By Bob Gildersleeve
Look at the banner at the top of the page. You can probably recognize that the young women who are in the picture to the left are also in the banner shot. Some of them are in the lower left of the group shot of the workers above. We imagine that that formal group photo was taken early in the summer. By the time this shot was taken, five young women had formed a group of friends and, on off-hours, explored the Kaaterskill Region. They climbed North Mountain by way of Jacob’s Ladder, canoed on South Lake, and may have danced with the fellows in the band that played at the Boat House Pavilion. The young man in the center of this photo may be a band member. All of these photos came from Gracie Guthmann’s 1925 photo album a very unusual donation from Scott Koster. We just don’t know which lady is Gracie. — Is that her holding a camera in a leather case? Yes! photos from her previous summer in Texas identify her. The photos below are also from the 1925 album. We’ll continue to add as we experiment with the tools available in this website format.
Gracie and her roomate (is this Leora Shiels?) get the laundry ready to begin work
Looks like Summer 1925 is just starting and these two new summer hires are dressed for work. They will have some time for play as the photos from Gracie’s 1925 album show us.
We don’t know who the friends are in the photos that Gracie saved in her 1924-25 photograph album, but she gave us a hint. Two pages in the album contain the names and home town of several of them. Perhaps someone may recognize the names and may be able to pick out their face in one of the photos from Gracie’s album. (It’s working. As we get definite identification we will boldface the names we can link to the photos.
Here is a list of all those who dated their autograph in 1925:
Rachel A. Merritt — Dunkirk, New York June 3, 1925
Reva L. Morse — 36 Hollister Street, Dundie, New York June 3, 1925
Mildred Strong — South Side, Owego, New York June 4, 1925
Freda J. Randall — Pittsford, Vermont June 5, 1925
Leora B. Shiels — Lake Katrine, New York [Undated Summer 1925] wrote: “Your roommate at Catskill mt. House wishes you best of luck throughout life.”
Beverly M. Schmidt — Mount Marion, New York Sept. 5, 1925
Marian Louise Snyder Saugerties, N.Y. Sept. 5, 1925
The friends explore the trails and sites on South Mountain.
Including the site of the recently destroyed Hotel Kaaterskill which burned in September 1924.
Our adventuresome friends are in Puddingstone Hall on the Circuit of South Mountain trail. The Circuit of South Mountain was a popular trail to the west of the modern trail up South Mountain. It started on the grounds of the Mountain House. Traces of it can still be found. Puddingstone Hall is a crevice through a conglomerate layer similar to the one at Bear’s Den on North Mountain. In many ways, these young ladies are not at all unlike the many hikers who have accompanied us on MTHS hikes.
Climbing Boulder Rock, on South Mountain and also in the photo to the left Gracie, who clings to the side of the rock, Louise Snyder, standing against the rock, and all her friends from elsewhere in time show us that they were an adventuring group. Our hikers can relate to that. Boulder Rock sits on the cliff at the edge of the Catskill Escarpment. MTHS offers hikes in the Kaaterskill region and beyond. Look to our events and hikes page to see the schedule of planned hikes.
Four of our group are at Layman’s Monument on South Mountain above what is now Route 23A near Bastion Falls. Twenty-five years before their visit, and at least five years before any one of these ladies was, born a large forest fire threatened two nearby hotels and several homes in Haines Falls and Twilight Park. The monument recognizes the efforts of a the firemen who saved those businesses and homes including one man who died on August 10 1900 while fighting the fire.
The firefighter who lost his life was Frank D. Layman of Haines Falls. A newspaper report of Mr. Layman’s tragic death using what today we may consider somewhat callus phrases can be seen by clicking Frank Layman tragedy. The link will open in a new tab.
We are in Haines Falls. The placard on the left is advertising the attractions at the Wawanda theater. Until I check other photos to verify where this is I’ll say we are on the north side of the main street looking east toward the top of Kaaterskill Clove. The shadows show that is in the afternoon. We have reason to believe that the girl in the middle is Beverly Schmidt. If so, in 1925 and at about 16 years old she is the youngest of the group of friends. That may explain why in many pictures she seems be apart from the older girls who are about 19. Regardless, Beverly had great success in high school sports and theater at Kingston NY and graduated in 1928.
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