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.
See all our events: 2018 Hikes and Events
Our next events:
October 6 Hike Fest
Also October 6 Owl Prowl - Night Hike
The Hike Fest Schedule includes three hikes.
All three hikes are expected to take about three hours.
Here's a brief summary of the planned schedule:
Meet at the Society's campus to select the hike you would like to participate in at 9:00.
The Hike Choices are:
1) Historic Highlights of North-South Lake – led by Bob Gildersleeve
2) Hotel Kaaterskill grounds – led by Paul LaPierre
3) Elka Park observation Tower – led by Nancy Allen
All hikes are scheduled to return to campus by around noon
Following the morning hikes there will be a Picnic Lunch (hot dogs, hamburgers, salads etc.) served between 12:00 and 1:00 There will be a charge of $10 for the Lunch which will also include the afternoon slide program. A donation of $5 is requested if you choose to attend only the slide program.
A repeat of the well-received slide program: “Inside the Hotel Kaaterskill” will be presented at 1:30 to 2:30.
George Harding's great-great-grandson, also named George Harding, will not be here, but Bob Gildersleeve will show the images that Mr. Harding gave to the society. The images include the only known views of many of the rooms in the hotel.
Also, check out our first time Owl Prowl Hike led by Moe Lemier
The historic Ulster and Delaware Train Station on the MTHS campus will be open
to the public on a few Saturday afternoons this summer thanks to volunteer Pete Senterman.
Next opening To be announced.
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.
Clove Road by Justine Hommel -A 2006 article by Justine Hommel.
The Dodd House - Also by Justine an article from the archives of the Hemlock
Around Hunter --A great Gift for a friend or yourself-- is available at the Visitor's Center Click on the link or the book cover for more information.
- Larry Tompkins -- Out Windham Way a wonderful new book from our former MTHS president.