The ‘‘Our towns’’ column is compiled each month by Carol Johnson of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries have been copied from the April issues of the New Paltz Independent. To get a closer look at these newspapers of the past, visit the staff of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection at the Elting Memorial Library at 93 Main Street in New Paltz, or call 255-5030.
Simon LeFevre has over 30 fine young lambs and a number of young pigs. It is a busy time for farmers. J. Dodd started to plow last week. Ploughing on the County Farm started on Monday. James O. Lefevre’s hens laid 500 eggs one day last week. This is a larger number than ever before. He has 700 hens. John Keller is setting out 2000 apple trees on the Frank LeFevre farm this spring. There will then be on the place an orchard of 6000 trees.
Before the farmers went into the milk business they did not have to travel the road very much at this time of year when the mud is deep. But farmers who sell milk must have it taken to the creamery each day, no matter how deep the mud. Many stalled cars on account of deep mud are reported nowadays. One of the worst roads in the town is that from Abm. E. Jansen’s place to the Edmund Eltinge place (Jansen Road). It is expected that much work will be done on the state roads this year, which will furnish employment to a number of men.
There are about 85 inmates at the County Poor House at present. This is rather more than the usual number, but so many people are out of employment at present, it is a wonder that more do not have to go to the County House. Although grippe is so prevalent everywhere there has not been a large number of cases at the County House.
There is a certain place in this village on Main Street where it is reported intoxicating liquor is sold without much attempt at concealment.
Work has been in progress at Mohonk all winter in getting out stone of a superior quality for the tower on Sky Top. It is ten feet high now and will be 60 feet high when finished.
It is generally understood that New Paltz was named for the country which afforded refuge to the Huguenots who finally settled here. But the origin of the name Wallkill has not been so satisfactorily explained. “Kill” is Dutch, of course, meaning a creek or small river. We have Fallkill, Fishkill, Klinekill, etc. Wallkill means Wall River. We find it called “Walls River in the Guilford Patent in 1685 and sometimes it was called the “Paltz” River. Our explanation is that “Walls” River meant Walloon’s River. The early settlers of New Paltz were always called “Walloons” in the old documents, and, if we recollect aright, in some of the old papers Louis DuBois is called “Louis the Wall” as well as Louis the Walloon.” This explanation is much more satisfactory to us than the supposition that the name is derived from the name of the River Waal in Holland where it is quite certain none of the New Paltz settlers ever lived.
Extensive improvements will be commenced next week at the Blue Crane Inn (P&G’s). The upper part will be changed into sleeping rooms for transient guests. Dancing will be down stairs. A large porch will be built and a plate glass front will be put in. The grounds back of the Inn have been greatly improved by being fenced in and cleaned up in preparation for flower beds.
Work has commenced with much vigor at Camp Wallkill, formerly the Ean Farm at Bonticoe, where a large camp for boys is to be established. Men are blasting out slate on the farm to use in constructing a road from the public highway to where the buildings will be erected on the high ground southwest of the site of the old stone house which was long ago the residence. A wireless radio station has been established. The first building erected will be a mess hall. Lumber is being drawn from A.P. LeFevre’s. The proprietor has been on the ground as late.
A radio telephone is being installed in the residence of Frank J. LeFevre. By a special arrangement with the Westinghouse Company, Mr. Higgins is installing a radiophone with amplifier in his ice cream parlor on Oakwood Terrace for the entertainment of his customers.
St. Andrew’s Church is to be consecrated on Saturday at 10 a.m. Bishop Shipman is to be present and be in charge of the service. The former clergy of the church will be present and take part. The clergy of the village have been invited. After the ceremony, which will consist of Morning Prayer, Holy Communion and the dedicatory prayers and exhortations, the St. Andrew’s Guild, will serve luncheon to all members of the parish and out-of-town guests in the basement Guild Room. Next Sunday the firemen will attend service in a body. The service will be at 10:45 a.m., the sermon being on the theme, “Cubic Character.”
One of the greatest changes for the better that has taken place in this part of the country in sixty years is the disappearance of the multitude of little hotels. There were 60 years ago, two hotels in this village, one at Put Corners, one at Jenkintown [sic], three at Centerville, one at Springtown, one at Rosendale Plains, one on top of the mountains, and one, we think, at Mud Hook. The excuse for the existence of so many hotels was that they were needed to accommodate travelers, but they relied for support mainly on the sale of liquor. They were required to pay but a small license. It seems incredible that so many drinking houses should have been tolerated in the community. On father’s farm the hotel at Perrine’s Bridge was a great nuisance for it was a great temptation to the hired men to get on a spree on the fourth of July. On one such occasion we remember that the men all went on a strike the next day and father had to hire an entire new set of hands and was put to a great loss in getting his harvest. One by one these hotels all disappeared. Surely the country has grown much better so far as the drinking habit of the people is concerned.