January 2024: Happy New Year! Events, Archived photos, and more!


Hope your New Year is starting out well. In January and February we only offer virtual programs because of the winter weather.  Here are our first programs for 2024:

Roger Luther, Broome County Historian
Sunday, January 28th at 2 p.m. Virtual Only


Not a tree was left standing. Every house, barn, business, church and school that remained was demolished or burned to the ground. At night fires glowed eerily throughout the smoke-filled valley. During the day bulldozers finished off whatever stone walls, chimneys and smoldering timbers remained. Trucks hauled away human remains disinterred from cemeteries and family graveyards. This is the story of Cannonsville – the Community, the Taking and the Reservoir.

A Catskill Carnival:  My Borscht Belt Life, Lived, Lost and Loved
Based on the new book of the same name by author Bart A. Charlow
Sunday, February 11, 2 p.m. Virtual Only

charlow hotel.jpg

A Catskill Carnival: My Borscht Belt Life Lived, Lost and Loved, is a memoir of Bart Charlow’s early years growing up in the Irvington Hotel, coming to terms with it and cherishing its life lessons. Bart describes memories of his youth, the hotel scene and more. It takes you behind the scenes where life was tough, turbulent, and alternately warm and hard. This is the real Borscht Belt, told by a 3rd generation insider with no illusionsSet during the Golden Era of the Borscht Belt, learn how it flourished and faltered, how it felt to watch the life you knew and your livelihood fall apart, and how to pick it all up again in new ways. The dying embers of a life that was never before and will never be again.

Admission to both VIRTUAL ONLY programs are FREE for Museum Members and $5 for non-members. To join either program, please register by email at [email protected] and put Cannonsville Talk or Borscht Belt Talk (or both!) in the subject line, or call 845 985-7700. A link will be sent to you.  Non-members will be asked to please first make a donation on the Museum’s website:  www.timeandthevalleysmuseum. org. For more information please email or call me.  Hope to see you!

We have LOTS of super virtual and in person programs coming up this year on genealogy, fly fishing, Native Americans, 18th century herb use, Camp Woodland folk music, 19th century-style baseball game and more!  If you aren’t already, please become a member to receive FREE PROGRAM ADMISSION, our Around the Reservoirs newsletter, free admission to many other museums in New York and lots of other benefits.  Go to timeandthevalleysmuseum.org/support/membership to join.

Did you know that our virtual programs are recorded and on our website and Youtube?  Programs on geology, Frederick Cook, forestry, covered bridges, glaciers, American Revolution, NYC water system, tanning industry and so, so much more. Take advantage of a snowy day to hop on our website, choose a subject you are interested in and spend an afternoon exploring Catskill history!

Member James Ayers of Kerhonkson has been doing research for the Museum for many years and comes up with such interesting things.  I was going through my files last week and saw an email from Jim of information from an article in the Townsman, 1962.  This article listed costs from an account book owned by Isaac Hill, an “old timer” over in Denning.  Below are some costs from 1850 and (sigh) what they cost today. 

                                                            1850                          Today

Butter            18 pounds                $3                               $72 ($4 lb)

Cloth              2 yards                      $1.25                         $10 ($5 yard)

Beef                92 pounds               $3.68                         $460  ($5 lb)

Mutton          1 pound                   $   .10                         $10.00

Thanks Jim!

Here is an eye opening bit of information from the book Time and the Valley, page 54-55:

…a hired girl put in a long day and a long week….. when she was past ninety, Lancy Hall (Mrs. Burgoyne Knight) told how hard she worked as a young woman:

“Once I worked in a boarding house at the tannery where there were 36 boarders.  I baked fourteen loves of rye bread every day and used a barrel of flour a week.  I made six pies and two cakes every day……Often I fell asleep on the bed before I finished undressing and did not wake until the bell rang for me at four o’clock in the morning….for work like that I got seventy five cents a week.”

“We can guess how long the working days were.  Mary Moore Sheeley, granddaughter of early settler Anthony Schwab, told this writer about her mother working as a young girl before she married Abraham Moore.  She was employed by the Andros family at the Eureka mill, and every morning she was called at four o’clock.    

Eureka mill.jpg

Her employer banged on the kitchen stove pipe which ran through her sleeping room, to let her know it was time to get breakfast for the hands.”

It was a hard life. 

Collections Assistant Ashley Lawrence finds such interesting things while working on the Museum archives.  Here is another photo and some information she wants to share with you:

wakefield rr.jpg

This great photo is part of the Manville Wakefield collection. Mr. Wakefield was the author of the book “To Mountain By Rails”. This book gives people an insight into Sullivan County during the time period of the New York and Ontario Railroad System (1873-1957). The picture here is of the Liberty Falls Trestle. Liberty Falls is now Ferndale, New York. The engine on the trestle has the characteristics of No. 4 the first homemade Mother Hubbard. This train consists of three milk cars and a combine. Underneath the trestle kids are playing on the Tannery Pond. All that is pictured here is no longer standing. Mr. Manville’s collection shows us how the hands of time have the utmost control on how things change. 

Speaking of time, do you have a little free time?  We are seeking help with so many projects!  Video editing, working with students, scanning photos and documents, researching, organizing and so much more.  If you have some time and a little talent you would like to share, please email me at [email protected] to find out more.  We really need the help!

How do you keep busy over the winter?  It can be difficult if you live in the northeast.  Join us for a virtual program or make an appointment to visit the Museum this winter – it would be nice to see you!

Until next time,