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‘Villes & ‘Dales

Ulster County is comprised of one city (Kingston), twenty towns (New Paltz, Gardiner, Rosendale, etc), three incorporated villages (New Paltz, Ellenville and Saugerties) and about three dozen designations based on census tracts and postal addresses. Most of these last three dozen, plus other named places and small villages are what we consider “hamlets.” These have [Read More…]

Renovate or Raze?

Prior to a fire that took the top section of the turret of the Ganse House (current Highland Library building), the lovely home was an inspiration to the thousands of laborers who traveled along the Highland-New Paltz trolley line. Today, the building’s fate is being discussed by Highland area residents and the library board. The [Read More…]

Marion: The Last Wallkill Borden

Marion Borden’s mansion sits on a hill over-looking the Wallkill River Valley with the Shawangunk Mountains looming large in the distance. It is a commanding view of what her family christened Home Farm. It was to become a retreat for the Borden Family for generations and to become a model dairy for the nation. One [Read More…]

Local History Books

Just in time for holidays and stay-cations, we have three books of local history to enjoy. A.J. Schenkman and Elizabeth (Libby) Werlau bring you Ulster County ripped from the headlines. Okay, so most of the crimes were a while ago. Regardless, human nature is not a pretty picture as painted in Murder & Mayhem in [Read More…]

Spans of Time

You might think the newly opened span in Rosendale is just a junior act following Walkway Over the Hudson. You would be wrong. The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail (WVRT) bridge over the Rondout Creek is an intimate experience with different construction and a very different history running its course. There is much to see and [Read More…]

Harvesting Memory

Ulster’s harvest has changed dramatically in the past 70 years. Growing up on what had been my grandparents’ farm at the intersection of the towns of Esopus, New Paltz, and Lloyd, we were surrounded by dairy, poultry, and fruit farms. In the 1940s my father turned away from farming to work as a heavy equipment [Read More…]

Greetings from New Paltz circa 1915

               

Gomez Mill House

Few buildings can boast the varied American stories that took place in the Gomez Mill House. You’ll meet five important families whose tenancy spanned not just the centuries, but impacted important epochs of history in ways that continue to reverberate. In 1654, Luis Moses Gomez’s ancestors fled the tyranny of the Spanish Inquisition. In 1705, [Read More…]

Time Honored II

With this issue of About Town, we are well into our 30th year of publication. Last issue we honored some of the business with whom we have been proud to associate over the decades. Here we highlight more area businesses that have proven their value to their customers and clients —they are “time-tested” as well [Read More…]

Local History Books Reviewed

Marlborough On My Mind Marylou Mahan’s book, Marlborough On My Mind, published in 2009, is broken in to handy bite-size chapters and subchapters covering everything from education, spiritual life, famous and infamous individuals, local families, work, and finally, it brings us up to the planning for the quadricentennial celebration of Hudson’s trip up the river. [Read More…]

Bertolozzi’s Bridge Music

After you’ve strolled over Walkway Over The Hudson, drive or walk to Haviland Road’s abrupt end at the Mid Hudson Bridge. There, be prepared for Bertolozzi’s percussive serenade, known simply as “Bridge Music.” Composer Bertolozzi’s amazing offering uses only the sounds he produced by striking different structural parts, cables, railings, beams, of the Mid Hudson [Read More…]

Time Honored

As we at About Town celebrate the start of our 30th year, we honor other area businesses that have proven their value to you year after year, one year at a time, one customer at a time. It is amazing how many are still owned and run by the same families that founded them. We [Read More…]

Lilly

Ten years ago, SUNY New Paltz Professor Bill Rhoads asked me if I knew the location of “Rock Nest,” the Highland (Town of Lloyd) home of artist Lilly Martin Spencer. I did not, nor was I familiar with the artist. As it turns out, I should have been, and for a number of reasons. From [Read More…]

Greetings from Stone Ridge

Ridgley Manor was built for Francis A. Leggette. The grounds were designed by Frederick Olmstead. Postcards like this were used by summer boarders living in assorted outbuildings. Their rents contributed to keeping the estate’s expenses in line. Two cards in my collection are from 1908 and 1909 and indicate senders stayed there, probably in the [Read More…]

Collecting Postcards

An About Town reader in Chicago sent me a magazine article about postcard collecting. Since I am of (mostly) Austrian ancestry, it was interesting to note that postcards were invented in the Austro-Hungarian empire around the time of our Civil War, (probably more correctly called the War of Secession?). The article went on to say [Read More…]

SUNY Ulster Built-In Our County’s History

SUNY Ulster is something of a “family affair.” In 1965, my father, Louis Yess, guided his bulldozer to rough out the road that would commence the building of the current Ulster County Community College. Ten years later, I graduated from that school. My husband, John Wadlin, served as Chairman, and in other positions, of the [Read More…]

Imagining John Pizzo

It’s hard to imagine that a man could live on a farm for a hundred years and not have been born there. A man, over 100, who has no need of glasses to read this print, a man, over 100, who has an impish smile filled with perfect, natural teeth. It’s hard to imagine a [Read More…]

A Tribute to Sam

Several years ago Sam Quimby asked the owners of the Ship Lantern Inn for permission to place a historical marker on their property along Old Indian Road in Marlboro to indicate the road’s use by native Americans. Sam then proposed underwriting and installing the marker to the Marlborough Historical Society. After Sam passed away in [Read More…]

Perfect Picnic Places

Hudson Valley residents and visitors are never deprived of outdoor excursions and Ulster County in particular has a delicious collection of places to picnic. Make it your goal to head to each one before school’s back in session.   Minnewaska Lake and State Park are part of the Shawangunk Mountains — or “The Gunks,” to [Read More…]

Somewhere Between Here and Kingston

My dear friend, Wilson Tinney, always a wonderful source of interesting area historical tidbits, alerted me to the story of Zimmy, the Legless Swimmer. Zimmy, a.k.a. Charles Zibelman, who lost his legs in a trolley accident when he was a child. Not one to let adversity wash him up, Zimmy went on to become a [Read More…]