill Liquors, Karen’s County Kitchen, Last Chance Antiques & Cheese Cafe, Maggie’s Krooked Café, The Mansion House At Alfie’s, Mountain Propane, Inc., Pancho Villas Mexican Restaurant, Pure Mountain Yoga, Rosehaven Inn, Scribner's Catskill Lodge, Snow Bird Ski Shop, Snowed Inn B&B, Thorpes GMC, Inc., Town Tinker Tube Rental, Traphagen's Honey, The Thompson House, Vesuvio Restaurant,
Villa Vosilla, Willow Mixed Media, Windham Pharmacy

 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 




 


Thanks to our business sponsors:

2019 Business Sponsors:
Boardwalk Builders, Inc., Brookside B&B, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Chateau Belleview, Haines Falls Auto/Hunter Towing, 
Hotel Vienna, Kaaterskill Liquors, Karen’s County Kitchen, Last Chance Antiques & Cheese Cafe, Maggie’s Krooked Café, The Mansion House At Alfie’s, Mountain Propane, Inc., Pancho Villas Mexican Restaurant, Pure Mountain Yoga, Rosehaven Inn, Scribner's Catskill Lodge, Snow Bird Ski Shop, Snowed Inn B&B, Thorpes GMC, Inc., Town Tinker Tube Rental, Traphagen's Honey, The Thompson House, Vesuvio Restaurant, Villa Vosilla, Willow Mixed Media, Windham Pharmacy

The links below will open a new window. Use your browser's back arrow to return to MTHS

2018 MTHS Business Sponsors
Boardwalk Builders, Inc.
Brookside Bed & Breakfast
Central Hudson Gas & Electric
Chateau Belleview
Craig Bates Trucking & Excavating, Inc.
Ethel & Orville Slutzky Foundation
GNH Lumber Inc.
Gordon Hunter Mountain Realty
Haines Falls Auto/Hunter Towing
Hotel Vienna
Hunter Chamber of Commerce
Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl, Inc.
Kaaterskill Liquors
Karen’s County Kitchen
Last Chance Restaurant & Tavern
Mountain Propane, Inc.
Pancho Villa’s Restaurant
Paraco Gas Corp/ Kosco Oil
Pure Mountain Yoga
Scribner’s Catskill Lodge
Snow Bird Ski Shop, Inc.
Snowed Inn
Tannersville Antique & Artisan Center & Antique Annex
TREC Management Company
Traphagen’s Honey
The Thompson House
Town Tinker Tube Rental
Villa Vosilla
The Woodstock Inn on the Millstream
Washington Irving Inn
Williams Lumber & Home Centers
Willow Mixed Media

2019 Hikes and Events

April 14th (Sun) :Hike Mountain Top Arboretum. Spring has sprung! Meet MTHS hike leader, Nancy Allen, at the Mountain Top Arboretum at 1:00 p.m. for a spring walk through the flora waking up to a new season. The easy walk will be around trip of about 3 ½ miles going from the Arboretum to the trails on the Hathaway property and back via the marsh. The exact route will be determined by the conditions on the day of the hike. Choose footwear that will keep your feet dry.

May 11 (Sat) Hike: Hotel Kaaterskill Grounds, led by Bob Gildersleeve – The Hotel Kaaterskill, said at the time to be the largest mountain hotel in the world, was started as a result of the legendary “Chicken War” between Philadelphia lawyer George Harding and Charles L. Beach, the owner of the Catskill Mountain House. Since then it has sparked our interest and the interest of our members and friends. A newly discovered survey document from 1883 has provided so much additional information that we are prompted to revisit the site. Meet at the Historical Society’s U&D train station on the MTHS campus in Haines Falls at 9:00 a.m. for a 30-minute presentation about the document, then carpool to North-South Lake State Park (entrance fee per car or free with Empire Pass) to begin our walk to the Hotel Kaaterskill site. This is a moderate hike of about 4 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 400 feet. Planned return at 3:00 pm. Bring a lunch and water. Sturdy shoes and long pants are recommended. More details see this description.
5/12/2019 Update: Fourteen enthusiastic hikers spent the morning and early afternoon of a picture-perfect day sharing, discovering and interpreting new details about the structure and operation of the Hotel Kaaterskill. It couldn't have been done without the NYS Dept. of Conservation's stewardship of the land, the Free Library of Philadelphia's preservation and sharing of the 1883 survey of the property, and George M. Harding's gift of his collection of unique photos of the hotel. Thanks to all.
 
May 17 (Fri) 7:00 p.m. Train Station Reading the Rocks of the Catskills: A Geological History by Dr. Chuck Ver Straeten, Geologist, New York State Museum What do the rocks of the Catskills tell us about this place nearly 400 million years ago? Rivers were draining Andes-scale mountains in New England. The water, sand, and mud were on their way to a shallow sea to the west. Some of Earth’s oldest forests were scattered across the land, with primitive plants and animals living here long before the dinosaurs. And, yes, all of this was happening when we were 30 degrees south of the equator. Stretch your sense of time, place, and history, exploring the rocks of the Catskills.
 
May 18 (Sat). The Gunks are calling! Explore the Peter’s Kill Area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Hike a variety of trails and terrains with MTHS member Athena Billias and MTHS VP Adrienne Larys. We will explore sections of the Bullwheel, High Peter’s Kill and Red Loop footpaths. Depending on the interests of the participants we will cover 3.5 to 6 miles. Rating: moderate due to length and some steep sections. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Kingston Thruway Exit Park & Ride for car pooling; or at 9:30 a.m. at the Peter’s Kill Park Office parking lot on Rt 44/55 between Rt 299 and Rt 209: Cost: $10 per car to be shared by those who carpool. Registration required by Friday, May 17, at 3:30 p.m. Sturdy footwear highly recommended.  Trekking poles or walking sticks will be useful in some sections. Return to trailhead at approximately 3:30 p.m.

June 8 (Sat) South Mountain by the historic Direct Path.
To honor the gift of an original Catskill Mountain House hiking stick donated by Kathy (Van Schaack) Boyer and Peggy (Van Schaack) Phillips, we will take a popular 19th Century path from the Mountain House site on Pine Orchard to sites on South Mountain. This now unusual route will pass through the first ledge on South Mountain (sometimes called the Lemon Squeezer) take a short detour to Druid Rocks, pass through Puddingstone Hall, and reach the state trail at Bootjack Rock. Once on the modern trail, we will see the lookout called the Sphinx, walk on to "Bowlder" Rock and offer optional excursion through Fat Man’s Delight to the Natural Bridge.

The pristine CMH walking stick joins our other walking stick from the Hotel Kaaterskill which was donated to MTHS by the Mohonk Barn Museum. The new gift is in too fine a condition to risk carrying it through the whole walk, but we will bring it to Pine Orchard for an official presentation. The hike is considered Easy to Moderate with a short bushwhack. We will provide an easier alternative route along the state trail to Bowlder Rock but missing the sites before we reach the modern trail. Meet at 9:00 am at the MTHS campus wear appropriate shoes for hiking bring lunch and water. Return mid afternoon.

Some additional notes on this hike:
We're calling this hike easy to moderate but, because the first part is on an unmarked path through rarely trodden woods, it will involve a few short but steep hills and a few waist-high ledges that may require a hand up for inexperienced hikers. We may get a bit dirty and I recommend wearing sturdy clothing including long pants as well as appropriate shoes. We will take the trail at a comfortable pace for all hikers and will stop to see sites that have been enjoyed by vacationing hikers for more than 195 years. This will be fun and I encourage most hikers not to miss an opportunity to see how 19th century vacationers explored the grounds of the Catskill Mountain House.

June 9 (Sun) 3:30 p.m. Early History of the New York State Wild Forest known as Colgate Lake. 1 hour program by Elaine Warfield in the Ulster and Delaware TrainStation. In the early to mid 1800's the "Colgate Lake" area was primarily farmland, woodlots and sawmill operations. Located on the Stock Farm Road and later purchased by Gilbert Colgate of the Colgate Company, the area has evolved today into a 1500 acre parcel under the management of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
 
June 14 (Fri) 7:00 p.m. Dan Peck on Thomas Cole, Presentation in the U&D Train Station. Doctor H. Daniel Peck, John Guy Vassar Professor Emeritus of English at Vassar College, is the founding director of the College’s Environmental Studies Program and a former director of its American Culture Program. He is the author of Thoreau’s Morning Work and The Pastoral Moment in Cooper’s Fiction, both books published by Yale University Press. Professor Peck’s other publications include two Penguin Classics editions of Thoreau’s works, the Oxford World’s Classics edition of Cooper’s Deerslayer, and the Barnes and Noble Classics edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer. A contributor to the Cambridge Literary History of the United States and the Heath Anthology of American Literature, he is a past chairman of the Modern Language Association’s Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Professor Peck has received two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship. He has directed two NEH Summer Institutes for College and University Faculty, as well as a national NEH conference. His current research links American literature and landscape painting, and in recent years he has often team-taught at Vassar with an art historian. Recent examples of his work on painters are an article on Asher B. Durand, in American Literary History (Oxford University Press), and one on Georgia O’Keeffe in American Art (Smithsonian Museum publication). His current project, funded by an Andrew W. Mellon Emeritus Fellowship, is a study of the overlapping careers of the landscape painter Thomas Cole and the novelist James Fenimore Cooper.
 
Join the Mountain Top Historical Society on Friday, June 14th at 7:00 p.m. for a presentation in the U&D Train Station by Dan Peck, John Guy Vassar, Jr., Professor Emeritus of English at Vassar College. Dan will describe the scholarly and on-the-ground research that lead to his new book, “Thomas Cole’s Refrain: The Paintings of Catskill Creek”. Dr. Peck is also curator of the current exhibit, with the same name, at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site which runs from May 4 to Nov. 3. Reception and book signing to follow. A $ 5.00 donation is suggested.
 
June 29 (Sat) 10 a.m. In the Footsteps of John Bartram: Native Plant Tour of the Catskills with Carol Woodin, at the Mountain Top Arboretum Education Center co-hosted with the Mountain Top Historical Society. $10 per person, free to Mountain Top Arboretum and Mountain Top Historical Society Members. After the lecture we will take our cars a short drive to the Mountain Top Historical Society Visitors’ Center (in Haines Falls) to park and arrange carpooling to North/South Lake. There we’ll walk in the footsteps of the Bartrams, following their salient journal entries. Carol, Paul Harwood and Robert Gildersleeve will lead us in retracing fascinating local botanical history. Bring a bag lunch for group picnicking, proper clothing/shoes for being outdoors and a water bottle. 
 

July 7,(Sunday) 2019 at 4 PM – 8 PM  Join us for an evening soiree with Kim Hawkey and Band to celebrate the rich history of the Catskills. The event will take place at the historic Haines Falls Train Depot. Look forward to refreshments and hors d'oeuvres in the train station and a performance by Kim Hawkey with music from and inspired by the Catskills.
Proceeds from the "Song of the Catskills will benefit the Mountain Top Historic Society and go towards the maintenance and repair of the train station.

Kim Hawkey is an accomplished musician whose music harkens back to times past and is the perfect artist to help celebrate and support the work of the Mountain Top Historic Society.

July 13 (Sat) 10:00 a.m. MTHS will hold its Annual Meeting at the Train Station. Members of the MTHS are invited to attend.

 
July 14, 2019, Sunday. A Rock Walk Platte Clove with NYS Geologist, Dr. Charles Ver Straeten. Meet in the KRT parking lot at the MTHS campus in Haines Falls at 10:00 a.m. to carpool to the Catskill Center property in Platte Clove. Chuck Ver Straeten will share some of his extensive knowledge about the rocks of the Catskills on this hike to the quarries in the Devil’s Kitchen area and on to Codfish Point. Pack water and a lunch. This is a moderate hike of about 4 mi. round trip with an elevation change of approximately 700 ft. [Edited to reflect distance (was 5 mi.) and elevation (was 1000ft) corrections thanks to Carol and David White]

Note: We will not be descending into Platte Clove. Most of the hike is along the trail toward Overlook Mountain and visiting the quarry at Codfish Point with a possible bushwhack to a quarry on Plattekill Mountain.

July 26 (Fri) 7:00 p.m. The Justine L. Hommel Memorial Lecture – Talk about Hudson River School Artist Sanford Robinson Gifford by Peter Jung at Twilight Park Clubhouse. For the past 27 years Peter Jung has owned a gallery at #512 Warren St. in Hudson, NY featuring traditional American paintings. During that time he has handled many examples of the Hudson River school of art (1825- 1875), a style of painting that is an important part of our national heritage. Jung has served on the   Board of Directors at the Olana Partnership, the Hudson Opera House, the Hudson Planning Commission, and the Friends of Hudson. In recent years he has restored the family gravesite of the great artist Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823-1880), who is at rest in the Hudson City Cemetery. The slideshow features 70 images, and will be followed by a question-and-answer conversation.

Canceled- Thunderstorms predicted August 3 (Sat) 10:00 a.m. Roots of the 1969 Woodstock Music & Arts Festival Walking Tour +  Mt. Guardian/Byrdcliffe Hike.To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the three-day festival named after the Town of Woodstock, join historian Weston Blelock to visit sites frequented and made famous by musicians of the 60’s prior to and following the famous 1969 festival: Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Van Morrison and others. Following the 90+ minute tour and a break for lunch, there will be a hike at 1:00 p.m. to Mt. Guardian above the Byrdcliffe Art Colony, coordinated by publisher Julia Blelock and MTHS VP Adrienne Larys, featuring the history of Woodstock’s first art colony. There is a $10 fee for the walking tour. All participants will receive a copy of the book, Roots of the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Walking tour: easy. Hike: moderate: a short but steep hike along a narrow trail, elevation gain 950+ ft, total miles 2.2+, about 2.5 hours -- great views to the south, east and west. Walking Tour limited to 15 persons; advance reservations required no later than 2 p.m. on Aug 2. Carpooling to Woodstock TBA, otherwise meet at the Free Public Parking Lot on Rock City Road at 9:45 a.m. Meeting place for the Mt. Guardian hike at 1:00 p.m. is 380 Upper Byrdcliffe Road. Parking at the Byrdcliffe Theatre. For more information, contact Adrienne at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 518-248-4379 (cell).
 
August 24 (Sat) 10:00 a.m. Rip’s Country Bazaar /Open House Note the corrected starting time!The MTHS campus will be filled with tents full of vendors: craftspeople, antique dealers, local food products, flea market items and more. Food for fun and food for lunch will be available for purchase. The Visitors’ Center will be open for browsing maps, books, brochures, or checking out the Archives. Wildflowers and grass for running around. It will be a beautiful day for chatting with friends and family, learning something new about local history, or finding treasures among the offerings of over 35 vendors. The excitement begins at 9:00 a.m. and continues all day! Come on over to the Mountain Top Historical Society’s campus on Route 23A in Haines Falls and join in the fun. Check our website as more details become available.
 
September 14 (Sat)  Our 6th Annual Postcard Show 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. @ the U&D Train Station. Food will be available. The MTHS will also be selling ephemera from its attic in a special sale. A $3.00 entry fee will be charged at the door
 
October 11 (Fri) 7:00 p.m. Train Station Ice Age Talk  Robrt & Johanna Titus in the U&D Train Station. Writers, Robert and Johanna Titus, introduce their newest book “The Catskills in the Ice Age.” It’s a greatly expanded and revised version of a book first published in 1996.
 
October 12 (Sat) 9:00 a.m. 6th Annual HikefestPlans for our contribution to the Lark in the Park will develop and be announced as the highly anticipated event comes in to clear view. Register by calling MTHS at (518)589-6657 (leave name/phone number/# in party) or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
 
MTHS does not require membership for hike participation however, we encourage you to join as a member or make a donation to the MTHS to support our work. We do request that you register for each hike. Participants can register on our contacts page or by calling (518) 589-6657. Please leave your name, phone number, and # in your party. Schedule subject to change. The latest information is available on our web site http://www.mths.org. Notification of changes, including cancellations due to weather will be made on the web site up to the day of any given hike.

 

 

To our hikers:

The 2017 hiking schedule can be found at: http://mths.org/hikes.html or by selecting the Hikes link under the Interpret section in the side menus. As always, hikes are subject to change. Please check this site just prior to the date of any scheduled hike.

Thanks to the Kaaterskill Rail Trail Facebook Page for posting this notice.

Please everyone stay on the marked trail, do not cut across the private land to access the trail from MTHS. Please follow Trail up North Lake Road to Featherbed down to the rail trail.
The last section is in the process of being acquired by the Mountain Top Historical Society however it is still PRIVATE LAND, please respect the private land owners and their property.
The grand opening for the new final section connecting Kaaterskill Falls with the MTHS Campus will be opening on May 20th- more details to follow.
Thank you everyone for you help and cooperation in this matter.