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Town of Hunter Tidbits: A continuation of stories written by 7th and 8th-grade students

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Catskill Mts., N.Y., Hotel Kaaterskill.
April 11, 2018 11:42 am Updated: April 11, 2018 12:02 pm

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.

HOTEL KAATERSKILL

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

JOHN BURROUGHS

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

boulders

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

By Allison

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 townofhunterhistorian@yahoo.com 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.