A Catskill Catalog by Bill Birns

A Catskill Catalog: March 23, 2011

It was supposed to be an upbeat fishing-season-starts-next-week column. Maybe begin with “Hey Joe, eight days to go!” in homage to the Phoenicia Fish & Game Association’s Route 28 roadside-sign that offers hope to winter-weary mountain folk, whether fishers of trout or not.

Last week, I spent an afternoon in the Jerry Bartlett Memorial Angling Collection, upstairs in the Phoenicia Library. Saturday morning, I got a call from a friend. Early that morning, the Phoenicia Library burned.


A Catskill Catalog: March 16, 2011

In September 1906, the lieutenant governor of New York came to Delhi to dedicate the new soldiers’ monument on the county courthouse grounds. More than 40 years after the end of the rebellion, the second-highest officeholder in the state dedicated the memorial, “in grateful remembrance of those who have served their country in the Civil War and of those who have defended the American flag.”


A Catskill Catalog: March 9, 2011

I wrote a pretty good Catskill Catalog column last week. It was about Julia Marlowe, a leading actress of the American stage, who owned a summer home in Highmount, some 20 years before the arrival of Amelita Galli-Curci, the early 20th-century opera star, after whom the upper part of the Belleayre Mountain Road is named.


A Catskill Catalog: Feb. 16, 2011

It’s SUNY Delhi, now. A fully-grown outpost of the State University of New York, a college, not an Ag and Tech anymore. SUNY Delhi offers technology-based education in over 40 programs leading to the Associate’s Degree, and in 13 specialized programs leading to a Bachelor’s Degree.


A Catskill Catalog: Feb. 9, 2011

A friend and I were talking, the other day, about the farm families we each got to know when we, each, moved to the Catskills, back in the early ’70s.


A Catskill Catalog: Feb. 2, 2011

Basketball proves the old maxim about necessity being the mother of invention. In 1891, James Naismith, a Canadian, teaching at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, had a class of incorrigibles.


A Catskill Catalog: Jan. 26, 2011

Mining and forestry were the cutting-edge applied sciences of the late 1800s, the practical use of our continental, and, folks thought, nearly inexhaustible supply of raw materials that would make our country an economic powerhouse. Mining and forestry brought science and engineering to the extraction of ore and timber, mineral wealth and woodland abundance, for the benefit of humankind.


A Catskill Catalog: Jan. 19, 2011

Someone posts a question on Facebook. Hiking the mountains, he can’t tell a Red Spruce from a Norway Spruce from a Balsam Fir. Can anybody help?


A Catskill Catalog: Jan. 5, 2011

One hundred years ago, people still expected a bit of fiction in the newspaper. The 20th century was still young, as is our 21st. At the cusp of the age of electricity, Victorian reading habits still demanded a bit of kerosene lamp reading, what we’d call soap opera today: continuing stories filled with melodrama and escapist romance.


A Catskill Catalog: Jan. 5, 2011

One hundred years ago, people still expected a bit of fiction in the newspaper. The 20th century was still young, as is our 21st. At the cusp of the age of electricity, Victorian reading habits still demanded a bit of kerosene lamp reading, what we’d call soap opera today: continuing stories filled with melodrama and escapist romance.


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