New York State’s connection to Olympic wrestling goes all the way back to 1904, the very first year freestyle wrestling was included in the summer games, when Isidor “Jack” Niflot, then of New York City, but later a longtime Sullivan County resident, won a gold medal in the bantamweight division. [Read more…] about Jack Niflot: Olympic Gold Medal Wrestler
Dr. Rosetta Sherwood Hall was born in Liberty in Sullivan County, NY on September 19th, 1865, grew up on the family farm and attended the Chestnut Ridge School and the Liberty Normal Institute.
After receiving her teaching degree from Oswego, she taught in local schools for a few years before entering the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1886, and becoming a missionary doctor in Korea in 1890.
Her pioneering work with deaf and blind Korean children and her founding of what eventually became the Korea University College of Medicine in Seoul. [Read more…] about Dr Rosetta Sherwood Hall: Catskills to Korea
There have been numerous attempts in the county over the years to capitalize on America’s love affair with places like Coney Island’s Luna Park, Disneyland, and Palisades Park, but none that succeeded for more than a few years. [Read more…] about Monticello Amusement Park: Some History
In the summer of 1898, Harper’s Magazine published a novella by the noted author Stephen Crane entitled, The Monster. It is one of the first pieces of American fiction to realistically deal with racism and discrimination.
Crane, in the aftermath of the meteoric rise to fame that accompanied the publication of his Civil War novel, The Red Badge of Courage some three years before, was living in England when the story was published, but both his and the story’s ties to Upstate New York are undeniable. [Read more…] about Stephen Crane’s Monster: A Story About Community Courage
That was not always the case.
And it wasn’t just those living below the Mason-Dixon Line who reviled our sixteenth president while he was in office. There was a strong anti-Lincoln sentiment in parts of the North, too, including here in Sullivan County, where a number of notable Monticello men were known to be pro-slavery Southern sympathizers, or Copperheads, as they became known.
James Eldridge Quinlan, editor of one of the county’s most prominent newspapers, The Republican Watchman, was one such man. Quinlan made no secret of his political leanings, and in fact his sentiments were so well known that at one point a group of men with opposite leanings threatened to blow up the Watchman office in order to eliminate Quinlan’s platform. [Read more…] about James Eldridge Quinlan: Catskills Publisher, Historian & Copperhead
Many people – even those with more than a passing interest in Sullivan County history – are surprised to learn that the Ku Klux Klan was once fairly active in parts of the county. And yet, throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, there were several chapters in the Catskills, most set up by recruiters from the Binghamton area.
These Klan chapters, whether in Livingston Manor, Jeffersonville, Liberty, Woodbourne or some other hamlet, often started out as social organizations, and it was not unusual to see newspaper articles and even advertisements about their charitable activities or their clambakes, sometimes in conjunction with the Kamelias, the organization’s women’s auxiliary. [Read more…] about Catskills Klan: The KKK in Sullivan County, New York
It is unlikely that when he built the hotel with the spectacular vistas in 1891 John Harms Knapp envisioned it ever being a year-around resort, let alone one that advertised “superlative skiing,” and yet that is exactly what the Columbia Hotel in Hurleyville in the Catskills became in the early 1960s.
And of all the ski areas in Sullivan County — from Glen Hill to Christmas Hills — the Columbia’s was among the most successful, albeit for a relatively short time. [Read more…] about Winter In the Catskills: The Columbia Ski Resort
During the nearly 35 years I’ve spent answering questions about Sullivan County, NY’s rich and colorful history, a few topics come up far more than any others.
For example, lots of people want to know about the location of the very first summer hotel in Sullivan County, and the question of whether Al Capone ever owned Lake Louise Marie — and is it named for the gangster’s wife and/or girlfriend? — never seems to go out of style.
But possibly the most asked question of all is about the origin of the colloquial term “scooper.” Whether a person is hearing the word for the first time, or they have lived in Sullivan County all their lives and have grown up hearing — and using – the term, most people have no idea how it came to be. [Read more…] about Scoopers: Popular Catskills Slang
He was born on December 12, 1838 in Highland Mills, in Orange County, and moved with his family to Sullivan County while still a young boy.
He enlisted in the Union Army shortly after the Civil War broke out, eventually achieving the rank of Captain.
In April of 1865, while serving with Company B of the 86th New York Infantry at Amelia Springs, Virginia, he captured the Confederate flag, and a month later was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. [Read more…] about A Little-Known Civil War Hero From The Catskills
It was back in August of 2010 that Myron Gittell received the first proof of the reprint he had decided to finance of the iconic book about Sullivan County, Manville B. Wakefield’s To The Mountains by Rail.
Gittell found the quality of that proof to be unacceptable, as were approximately 20 proofs he would look at thereafter, but he did not give up. Having received permission from Wakefield’s widow Barbara to reprint the 1970 classic, he was determined to get it done. [Read more…] about A Sullivan County Classic Reissued in Time for the Holidays