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.




It's good to see Rip Van Winkle back in his place of honor on the signpost at the MTHS! For 18 years, Rip had weathered the wind, rain, snow, and sun at the top of Kaaterskill Clove and still looked pretty good. Now after a summer of rest and re-painting at the hands of master sign-maker, Kevin Van Hentenryck, he is shining brightly again, greeting the passing parade. Our thanks to the Bank of Greene County Foundation which contributed to Rip's repair in their 2017 funding cycle. And a huge thank you to Kevin for donating his time and talent beyond what we had contracted. May Kevin and the sign continue to contribute to the Mountain Top community. Wave to Rip as you drive by on 23A!




Review all of the events of our 2018 season:  2018 Hikes and Events

Our 2019 season will soon be developing. As of December some innovative ideas are being discussed and plans are starting to take shape. Check back here for details and visit our Facebook page to share your ideas.



Justine L. Hommel Memorial Highway designation.


Society receives collection of glass plate negatives.

Gift of Shirley and Gerald Dunn See details here.


 KRT Rail Trail Is Open

In 2005 I wrote about trails and sites on Prospect Mountain in the afterword for Catskill Mountain House Trail Guide:

A path across this mountain that lies west of South Mountain between the Laurel House and the Hamlet of Haines Falls was among the earliest trails in the region.  It became the route of the two railways that served the hotels. Three important locations once accessible from that path deserve special mention.  One, the Sphinx, well known to post card collectors, stands guard over the upper clove above Molly Smith’s parking area.  As best I can determine, it is on state land.  Access to it, however, is either an extremely difficult climb, or a relatively easy approach that requires crossing private property.  Very near the Sphinx, is a clearing that takes in the upper portion of Kaaterskill Falls, a beautiful view of the Clove, and the peaks of Round Top and High Peak.  No other spot allows all three to be seen at the same time.  Also formerly accessible from this path is viewpoint named (like the ledge on North Mountain) Prospect Rock.  This Prospect Rock is perhaps the best place from which to see, in a single view, both upper and lower portions of Kaaterskill Falls, but it too is virtually inaccessible except by crossing private land.

Opening these areas could be a real benefit to visitors, and to the Mountain Top community.  Recently, there has been renewed interest in a rail trail between the hamlet of Haines Falls and Laurel House Road following the rail corridor and near the trail that was discussed by both Van Loan and Rusk [authors of 19th century trail guides].  Reopening that trail would provide a link between the local community and the beautiful facilities at North-South Lake. -- [Note that at this time, the area of Sphinx Rock is not accessible from the KRT.]

Now, twelve years after I wrote these words and thanks to the efforts of many people and organizations, the KRT is open and NYSDEC has placed a trail sign at the junction of the state trail to the Kaaterskill Falls viewing platform and the Kaaterskill Rail Trail pointing the way to the Historical Society's campus and station. I am very pleased that this has been accomplished and, based on the large attendance at the opening ceremony on May 20, the community is too. Thanks again to all. - RG


   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, including recently posted information on the story of Civil War soldier William Young.

MTHS News and links:

In October we shared the sad news that MTHS founding member, long time president and  a dear friend and vital link to the society's past had passed away on October 17, 2016.
A memorial service honoring Justine will be held on June 24, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at the Haines Falls Methodist Church followed by a reception at the Twilight Park Clubhouse.