Getting up on my soap box and remembering Mill Street

Happy Father’s Day! In this time of social distancing, some use it as an excuse to not get together. Others find a way around it to be with those they love. I had a lovely Saturday dinner with Rosie and her family. Anthony and Tricia LoPresti came up from Newburg and David stopped in for dinner to celebrate with Pops (John). We sat on the porch and enjoyed chicken parm together. A great family dinner can still be held.

Again with the weather. One day we’re freezing, the next we can’t go out because of the heat. Not enough rain, although we’ve been promised it. Maybe next week.

Turkeys are coming for food. Looking out the window at Rosie’s, we were watching a turkey strutting its way to the birdseed. I’m glad restaurants are reopening so there will be more food for the wildlife.

If you need to sell on Main Street, the Masons can now let you have a space. Call Bob Rhodes.

A wonderful Celebration of the Life of Ewe was held at the Masonic Temple on Saturday with the full Masonic Ritual.

The first Prayer and Praise was held at the Ashland Town Park on Saturday evening and was very well attended. Next week, it will be held at 7 p.m. on Sunday at C D Lane Park in Maplecrest. All are welcome.

The Lexington Methodist Church is planning a service to welcome the new pastor, Amy Royal, on July 5 at the Lexington Municipal Building. Call Betty Hapeman for time and additional details.

Hope Restoration Christian Fellowship is starting their tent services which begin at 11 a.m. On June 28, the speaker is Pastor Cool and July 5, Pastor Mike Servello.

Prayers for all who have had surgery and medical procedures and a wish for speedy recoveries. Special intention for Anthony and Tricia LoPresti and best friend Becky who will be needing a lot of support.


As you read last week, we are now at the corner of Mill and Main. Having lost the Blue Moon to fire, it is now Todaro’s.

But, before I get into the explanation of Mill Street, I have to step up on my soap box.

For years, I have bemoaned the loss of businesses on the Mountain Top, and have been asking why we can’t get more up here. We have no industry, no big box stores, all have been nixed....the only explanation is that it is a tourist area and industry would detract from the beauty. The attractions that we do have are not only down the mountain (Zoom Flume, Carson City, Game Farm) or Vidbel’s Circus which is Where??? This year, everything is closed, because of the pandemic. We were also told we could not support a business like Steifels (now Sensodyne toothpaste), because of environmental concerns. We couldn’t even get a Dollar General here because it wouldn’t fit. Yet, you can put up a million dollar home, tear down our trees for the view, and let us look at that.

Mill Street got its name because of the number of mills that used the stream next to it for power.

The Windham Gristmill was built by Bennett Osborn and Abijah Stone about 1810. It later became a paper mill, then a furnace or foundry, and the famous Newburgh Printing Press was made there. In 1883, the building was thoroughly rebuilt and became a gristmill, once again, remaining in business until 1910.

There were several other mills in operation, also a button factory, a linen collar factory, a paper mill, cotton mill, a mill making small wooden boxes for shaving soap, a chair factory, a cooperage, a marble and granite shop.

The famous carpetbag was made here for several years. Windham had a booming economy. Goods were shipped out using teamsters, horse drawn wagons, bringing the goods to the river port of Catskill.

Now, with mass transit, we have the means to ship goods, but no factories. I made a quick list of what we had.

We had 4 car dealers: Ford, Oldsmobile, Buick and Chevy. We had Miller Brothers’ department store where we could shop for clothes, and sundries. We had several grocery stores, Mom and Pop stores, plus the Victory market.

Maybe with people moving up here because of the virus, and with reliable internet coming to us, we will be able to rejuvenate the area so we can shop locally again.

I am having special company over Fourth of July, so won’t be writing my column. Have a Wonderful, Safe Fourth. Have a cookout with your family. Make it a true holiday.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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