Founded in 1798, Windham is nestled in a mountain valley 130 miles north of New York City in the Catskill Mountains. Hemlock trees, needed for tanning leather, and farming were the economic base for the first settlers. In 1819, Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” ignited the curiosity of the public, who would be drawn to Windham’s enchanting valleys and mountain peaks. Later, in the mid-19th century, the Hudson River School of painting presented the stunning beauty of the mountains through the works of world-famous artists such as Thomas Cole and Frederic Church. After the Civil War, steam-powered boats on the Hudson River transported the vacationing public in massive waves to Windham’s boardinghouses, fueling an economic prosperity for well over 100 years. Following the summer tourism trade, skiing, outdoor recreation, and a burgeoning art community have become the bedrock of the town’s economy. Around Windham presents a view of the area through historical images from local residents.
About the Author
Roy Davis, in conjunction with the Windham Historical Society, strives to preserve the history of Windham. His ancestors were original settlers to the area, and he grew up in Windham. He is president of the Windham Historical Society.