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: May 6, 2009

The 48th Poet Laureate of the United States visited the Catskills last week. Charles Simic was the guest of Ulster County Community College where he appeared in the annual Ellen Robbins Poetry Forum, an event held in April to bring “well-known and award winning poets to SUNY Ulster for intimate question and answer sessions, as well as a special evening reading of their poetry.” 


A Catskill Catalog: April 29, 2009

Write down your memories today. Tomorrow they become the stuff of history.
In February and March of 1971, Basil Todd, then living in Arkville, wrote two long letters to the Catskill Mountain News detailing his memories growing up in and around Fleischmanns. My friend, Jackie Grocholl, always interested in the history of her hometown, cut those letters from the paper, carefully pressed them into photo-album pages, and preserved them in her scrapbook of local history for, now, 38 years.


A Catskill Catalog: April 22, 2009

“These were men!” That exclamation, almost Shakespearian in its emphatic simplicity, was the oft-repeated refrain of the late Doug Faulkner when talking about the generation that came before his. Doug was the longtime postmaster of New Kingston, a World War II Marine, self-made success as a businessman, logger, trader in real estate and rural artifacts, community leader, and keeper of a general store.


A Catskill Catalog: April 15, 2009

The Catskills have always been a haven for immigrants. Something about the Catskills reminds people of home: the rounded mountain slopes, wide green valleys, narrow hollows, rushing creeks, and small lived-in villages. People from all over the world have long seen the familiar here.


A Catskill Catalog: April 8, 2009

Imagine two young men walking down the sidewalk in Andes, having just dropped off their dates at one o’clock in the morning after a Friday night dance at the firehall. As they approach what is today the Ron Guichard Realty building, one, surprised at the appearance of activity in that building in the wee hours of the morning, says, “I think I see a light.”