Catskills Region Facts

There is no shortage of interesting Catskill Region facts!

The Catskills Region shares a few of the same picturesque landscapes with the Adirondacks to its north. Because of the Catskills’ proximity to New York City, the region has a notably different type of history than other mountain ranges.

From being the birthplace of American dry fly-fishing, to later becoming a favorite vacation spot among NYC’s Jewish families, the Catskills have a lot of fun information to learn about.

A drive down Route 17 will give visitors a brief glimpse at the beauty and tranquility that has kept families here for generations.

Catskills Region Defined

For the purposes of Exploring Upstate, the Catskills Region’s boundaries are defined simply with the four counties that include the mountain range. For this list of facts, the counties Delaware, Greene, Sullivan, and Ulster are included.

General Catskills Facts

– Mark Carr invented the concept of the Christmas Tree market in the Catskills Mountain area. In 1851, Carr cut down Douglas firs and spruces from his Upstate surroundings where they were free. Then he loaded them on two oxcarts and drove into New York City where he sold them for $1 each.

– The Catskills Region is sometimes referred to as the “Borscht Belt” or the “Jewish Alps”. The nicknames were created in the mid-1900’s when many New York City Jewish families vacationed there in the summers. [source]

Dirty Dancing (1987) starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey takes place at a resort in the Catskill Mountains. Despite there being plenty of resorts to film on location in the Catskills, they produced the sets in Virginia and California. [source]

Delaware County Facts

– The Town of Davenport in Delaware County has three U.S. Post Offices, but only a single traffic light.

– Though the town of Hobart is largely fueled by the agricultural industry, visitors far and wide know it as the home of Hobart Book Village. With a high concentration of locally owned book stores, it has become a destination for book lovers everywhere.

– Mr. Ed was a horse, of course, but was created by Walter R. Brooks. Born in Rome and educated in Rochester, Brooks and his wife later moved to the town of Roxbury where they lived the remainder of their lives. Throughout his life Brooks wrote many stories about Mr. Ed, but it was here in Roxbury that he wrote the children’s favorite Freddy The Pig.

Greene County Facts

– A couple towns in Greene County occasionally vote to the left, but as a whole it’s a very red county. Greene County as a whole has not voted for a U.S. President running on the Democratic ticket since 1964. [source]

– Kaaterskill Falls in Greene County tumbles 260 feet over 2 tiers, making it the tallest waterfall in New York. [source]

Sullivan County Facts

– Agloe is a fictional town inserted by a map maker to protect their intellectual property from copyright infringement. When their map with the fake town was copied the case went to court. It was discovered that a couple had seen ‘Agloe’ on a map assumed it was a real town. They created the “Agloe Corner Store” where the map makers indicated the fake town existed. The case was thrown out because the judge determined that if Agloe was fake, then the store couldn’t have existed. [source]

– A horse at the Monticello Raceway named My Buddy Chimino was involved in a freak accident in 2006 that actually helped reverse a man’s blindness. Don Karkos lost vision in his right eye at the age of 17 after surviving an attack on a ship he was stationed on during World War II. A piece of metal shrapnel from the blast had embedded itself into his head just behind his right eye. Doctors recommended removing the eye, but Karkos wanted to leave it in for appearances even though he couldn’t use it to see. At age 82, Karkos had worked security at the Monticello Raceway for 16 years already. He was prepping My Buddy Chimino for a workout when the horse head-butted him forcefully. When Karkos recovered from the incident, he soon realized that the incident fully restored vision to the eye he hadn’t used in 65 years. [source]

Ulster County Facts

– The largest kaleidoscope in the entire world is located in Shandaken, New York. It stands 60 feet tall and cost $250,000 to create in 1996. [source]

– The oldest arts colony in the entire country is located in the Catskill Mountains. Byrdcliffe was founded in 1903 in Woodstock and established the town’s first painting school. [source]

– On November 8, 2005, the Town of Ulster, New York (Ulster County) elected Nicky B. Woerner to the position of Town Supervisor. At age 21, Woerner is the youngest Town Supervisor to have served in New York State.

– Rosendale was put on the map in the 1800’s when they discovered the naturally occurring magnesium and clay levels found in dolostone cultivated there could be used to make cement. Rosendale Natural Cement was so well known for its quality that it was used in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, parts of the Brooklyn Bridge, and even one wing of the United States Capitol building.

– The name of the famous Nevele Hotel in the Catskills is a reverse anagram. The name was created by spelling the word “eleven” backwards, in honor of eleven local school teachers. Those teachers first discovered a waterfall on the site back in the 1800’s. The Nevele Hotel closed in 2009. [source]

– In the mid-1970’s, all 236 residents in Hardenburgh became officially ordained ministers. Their houses became churches like The Peaceable Kingdom Church and Maple Tree Church. The end result left only the State of New York, and two utility companies in the town to pay taxes. [source]

– The historic Kingston ‘Four Corners’ is the only intersection in the entire U.S. where buildings on all four corners pre-date the Revolutionary War and remain still intact. [source]