The 6 ½-mile-long Rondout Reservoir was built in from the late 1930s to early 1950s, to collect clean Catskills drinking water as part of New York City‘s supply network.
Three towns, Eureka, Montela and Lackawack, were removed (including all the buildings, trees and vegetation and cemeteries) and the residents displaced for the building of the reservoir.
The waterway connects with the Delaware aqueduct (the longest continuous tunnel in the world), which brings the water 85 miles down to New York City.
The Time and the Valleys Museum (located in the Catskills) has created a new Rondout Reservoir mobile app that provides an interesting and informative tour of Rondout Reservoir, located in Ulster and Sullivan counties.
The app includes a circular driving tour with an overview of the NYC’s three water supply systems, focusing on the Delaware Water System (which includes the Rondout Reservoir).
Seven stops around the reservoir can be visited in any order, and are all at safe pull off locations on State Route 55 and 55A.
Historic and recent photos, interesting text, video and audio of people who lived in the towns taken for the reservoir, help bring to life the lost towns, the building of the reservoir, and its natural features.
The app is free, and can be downloaded from the App Store, Google Play & the Museum website. Due to the inconsistent signal around the reservoir, the app is best downloaded before arrival.
Creation of the app was funded through a grant from the Catskill Watershed Corporation in partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
More information about the Time and the Valleys Museum is available on their website, by calling (845) 985-7700, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos, from above: the second stop on the Rondout Reservoir Driving Tour app, the Eagle Watch next to the Rondout Reservoir on Rt. 55A; scenic view of the Rondout Reservoir; scenic view of the Rondout Reservoir; and view of the core wall of the dam for the Rondout Reservoir during construction (photos provided).