Continued from last week.
“Jews were often faced with barriers when trying to escape the congested urban confines of New York City. Yet, in the mountains, Jews were free from the threat of anti-Semitism, as many hotel owners were Jewish. Those that were not quickly realized that it simply did not make economic sense to ban Jews because they represented a potential source of income. The Catskill region, therefore, represented a place where Jews could partake in the distinctly American concepts of leisure and consumption while still maintaining their religious practices.”
From A Lost Land: The Jewish Experience in The Catskill Mountains” by Briana Mark, Union College, 2011.
The Cold Spring House was the first Jewish hotel in the Village of Tannersville. Leopold Bieber, the proprietor, openly advertised that he was a kosher establishment; his accommodations were reasonable, and his rates relatively high. The Hotel Waverly, built as a Jewish Hotel, was near the present Tops Grocery site at 6350 Main Street but closer to the highway. It was an early Kosher resort with a large following of Russian immigrants. It would have been directly north of the Anshi Hashoran Synagogue until 1918, when the Synagogue was moved. When it burned in 1960, an Armenian concern owned it.
The Blythewood, a large hotel built close to 155 Spruce Street (Platte Clove Road), was a Christian hotel for many years. It later, under the ownership of Mrs. Frieda Sussman, became a kosher establishment. The Hathaway Lodge, formerly the home of Annabeth and Manny Showers (then the Onteora Park Superintendent), later became a Jewish-American resort. Tidbit: The Hathaway was built by the Everett Macy family in 1905 and looks as good today as postcards from 115 years ago. The Grandview House (on the south side of Ski Bowl Rd., close to the intersection of route 214), built-in 1893 by Simon Epstein, began a new wave on the Mountain Top; there was a niche for the “high-class Jewish trade of clothiers, furriers, and textile men.”
The Grandview burned in 1929 and was quickly re-built by Isaac Gordon as The New Grand View Hotel. It was one of Hunter’s largest kosher hotels and located near route 214 (opposite 300 Ski Bowl Road) in Hunter.
The Catskill Mountain House was sold to Milo Claude Moseman, the guardian of the “White Castle in the Sky,” for its last 30 years of its life. In 1932, Moseman leased the C.M.H. to the Andron brothers, who operated it as a kosher hotel for the ten-year lease period.
The two Jewish synagogues in Tannersville, the Anshi Hashoran and the Congregation Talmud Torah, merged in 1920. The Anshi Hashoran was built on the south side of Main St, close to the western village line of Tannersville. In 1918, Mr. James Wiltse, husband of Leah Wiltse, Hunter Town Historian, with logs and horses, moved the Synagogue to its present site near 38 South Main Street.
There were also two Synagogues in the Village of Hunter, one built by Harry Fischel (Fischel Synagogue built-in 1905), and the other a more traditional Eastern European Synagogue (Kol Kol Yisroyal [meaning Voice of Israel], completed in 1914). From Field Horne, published in 1994, “The Greene County Catskills, a History.”