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Steve Hoare, Black Dome Press: 1-800-513-9013, blackdomep@aol.com

649 Delaware Ave. Delmar, NY 12054, blackdomepress.com, 1-800-513-9013

Friends of Historic Kingston: 845.339.0720, www.fohk.org


Celebrating Three Centuries of 

Ulster County’s Architectural Heritage 

Join author William B. Rhoads and the Friends of Historic Kingston at the premiere of the new book 

Ulster County, New York, The Architectural History & Guide

A historical guide to 325 sites in all 20 Ulster County townships and the city of Kingston

“In a world roiled by constant motion, and dislocation, and hardship, our fond places can provide a longed-for sense of steadiness, and contentment. Professor Rhoads’s careful work affords us this perception.

Joan K. Davidson, former Commissioner, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation 

About the Book 

The 325 sites author William B. Rhoads explores in Ulster County, New York display the variety and changing architectural styles that have appeared over nearly 300 years in the Hudson River Valley and Catskill Mountains, from 17th-century Dutch limestone houses of the colonial era, through the Federal and Victorian periods, up to the Modernist architecture of the mid-1950s.

The architecture reflects the history, tracing the evolution of one of the first regions in today’s New York State to be settled by Europeans. Dutch and French Huguenot villages and homesteads of the 1600s form the core of today’s Kingston New Paltz, and Hurley, surrounded by the structures built by their descendants and later immigrants—the English, Irish, Italians, and scores of other ethnic and national groups—as Ulster County rose from the ashes of the American Revolution and became an important commercial center, with bustling ports on the Hudson River, the booming 19th-century “Empire State’s” first superhighway. Everywhere one looks in Ulster County there are vestiges of the past—abandoned cement mines, locks of the old D&H Canal, idle railroad depots, the ghostly shell of a grand old hotel that never opened to the public. And there is the “living history” as well, the structures built by previous generations that are still vital today, like the Mohonk Mountain House and the hundreds of other historic buildings representing nearly every American architectural style from 1660 to 1950 that remain private homes, libraries, schools, houses of worship, or have been converted into museums.

Grand mountain hotels and baronial hunting lodges are represented in Ulster County, New York, but so also are the modest homes of the poor and the middle class. Author Rhoads’s concept of architectural heritage is broad and all-encompassing. There are bridges and cemeteries, a “school-bus house” and a vacation resort composed largely of retired Kingston trolley cars. There are rotting huckleberry pickers’ shacks, the bizarre but creative cabins of hermits and eccentrics, side by side some of America’s most influential art colonies, “Gilded Age” mansions, and dozens of buildings on the National Register including the National Historic Landmark District in New Paltz and the National Register Historic District of Cragsmoor.

The text is enlivened with the histories of the owners, the architects and the builders, as well as the social and historical context within which the structures were built. Ulster County, New York is a monumental work, the culmination of the author’s lifetime study of the Hudson Valley’s cultural history.

About the Author

William B. Rhoads is a professor emeritus of art history at SUNY New Paltz, where he taught from 1970 to 2005. His publications include studies of Colonial Revival architecture and Franklin Roosevelt’s sponsorship of architecture and art. Rhoads’s Kingston, New York: The Architectural History & Guide was published by Black Dome Press in 2003.

Praise for Ulster County, New York: The Architectural History & Guide

The book in your hand will serve as a most excellent guide, and for the armchair browsing the author recommends, a rich history. It is a meticulous, thoughtful and charming account of the structures of Ulster County—of the Empire State’s sixty-two counties one of the most historic and bountiful. Joan K. Davidson, President, Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, and former Commissioner of NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Truly a tour de force for the touring (or armchair) fan of architecture and regional history, this book presents, town by town, the extraordinary quality and diversity of a county’s built environment. Professor Rhoads provides a notable public service in bringing into focus a glorious gallimaufry of landmarks, from settler’s stone cottage to tycoon’s mansion and wilderness camp, from river lighthouse to one-room school, from castle-like prison and vast waterworks to sumptuous church and art colony, from cast-iron storefront to modernist glass house. Prodigiously researched and richly illustrated, the brief entries are nevertheless written with a light touch; through the often colorful snapshots of builders and architects and what they wrought, we view the evolution of building types and styles and indeed the whole economic and social development of a region. John Winthrop Aldrich, former NYS Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation

Equally suited to armchair or passenger seat, William Rhoads’s guide serves to enchant and inform readers and adventurers alike. This comprehensive review of Ulster County’s architecture from the colonial era through the 1950s runs the gamut from diners and drive-ins to country estates and riverfront monasteries. With extensive details about owners and builders as well as architectural styles and significance, it also gives the reader a glimpse into the county’s social history. This is a guide that surpasses the traditional necessities ‘where’ and ‘what’ and arrives at the ‘why’ of these treasures. Christopher Pryslopski, Associate Editor, The Hudson River Valley Revie

Ulster County, New York: The Architectural

History & Guide by William B. Rhoads, paperback, 7 x 10, 376 pages, 340 illustrations, isbn: 9781883789701, $24.95

BLACK DOME PRESS, 649 Delaware Ave., Delmar, NY 12054, 1.800.513.9013, blackdomepress.com,

e-mail: blackdomep@aol.com


Date: November 3, 2011 


Contact: Weston Blelock

Phone: 845.679.8111 

Email: wblelock@woodstockarts.com

Spoken Words of War and Remembrance

Historical Society Honors Area Veterans

Woodstock, NY—On Saturday, November 12, the Historical Society of Woodstock (HSW) and the Woodstock Poetry Society are co-presenting a special Veterans Day reading at the Eames House on 20 Comeau Drive. Featured ex-service readers will include Jay Wenk, Walt Nygard and Dayl Wise. The HSW portion of the program will run from 12:30 to 2 pm. From 2 to 4 pm the Woodstock Poetry Society will host readings by Matt Spireng and Suzanne Cleary.

Veterans Day began as Armistice Day. It marked the end of World War I and has evolved as a day to honor all who have served our country. Jay Wenk, a current town board member, cabinet-maker and a founder of Veterans for Peace, will discuss his memories of World War II and read from his book Study War No More: A Jewish Kid From Brooklyn Fights the Nazis. Next up will be Walt Nygard, a United States Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, Okinawa and the Philippines from 1969 to 1970. Walt hails from New Jersey and will be giving readings from The Summer Joe Joined the Army, a Post Traumatic Press title from 2010. Last up will be Dayl Wise who served in the Army from 1969 to 1970 and had a tour in Vietnam. Dayl’s Post Traumatic Press has published a number of chapbooks featuring veterans and their experiences. He will be reading selections that speak to his life and times in Vietnam.

From 2 to 4 pm Phillip Levine, Woodstock Poetry Society president, will introduce the regularly featured readers for November: Matt Spireng and Suzanne Cleary. Spireng, a Lamontville native, is the author of Out of Body, winner of the 2000 Bluestem Poetry Award. He has also written four chapbooks including Inspiration Point, winner of the 2000 Bright Hill Press Poetry Chapbook Competition. His new book, What Focus, is coming out soon. Suzanne Cleary, the final reader of the day, has two poetry books out via Carnegie Mellon University. They are Trick Pear and Keeping Time. Cleary’s poems have appeared in a number of anthologies and national publications such as Atlantic Monthly and Ploughshares. She teaches at SUNY Rockland and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

The Historical Society’s current exhibit, titled People and Places—A Small Town Portrait, will feature a salute to veterans from Woodstock’s past. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more info visit www.historicalsocietyofwoodstock.org.

About the Historical Society of Woodstock: The Society was founded in 1929. Its mission is to shape our future through a shared understanding of our past.

About the Woodstock Poetry Society: The Woodstock Poetry Society is a literary organization formed in 1996 to provide an opportunity for Hudson Valley poets to read from their work for an appreciative audience and for members of the community to gain a better understanding of poetry and the creative process.

About Post Traumatic Press: This is a small press founded in 2000 by Dayl Wise and Alison Koffler. Its mission is to give voice to veterans and noncombatants whose lives have been affected by the trauma of war. The press has published work by veterans from World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have published nine chapbooks of writing by veterans and three anthologies, including Post Traumatic Press 2007, a gathering of work by three generations of service people.


Film Screening: Aquarian Rushes

Historical Society launches film fest Underground series features Yalkut's work

By Lindsay Suchow
For the Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM - 08/12/11

The Historical Society of Woodstock is taking its first foray into cinema this weekend, fittingly, with two showcases of the town's artistic past, created by a former resident.

Even truer to form, the movies — 1968's "Clarence" and 1970's "Aquarian Rushes," both works of visual artist Jud Yalkut — will be shown at Upstate Films in all their 16mm vintage glory, a feat Historical Society Vice President Weston Blelock said wasn't easy.

"Most movie theaters these days run on CDs, DVDs and the like ... reel-to-reel is gone," said Blelock.

Luckily, a Historical Society trustee secured a rare 16mm projector from Bard College for the occasion, as well as a special technician.

"These films are 40 years old — you have to handle them with a great deal of care," said Blelock.

While conducting research for his book, "Roots of the 1969 Woodstock Festival: The Backstory to Woodstock," Blelock learned of various local arts organizations that were "very active leading up to the festival" — namely, Group 212, a media art collective just outside Woodstock where Yalkut was on faculty. Blelock connected with Yalkut via Nina Yankowitz, another former Group 212 member; immediately, the Historical Society's first Underground Film Festival was under way.

Yalkut will be on hand to introduce his works.

"Clarence" is a short film about Woodstock sculptor Clarence Schmidt, who lived on Ohayo Mountain in a seven-story home made entirely of found objects. The house, featured in Life magazine in the 1960s, burned down shortly after the footage was taken.

"It's like a permanent record — and probably the only record, the only movie, that exists of Clarence Schmidt going through his house," said Blelock. "He was an oddity, a novelty."

"Aquarian Rushes," commissioned by Michael Lang's Woodstock Ventures, documents the legendary 1969 festival. Though Michael Wadleigh's "Woodstock" became the event's "record of note," Blelock said, Yalkut's version offers viewers "different vantage points" than Wadleigh's big studio production.

"No one really knows that this other version exists," said Blelock. "I'm curious to see it from a different perspective. ... It's rare, it's historic, it's one of a kind.

"That's what I like the Historical Society to be a part of," he added. "We're trying to help bring this back to the public eye, in different viewpoints, away from the beaten path."

Sittin’ on top of the world

Free screening of Tobe Carey’s new doc, The Catskill Mountain House and the World Around, this Sunday in Woodstock

by Frances Marion Platt Hudson Valley Times
December 16, 2010 11:13 AM | 0 0 comments |  | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Photo of Catskill Mountain House courtesy of John M. Ham
For a hiker who is mainly interested in spectacular views, the rolling, heavily wooded Catskills don’t always offer a payoff proportional to the amount of vertical effort required to get to an overlook. But a short walk from the campground at North and South Lakes, near Palenville, lies a ledge where the ground drops out from under one’s feet so precipitously as to induce a serious case of vertigo. In James Fenimore Cooper’s The Pioneers, frontiersman hero Natty Bumppo claims that from this place he can see “all creation.”

That may be a bit of romantic hyperbole, and this may not be (as once advertised) the highest point in the Catskills. But the view from this dramatic eastern escarpment does extend some 50 miles – up and down the Hudson Valley, across the River to Dutchess County and beyond into Connecticut and Massachusetts. And in the waning years of the 19th century, Frederic Church was gazing back at this same spot atop the cliff known as the Wall of Manitou from his artist’s eyrie at Olana.

After sufficient time spent drinking in that view, look around at the grassy area behind the rocky ledge, once known as the Pine Orchard. There’s not much debris left to tell the story of the grand structure that once lured tourists from as far away as Europe to enjoy this prospect of the American wilderness as part of the New World version of the Grand Tour, and that provided privileged New Yorkers a healthful, airy escape from the coal smog, deadly heat waves and cholera epidemics of urban summers. For over 125 years, from 1824 to 1941, the Catskill Mountain House entertained visitors on this very spot; Hudson River School painters including Thomas Cole and Jasper Cropsey depicted its glories on canvas; and veteran filmmaker Tobe Carey of Willow Mixed Media, Inc. has now taken it upon himself to remind us all of the site’s remarkable history.

Carey is well-known in these parts and held in high esteem by the independent filmmaking community for his long list of documentaries about artists, health and environmental issues and local history, among them Deep Water: Building the Catskill Water System, Love Is the Reason, Stanley’s House, School Board Blues, The Hudson River PCB Story: A Toxic Heritage, Indian Point: Nowhere to Run and Cancer: Just a Word…Not a Sentence. His newest film, The Catskill Mountain House and the World Around, will be screened free of charge at Upstate Films’ Woodstock venue this Sunday, December 19 at 2 p.m.

Guests of America’s first great mountaintop hotel typically arrived by steamboat at Catskill Landing, then had to endure a grueling five-hour trip up the mountain by stagecoach. On the steepest stretches, they had to get out and walk just to spare the horses. Two railroads later brought visitors closer to the site, their construction inspired by the so-called Fried Chicken War between two rival businessmen: the Catskill Mountain House’s second owner/expander Charles Beach and his longtime customer George Harding. Visiting with his daughter, who was on a restricted diet, Harding felt snubbed when Beach refused to substitute a chicken dinner for the red meat that was on the menu and decided to build a much larger competing resort, the Kaaterskill hotel, atop neighboring South Mountain. When Harding introduced the Kaaterskill Railroad to make his new establishment more accessible, Beach fired back by hiring the Otis Elevator Company in 1892 to build a funicular railway that would haul his visitors straight up the precipitous incline by cable.

There’s much more to the story, of course, as well as more to tell about the Catskill Mountain House’s immediate environs, including fabled Kaaterskill Falls: the day hike that was de rigueur for the resort’s visitors. You can dig deeper into this intriguing vein of local history by attending the screening at Upstate Films in Woodstock – the former Tinker Street Cinema – at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 19. The film runs 80 minutes and admission is free at this event sponsored by The Historical Society of Woodstock, Willow Mixed Media, and Upstate Films. DVDs will be available for purchase at the screening with a portion of sales going to support Upstate Films. For more information, email video@hvc.rr.com.

Read more: Woodstock Times - Sittin’ on top of the world Free screening of Tobe Carey’s new doc The Catskill Mountain House and the World Around this Sunday in Woodstock

Catskill Mountain House and the World Around (Tobe Carey)