The ‘‘Our towns’’ column is compiled each month by Carol Johnson of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries have been copied from the September 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.
The light on the top of the Memorial Tower on Sky Top has attracted attention in our village. The recently dedicated tower is of stone 65 feet in height and can be seen throughout the Rondout Valley and from points in Kingston as well as from the Wallkill Valley.
The forest fires that swept over twelve miles of mountain land in the vicinity of Lake Awosting last summer have blackened but not killed the dwarf pines which grew there in large numbers and which are peculiar to the top of the Shawangunk mountain. They are already sending out green sprouts. Fresh growths of fern and bracken are beginning to cover the charred ground beneath.
Since completion of the power house at Lake Minnewaska water from the lake is sterilized by electricity so that it is suitable for drinking purposes.
Sunset Inn still has a number of guests. The fall seems a popular time to come to the country for the past few years.
The names of nearly fifty visitors were registered at the Memorial House one day recently. The amount of contributions for August was $15. Most of the visitors are summer boarders. Besides 20 copies of the Story of New Paltz has been sold at 75 cents each. The Memorial House is enjoying a good degree of prosperity.
We have been assured that everything is in readiness for the opening of the Normal School next Wednesday, (September 12), at 8:40 a.m., when the practice department and high school will resume operations. Wednesday will be used for registration day for the Normal students. Principal van den Bergh announces a large pre-entrance number of applications from high school graduates who are to enter as new students and looks for a good sized attendance. There will be very few new faces at the first meeting of the faculty, which will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2:30, when definite plans for the year’s work will be discussed and outlined. During the few weeks following the closing of the summer session, several of the rooms in the building have been renovated, the entire building given a thorough cleaning, so that everything in that respect is in excellent shape.
The currant crop is all shipped at last. It is estimated that the crop from Milton, Highland and Marlboro has brought the owners nearly $95,000, which is $15,000 more than it brought last year.
The shipment of Bartlett pears is about over. Those from Ulster County have been sent to the cities in the Eastern states. The price has been good.
The apple barrel factory of Geo. Millham at New Paltz is the largest in the state and has more storage room than any other. He has had 7 men in his employ all season. The apple crop is good this year. He ships some barrels by rail and has his large trucks at work carrying off barrels constantly. The price of barrels is somewhat higher than last year. Philip H. DuBois is the largest apple grower in this section. He has some young trees coming into bearing and will have about 7,000 barrels this year. Abm. E. Jansen will have about 4,000 barrels again this year. Fred Vail of Milton is a very large apple grower and so are the Hurds of Clintondale. The price of apples is somewhat higher than it was at this time last year. Grade A Baldwins sell at $2.50 a barrel, the buyer furnishing the package. Greenings are a small crop and sell at $4 and $4.50 a barrel. McIntosh Reds sell at $5 a barrel. Two or three apple growers at New Hurley have sold their entire crop to buyers, but we have heard of none in New Paltz who have done so.
The Minnewaska, which recently made her maiden voyage from England to New York, is the largest steamship that ever sailed from the Port of London. She carried first class passengers only and has a capacity for 396. Her freight capacity is 17,000 tons.
On Thursday of last week, Harry Lewis, the ten-year-old son of Simon Lewis of Elting’s Corners, jumping from the school bus near Ohioville, was run over and killed by a freight car on the trolley line. Another boy on the bus, which was carrying the children home from the Normal School, lost his hat and before the driver could stop the bus young Lewis had jumped down upon the trolley tracks to recover it. A freight car was coming up from behind and could not be stopped in time to avoid the fatal accident. We understand that in the opinion of Coroner Suiter the accident was unavoidable. The funeral service was held at the Lewis home on Sunday afternoon by Rev. J. R. Halmshaw and burial was in the cemetery at Rosendale.
The gift to the nation of the art collection of Charles L. Freer, a native of Kingston and a descendant of New Paltz ancestors, is arousing much comment in the press. He is spoken of as “a business man of the type that one likes to Contemplate” – perhaps he owes his artistic taste to his French ancestry.
The work of constructing the big dam at Rifton, for the United Hudson Electric Corporation, affiliated with the Central Hudson Gas and Electric Company, now nears completion. The actual construction work on the dam has been practically completed. There is but one small gap in the top to be filed in and some pointing up on the ends. The dam is 190 feet high, 100 feet in thickness, and substantial as masonry can be made. Now that it has attained its height an idea of the territory to be flooded with the impounded waters may be had. The great power house in which will be housed the water wheel, the generating machinery and the controls, is now under course of construction. This work is being rushed as fast as it can consistently be done. The completion of the work and the filling of the basin will mean the formation of a great lake [Sturgeon Pond] on the course of the Wallkill River, a lake which will run parallel with the Kingston-New Paltz road and which will prove of much beauty, going far to enhance the attractiveness of this picturesque section of the country.