Lost Catskill Farm

An Exciting New Exhibit

Lost Catskill Farm

A typical 1930’s family farm evoking the simplicity of life in the Catskills before the reservoirs.


From the 1930s through the 1950s, over twenty farming communities were lost when New York City came to the Catskills to build reservoirs and take our abundant water. People, animals and even cemeteries were moved, buildings destroyed and all evidence of human life eliminated . . . until now.

The recreated Catskill farm preserves the story of their loss and celebrates the simple family farm life.

The farm family’s story comes to life through the use of mobile technology, stationary and hands-on activities.

Period buildings, artifacts, tools and equipment help visitors explore:

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The different ways each family member was affected by having their farm taken from them and being forced to move.


Family life on a small Lost Catskill farm in the 1930s, including the function of different buildings and tools, and the importance of each family member in running the farm.

Catskill Farm Open

Memorial Day to Labor Day

Open weekends from Memorial Day through the end of September, noon to 4 p.m. and other times by appointment.

From left to right: 1880’s Barn, Farm Power Plant, Milk House, Workshop with working Waterwheel & Farmhouse

Located behind the Museum, the new 1930s Lost Catskill Farm tells the story of farmers who were forced to give up their land to build NYC’s water system.  Period buildings include a farm house, outhouse, milk house and workshop with a working waterwheel.  An 1870’s barn was painstakingly disassembled and reassembled on site, and visitors can also see an original 1930’s power plant.

All of the buildings are furnished with period furniture, equipment, tools and artifacts to evoke an earlier and simpler time, but the farm is also interactive with videos, computers and games and activities for both children and adults.

Visitors can even download a mobile app audio tour of the farm onto their smart phone or mobile device. Created by volunteer Melana Quick-Lepke, the tour reflects a ten year old girl’s     perspective on everyday local farm family life before the reservoirs and gives a unique look into a child’s view of the 1930s, depression and the “takings”.  Go to the Uniguide App in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store to download the free tour!

2012 – Farmhouse moving up the hill to the farm
2012 – Farmhouse moving up the hill to the farm
Rose Farm Granary – acquired, waiting to be moved
Rose Farm Granary – acquired, waiting to be moved
Maple Syrup House – to be acquired and moved
Maple Syrup House – to be acquired and moved
Historic Prenner barn being dismantled.
Historic Prenner barn being dismantled.
Volunteer workers posing in front of the barn.
Volunteer workers posing in front of the barn.

Barn boards were taken down, numbered and stored until they were reconstructed on the Lost Catskill Farm in 2016.

Preserving the Past and Looking to the Future

The Lost Catskill Farm will also give visitors a glimpse into the future of watershed protection. Additional exhibits will be installed to foster an understanding of how agriculture and forestry are preferred land uses to protect New York City watersheds.

Help Us Expand the Lost Catskill Farm!

A plaque with your name will be displayed on a kiosk near the entrance of the building being sponsored.
In kind donations are also welcomed.

Sap House ($10,000)
Granary ($5,000)
Smoke House ($2,000)

Root Cellar ($4,000)
Hen House ($4,000)
Woodshed ($2,500)
Saw Mill ($20,000)

Ice House ($5,000)
Pig Pen ($2,000)
Wagon Barn ($20,000)

You may use this form to make a donation or sponsor a building: