Letters (March 5-12)


Staying out of it

Wow! I didn’t mean to step into a kerfuffle between Gaetana and town officials, but I did! Being a private citizen, not a journalist, I am guilty of putting my two cents in without knowing the whole story! So let’s start over, shall we? Hats off to our town officials for their hard work and hats off to Gaetana for her vigilance!

Karl Krause


Post-prom fundraiser success

We would like to thank all of the parents and teachers that helped us make baskets to raffle off, set-up, clean-up and countless hours of preparation for making the Dinner/Dance such a success.

Also we would like to thank the following businesses that donated toward a worthwhile cause: the Glasco Fire Department, Tony Gallo (DJ), Judy’s Florist, IXL Health & Fitness, Keith Kopycinski (photography), Saugerties Price Chopper, Town & Country Liquors, Hair by Sulzer, Paul Sulzer, Sun Kissed, MaryJane Coughlin, Morgan Linen, Sue & Keith Kehoe, Stauble Plumbing & Heating, Team American Dragon Tae Kwon Do, Sawyer Motors and Sen. Amedore and his wife. Thank you so much for everything! It was a great success and we had a blast.


Cheryl & Paul Van Schaack
SHS Sr. Post Prom Winter/Dance


Katsbaan etymology more literal than supposed

I am confident to have solved the mystery about the origin of the name of the village of Ka(a)tsbaan. I can tell you the Katsbaan Dutch Reformed church (of 1732) is a converted tennis court. I have written a book about tennis in Holland between 1500-1800. Our country could pride itself on at least 200 of these tennis courts, which were virtually always covered.

church-VRTI think the exterior of the Kaatsbaan church leaves no doubt, rectangular, and the dimensions seem to fit.

Here follows the most generally held interpretation for the name Kaatsbaan: (source: History of Saugerties publication). The explanation did not satisfy me from the first time I read it:

The Katsbaan Church.

This old church is frequently called in early documents “de steene kerk op de Kats Baan,” the stone church on the Kats Baan. What was the Kats Baan ? To this there have been two answers. In the first entry made in the church records by Domine Mancius (who was a German) the name is spelled Kaatsbaan. Kaatsbaan is the Dutch word for tennis court, and many have held its derivation to have been that the church, which is upon a hill, stands upon the south end of a barren rock, almost level, which extends northwards for one-fourth of a mile. An active imagination may fancy this rock to resemble a tennis court on which Titans might play. There was a spot two hundred years ago between Kingston and The Strand (Rondout) which was called in deeds of that day by the same name, “Kaats-baan.”

The author does make the link with the Dutch word for tennis court, but fails to pursue this angle. He does mention another probable court nearby. During my research into the origin of the village of Kaatsbaan and its possible association with a Dutch ‘Kaatsbaan”, I was struck by the following digital excerpt:

A Manual of the Reformed Church in America, Page 1039, under WEST CAMP, NY, 1710 …


This congregation seems to have comprised the whole Palatine colony, both Reformed and Lutheran, for with the beginning of the Katsbaan records those of …. The Palatines seem to have been worshipping on the Kats Baan (sic) in 1730, and in 1732 built the stone church there. On the arrival of (George Wilhelmus) Mancius he begins his records by speaking of the “Congregation worshipping on the Kaats Baan (sic) and calls himself ‘their at the time pastor’. (sic)  …

We can conclude from this excerpt that a ‘kaatsbaan’ did exist in Kaatsbaan. Tennis courts in Europe at the time were used for a variety of functions and performances, but also for ad hoc religious gatherings, especially in the evening when there was no natural light and the tennis players could not play. In my view we can take it for granted that the description above of the worshipping on the Kaatsbaan was one of the last activities on the court, and that two years later the Kaatsbaan was converted into a church. This had happened in Europe in the 18th century as well, when interest in the game dwindled.

Cees de Bondt
Tennis historian

p.s.— By the way, I also have a possible explanation for the origin of the Catskill Mountains, nearby, it must have been the Dutch word “caetspil” or “caetspel” (tennis game) that was corrupted, an interpretation I have not yet found in historical descriptions. I have only recently come to appreciate the dominant role the Dutch played in the Hudson River area.