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Catskill Village, New York (Images of America Series)

Catskill Village, New York (Images of America Series)

by Richard Philp

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Catskill Village has deep roots in the long human history of the Hudson River Valley, from its native population who greeted Henry Hudson on his voyage upriver in 1609 to its early settlers. Today’s village is located on the commercially advantageous landing on the Hudson River. In 1802, the Susquehanna Turnpike opened the village to the expanding western


Catskill Village has deep roots in the long human history of the Hudson River Valley, from its native population who greeted Henry Hudson on his voyage upriver in 1609 to its early settlers. Today’s village is located on the commercially advantageous landing on the Hudson River. In 1802, the Susquehanna Turnpike opened the village to the expanding western frontier, and Catskill Village became one of the most prominent commercial ports on the Hudson River. Local trades such as shipbuilding, tanning, farming, brickmaking, fishing, and tourism flourished. By the mid-20th century, the long era of prosperity had faded, only to rise phoenixlike in the past decade with an infusion of young professionals, artists, craftsmen, merchants, and those determined to save and restore the village’s exceptionally rich architectural heritage.

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From the Publisher

Title: ‘Catskill Village’ storming shelves

Author: Colin DeVries

Publisher: The Daily Mail

Date: 5/16/09

The anticipated followup work to his Catskill Bicentennial treatise, local historian Richard Philp’s “Catskill Village” is set to hit bookshelves everywhere on Monday, May 18.

The latest pictorial history in the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing, “Catskill Village” provides a lucid portrait of years gone by. The 128-page book — the product of 800 scanned images — features hundreds of historical images and photos, depicting the metamorphosis of a community through the centuries.

“There is a continuity of progress to the book,” said Philp during a phone interview.

Accompanying each image are precious nuggets of historical enlightenment in the form of captions, which Philp says link together to tell a complete story of the village.

“The text is a kind of running narrative,” said Philp, “which is kind of the challenge to this.”

Over 20,000 words were created to accompany photos from 11 private collections, including Philp’s own vast collection which he amassed over his 39 years as a resident of Catskill.

Divided into nine chapters, the book depicts a busy, industrial Catskill with its influx of commercial steamships as well as day and evening liners delivering curious visitors from New York City.

The book also contrasts architectural structures as they have morphed over the years, with sentimental commentaries on the unique architectural creations which have been lost to time.

To Philp, each photo tells two stories. Not just of that which is depicted — transporting viewers to a different time and incarnation of the place — but also of how each precious image was attained for the book.

One photo in particular — which Philp claims is one of the most important in the book — was found almost haphazardly in an old dusty drawer full of tintypes: an undated, never-before-published picture of Maria Bartow Cole, the widow of world-renowned local painter Thomas Cole.

While visiting his mother in Florida, Philp recalled, he went to visit family friend Edith Cole Silberstein, the great granddaughter of Thomas Cole, and was told he should take a look in an old drawer full of photos, maybe there was something that tickled his fancy.

“I saw all these loose pictures, stacks of them,” said Philp. “And found this picture of what looked like one of the sons, and then discovered: ‘That’s Cole’s widow!’”

The dark, grainy, 2 inch by 1 inch tintype featured Thomas Cole II sitting — appearing as a teenager — with his mother, Maria Bartow Cole, standing beside him wearing widow weeds. Though the shot was undated, Philp estimates it was taken around 1864.

Philp said that the quality of the image was horrendous when he found it, but was impressed with what Arcadia Publishing was able to do to restore it.

“They would get images from me that I thought they wouldn’t use,” he said. “It was Photoshop that made it all possible.”

Philp also hopes that the release of this book will provide a renewed awareness about the community and its historic roots.

“I think people have lost the knowledge of what Catskill was at one time,” he said. “It was such a prosperous, progressive community and I think that’s part of my message here. I think that it’s returning somewhat, not with industry but with the arts among other things.”

Booksignings of “Catskill Village” are planned in the coming weeks and months, where copies will be personalized by the author himself. Here is a list of upcoming signings:

n Hope Farm Press and Bookshop, 15 Jane St., Saugerties - Sunday, May 17 from 1 to 3 p.m.

n Van Gorden & Company, 371 Main St., Catskill - Friday, May 22 from 12 to 2 p.m.

n Barnes and Noble, 1177 Ulster Ave., Kingston - Saturday, June 6 from 1 to 3 p.m.

n Hood & Company, 432 Main St., Catskill - Saturday, June 13 during Second Saturday Stroll

Copies of the book will also be available online at www.arcadiapublishing.com or by calling (888) 313-2665. The book is priced at $21.99.

Title: ‘Catskill Village’ hits shelves this spring

Author: Colin DeVries

Publisher: The Register Star Online

Date: 12/29/08

The much anticipated follow-up to the popular bicentennial chronicle, “Village: A Bicentennial Celebration of the Village of Catskill,” will be hitting bookstore shelves everywhere this spring.

“Catskill Village,” a profound pictorial history of a critical Hudson River community, provides readers with a visual of a rustic Catskill community decades before the turn of the 20th century.

The 127-plus-page pictorial account is part of The Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing and will join other locally relevant books in the series, such as “Around Greene County and the Catskills,” co-authored by the late Greene County Historian Raymond Beecher, and “Catskill Hotels” by Irwin Richman.

“Catskill Village” is the product of Richard Philp, town and village historian of Catskill, and was done in response to the wild popularity of the 2006 account, “Village: A Bicentennial Celebration of the Village of Catskill (1806-2006).”

According to Philp, $10,000 of “Village” books were sold in just three days during the summer of 2006 from a card table set up outside of the Heart of Catskill Association office on Main Street.

After that kind of success the market for Catskill history was evident. And Philp got a contract.

About a year ago, Philp says, he got the contract to put together “Catskill Village,” and now the final product is ready for publication — well, almost ready. Once Philp finishes putting red pen to paper on the galley proofs the book will be ready for production. It will be released just in time for the 400th anniversary celebration of Henry Hudson’s voyage up the river that bears his name.

To put together the pictorial chronicle, Philp said he scanned about 800 historic photographs of the village of Catskill from private collections of current Catskill residents. Among those collections: the Patrick Walsh collection, the Art Hamm collection, the Robert Carl collection, Philp’s own personal collection, and others.

A total of 204 photos have been used for the book, accompanied by 20,000 of Philp’s words.

The book is categorized by neighborhoods, celebrations, working shots, accommodations, disastrous mishaps, and others.

The oldest photo included in the book is the well-known 1846 portrait of Thomas Cole. Most of the photos, Philp says, are from 1890 and 1920, all in their original black and white brilliance.

“It’s an enormous relief to having this thing finally finished,” said Philp. “A book like this has not been done since ... ‘Dear Old Greene County’ ... This is a big deal, this book.”

“Dear Old Greene County,” by F. A. Gallt, was published in 1915 and is one of the most thorough accounts of Greene County municipalities to date.

“Catskill Village” will be available at Barnes and Noble, Borders, Brentano’s Books, and online at www.arcadiapublishing.com in the spring. It will also be available at various shops in Catskill.

Philp says a book like this provides a golden opportunity for Catskill to show others around the country, and the world, just how wonderfully rich the riverfront community of Catskill really is.

Philp’s next goal is find financial backing to bring back the successful publication, “Village: A Bicentennial Celebration of the Village of Catskill.”

Product Details

Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date:
Images of America Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author

Journalist, columnist, historian, and author of seven books, Richard Philp is editor-in-chief emeritus of Dance Magazine in New York City. He has had a home in Catskill for about 40 years, where he is both the village historian and the town historian. Here he has gathered photographs spanning the years 1860 to the present from his own collection, as well as the collections of other local historians.

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