This week will be a continuation of the historical stories written by the students in the seventh and eighth grades at the Platte Clove Community School. I hope you appreciate (as much as I did) reading about the student’s insight of the different areas of our history.
By Ike Blough, eighth grade
Although Hotel Kaaterskill only lasted 43 years, it was a prominent resort for the rich and famous of New York in the late 1800s.
It all started when Mr. Harding was on holiday at the Catskill Mountain House and asked the waiter for some fried chicken for his daughter’s diet — although it was not on the menu. Mr. Beach, the owner, refused and said, “If you don’t like what I’m offering, go build your own hotel.”
Mr. Harding, not to be out done, took him up on it and started to build almost immediately.
At the top of South Mountain, over-looking North and South Lakes, 1 mile from the Catskill Mountain House, Harding drew up the plans. In 1880, he hired 100s of carpenters, plumbers and electricians to build the largest wood frame building in the world.
His hotel was equipped with enough rooms for 1,100 guests. The apartments had chandeliers, plush beds, and chair, and guests could order any food or drink desired. There was even a train that brought guests right up to the hotel. As Harding hoped, Hotel Kaaterskill stole tons of the guests that would have been otherwise gone to the Catskill Mountain House.
Unfortunately, after only four decades of business, a fire started in the kitchen and soon engulfed the entire building. People say they could see it for 50 miles.HOTEL KAATERSKILL
By Ike Blough
If you’re feeling rather ill
Go to Hotel Kaaterskill
Built in the age of horse and stage,
Huge and wood
Strong and good
Had gallon drink and more
Beds so plush
Toilets that flush
Fashionable lights galore
The switch by the door.
Sky so blue
Hudson Valley view
Train to the stage
Among escarpment trail
In snow, rain or hail
Forty-three years it did run
The night under the setting sun
By Allison, grade 7
John is sitting under an oak tree
Oriels are singing overhead
High in the trees birds are singing
Never will you find something more beautiful
than sitting and enjoying nature.
Bears and a cub lumber by
Under the shadow of the oak tree John sits and
Takes in every movement and sound
Rocky cliffs jut out from mountain peaks
Towering above the rolling hills
Roaring waterfalls pummel foaming over mossy
On a rock sits a chipmunk his cheeks bulging
Up the mountain I can see an enormous buck
Thinking he’s the king of the world
Gone is the stench and the bustle of the city, just
The quiet trickling of a stream nearby and the
Smell of rich dirt and wild flowers
High in the birch tree sits the cuckoo telling everyone it’s soon night
Shhh night is falling, soon you’ll hear the crickets chirping.
John Burroughs was an American writer and naturalist who wrote about the Catskills.
Burroughs was born April 3, 1837, in Roxbury, New York, near Slide Mountain. He grew up on a farm working, reading and studying.
Later, he became a teacher and farmer. He enjoyed writing about birds, flowers, nature and outdoor life.
Because his wife, Ursula, was often bossy and nagging him, he built a log office he named Slab sides. Slab sides was in West Park on the Hudson River and is still there.
Burroughs’ writing made the public start to appreciate the wildness, especially the Catskills.
John died in 1921 and was buried on his 84th birthday by Boyhood Rock on old Chimp Mountain in Roxbury.
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed the accuracies of these wonderful stories. I thank the students for their commitment to our town and their willingness to share their articles. We will continue next week with the remainder of the student’s history articles. Any comments or concerns please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 518-589-4130.
Have a really good day. Until next week, take care, be thankful and be kind. You never know how your act of kindness may change someone’s life. Thank you for sharing this Chris. Dede Terns-Thorpe.