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: 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.