A Catskill Catalog by Bill Birns

A Catskill Catalog: Dec. 29, 2010

‘Twas a Catskill magic Christmas, and stockings were hung
from the bluestone mantel of a Livingston.
Whether Robert of Clermont, or Robert the Judge,
or Chancellor Robert, doesn’t matter a fudge.
For a hundred years, they held in their hands
millions of acres of wilderness lands.
Whole Hardenbergh Patent, they’d bought it all square:
the view from their window to the west Delaware.


A Catskill Catalog: Dec. 22, 2010

It’s a book I should have bought years ago: The Ulster and Delaware… Railroad Through the Catskills, by Gerald M. Best, first published in 1972. It’s available as a Purple Mountain Press and Golden West Books reprint, published in 2000.


A Catskill Catalog: Dec. 15, 2010

Natty Bumppo was America’s first mountain man, and Natty never lived. Never took a breath. Natty was a product of the imagination of James Fenimore Cooper, the born-with-a-silver-spoon-in-his-mouth son of self-made millionaire, William Cooper of Cooperstown.


A Catskill Catalog: Dec. 8, 2010

When the Revolution was over, enterprising young men sought their fortunes in the one commodity that the fledgling United States had in clear, available abundance: land.


A Catskill Catalog: Dec. 1, 2010

The New York State Constitution is an unwieldy document. Google it sometime. It goes on seemingly forever, and none of us, even the most politically savvy, know what is in it.


A Catskill Catalog: Nov. 24, 2010

In September 1949, the Catskill Mountain News reported the death of the “best known man in Delaware County.” James Foreman of Delhi, known to all as Jim, had been Chairman of the Delaware County Republican Committee for 36 years.


A Catskill Catalog: Nov. 17, 2010

The smack of shoulder pad on shoulder pad. The thwack of leather helmet against padded, thick, canvas knickers. The sounds of high school football punctured the autumn air in the small towns of the 1940s Catskills.


A Catskill Catalog: Nov. 10, 2010

Ever driven down Dug Hill Road? Me neither, at least not until I started paying a little attention to Hurley, that pre-Revolutionary, colonial village at the eastern edge of the Catskills.


A Catskill Catalog: Nov. 10, 2010

Ever driven down Dug Hill Road? Me neither, at least not until I started paying a little attention to Hurley, that pre-Revolutionary, colonial village at the eastern edge of the Catskills.


A Catskill Catalog: Nov. 3, 2010

Sojourner Truth was a force of nature. From the 1840s to the 1880s, this eloquent, six-foot woman’s magnetic presence electrified audiences throughout the country, audiences wowed by her keen wit, down-home charm, and biting sarcasm, as she challenged the status quo and called for social justice.


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