Headwaters History Days, two full weekends of events, exhibits, open houses and activities celebrating the history, culture, folklife and landscape of the Central Catskills, will be held May 30 and 31, and again June 6 and 7.
Visitors are invited to explore 16 historic sites across two counties, through the East Branch Delaware River and Esopus Creek Watersheds from Andes in Delaware County to Olive in Ulster County.
Museums, landmark structures and historic sites will be open to the public at no charge for one or both days. Docents will be on hand to explain the significance of their sites, and lead walking tours and leisurely rambles. Two lectures are planned.
Three stations on the former Ulster & Delaware Railroad will be open in Arkville, Roxbury and Phoenicia, NY. Visitors can learn about the Anti-Rent War of the 1840s at the venerable Hunting Tavern Museum in Andes. At the Olive Free Library in West Shokan, they will learn of the displacement of whole communities when the Esopus was dammed to create the Ashokan Reservoir.
Two distinctive schools will be open to visitors – one built of stone during the Civil-War in Dunraven, the other an elaborate two-story affair, constructed in 1925 in Pine Hill, that now serves as Shandaken’s Town Museum.
Visitors can climb the stairs of the Roxbury Methodist Church tower to hear (and see) a venerable clock chime the hour; visit the exquisite church, railroad station and public park built by the Goulds of Roxbury; and watch a complex network of belts and pulleys power a sawmill in a 150-year-old barn in Kelly Corners on the active Hubbell Homestead farm. Tours will be available of the oldest structure on the HHD circuit, the 1828 Walter Stratton stone house in Roxbury’s Meeker Hollow, and learn how it evolved over almost two centuries.
Naturalist John Burroughs’ Roxbury retreat, Woodchuck Lodge, will host free tours. A walking tour of Fleischmanns will discuss the village’s hotel heyday as well as the prominent family that gave its name to the community. A May 31 presentation at Skene Memorial Library, Fleischmanns will show how the Delaware & Northern Railroad knitted together small communities from Margaretville to East Branch later submerged by the Pepacton Reservoir.
Filmmaker/historian Jonathan Fein will present a multi-media talk, “Objects and Memory,” at the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown hall, 778 Cemetery Road in Margaretville on May 30 at 3:30 pm.
This second Headwaters History Days is a collaborative effort among several historical organizations and sites to shine a light on the rich local history of eastern Delaware and western Ulster Counties. Organizers hope to encourage visitors to explore the Route 30 and 28 corridors, the latter recently approved for designation as a NYS Scenic Byway.
For a map and complete schedule visit www.headwatershistorydays.org
Photo: Roxbury Historian Anthony Liberatore shows the inner workings of the Roxbury Town Clock, high in the Methodist Church tower, to a visitor during last year’s Headwaters History Days. The clock will be on view during tours again this year.