The La Cascade

By Dede Terns Thorpe, Town of Hunter Historian

Today’s mountain top tidbit history is about the Lox-Hurst property that houses the Mountain Top Historical Society.

It’s had a long, interesting history before it was purchased when Justine Hommel was at the Helm of the MTHS. No, this hotel was in that location but went by a new name, The La Cascade, meaning “A Waterfall.” Its new owners were Paul and Lucienne Dumas. They were known for their distinctive cooking style and had previously operated a restaurant in Paris, France.

The going rate then, including your meals, was about $60 per person per week (about $590 today). Their daughter, Fran Dumas Hoose, lives in Haines Falls, while her son, Randy, and daughter, Cindy, remain in the area. (Its fun phone number, 456, was upgraded to 589-6430 in about 1963).

Very little Information seemed to be published when owned by the Dumas family, although they owned it for over ten years. Numerous articles were found after the Jamet brothers purchased it from the Dumas family. They went back into the early 1960s.  

In 1966, a New York Times writer, Craig Claiborne, wrote: “There is a twisting, turning, rock-rimmed road that leads to the La Cascade, a hotel and restaurant that has for a slogan, “A Touch of France in the Catskills.”

Claiborne said the restaurant was worth a detour to the mountains. He said the kitchen produced its cuisine, served family-style. Claiborne described it as hors d’oeuvre, chicken crepes, or hot quiche Lorraine, soup, salad, an exquisite dinner, and ended with coffee and dessert. Walk-ins paid the cost of $4.50 for dinner and an extra $4.50 for a good bottle of wine. ($4.50 is equal today to $40.25).

Claiborne said the interior was cordial. The main room had an upright piano in the corner and a deer-skin rug on the wall. The bar walls had two mounted deer heads overhead.

The cost was $10 to $16, depending on whether you had a private bath and the size of the room accommodations. ($10 for room and board for a day equals about $92 today.)

An interesting ski contest was held in 1963, just three or four years after Hunter Mt. Ski Bowl opened. The contest required a letter (of 50 words or less) to be sent to the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper, telling them why you want to learn to ski. It gave five days of free room and board at the La Cascade, five days of free skiing, and two hours of ski lessons daily: a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation.

The La Cascade did well for years until Louis Jamet sold it sometime before 1978.

Thanks to MTHS board member Debbie Fromer for providing the following information… New owners operated it as a dude ranch until it ws lost in foreclosure. Jamet once again owned it for a few years before selling it to a partnership. It ran successfully as the Hunter Mountain Dude Ranch, managed for years by the well-liked Anna and Red Flechter.   

It went from C. A. Martin’s Lox-Hurst, circa 1884, to the La Cascade, about 1945, and later the Hunter Mt. Dude Ranch. The property continues its interesting history as the Mountain Top Historical Society.

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