Three New Local History Books Plus One Not So New

Ulster County RailroadsAbout Town of Ulster County’s focus is local history. Two-thousand-eleven has provided an embarrassment of riches for us as history buffs. The books pictured above are just the latest in a growing stream of good reading and viewing provided by local researchers and writers.

Stephen Laden, who was the director of the Trolley Museum in Kingston, teamed up with one of my favorite researchers and writers, Glendon Moffett, to give us Ulster County Railroads, published by Arcadia.

Photos of rail bridges, stations, engines, accidents, and more, often at locations you will recognize, make this a special treat. Informative brief captions throughout add to the pleasure of this book.

Glendon’s prior credits include Down to the River By Trolley, History of the New Paltz-Highland Trolley Line; To Poughkeepsie and Back, The Story of the Poughkeepsie-Highland Ferry; and The Old Skillypot and Other Ferryboats of Rondout, Kingston and Rhinecliff.


To purchase: 845-399-9800 or email:



Lost Amusement Parks of the Hudson ValleyLost Amusement Parks of the Hudson Valley is the fouth book for Wesley and Barbara Gottlock. Prior titles by the Gottlocks includeBannerman Castle (with Thom Johnson), New York’s Palisades Interstate Park, and Lost Towns of the Hudson Valley.

A surprising chapter of Lost Amusement Parks is the section on the park that was situated where Marist College stands today. The Woodcliff Pleasure Park ran from the 1920-1940s and was a tourism and vacation hot spot hosting thousand of people each week during the season. Train and boat transportation brought visitors from NY City, locals walked or drove to enjoy the huge and famous roller coaster that seemed about to go off into the Hudson River. Rivaling Coney Island’s Cyclone, the Woodcliff “Blue Streak” held height and speed records for decades.

The chapter on the Kingston Point Park will especially interest area residents and visitors. A great addition to understanding life from not very long ago.


To purchase: (PayPal or check) or call (845) 561-8023



Ulster County New York The Architectural History and GuideYou will want this book in the car with you whenever you travel locally. Ulster County New York The Architectural History and Guide is arranged by towns allowing you quick reference to the history of interesting buildings you pass. It has photos or illustrations of more than three hundred structures from log cabins to mills to bridges to mansions with a deliciously detailed history of each.

Many of the buildings are along main roads and you’ve probably passed them often. Now you can “know what you have been looking at.’ Even better, this book will send you along back roads in search of special places you only now know exist. Although not all buildings still stand, it is reassuring that so many have been saved and are in caring hands.

Author Dr. William B. Rhoads is a professor of architectural history at SUNY New Paltz and the author of Kingston New York, the Architectural Guide.


To purchase:, 518 439-6512). For other inquiries,



Mohonk Mountain House and PreserveAnother book in the Arcadia series of Images of America is Mohonk Mountain House and Preserve by Robi Josephson is not new. I’ve included it because it is just gorgeous, well done, and one of my all-time favorite in the series. The images in this book may send you to Mohonk for lunch, or have you scrambling up to the Memorial Tower.

Josephson captured not just the place, but its place in history and its people. From the area’s earliest inhabitants and settlers to the legendary Head Ranger at the Mohonk Preserve, Thom Scheuer (who with Hank Alacandri rappelled over a cliff on the Hudson to rescue my dog), and the Smiley family members who have been the sterling stewards of that mountain for more than 150 years, the book considers them carefully. In addition, it illustrates the forward thinking and scope of concern for humanity of the Smileys and longtime employees like Paul Huth and others.

This is more than a mere history, it is a meticulously researched work of love and admiration.


Contact Robi for a copy: