We have been working on our documentary about the history of railroads in the Catskills for about 18 months. Thanks to all the generous support of historians, libraries, musicians, historical societies and private collectors, we have in-hand most of the core materials for the project. Read more
I uploaded a short excerpt from my documentary in progress, "Rails to the Catskills" to YouTube. This segment is about the Catskill Mountain Railroad - a tourist train operating in Kingston and in the Phoenicia area. Read more
In 1913, the Ulster & Delaware Railroad completed its move of 11 miles of track to the northern edge of the nearly completed Ashokan Reservoir. During fishing season, if you are currently licensed and holding a NY City DEP issued reservoir access permit, you are allowed to bring your rod and reel to try your luck from shore or a row boat at the beautiful Ashokan. Read more
About once a week, I make the trip over the West Hurley Dike to the Town of Hurley Transfer Station on Dug Hill Road. Often the pleasant experience of watching the changing face of the Ashokan Reservoir compell me to pull off at the end of the roadway and pause for a closer look and to snap a few pictures. Whether it's a time of winter ice or summer open-water, there's a never-the-same-twice feeling about the basin and mountains that makes the Ashokan so appealing.
Here are a few photos I've taken over the past year – with open-water and clogged with ice. Read more
Beginning in the late 19th century railroads and their stations, as well as steamboats, were painted and photographed to be reproduced as postcards. Before email, postcards were the popular way to let someone know you had arrived safely, or to send a greetings. Here, for your pleasure, are a few postcards of local rail and Hudson River scenes we have collected as part of our documentary, Rails to the Catskills.
Travelers to the Catskills by rail often rode over bridges that were a marvel of engineering. Here are a few images of bridges we've collected while researching our documentary, Rails to the Catskills. They include the bridge at Poughkeepsie, now known as The Walkway Over the Hudson, The West Shore Trestle at Kingston and bridge at Catskill.
As Valentine's Day approaches it's fun to recall the ways violets were once the flower of choice for celebrating this romantic holiday and some of the historical associations that violets carry with them.
It's recorded that St. Valentine, when in prison, wrote love notes using the ink of crushed violets. Valentine supposedly fell in love with his jailor's daughter. Before his death, legend says he sent her a letter signed "From Your Valentine .” So began the tradition of sending love notes to celebrate St. Valentine's Day.
Beautiful fragrant violets have long been associated with romance and St. Valentine's Day. These days it's hard to find cultivated violets, and lovers often give more easily accessible roses, but during Victorian and Edwardian times violets were preferred. During this time, hundreds of greenhouses in and around Rhinebeck were the main Hudson Valley growers of popular violets, and millions of blooms were sent to market each year from Rhinecliff on trains like the “Violet Special.” Read more
The New York, Ontario & Western has some affectionate knicknames, such as the “Old & Weary,” the “Old Woman,” and “the “Old & Wobbly.” Whatever you call it, the O&W has a long and storied history, eventually winding its way from the Great Lakes port at Oswego, New York down through rural NY State and the southern Catskills to Weehawken, New Jersey. Founded in 1866 as the New York and Oswego Midland Railroad by Dewitt C. Littlejohn, the line went through several partnerships and branch connections, finally reaching Jersey City, New Jersey in 1883.
The Southern Division made its way through the “Borscht Belt,” bringing tourists and summer boarders to the great “Jewish Alps” hotels, boarding houses and bungalow colonies. Like most rural Catskills train routes, its heyday was from the late 19th century through the 1920's. By the time the Great Depression came along, cars and buses had taken the bulk of passenger traffic. Trucks were controlling the important milk traffic from the lower Catskills milkshed. Read more
One of the most interesting parts of collecting images for our documentary, Rails to the Catskills, has to be walking tracks and finding intriguing rail beds and places along the former Ulster & Deleware tracks.
Here are some spots we have found along the way. They include the C-9 bridge, west of Kingston, the Thruway overpass just east of the C-9 bridge, rails on the Glenford dike, and two pictures of the tracks in Stony Hollow, near Rte. 28A.
As always, we are interested in images or items that might be useful in our documentary productiion, which covers both the northern and southern Catskills. You can contact us at email@example.com.