Tag Archives: Sullivan County

Sullivan County: Neversink History Afternoon Sun, Sept 10th


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Main Street NeversinkNeversink History Afternoon will be held on Sunday, September 10th from 1 pm to 4 pm at the Time and the Valleys Museum in Grahamsville, Sullivan Caounty, NY.

The Museum’s collection of historical records, photographs, books and artifacts will be available to visitors, bringing to life the history of the Town of Neversink.

The afternoon also includes an exhibit on Town of Neversink maps from the late 1800s, and a program at 2 pm by Charles Barbuti III, “Friends, Family and Fun at the Farm: What Neversink Meant to My Dad,” about life in 1930s Neversink. Continue reading

Catskills Preservation and History Conference This Weekend


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Sullivan county map 1892The Liberty Museum & Arts Center in Sullivan County will host the 16h Annual Catskills Preservation and History Conference on Saturday and Sunday, August 26 and 27.

The events begin at 10 am on Saturday with the 22nd annual Architectural and Historical Tour, which this year will feature a behind the scenes look at two of the most iconic institutions in Sullivan County’s history, the Loomis Sanatorium and Grossinger’s resort, and explore the link between them. Continue reading

Sullivan County’s Most Notorious Native


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Lt Charles E Becker in his NYPD uniform shortly before his arrest on a murder charge in 1912On August 2, 1915, Charles E. Becker was laid to rest in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, just two days after he had become the first police officer ever executed for murder in this country.

Charles E. Becker may well be the most notorious native of Sullivan County ever. Born on July 26, 1870 in Callicoon Center – he lived and worked on the family farm there until he was 21 – he became known as the most corrupt cop in New York City history, was tried and convicted twice of a high profile murder he quite likely did not commit, and was eventually executed in the Sing Sing electric chair – not without incident – on July 30. 1915.

But there’s a lot more to the Becker saga than that. Continue reading

Sullivan County’s First World War Sacrifices


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Leonard Houghtaling from Neversink (on right) served overseas and fought in WWIJuly, 2017 is 100th anniversary of the first U.S. forces sent overseas to fight in World War I. The Time and the Valleys Museum in Grahamsville, NY will be honoring the men who fought in the war and the women who supported the troops by hosting a new exhibit and weekend of special programming on July 8th and 9th.

The new exhibit, A Rendezvous with Death: Local Sacrifice in the First World War highlights Sullivan County residents who participated in WWI. It includes photos, artifacts and little known facts and information about the war. The new exhibit can be viewed through Labor Day during Museum hours: Thursday through Sunday, noon to 4 pm and weekends in September. Continue reading

Sullivan County Basketball History: Betting and Borscht


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 Holy Cross (and future Boston Celtics) star Bob Cousy (center) and his Tamarack Lodge.png That peculiar phenomenon known as March Madness will soon be upon us, and with its arrival college basketball will be squarely in the national spotlight.

Time was, of course, that college basketball and the Sullivan County resorts were inseparable, and for years the best basketball players in the world could be found spending their summers playing ball in an informal hotel circuit of Sullivan County, NY. Continue reading

Skiing in Sullivan County in the 1940s


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A publicity shot of the Christmas Hills ski area in Livingston Manor from circa 1950.It was in October of 1948 that what local newspapers called “Sullivan County’s first commercial ski slope” began to take shape.

It was Christmas Hills on DeBruce Road in Livingston Manor, and despite the claims, it was not the first ski operation in the county, as Liberty Winter Sports, Inc. had operated the Walnut Mountain ski hill in Liberty more than a decade before. Continue reading

Skiing Comes to the Sullivan County Catskills


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walnut mountainLong before the opening of Davos in Woodridge ushered in a new era in skiing in Sullivan County, before the Concord and Grossinger’s pioneered snowmaking techniques to service their rudimentary ski hills, and even before the Miller brothers operated Christmas Hills in Livingston Manor, skiing made its local debut at Walnut Mountain in Liberty.

In October of 1936, a corporation known as Liberty Winter Sports, Inc. purchased most of Walnut Mountain from Frank H. Mauer with plans to create a skiing facility at the site of the old Walnut Mountain House. Dr. S.W. Wells was president of the group, which also included B.K.J. Eenberg, Thomas P. McNamara, Albert T. Decker, Joseph E. Fersch, Paul H. Allen, and Gunnar Bjorgstrom. Joseph G. Dowling handled the publicity. Continue reading

Sullivan County’s ‘White Christmas’ Connection


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WhiteRoeAerialThe Columbia Inn in Pine Tree, Vermont did not bear much of a resemblance to a Catskills’ hotel of that era, and Dean Jagger’s General Tom Waverly was definitely not much like a Sullivan County hotel owner, but the movie “White Christmas” has a strong local flavor nonetheless.

The titular tune of the top grossing film of 1954, of course, was conceived and written right here in Lew Beach, and the movie’s thin plot line was really little more than a vehicle for county resident Irving Berlin’s music. And then there is Danny Kaye, sharing the lead with the inimitable Bing Crosby –  who sings Berlin’s most memorable song for the third time on screen– as well as Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen.

But except for two separate twists of fate, Kaye may not have been part of “White Christmas” at all.  Continue reading

Murder In Western Sullivan County (Part II)


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TheodoreRooseveltOn a bitter cold Sunday morning in December of 1880, Jacob Gerhardt struck his sister-in-law over the head with a crowbar, crushing her skull and setting the stage for one of the most sensational murder trials in Sullivan County history.

The proceedings, held at a special term of the Sullivan County Oyer and Terminer Court beginning on June 13, 1881, featured District Attorney James I. Curtis and former D.A. John F. Anderson for the prosecution and Monticello law partners Arthur C. Butts and Joseph Merritt and former county judge Timothy Bush for the defense. People came from far and wide to view each day of the trial, and major newspapers from New York City, as well as the local weeklies, reported on the case. Continue reading