Middletown Historical Society planning exhibit and programs

Margaretville — Upcoming exhibits and programs of the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown (HSM) will shine a light on the once common business of dairying, walk down some forgotten roads, and remember a time when tractors were replacing horsepower of the four-legged variety.
At the Margaretville Cauliflower Festival Saturday, Sept. 26, HSM’s History Tent will feature a new exhibit about area creameries where farmers took their milk to be shipped as fluid milk, or processed as butter, buttermilk, farmer’s cheese, dried milk and other commodities.
The display will include creamery photos and histories (there have been 18 creameries and many on-farm dairy plants in and around Middletown over the past century); milk cans; milk bottles from local processing plants; advertisements; newspaper clippings; creamery ledgers and other memorabilia. Anyone with information or materials on Middletown area creameries, railroad milk cars, ice houses or retail dairy outlets is encouraged to bring them to the festival Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to fill in the knowledge gaps on these topics.
On Saturday, Oct. 3, HSM will sponsor “You CAN Get There from Here,” a program and discussion on historic maps of Middletown and roads, now abandoned, that once traversed hilltops and connected hamlets.
The free 10 a.m. program will be held at the newly refurbished Halcottsville Grange Hall in downtown Halcotts-ville. Scanned maps will be projected to zoom in on roadways that are no longer used, road and street names that have changed, and property owners that offer tantalizing historical information.
Among the maps to be discussed will be 1817 maps of the route of the Delaware & Ulster Turnpike through Middletown; 1916 Ulster & Delaware Railroad evaluation maps of the U&D route from Highmount through Arkville, Kelly Corners, Halcottsville and Roxbury; Sanborn insurance maps of Margaretville (1903 and 1912), and Arena and Arkville (1927); 1869 Beers Atlas maps of Clovesville, New Kingston and other areas of the Town of Middletown; and other surprises.
A large wall map of Delaware County created by Jay Gould in 1856 will be available for viewing, along with photographs, town highway ledger books and other items related to roads and their maintenance. Following the program, those who wish are invited to take a short, easy walk (one mile round trip) on a section of an old road near Margaretville.
On Saturday, Oct. 17, HSM’s Annual Meeting will be held at the New Kingston Valley Grange Hall on Cemetery Road, Margaretville from Noon to 2:30 p.m. The event, for members and non-members alike, begins with a chicken and biscuit luncheon (vegetarian entrée available) prepared by the Grange. Reservations ($15) are required by Oct. 12 and may be made by calling Fran Faulkner 586-4448 or emailing history@catskill.net.
The featured speaker this year is Dr. Milton Sernett, professor emeritus at Syracuse University. His illustrated lecture, “From Muscle to Motors on the Farm: Henry Ford and the Great American Tractor War, 1910-1930,” will discuss how the development of the Fordson tractor spurred a battle among equipment manufacturers that had a big impact on American life on and off the farm in a time of astounding social change.
The talk is free and begins at 1:30 p.m. following the HSM business meeting and election.
For more information, call Diane Galusha at 586-4973.