Town of Hunter Tidbits: The Greek Temple at the top of the crack/crevice Part 2 | Columnists

From the Catskill Daily Mail, October 1997, by Johnathan Ment, long time journalist for the…

From the Catskill Daily Mail, October 1997, by Johnathan Ment, long time journalist for the paper.

“When the Mountain House burned, the region suffered a loss that set a tone for much that has followed. As the flames engulfed the rotting structure, the community wept. There is no “social security” for old and tired hotels.”

The Catskill Mountain House

Brooks Atkinson, writer of the Foreword to Van Zandt’s Catskill Mountain House book, said, “The decline of the Mountain House suggests an American paradox. It was most heavily patronized when the journey from New York was most formidable. It consisted of an overnight voyage on a Hudson River steamboat and then four hours by stage from Catskill. Ultimately, the railroads reduced the journey to about four hours from New York, climaxed by that mechanical haul up the face of North Mountain by the Otis Elevated Railroad. The Mountain House was most prized when it was most inaccessible.”

A friend of Charles Beach told Roland Van Zandt, “Beach kept the mountain forest inviolate and would not permit the cutting of a single tree on any property under his control except when necessary, regarding the despoliation of the primitive woodland as an act of vandalism.”

Catskill Daily Mail, December 03, 1968; According to an article by a well-respected, local historian and author, Doris West Brooks; No one person had more influence on developing the Catskill Mountains than did Charles L. Beach as he acquired, expanded, and made world-famous the Catskill Mountain House.” The house, which is said, commands approximately 10,000 square miles of views.” From a Past Greene County Historian.

According to Mabel Parker Smith, “Charles LeHatt Beach was born on April 26, 1808, in a log cabin on the virgin upland of Lexington Heights, Greene County. The Catskill Mountain House crowned the summit of his achievement. It became his monument. When death overtook him at the age of 94, he held lordship over a “Palace of the Angels.” An obituary, written by Charles L. Beach, was so thoughtfully bequeathed to his descendants it contains not a word of self-praise. In it is not even reference to the astonishing generosity which prompted him to take into his home (52 Liberty St. in Catskill) at least four young children of relatives, in addition to his own and to bring them up, according to their testimony or that handed down by their work, “like his own.”

Catskill Daily Mail, October 1997, by Johnathan Ment, long time journalist for the paper.

“When the Mountain House burned, the region suffered a loss that set a tone for much that has followed. As the flames engulfed the rotting structure, the community wept. There is no “social security” for old and tired hotels.”

Tidbit-Milo Claude Moseman, local attorney, devoted years of his life to restoring even a fragment of the Catskill Mountain House. As a young man, Moseman had been a bellhop at the CMH and kept that strong attachment to it. The Catskill Mountain House closed its door at the end of the season in 1941, never to be opened again. (Moseman continued his repairs in hopes of re-opening someday).

A few stories to share by local people about the Catskill Mountain House:

Ron Hoose (Randy Hoose’s father) from an undated Catskill Daily Mail; Ron Hoose’s father, Mr. Carl Hoose, an electrician, was hired in the 1940s by Mr. Milo Claude Moseman to rewire a part of the CMH. “It wasn’t a month after we got the wiring finished that someone broke in and stole it all, for the copper pipe. As a kid, I remember staying overnight in the CMH, listening to sounds and thinking of the people that had passed through there. I remember going up there and shooting porcupines because they were starting to eat the building. Old Mr. Moseman would give us a quarter ($3.60 today) for every porcupine we killed, Hoose reminisced.

Hoose added, “The Catskill Mountain House was a symbol of many of the other big, big, hotels that are gone.” (Ron’s experience with the CMH perhaps led him to his life-long passion of studying local history. Both Ron, and Randy, have dedicated their time to the Mountain Top Historical Society.

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