Litchfield County’s Railroads

Connecticut, long known as the Land of Steady Habits, came late to the railroad craze that swept the country in the 19th century. In fact, neighboring states had to prompt Connecticut into its first railroad ventures. When completed, however, these lines provided both a much more efficient means for the industrial and agricultural products of […]

By |2021-04-27T16:54:46-04:00April 27th, 2021|History|

Passiflora Pentimento

-by the Hillsdale Historians

In November 2020 we wrote about the history of the Hillsdale Post Office in Post Office Pentimento. In painting, pentimento is defined as earlier images that have been changed or painted over and are no longer visible to the naked eye but still exist, under the surface, like ghosts.

Buildings also have these […]

By |2021-04-01T14:29:35-04:00April 1st, 2021|History|

Close to Home: Slavery in Columbia County

-by the Hillsdale Historians

Black History Month spurred us to investigate the institution of slavery in the Hudson Valley and, more specifically, Hillsdale. Like most Americans, we’ve been inclined to think of slavery as largely a Southern institution. But it was hugely important in the colonial North. From the earliest days of Dutch occupancy right up […]

By |2021-03-18T09:09:06-04:00March 17th, 2021|History|

The Possible Origin of Anthony Street

-by the Hillsdale Historians

One of the things we really enjoy about being the town historians is finding a particular facet of Hillsdale history and learning everything we can about it, and then sharing it with you. We select our topics in either of two ways: we see something and wonder about it, or someone asks […]

By |2021-02-10T12:32:37-05:00January 25th, 2021|History|

From Solstice to Santa Claus: How Christmas Became Christmas


-by the Hillsdale Historians

December 21 is the Winter Solstice, the longest day of the year and a holiday observed since the late Neolithic and Bronze Age. The Winter Solstice was immensely important in agrarian societies. In December, farmers enjoyed a period of leisure. The harvest had been gathered, the deep freeze of midwinter had not […]

By |2020-12-21T15:03:08-05:00December 21st, 2020|History, Main Street|

An American Christmas

Much like the memories of yore, the origins of many beloved customs often get lost within the fog of passing time. Each year, as the calendar turns to December, we collectively search our attics for the yuletide decor that will adorn our homes but once a year. Almost unconsciously, families around the country venture out […]

By |2020-11-25T18:48:25-05:00November 25th, 2020|History|

Post Office Pentimento

-by the Hillsdale Historians

A pentimento, in painting, is “the presence or emergence of earlier images, forms, or strokes that have been changed and painted over.” Even the greats, like Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Caravaggio, and Titian, revised their paintings to eliminate figures, reposition compositional elements, or change backgrounds. The original elements, the pentimenti, survive in the […]

By |2021-01-12T13:37:36-05:00November 23rd, 2020|History, Main Street|

150 years – or was it yesterday?

We feel it only fair to offer this gentle warning before you invest a few moments reading what follows. This piece is a bit different than others we have written. It draws heavily on history, reflects on those historical references and, with no subtlety intended, holds a mirror to what has become almost a cliché […]

By |2020-10-28T12:16:20-04:00September 25th, 2020|History|

Reflecting On Sullivan County’s Resort Scene

It’s the place where Jerry Lewis, Mel Brooks, and Rodney Dangerfield kicked off their comedy careers, the setting of the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, and a summertime destination for the stylish Maisel clan of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel fame.

The name “Catskills” was derived from the Dutch “Kaaterskill,” which translates to “Wildcat Creek.” Although the Catskills […]

By |2020-10-30T12:22:58-04:00September 25th, 2020|History|
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