Welcome to the MTHS website
The Mountain Top Historical Society is dedicated to discovering and preserving the unique and rich history of the Catskill High Peaks. The Society is a not-for-profit organization and maintains a Visitor and Art Trail Center and the Ulster and Delaware train depot (shown above) on our campus in Haines Falls. We are located on scenic Route 23A at the gateway to the Mountain Top and are easily accessible from Exit 20 or 21 of the New York State Thruway.
The Town of Hunter, home to MTHS, has been designated a Preserve America Community.
For your safety consideration on nearby hiking trails:
Cell phone service in the area is very unreliable. -- You probably will not be able to contact emergency services.
The Town of Hunter is asking that people stay off of area trails and the High Peaks in the town.
The Society's Visitors Center and Parking Lots are Closed.
As of March 24th, according to the link below (which may have been updated since this writing), "fire department first response will only be dispatched for any ECHO [the most serious] level call, or DELTA level cardiac arrest call during this temporary policy."... "Ambulance crews as always will respond to ALL dispatched calls and the paramedic fly cars are still doing their normal responses when dispatched."
Town of Hunter asks that we don't access trails or the High peaks:
Read the current issue of our newsletter, The Hemlock.
Our Next Events:
Our 2020 season events and hikes are now available See them here.
Most of our early events have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 safety precautions. Please check our events schedule for further information.
MTHS News and links:
- The Hotel Kaaterskill 1883 Fire Safety Survey and floor plan is the spark for a Spring2020 program and a hike.
- KRT is Open
- Clove Road by Justine Hommel -A 2006 article by Justine Hommel.
- The Dodd House - Also by Justine an article from the archives of the Hemlock
- Around Hunter --A great Gift for a friend or yourself-- is available at the Visitor's Center Click on the link or the book cover for more information.
- Larry Tompkins -- Out Windham Way a wonderful book from our former MTHS president.
From our Archives -
Follow the "From Our Archives" link in the "Preserve" menu on the right to see information about some of the items in our Justine Hommel Archive Room.
Included are posts on:
one of several letters from Civil War soldier William Young. Donated by Odile Dwyer.
A collection of glass plate negatives. The gift of Shirley and Gerald Dunn See details here.
Four Hikes and a BBQ highlight our 2019 Hike Fest. Full details are found here.
One of the walks is a short hike led by Bob Gildersleeve. Starting at our U&D train station and going along the Kaaterskill Rail Trail, we will follow a wood road from the trail to the site of Sphinx Rock and a natural stone bench known as "The Sofa."
Once a favorite spot of Twilight Park's Linger Not Society. The 1912 Handbook or Walk in the Vicinity of Twilight Park describes the walk from Featherbed Lane to the site. Members of that hiking group can be seen seated on the very firm sofa in the accompanying photograph. We may not be dressed to compare with those ladies and gentlemen, but we hope to capture a similar image though a few years later. We will also see the more well known Sphinx Rock and perhaps the view from Prospect Rock.
Whether you choose to join this walk or one of the others you are sure to enjoy a beautiful Autumn walk and a great way to begin your Columbus Day weekend.
Volunteers always needed
We also ask for your support in the form of membership dollars and your donations to our upcoming capital campaign. Our annual membership drive will begin in May. Watch for the information in the mail and please respond generously.
Working together, we can continue to discover, interpret, share, and preserve the history of the Mountain Top for ourselves and our children.
Puppet Theater Rescued
The Society’s Puppet theater has hosted the story of Rip Van Winkle since it was built for us by the Platte Clove Community in 2007. Modeled after the Punch and Judy style theater used at Rip’s Retreat in the 1950’s it has been standing outside our train station summer and winter for twelve years and was showing serious signs of wear and decay. By this summer it had become unusable.
That has changed. Board member Dick Haines, took the initiative to oversee it’s restoration. Board Member George Van Dyke replaced all of the decaying wood with weather resistant materials and Dick called on the Platte Clove Community to repaint it.
According to Dick:
Our puppet theater hasn't looked this good since the day it was put there. Our thanks to Reseph, his daughter and his sister, Leon and two of his children. They did a great job. My thanks to Joann who stopped by to give them a well deserved pat on the back.
Now, thanks to all involved we can expect to see and hear the Rip Van Winkle story each summer for many more summers at our summer events.
Do you think that’s thunder?
Thanks to our business sponsors:
2019 Business Sponsors:
Boardwalk Builders, Inc., Brookside B&B, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Chateau Belleview, Haines Falls Auto/Hunter Towing, Hotel Vienna, Kaaterskill Liquors, Karen’s County Kitchen, Last Chance Antiques & Cheese Cafe, Maggie’s Krooked Café, The Mansion House At Alfie’s, Mountain Propane, Inc., Pancho Villas Mexican Restaurant, Pure Mountain Yoga, Rosehaven Inn, Scribner's Catskill Lodge, Snow Bird Ski Shop, Snowed Inn B&B, Thorpes GMC, Inc., Town Tinker Tube Rental, Traphagen's Honey, The Thompson House, Vesuvio Restaurant, Villa Vosilla, Willow Mixed Media, Windham Pharmacy