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Vivian Yess Wadlin

Feats of Clay

The natural clay deposits along the Hudson were just one more resource awaiting the entrepreneurial spirit to turn earth-formed materials into fortunes. Rich farm land, blue stone, limestone, peat, Shawangunk grit, timber, furs, scenic beauty, fresh air, water power, potable water, ice, and more provided the raw materials to build an individual’s prosperity—and the nation’s. [Read More…]

Bee Ready

In late March the native mason bees begin to emerge to begin their brief fruitful lives. They are one of nature’s best pollinators and will give you hours of enjoyment watching them come and go bringing food and mud to feed and protect their next generation. Harmless and amusing and easy to lure to your [Read More…]

Ulster Bounty

The first thing newcomers notice about Ulster County is how green it is—how trees fill every vista. It is said there are more trees here now than 100 years ago. With a land and water area of 1,161 square miles, Ulster boasts some of the largest tracks of woodlands and forested areas in New York. [Read More…]

Inspired Architecture

For many of us, the soul of religious architecture is the achievement of an element soaring upward, lifting us from this mortal coil. Rarely do we see a building dedicated to one’s God that does not have an arch or spire—some symbolic element visible from the distance beckoning supporters to “come home.” If the effect [Read More…]

Loyd — Centerville: Reflections of a Forgotten Hamlet

When determining land boundaries, surveyors tell us there must be a “point of beginning.” That said, we turn our attention to the township of New Paltz. But first, a little bit of history. The late Beatrice Hasbrouck Wadlin, former town historian, stated in her book, Times and Tales of the Town of Lloyd: “Prior to [Read More…]

Walkway To The Hamlet of Highland’s History

Walkway Over The Hudson strollers and cyclists can now continue their exploration of the Hudson Valley by following the paved Hudson Valley Rail Trail west, passing under Route 9W, and taking the exit that brings them to the Hamlet of Highland. The exit is just west of the 9W underpass, and leads up to Tillson [Read More…]

Esopus Turns 200

The colorful and inspirational individuals who lived in, and often shaped, the Town of Esopus over the past two hundred years have included a former slave, ship captains, millionaires, preachers, a presidential candidate, a world-renown naturalist, world-shaping entrepreneurs, a world-famous walker, and many philanthropists. Below are a few.   Truth Today, the Town of Esopus [Read More…]

Milling About

I asked my dear 93-year-old friend, Wilson Tinney, what he remembered about mills in Ulster County. “Wherever there was flowing water there were mills,” was his reply. In researching this article, I find he did not exaggerate. Carpet mills, paper mills, saw mills, powder mills, grist mills, cider mills, cement mills, carding mills, knife mills, [Read More…]

A Conversation with the Quimby Brothers of Marlboro

On March 11, 1888, no one knew the falling flakes were anything more than a late-season snow. But by March 14th, everyone knew it was destined for the record books. It was the “Blizzard of ’88.” Phoebe Baxter Quimby of Marlboro was concluding a visit to nearby Plattekill. To make it home, Phoebe’s brothers ended [Read More…]

Ulster County Station Stops

For all the train buffs eagerly awaiting the release of Glendon Moffett’s* new book on the historic rail lines of Ulster County, (with a working title of Five Historic Railroads of Ulster County), I make this humble offering of station images from my postcard collection. Glendon’s book should be out in early April and will [Read More…]

The Testimonial GateWay

  Located just 1.3 miles west of the New Paltz village on 299, the Testimonial Gateway has delighted residents and puzzled visitors since its completion in October 1908. Honoring the 50th Wedding Anniversary of Albert and Eliza Smiley, founders of Mohonk Mountain House, the gateway was built from the contributions of 1200 friends of the [Read More…]

Charity Begins… at the Mary and John Arbuckle Farm

A New York Times’ article of 1903 tells of a $12,000 purchase by John Arbuckle of 282 acres of farm land in New Paltz, NY. According to the late Peter Harp’s Horse and Buggy Days, the first purchase by Arbuckle was of the Deyo Farm, and shortly after he purchased the Helena Smedes’ and six [Read More…]

Delight of the Humble Bee

Previous articles on the stresses affecting our common feral (wild) and domestic honeybee populations discussed the disappearance of entire colonies. The term, Colony Collapse Disorder, sums up a focus of current bee research that has important implications for local agriculture. Although farmers in the Hudson Valley rent hives of pollinators for the apple crop, there [Read More…]

Double Life of the Eastern Newt

It’s Spring and salamanders are on the march. They are looking for love in all the damp places: Woodlands, streamsides, swamps, ditches, leaf litter. However, if you see a bright orange one with two rows of small red dots ringed by black on its back, relax, it may not be looking for love. It is [Read More…]

Fordyce Post’s Strong Home Town

There are over 3,100 counties in the Untied States. A study about them, done in the mid-1990s titled “Strong Home Towns,” was published in American Demographics magazine. The study defined a strong community as one in which the people are long-time residents, are civically engaged, have deep family roots and ties, have business interests, maintain [Read More…]

Winter Tale: The Horse Shoe

“Your grandfather cut ice at Mohonk.” My father spoke the words without preamble or explanation as we walked along the outside of a huge stone foundation in glorious Fall weather. I knew my grandfather (Louis Yess I) worked, as most subsistence farmers in the area had, doing anything—lumbering, field clearing, hauling, machine repair, construction, fishing, [Read More…]

Span of Time

Walkway Grand Opening Celebration Oct 2–4, 2009

  1974, Fire! Flames rose from the oil soaked railroad ties as charred debris rained down on the buildings, roads, and properties in Poughkeepsie. Our vantage point, on the West shore of the Hudson River, was about a half mile north of the burning railroad bridge. We viewed the fire from the site of Bellevue [Read More…]

The Riordon School

Archery is “taught by Chief Crazy Bull (Ta Tan Ka Witko)—grandson of the heroic warrior of the Sioux, Sitting Bull…” That’s from the opening paragraph of a four-page brochure, Authentic American Archeryproduced by The Raymond Riordon School, Highland, Ulster County, New York, informing prospects this won’t be education-as-usual. Ulster County has had a number of [Read More…]

Main Streets

                                          All postcards and images from the collection of Vivian Yess Wadlin.

Honey Bee

Two years ago we discovered a colony of feral honey bees* in a tree at my family’s old homestead in Plutarch (not far from New Paltz). This spring when I checked, the tree was silent. The colony gone. That colony had been about 8 miles from our present home in Highland. Shortly after that disappointing [Read More…]