A bit of history on the town of Hunter from 1952: the following is taken from the 1952 book, “The Rip Van Winkle Trail — Guide To The Catskills” written by Eric Posselt and published by the Arrowhead Press, of Haines Falls.
The date of the book sparked my interest this week after I was asked a historical question pertaining to the 1950s. I had to catch myself as my first thought was, “1955 is not history.” Then I soon realized, it certainly was!
Eric Posselt’s wife, Era Posselt, was the librarian at the Haines Falls Free Library at the time of Justine Hommel’s (Mountain Top Historical Society founder) employment there. Justine frequently talked of how much she learned from Mrs. Posselt. Justine admired Posselt’s ability in authoring many children’s books (at least seven) and including in those books her deep love for all living creatures: squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, deer and many others.
This week, it is my honor to share sections of Eric Posselt’s book with the readers. The history in this 68-year-old book is interesting to the young, but more-so to those who lived through those years.
The first part of the book will be about the village of Hunter: “The friendly village is calling you, calling you to spend your vacation in the village of Hunter” — This was the motto of the Hunter Civic Association.
Eric Posselt told his readers the village was only 4.1 miles from Tannersville and 125 miles from New York City. He described it as an idyllic village in the shadow of Colonel’s Chair and Hunter Mountain.
Hunter, almost 70 years later, is still very much a part of Colonel’s Chair and Hunter Mountain. The town of Hunter continues to have a connection with Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl’s skiing and popular festivals. The Posselt’s 1950 history of the village of Hunter:
Hunter’s mayor was Herman Boyarsky; Joseph Theil, justice of the peace; two unnamed trustees; and several constables. The Hunter Civic Association president was Harry Gordon. Hunter Fire Company is headed by Alex Howard, with Hunter Postmaster Robert A. Dolan. Walter (Bub) Lowerre was the Hunter town supervisor.
Hunter had bathing, camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, riding and all other sports. Hunter had first-rate hotels, boarding houses and excellent stores and restaurants. Posselt also had an ad in his book that Hunter was “A Haven for Hay Fever Sufferers.”
The village had a weekly paper of its own, The Mountain Top News with Monroe Solodar, editor and publisher. Hunter had a Free Public Library (Irene Can Horn, librarian) that was (and still is) open to both permanent and transient residents.
It is interesting that 65 years ago, the village of Hunter was the host of the following businesses:
n 27 hotel and boarding houses
n 22 houses, rooms and cottages
n 7 children’s camps: Camp Beecher; Jened; Schoharie; Stony Clove; Mayfair; Meadowbrook; and Loyaltown. Camp Loyaltown is still functioning today.
n 1 physician (Dr. David Rodier), 1 chiropractor (Russell Decker), 1 veterinarian (A. Chamberlain, D.V.M.) and Willis Baldwin and son (John A. Aston), a licensed mortician.
n 1 indoor and 1 outdoor movie, both owned by the Klein Brothers.
n 9 eating establishments.
n 38 stores and services: furniture store (Willis Baldwin), markets (Robbie Terns) and (Henry Muller), department stores (Irving Schwimmer), steam laundry (Milton Zalaznick), clothing store (Louis Sharfstein) a bakery (Irving Zinn), a dry cleaner (Don Nicholls), souvenir store (George Gardner), building supplies (G.R. Ham), Otto Gordon’s Hunter Coal Company, electrical appliances (Jack Goldstein), grocer (Henry Muller), fish store (A. Peskowitz), meat market (Benny Sandorf), shoe repair shop (Paul Chimato), Windham National Bank, Hunter branch, and the Victory Chain (D.W. Tuttle, manager).
n 1 barber shop (Henry Schlee), and 1 beauty parlor: JoJane Beauty Mart (Josie Decker).
n Garages and service stations: Dib’s Service Station, Fisher’s Garage, Pond’s
n 5 taxis (Nick Chimato, Sol Cohen, Theodore Higgins, Miller’s Taxi and Clarence Simons).
n 2 bus stops: Adirondack Trailways and Greyhound.
Posselt goes on to discuss fishing in the Schoharie, hiking to the Devil’s Path, and the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower trail up Becker Trail. He explained the Shanty Hollow Trail, beginning on Fleisig Avenue, at some point changed to Klein Avenue.
Posselt also mentioned Top’s Lake, stating it was formerly called Dolan’s Lake. Interesting the name reverted to Dolan’s Lake at some point. Hopefully, that date will become known.
I hope you enjoyed this bit of history from a true historian in his own right, Eric Posselt. Please, any comments or concerns contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 518-589-4130.
Until next week, take care, and be kind. You never know how your act of kindness may change someone’s life.
Thanks for reading, and have a really good week. — Dede Terns-Thorpe