The history of the North Mountain Fresh Air Home

Contributed photoNorth Mountain Fresh Air Home, Haines Falls.

History on the beginning of the North Mt. Fresh Air Home for children of New York. It took some years to find information on the Fresh Air Home and I’m pleased to share it with you.

August 19, 1889, Kingston Daily Freeman

A 132-year-old news article said that many areas throughout the Catskills helped to care for over 8,703 kids during the year. The 1889 Tribune’s Fresh Air Fund was up to approximately $20,000, about $585,000.00 today. Tidbit: Since its beginning in 1877, The Fresh Air Fund has provided life-changing summer camp adventures to low-income families from New York City’s underserved communities. (Information is from the Fresh-Air Fund website).

An Episcopal Church booklet written in 1900, “Journal of the Annual Convention of the Diocese of New York,” (volume 115), had pertinent information relating to the Fresh Air Home. “The contributions to our Fresh Air Fund were more than liberal, and we were more than ever sensible, last summer, of the value of such a fund in view of the extraordinary heat which for much of the season oppressed the city, and laid its heaviest burden upon children of poverty. Two hundred and thirty-seven beneficiaries were sheltered at North Mountain Home near Haines Falls, mostly for a week and a half, and we are glad to report not only that the rent was inexpensive and railroad fare greatly reduced, that special sums amounting to $269.67 (around $8500 today) were received in aid of the Home from sympathetic friends in the neighborhood, chiefly in Onteora Park and Twilight Park.”

A Colonial and Twentieth-Century fair was planned to take place on Friday and Saturday, August 15, and 16, 1902, from 2 pm to 6 pm. Music by the talented Hensonville Band would be there for entertainment. The event was to help raise funds to purchase the property of the North Mountain Home where they had been renting. It was perfectly located as a summer refuge for fresh air children from city tenements, located at the north end of today’s Legg Road in Haines Falls. Rev. Dr. George F. Nelson, supertendent of the New York City Mission Society was happy with the home they’d been renting and felt it was an ideal spot. This is the eleventh season of work of providing outings for N. Y. C. kids.

“Gifts of money or articles for sale at the fair may be left with W. B. DeCamp, at the Haines Falls House, or with the Postmaster at Haines Falls, A. L. Kerr.” The A New York Times article said the donations could be left with Misses Bennett, Sandyhurst, Twilight; or with Miss L. Chauncey, Wilwood, in Onteora.

Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt sent good wishes and a handkerchief as a donation. Tiffany’s, Lord & Taylor, and Huyler also sent baseballhunterhudonations.

The August 23, 1902 Brookly Life posted a follow-up one line mention of the event, “On Friday and Saturday a very successful fair was held on the grounds of the Haines Falls House for the benefit of the Fresh Air children of North Mountian Home.” No amount of revenue raised was stated.

August 6, 1905, Brooklyn Daily Eagle

“From a social standpoint, the most important event next week will be the bazaar to benefit the North Mountain Fresh Air Home in Haines Falls.”

The bazaar is to be held on the grounds of Mrs. S. P. Scott of Sunset Park, and it involves cottagers from Onteora, Elka, Twilight, Santa Cruz, and Sunset Parks. It is expected to be attended by large groups of boarders from the vicinity of Tannersville and Haines Falls.

The affair will be under the supervision of Archdeacon Nelson of the North Mountain Fresh Air Home. The patronesses include the Misses Bennett of

(The following Patronesses’ names are all listed for research purposes).

The Twilight, Sunset, and Santa Cruz Park Patronesses of this fair were: Mrs. Henry Y. Satterlee, Mrs. G. W. Wingate, Mrs. Charles Wingate, Mrs. Richard Lathers, Mrs. W. H. cope, Miss Bennett, Miss Josephine Bennett, Mrs. Albert E. Hamilton, Mrs. Charles C. Whitney, Mrs. Emily Rushmore, Mrs. C. A. Clegg, Mrs. Stephen Percy Sturges, Mrs. W. S. Gould, Mrs. S.C.F. Dodd, Miss C. M. Culbertson, Miss J.A. Johnson, Mrs. S. S. Packard, Mrs. A. F. Huston, Mrs. Morris Lee King, Mrs. Frederick Hutton, Miss S. M. Riggs, Miss Minnie Dwight, Mrs. A. C. blunt, Miss Julia Mathews, Mrs. Aldrich.

The Onteora Club Patronesses were: Mrs. Charles Howland Russell, Mrs. Mary Mapes Dodge, Mrs. D. D. Williamson, Mrs. Tunis G. Bergen, Mrs. Candace Wheeler, Miss Chauncey, Miss Leland, Mrs. Roudinot Kieth, Mrs. William Tasen Tilden, Mrs. George A. Reid, Mrs, Cornelius Runkle, Miss Bertha Runkle, Mrs. E. C. Copelin, Mrs. Nathaniel B. Day, and Mrs. E. J. Hall.

Elka Park was not mentioned; possibly, they didn’t participate in the day but most likely were just left out of the announcement.

The Haines Falls House Patronesses were: Mrs. Charles W. Haines (owner of the Haines Falls House), Mrs. Cleveland Dunn (property owner directly north of the lower entrance to Twilight), Mrs. W. B. DeCamp (W. B. DeCamp managed the Hotel), and Mrs. A. V. Frost.

The Haines Falls Patronesses were: Mrs. J. R. Dixon, Mrs. C. C. Wasson, Mrs. John Stanton, Miss M. E. Holiday, Mrs. S. F. Harrison, Mrs. Mildeburger, Mrs. de Joly de Sable.

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