A Catskill Catalog by Bill Birns

Bill Birns presents a weekly essay on history, geography, day-trips, arts and culture in the Catskill Mountain region.

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.