In the 19th century over 400 one-room schools dotted Delaware County’s landscape, the last remaining open until the 1960s. Today they are fondly remembered by former teachers and students alike. Many one-room schools have been converted for use in a multitude of ways.
The most common schoolhouse seen in Delaware County was a small, one-room, wood framed structure, varying in size. A common misconception about one-room schools is that they were painted red. In fact, most schoolhouses were white. The care of the building was the responsibility of the trustee.
“The school trustee in Delaware County was generally a successful, though not necessarily wealthy, farmer who was considered to be a man of integrity and had some ability to make good decisions.”
Pamela S. Hillebrand, “Treasures of the One-Room Schoolhouse”
Naturalist John Burroughs paid lifelong homage to his Delaware County roots. Scattered throughout his essays are scores of recounted memories from the first 17 years of his life, years that he spent near Roxbury, New York. “My blood,” he said, “has the flavor of the soil in it; it is rural to the last drop.” Biographer Edward Renehan, Jr . writes that Burroughs “had a deep psychic connection not only to the geography of his home region, but also to his kin who lingered there above and below ground.”
“Mr. Ed,” the 1960’s television comedy featuring a talking horse, actually originated in the Catskills. The series was inspired by the 25 Mr. Ed stories authored by Walter Brooks, who wrote most of them while living in Roxbury, Delaware County, from 1938 to 1958. In addition to over 100 other short stories, he also wrote 26 children’s books starring Freddy the Pig. Freddy and a supporting cast of wild and domestic animals could talk, leading some to call the series the American Winnie-the-Pooh.More
Excerpts from a travel guide book from 1934 to the Catskills highlighting the old roads used which became part of the rail system. We have focused on the section of trails that runs through Delaware County along the western Ashokan Trail and the end of the Mohican and Rip Van Winkle Trails. The original guide may be found at at the Delaware County Historical Association's office in Delhi. The descriptions of the towns focus on the natural resources and healthful benefits, but keep in mind not all things referenced here are still in existence or may be closed to the public.More
Just behind the majestic gothic style Gould Church on Roxbury’s Main Street lies a stretch of green gracing both sides of the East branch of the Delaware River. Known as Kirkside Park, this 11-acre treasure is rich in natural beauty and history which Roxbury proudly enjoys today.From the late 1890’s to the late 1930’s, Kirkside Park was part of the estate of Helen Gould Shepard. It was extensively landscaped and appointed with rustic Adirondack style bridges and gazebos, graceful paths along the stream, a small falls, rustic style furniture, and stone terraces.More
Covered bridges have captivated people around the country for decades and folks here in Delaware County are no exception. The July 1956 issue of “The Courier Magazine” devoted five pages to showcasing the covered bridges of Delaware County and this year Kaatskill Life’s calendar is entitled, Spanning the Waters, Covered bridges of the Catskill Region. This enthusiasm is not only evidenced in print however, in recent years three covered bridges in Delaware County have undergone extensive rehabilitation. The history of the covered bridge tradition in our county is fascinating and the remaining bridges majestic.More
In the nineteenth century mail bound for Delaware County arrived by stagecoach and later by train. It was delivered to a post office, often housed in a general store.Before the 1890s there was no rural delivery of mail to individual addresses in Delaware County. Residents had to go in person to the post office in order to pick up or send correspondence and packages.
“My parents had sent a postcard to my older brother telling him when a package was going to arrive from them. We had to go by horse and wagon to the depot at Shinhopple to pick it up.”
John Scofield, East Branch, NY
Despite the inconvenience a trip to the nearest town to pick up mail provided rural families with an opportunity to socialize and catch up with their neighbors.More
The centerpiece of the Delaware County Historical Association museum is the 1797 Gideon Frisbee House. The following is an overview of the house and certain of its inhabitants:
Gideon Frisbee (b. 1758 - d. 1828) settled in what was to become Delaware County around the year 1788. Typical of early pioneers to the region, he came to the Delaware River valley from Connecticut (Branford), via New Canaan, (Columbia County) NY. Gideon was the first son of Philip Frisbie, a fifth generation descendant of Congregationalist Puritans who settled in the New World during the early seventeenth century. Gideon, his parents and siblings, moved from Connecticut to New Canaan in the mid-1760’s.
Philip Frisbie had been a Captain of Company 3, 17th Regiment of NY State Militia during the Revolutionary War, fought at Saratoga in 1777, was promoted to Major, and after the war served in the NYS Assembly. In 1787 he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of a militia unit in Columbia County.More