A Catskill Catalog by Bill Birns

A Catskill Catalog: May 7, 2008

The first settlers in the Ulster County Catskills discovered on their properties outcroppings and ledges of a hard bluish-gray stone they soon found could be mined and cut and put to a variety of uses around the farm.

A Catskill Catalog: April 30, 2008

Often, when I would run into the late Kenny Miller, I’d ask him for the Satchel Paige story. Kenny was the longtime proprietor of Bussy’s Store, on the main corner in Margaretville, who served several terms as mayor of that village. He was also a baseball player.

A Catskill Catalog: April 23, 2008

Jackie Robinson Day is an every April 15th celebration of the man who broke the color barrier in baseball. This year marks the 60th anniversary of that first season in Brooklyn, when Jackie stoically took the curses, slurs and verbal brick-bats hurled at him by opposing players and fans alike.

A Catskill Catalog: April 9, 2008

The congressional district on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is known as the Silk Stocking District. Now, clearly, that nickname reflects the wealth of the people of that neighborhood, but it also suggests a congressional district that has a history and an identity beyond the identity of the particular person holding office, a district that exists to be represented by a series of elected representatives over time. Kind of like basic democracy: the district exists before the representative.

A Catskill Catalog: April 2, 2008

To trout fishers, the Catskills are the home country, the old sod, and the reverently referred-to birthplace. Words like Beaverkill, Willowemac, Esopus and East Branch are uttered almost like prayers, the names of the steams where trout and dry fly first made their American acquaintance at the beginning of our national life.

A Catskill Catalog: March 26, 2008

For a while I’ve wanted to write a column about the native people who inhabited our mountains 400 years ago when Henry Hudson’s Half Moon first opened our region to European ways. The problem is that the very idea of “The Native People of the Catskill Mountains” is framed in a particularly non-native way of thinking.

A Catskill Catalog: March 19, 2008

One summer in the mid '70s, I had a job teaching English to Japanese kids at Camp Forusato in Fleischmanns. In the '70s, the Japanese economy was cooking, globalism was in its infancy, and many Japanese people were living and working in the New York metropolitan area.

A Catskill Catalog: March 12, 2008

A Catskill Catalog: history, geography, day-trips, arts and culture in and around our Catskill Mountains. Pretty comprehensive. Covers about everything I might be interested in writing about, or so I thought until I visited my old friend Joe Hewitt.

A Catskill Catalog: March 5, 2008

The winters are long in the mountains. About February and March, a day of blue sky and sunshine seems as necessary and valuable as nourishment. So, on a beautiful, clear, cold Saturday afternoon, a pair of friends and I took a ride north on Route 30 to explore Vroman’s Nose.

A Catskill Catalog: Feb. 13, 2008

Harmonus DuMond has his own website. At least, someone in the 21st century maintains a website dedicated to the 18th-century Margaretville pioneer. DuMond headed one of the first four families to settle on the East Branch of the Upper Delaware River, back in 1763. Do a Google search on Harmonus DuMond.

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