Become a member or donate

to sustain the work of the MTHS.

 

 

Upcoming Programs:

More information on the 2023 season will be available soon.

 

 

 

See a full list of our 2022 events and programs with details.

 


 

Read the current issue of our quarterly publication

The Hemlock

 


 

News & Notable Links:

  • Dr. Gary Lelonek's talk "The Jewish History of Tannersville," Diane Galusha's Zoom presentation "Enslaved: People as Property in Delaware County, 1790 – 1830" and the "Three Extraordinary Ordinary Women" program is viewable on our Youtube page.

  • Read about the MTHS's Oral History Project and listen to interviews. 

  • Town of Hunter historian and MTHS board member Dede Terns-Thorpe has published a new book titled Tidbits of the Town of Hunter. You can purchase the book on Amazon and at the MTHS Visitors' Center.

  • The Hotel Kaaterskill 1883 Fire Safety Survey and floor plan.One of several letters from Civil War soldier William Young. Donated by Odile Dwyer.
  • View a collection of glass plate negatives, the gift of Shirley and Gerald Dunn, here.

  • A favorite part of our collection to many local residents is the collection donated by Wilma Kohler. It includes one of our favorite photographs of photographer John Rusk and a signature quilt from 1846. 

 

 

 


Mountain Top Historical Society

5132 Rt.23A / PO Box 263 Haines Falls, NY 12436

518-589-6657

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The Visitors' Center is OPEN for the season when volunteers are available.

Our campus, including access to
the Kaaterskill Rail Trail, is open year-round to the public.

Keep the Catskills Beautiful: Please CARRY OUT what you CARRY IN

 

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UPCOMING PROGRAMS

  

 

                           More information on the 2023 season will be available soon. 

 

 

PAST EVENTS:

 

 

 


Saturday, October 8, 9am – 8th Annual Hikefest
Join us for a fun day in the forest as part of the larger Catskills “Lark in the Park” event. Hikes and walks to several destinations. 

Hike One: 
This is a moderate hike about 4 miles long with Pete Senterman and Paul LaPierre exploring the area around Kaaterskill Junction on State Route214. Park on the U-shaped driveway at 4282 route 214 at 9:00 AM. There is a sign planted in the grass marking the Junction. You will be stepping back in time to the days when the Kaaterskill and Stoney Clove Railroad came up to the Junction from Phoenicia and then split to the west on the Hunter Branch and headed east on the Tannersville Branch toward the Hotel Kaaterskill.  Your host Gary Dufel, along with Senterman and LaPierre will also be joined by Mike Kudish, author of Where Did the Tracks Go in the Catskills? To give you the story 4 points of view.

Hike Two: 
Join an easy walk with Nancy Allen as she reminisces about growing up in Tannersville. Meet at the west end of Rip Van Winkle Lake at the entrance to The Huckleberry Trail next to Darryl Legg's Garage on County Route 16 at 9:00 AM. The walk to Bloomer Road and back is about 2 miles long and mostly flat.

Hike Three:
This is a challenging hike for energetic fast-moving hikers.  And it has great views and good history.  Meet hike leader, Pete Preston at Scutt Rd parking lot, on North Lake Rd right before the campground entrance at 9am. Taking the Escarpment Trail, we will follow the up-and-down cliff top of Kaaterskill Clove and we will tour the site of the Kaaterskill Hotel.  We will return to Scutt Rd via South Mt.  Throughout the hike we will pause along the way when history beckons, but otherwise we will be moving fast.  Total estimated time: about 3 to 3.5 hours.  Bring water and calories.

Hike Four:
Bob Gildersleeve and Robert Titus will lead a hike around North-South Lake. Gildersleeve will describe the cultural history, including sites related to the railroad and Rip's Retreat, while Titus will be sharing the geological history. Considered an easy to moderate hike because of its length. Meet at the South Lake dam parking lot at 9am. Length of program: 4 hours. Please note that entry to North-South Lake State Park is $10 per vehicle. 

Additional Details on Saturday's Hike: After placing cars at a second location, we plan to walk from the South Lake dam parking area to the site of the U&D railroad's turntable and other remnants at the location of the Kaaterskill Station. Next stop is the site of the ice harvesting operation not far from the parking area. Clear signs of the ice harvesting still exist and we will explore them. Continuing, we will come to the campsite caretaker's cabin near campsite loop one and the location from which Thomas Cole created the sketches for his oil painting entitled "Lake with Dead Trees." Just beyond this point we will head to "fish rock," a favorite fishing spot for campers in the 1930s through the 1940s. Continuing to walk through the campsite, we will stop at a site (if it's not occupied) with significant signs of the action of glaciers in the area. Further glacial actions will be noted at the North Lake beach area. Also near North Lake Beach we will explore the site of Rip's Retreat, a tourist attraction aimed at 1950s baby boomers. Hikers will be able to find remnants of the attraction that some society members remember. We'll loop up to the Catskill Mountain House site at Pine Orchard stopping to see the location of the Otis Railway Summit Station, Bartram's Rock, and the expansive view from the Mountain House ledge. A walk along the pathway of the Catskill and Tannersville will take us to another location with glacial deposits and hear from Dr. Titus, as no one else can express, the forces that created them. The walk will be two to three miles or a bit more if we count wandering around some of the sites. There will be minimum elevation change and some walking off trail. Bring water, snacks or lunch, wear appropriate footwear. We'll see features that most visitors to North/South Lake usually miss! Don't forget to register.

Registration Information: 
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 by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling (518) 589-6657. Please leave your name, phone number, # in your party, and which hike you will be taking. Schedule subject to change. The latest information is available on our website http://www.mths.org. Notification of changes, including cancellations due to weather will be made on the website up to the day of any given hike. 

A Note about Hiking with us: Hikes/Walks are limited to 12 guests. Before setting out on your adventure, assess your fitness and skill level. Don't overestimate your abilities; match the trail with your abilities and the experience you are looking for to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable visit.  For information about parking as well as hiking and outdoor advice from the DEC click here.  

 

Sunday, October 9, 2pm: The 3rd Annual Community Reading of “Rip Van Winkle”
The 3rd Annual Community Reading of Rip Van Winkle will take place on Sunday, October 9 at 2pm at the Mountain Top Historical Society's Ulster & Delaware Train Station, 5132 Rt. 23A in Haines Falls. Get to know the “true” story behind sleepy Rip, his dog Wolf and the mysterious ninepin bowling Dutchmen. Vintage and antique Rip Van Winkle books, films and art will be on display. Rip Van Winkle himself just might make an appearance too--bring your cameras!  *READERS WANTED!* Sign up by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 518-589-6657.

 

Saturday, September 17, 10am–3pm – The 10th Annual Postcard Show at the U&D Train Station
Ephemera from the MTHS attic will also be available for sale. $3 entry fee. Vendors should contact John Duda at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday, August 26, 6 pm, A History of Lanesville Hosted by Dede Thorpe

Learn about the history of Lanesville, NY and get your "Tidbits" copy signed by the Author, Dede Thorpe. Refreshments to follow. The event will be held at the Stony Clove Rod & Gun Club, 1061 Rt. 214 Lanesville.


Saturday, August 20, 11am–4pm – The MTHS Open House
Leslie Sharpe, author of The Quarry Fox and other Critters of the Wild Catskills will share tales of local wildlife. Schedule will also include history presentations and music.

Sunday, August 14, 2pm "The Jewish History of Tannersville, New York, A Village in the Catskills”
Gary Lelonek, M.D. will discuss his book The Jewish History of Tannersville, New York, A Village in the Catskills. Kosher refreshments to follow. This program will take place at the 1913 Ulster & Delaware Train Station on the MTHS campus. $5 suggested donation.

 

 


Saturday, July 9, 10am - MTHS Annual Meeting & the 2022 Justine Hommel Memorial Lecture
The election of our Board of Directors will take place at our Annual Meeting on Saturday, July 9th at 10am at the 1913 Ulster & Delaware Train Station on the MTHS Campus. Everyone is welcome to attend the Annual Meeting. Members in good standing (membership dues paid between January and July 8, 2022) are eligible to cast a vote during the Annual Meeting. If members cannot attend, they may cast their vote by proxy. (Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 518-589-6657 for instructions about casting a proxy ballot.) At 11am, immediately following the Annual Meeting, we invite you to attend the Justine Hommel Memorial Lecture. MTHS member Scott Koster will present “Digging for Mountain Top Nuggets: Connecting Collectibles & Research in the Digital Age.” Koster will present interesting facts and stories from the early hotel days on the Mountain Top and will also tell us about the methods he uses to research. 

 


Saturday, June 25, 10am – “If These Stones Could Talk”
Join Author and Town of Hunter Historian Dede Terns-Thorpe and longtime Twilight Park resident Joanne Ainsworth for a tour of the Haines Falls Cemetery and the Haines Family Cemetery. Pre-registration is required by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 518-589-6657. Meet at 10am at the Kaaterskill Methodist Church in Haines Falls, 45 North Lake Road.

 

Friday, June 3 7pm – “Paths to the Past” Author Talk with Russell Dunn and Barbara Delaney
An evening with authors Russell Dunn and Barbara Delaney as they introduce their book Paths to the Past: History Hikes through the Hudson River Valley, Catskills, Berkshires, Taconics, Saratoga & Capital Region, the latest in their series about the trails and history of the lands around us
This event will take place at the MTHS’s Ulster & Delaware Train Station. $5 suggested donation.

 


Saturday, June 4, 9am – “2 Bobs, 2 Lakes”
Bob Gildersleeve and Robert Titus will lead a hike around North-South Lake to celebrate National Trails Day. Gildersleeve will describe the cultural history, including sites related to the railroad and Rip's Retreat, while Titus will be sharing the geological history. Considered an easy to moderate hike because of its length. Meet at the South Lake dam parking lot at 9am. Length of program: 4 hours. Please note that entry to North-South Lake State Park is $10 per vehicle. Pre-registration is required for this program by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 518-589-6657

Additional Details on Saturday's Hike: After placing cars at a second location, we plan to walk from the South Lake dam parking area to the site of the U&D railroad's turntable and other remnants at the location of the Kaaterskill Station. Next stop is the site of the ice harvesting operation not far from the parking area. Clear signs of the ice harvesting still exist and we will explore them. Continuing, we will come to the campsite caretaker's cabin near campsite loop one and the location from which Thomas Cole created the sketches for his oil painting entitled "Lake with Dead Trees." Continuing to walk through the campsite, we will stop at a site (if it's not occupied) with significant signs of the action of glaciers in the area. Further glacial actions will be noted at the North Lake beach area. Also near North Lake Beach we will explore the site of Rip's Retreat, a tourist attraction aimed at 1950s baby boomers. Hikers will be able to find remnants of the attraction that some society members remember. We'll loop up to the Catskill Mountain House site at Pine Orchard stopping to see the location of the Otis Railway Summit Station, Bartram's Rock, and the expansive view from the Mountain House ledge. A walk along the pathway of the Catskill and Tannersville will take us to another location with glacial deposits and hear from Dr. Titus, as no one else can express, the forces that created them. The walk will be two to three miles or a bit more if we count wandering around some of the sites. There will be minimum elevation change and some walking off trail. Bring water, snacks or lunch, wear appropriate footwear. We'll see features that most visitors to North/South Lake usually miss! Don't forget to register.

 

A Note about Hiking with us: The 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 programs. We do request that you register for each hike or program as indicated. Hikes/Walks are limited to 12 guests. Before setting out on your adventure, assess your fitness and skill level. Don't overestimate your abilities; match the trail with your abilities and the experience you are looking for to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable visit. For information about parking as well as hiking and outdoor advice from the DEC click here.  

 

 

Sunday, May 22, 10am – “Wildflowers of the Mountain Top Talk & Walk”
Join ecological landscape designer and educator Joan Kutcher for a talk on wildflowers native to our mountain top followed by a guided walk on the MTHS campus. Meet at the MTHS’s U&D Train Station. $5 suggested donation.

 

Wednesday, May 18 at 7pm

A Conversation with Allegra Goodman, Author of Kaaterskill Falls

A conversation with best-selling author Allegra Goodman about her novel Kaaterskill Falls, a magical saga of summers within the Orthodox Jewish community on the Mountain Top. Kaaterskill Falls was a Finalist for the National Book Award in 1998 and a New York Times Notable Book. Cost of Attendance: Free. 

 

Weekday Workshop: Local Railroad History
Tuesday, May 17 7pm
Join Robert Gildersleeve on Tuesday, May 17 at 7pm for a Weekday Workshop on Local Railroad History. Tour the historic 1913 Ulster & Delaware train station, discuss the history of the two Ulster and Delaware stations in Haines Fall as well as the competing Catskill and Tannersville station, check out train timetables, and get a glimpse of the boxes of countless business records from the station that have recently been donated to the society along with other memorabilia. Attendance at this workshop will be a great opportunity for those interested in becoming docents at the train station this season. Presented by the Mountain Top Historical Society. Meet at the historical society’s 1913 Ulster& Delaware Train Station, 5132 NY 23A Haines Falls. 

 

Saturday, May 14, 9am – Hike at Latvian Camp
Longtime MTHS member Nancy Allen will lead an easy hike around the grounds of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Summer Camp (Nometne) located in Elka Park. Learn about the history of the camp, visit the lake and buildings, and take a walk through the woods on the camp's trails. Meet at the parking area on the left at the end of Green Hill Road, just past the camp entrance and before the Elka Park entrance. See the exact Google maps location at: https://goo.gl/maps/XCqwXen9aVLtVEoe6 Hike will end at approximately 11:30. Steady rain will cancel.

 

 

Thursday, March 24 at 7pm

"Three Extraordinary Ordinary Women of the Mountain Top"

In celebration of Women’s History Month, join us for an evening on Zoom to celebrate three exceptional Mountain Top women: Justine Hommel, Hunter Historian for 3 decades and co-founder of the MTHS, Bernadine Wesley, engineer and civil rights activist, as well as a member of the Hunter Planning Board for ten years, and Sidonia Palace, managing editor of the Windham Journal for 28 years and a community volunteer extraordinaire. Deborah Allen, Johanna Titus and Cyndi LaPierre, will speak about these three Mountain Top women from very different backgrounds whose leadership, accomplishments, and legacy helped to make the Mountain Top what it is today. Cost of Attendance: Free. 

View a recording of this webinar on our Youtube channel.

Sunday, Feb. 27 at 3pm
“Enslaved: People as Property in Delaware County, 1790 – 1830”
The MTHS presents our first program of 2022: “Enslaved: People as Property in Delaware County, 1790 – 1830.”
This Zoom talk by Diane Galusha, historian, author and President of the Town of Middletown Historical Society, will examine what the institution of slavery looked like in Delaware County as farms, towns, and industry developed following the Revolutionary War. The talk will identify specific slaveholders – wealthy, landed settlers who brought their servants with them from the Hudson Valley and New England – and will, to the extent possible, describe the individuals they owned and the work they did. Citing personal documents, official records, memoirs, newspaper accounts and other period sources, Galusha will bring this little-known aspect of local history out of the shadows. 
 
Note: This Zoom presentation was recorded and is viewable on our Facebook page and Youtube channel.

Mountain Top Historical Society 2021 Hikes / Walks / Events

 

 

Hikes/Walks are limited to 12 guests--Please follow instructions below to pre-register for all events.

Before setting out on your adventure, assess your fitness and skill level. Don't overestimate your abilities; match the trail with your abilities and the experience you are looking for to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable visit.  For information about parking as well as hiking and outdoor advice from the DEC click here.  

May 16 (Sun.) 1:00 p.m.  Hike – Mountain Top Arboretum. See Spring Unfolding in the Mountains. Explore the hiking trails at the Mountain Top Arboretum and the Deer Mountain Inn with Nancy Allen. Listen for the sound of peepers and observe the blossoming of spring ephemerals. Round trip about 4 miles. Easy trails with some steeper inclines. Meet Nancy at the Arboretum parking area at 1 p.m. come prepared for muddy conditions (boots that keep the feet dry) and with bug spray. Bring water and snacks. Well-behaved dogs on leash welcome. The exact route will be determined by the conditions on the day of the hike. Hard rain cancels.


June 5 (Sat.) 10 a.m. Hike – National Trails Day on the Kaaterskill Rail Trail led by Michelle Yost and Pete Sentermen. Pete will discuss the history of the railroads at the Mountain Top, and Michelle will transition into the modern day trail and its future. The KRT was first a footpath connecting the Catskill Mountain House and other hotels to Haines Falls. By the 1880’s the old footpath had made way for a rail corridor which, at its peak, saw two competing passenger rail lines following parallel tracks toward the Catskill escarpment. Thousands of vacationers arrived each summer via the newly- constructed rail lines to see the picturesque scenery and stay at the many boarding houses, hotels, and resorts such as the Laurel House. Hike will extend to the viewing platform over Kaaterskill Falls. Easy, 3 ½ miles, wear sturdy shoes and bring water. Meet at U&D Train Station at 10 am.

July 10 (Sat.) 10 a.m. Annual Meeting. Please join us for the Annual Meeting of the MTHS at which directors will be elected and updates on the work of the Society will be presented. Location to be determined, possibly at the U & D Train Station, or in the Visitors' Center Conference Room with access via Zoom. 

July 17 (Sat.) 10:00 a.m. – 3 p.m.  *FULL* Hike- “In the Footsteps of Sanford Robinson Gifford”.   Join geologist Robert Titus for a journey back into the Ice Age, whose landscapes were the subjects of the artists of the Hudson River School. This hike will locate spots along the Blue Trail where Sanford Robinson Gifford sketched, and we’ll examine evidence of glacial activity at each location. Moderate, four miles. Bring water and lunch. Return by 3 p.m. Meet at Laurel House Road parking lot. Registration instructions below. Dogs welcome if owners comply with Park rules.
Please note that our July 17th hike with Robert Titus "In the Footsteps of Sanford Robinson Gifford" is full. The good news is that Robert will be leading the hike again in October during our annual Hike Fest.

August 4 (Wednesday) 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. U&D Train Station on MTHS Campus, Route 23A Haines Falls, NY “Wednesday Workshop: Local Railroad History”. An informal workshop with Bob Gildersleeve. To register email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or cal(518) 589-6657. Postponed -- Date to be announced.

Because of the new Covid restrictions we will require masks for all participants whether vaccinated or not. We plan to have windows in the station opened and therefore recommend that everyone bring a fleece in case the evening is cool. WE WILL HAVE TO LIMIT ATTENDANCE SO YOU MUST REGISTER.

  • We’ll tour the 1913 U&D train station that is now owned by the Mountain Top Historical Society, see what was done to return it from its modified and deteriorating condition as a private home back to its original state as the premier station on the Kaaterskill Branch of the U&D.
  •  We’ll discuss the history of the two Ulster and Delaware stations in Haines Fall as well as the competing Catskill and Tannersville station.
  •  We’ll also check out timetables and get a glimpse of the boxes of countless business records from the station that have recently been donated to the society and other memorabilia.
  • We’ll discuss the option of becoming a docent at the station.

 If you are interested in the stations at what the railroad companies like to call Haines Corners, if you're interested in the rail lines in general we hope you will join us.

August 21 (Sat.) 6pm Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman" Speech Performed by Rev. Deb Zuill with introduction by Dr. Kimberly Johnson. This event will be held outdoors under a tent at the historic U&D Railroad Station. Refreshments will be served. $5 suggested donation. This program is supported by a grant from The Bank of Greene County.

Sept. 18   (Sat.) 10:00 a.m. – 12 noon. Talk and Walk – The Mountain Top Arboretum and the Mountain Top Historical Society present a two-day event with Dr. Michael Kudish, expert in forest history. Dr. Kudish will discuss “Burn Index: A New Way of Looking at the Catskill Land Use History”. The program will begin with a lecture at the Arboretum’s Education Center, followed by a walk into Spruce Glen as an example of non-burn forest composition. One mile, easy. See below for continuation of program. Suggested Donation Free for MTA and MTHS members, $ 10 for non-members.


Sept. 19 (Sun.) 9:00 a.m.  Hike – Dr. Michael Kudish will lead a hike on the escarpment trail at North/South Lake to a Pitch Pine stand as an example of burned forest composition. Meet at Mountain Top Historical Society’s parking area. ~ 1 mile, moderate – some elevation change. Bring water and snack. No Dogs.


Sept. 25 (Sat.) 10:00 a.m. Hike - Ceremonial Stone Landscapes (CSL).

Join NYS DEC outdoor guide Glenn Kreisberg from Overlook Mountain Center in Woodstock, NY, for a hike to visit a Manitou Hassennech (spirit stones) site in Spruceton Valley. These landscapes consist of dry stacked stone cairns, stone rows, effigies and alignments, all possible expressions of an ancient Native American belief system linking the world above with the world below. Moderate, two miles. Bring lunch or a snack and water. **Meet at trailhead at 10am,  located at the very end of Spruceton Rd. In Google Maps, you can enter "Westkill Trailhead Parking." The approximate address is 2679 Spruceton Rd, West Kill, NY 12492. Spruceton Rd. is also Rt. 6 in West Kill, which you turn onto from Rt. 42. Go to the end of the road and you will see a trailhead.

Sept. 25 (Sat.) 10:00 a.m. - 3 p.m. 9th Annual Postcard Show & Talk – at the U&D Train Station. MTHS campus. Food will be available. The MTHS will also be selling ephemera from its attic in a special sale. A $3 entry fee will be charged at the door. 

 

Oct. 2 (Saturday 1pm) Camp Jened Marker Unveiling A marker to commemorate Camp Jened, a summer camp

for people with disabilities in Hunter that operated until 1977, will be unveiled. A key group of people from the camp went on to become pivotal activists in the national disability rights movement as documented in the 2020 Academy Awards nominated documentary "Crip Camp." Their efforts, along with many other activists, eventually led to the passage of the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. 300 Ski Bowl Road in Hunter. 

HIKEFEST 2021

The Mountain Top Historical society presents Hikefest 2021 from Friday Oct. 8 to Saturday Oct. 9. Hikefest begins Friday night with a Zoom presentation on the history of the Hotel Kaaterskill by Robert Gildersleeve. Saturday there are two hike options: one to the grounds of the former Hotel Kaaterskill and the other to sites along the Kaaterskill escarpment trail that inspired the art of Sanford Robinson Gifford, a member of the Hudson River School of Painting. See below for more details. Register by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or calling 518-589-6657. 

Oct. 8 (Friday) Hotel Kaaterskill Grounds History Zoom Presentation, 6:20 – 7:15pm. To prepare for our exploration of the Hotel Kaaterskill Grounds on the hike scheduled for October 9, Robert Gildersleeve will host a Zoom meeting to discuss the history of the Hotel. To receive the link to participate in the meeting, you must register by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   We recommend that you log in to the meeting at 6:20 so that we can admit you and be ready to start at 6:30.

Oct. 9 (Sat)

Hike One: Hotel Kaaterskill Grounds, 9am-3pm. Led by Paul LaPierre, Pete Senterman, and 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. About two years ago, Scott Koster discovered a survey document from 1883 in the collection of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The survey has provided so much additional information that we decided 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. We will 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. 

Hike Two: "In the Footsteps of Sanford Robinson Gifford" 9 am – 2 p.m. Join geologist Robert Titus for a journey back into the Ice Age, whose landscapes were the subjects of the artists of the Hudson River School. This hike will locate spots along the Blue Trail where Sanford Robinson Gifford sketched and we'll examine evidence of glacial activity at each location. Moderate, four miles. Bring water and lunch. Return by 3 p.m. Meet at Laurel House Road parking lot at 9am. Dogs welcome if owners comply with Park rules.

 
Oct. 10 (Sun) 2pm – The 2nd Annual Community Reading of Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle Join Community members of the Mountain Top for a live reading of Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle. Get to know the "true" story behind sleepy Rip, his dog Wolf and the mysterious ninepin bowling Dutchmen. READERS WANTED! Sign up to be a reader by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call 518-589-6657. Cider and cider donuts will be sold by donation to benefit the Mountain Top Historical Society
 

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 programs. We do request that you register for each hike or program as indicated. 

Instructions for registration

Participants can register on the contacts page of our website www.mths.org or by calling (518) 589-6657. Please leave your name, phone number, # in your party, and day of hike or program. 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.

Puppet Theater Rescued

The Society’s Puppet theater has hosted the story of Rip Van Winkle since it was built for us by the Platte Clove Community in 2007. Modeled after the Punch and Judy style theater used at Rip’s Retreat in the 1950’s it has been standing outside our train station summer and winter for twelve years and was showing serious signs of wear and decay. By this summer it had become unusable.

That has changed. Board member Dick Haines, took the initiative to oversee it’s restoration. Board Member George Van Dyke replaced all of the decaying wood with weather resistant materials and Dick called on the Platte Clove Community to repaint it.

According to Dick:

Our puppet theater hasn't looked this good since the day it was put there. Our thanks to Reseph, his daughter and his sister, Leon and two of his children. They did a great job. My thanks to Joann who stopped by to give them a well deserved pat on the back.

Now, thanks to all involved we can expect to see and hear the Rip Van Winkle story each summer for many more summers at our summer events.

Do you think that’s thunder?

Questions about MTHS's Support of the Mountain House Guest Register

  • Why is this 1840s ledger worth the potential cost of $7,500 or perhaps more?

    The Catskill Mountain House was the most significant hotel in Greene County, and one of the most significant in all of America. Its guests included many of the most notable people of its day. It was the home base for many artists of the Hudson River School, and served poets and other literary figures of the 19<sup>th</sup> century, political and business leaders and notable guests from around the world.

  • Why the Vedder -- Why not MTHS or some other Greene county organization?

    The Vedder now has four original Desk Registers from the Mountain House. They have been available for research for many years. To bring this newly available one to the Vedder will complement both the existing collection and the new acquisition.

  • Why should MTHS and other local organizations step back and aid rather than compete for the prize of this “beyond rare” ledger?

    The potential cost of the ledger is beyond the budget of most local organizations and many private collectors. In some cases, to recoup the expense of such a purchase, a volume of this type is sometimes dismantled and sold piecemeal in order to make a profit.

  • Do we stand a chance?

    We hope so in any case, we don’t think we should pass this by. If people who might consider bidding on this for a private collection see the value of it becoming part of an existing collection at an organization that will value and protect it while making it available to an interested public they might join in our effort to bring it home.Other organizations in the area may also see this as an important opportunity to bring it home and enhance their mission while joining in this local and regional goal.

  • We must act quickly!

    Bids must be completed by September 24. Please don’t delay your pledge to donate. It will only be activated if the GCHS/Vedder bid is the winning one. Nevertheless, your bid is a commitment. Pledge only if you are willing and able to provide the funds you commit to within 24 hours of notice that ours is the winning bid. Of course, you will be responsible only if ours is the winning bid.

We are located at 5132 Route 23A in Haines Falls

Reach us by phone at 518-589-6657 

Reach us by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


To contact us by mail:

The Mountain Top Historical Society
P. O. Box 263
Haines Falls, NY 12436

HELP BRING A PIECE OF MOUNTAIN TOP & GREENE COUNTY HISTORY HOME
AN EARLY CATSKILL MOUNTAIN HOUSE GUEST REGISTER IS GOING UP
FOR AUCTION IN JUST 10 DAYS!


It has come to the attention of the Mountain Top Historical Society that an early Guest Register of the Catskill Mountain House is going up for auction at Swann Galleries in New York City on September 24. This register, which is of considerable historical interest on its  own, is actually a preceding register to the four 19th-century Catskill Mountain House Guest Registers already safely preserved at the Vedder Research Library of the Greene County Historical Society.

To bring the guest register from the early 1840s back home, the Greene County Historical Society is leading an effort to secure a pool of funds to make it possible to submit a winning bid. If enough pledges are collected, on the 24th the Greene County Historical Society will enter a maximum bid that exceeds the projected winning bid range of $5,000 — $7,500.

The Board of the MTHS would very much like this ledger to come home to Greene County and be available to the public at the Vedder Research Library. This cannot be done without your help. We are asking our members and friends to make pledges to the GCHS in support of their winning bid. By helping the GCHS make a winning bid, we can help restore the integrity of a collection which was scattered and separated generations ago by private collectors.

You can play a big role in assuring this volume is not lost to private hands again. We are asking you to make a pledge to the Greene County Historical Society to assure they may enter a maximum bid. If this effort is successful, an invaluable piece of the documentary heritage of the Northern Catskills will come home for researchers and the public to enjoy and study.

If you share our enthusiasm to secure this important document and would like to make a pledge towards a maximum bid, please contact Jonathan Palmer, Archivist at the Historical Society’s Vedder Research Library, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 518-731-1033.

You will need to provide your name, email, phone number, and the amount you wish to pledge. Please mention that your pledge is in recognition of the MTHS’s effort to assist the GCHS in winning the Catskill Mountain House Guest Register at auction and bring it home.

The Board of the MTHS has made a commitment to this effort. We hope you will join us and members of the Greene County Historical Society in this rare opportunity to bring an early Catskill Mountain House Guest Register back home to Greene County. If the GCHS is successful, they will provide a digital copy of the ledger for our use and Mountain Top access.

More information on the auction and the Guest Registers can be found through this link: https://catalogue.swanngalleries.com/Lots/auction-lot/-NEW-YORK--Guest-register-for-the-legendary-Catskill-Mountai?saleno=2546&lotNo=164&refNo=772718

This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, There is no time to lose. Please be as generous as you can. Many thanks!

Adrienne Larys                     Bob Gildersleeve
President                            Chief Archivist