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: April 1, 2009

Take a ride on Route 30 around the scenic Pepacton Reservoir to the lower East Branch of the Delaware River. Three miles south of Downsville, an impressive old green Roebling-style suspension bridge marks the entrance to Corbett.
Corbett’s calling cards these days are that bridge and a 75-foot tapered red-brick chimney that rises just beyond it, along with an impressive little white clapboard community center and pavilion a few yards up the road. Otherwise, the hamlet, in the Town of Colchester, is pretty similar to scores of other mountain villages: a couple streets, a bunch of houses, an out-of-business store or two.


A Catskill Catalog: March 25, 2009

Sonny Somelofski runs the Tremperskill Country Store, one of the few general stores left in the mountains – every little hamlet and valley used to have one – and a beacon for Catskill Mountain fishermen from April to October. The store was originally a one-room schoolhouse, it’s an old building, and a few years ago Sonny and a friend put on a new roof.


A Catskill Catalog: March 18, 2009

I got to thinking about Abe Savetman the other day when the President of the United States was talking about the importance of setting high educational standards for our young people. Abe did not live in the Catskills for very long, but, in one mountain public school, he went a long way toward establishing a standard of excellence that young people have pursued, now, for over 20 years.


A Catskill Catalog: March 11, 2009

I live in Melvin Mayes’ house. He built it himself in 1925, raised his family here, and sold it when he moved to Florida in the early 1980s. The house changed hands twice before I bought it in 1996. I like to point out that, I believe, it was the only house sold in Fleischmanns that year.


A Catskill Catalog: March 4, 2009

A friend and former colleague is the principal of the Reginald Bennett Elementary School. That’s the school in the Town of Olive, up on the knoll behind the Onteora High School-Middle School on Route 28.