Haines Falls, New York And Twilight Park
April 4, 2022
Haines Falls is a hamlet (and census-designated place) located east of Tannersville in the Town of Hunter, in Greene County, New York. Haines Falls is located at 42°11′45″N 74°5′49″W. The hamlet of Haines Falls was always a mountain resort town, unlike Hunter and Palenville which had tanneries. Haines Falls is at the head of Kaaterskill Clove and is the former site of the Catskill Mountain House, Kaaterskill Hotel, and Laurel House which sat atop the famous Kaaterskill Falls. In 1825, Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School of landscape painters, did his first Catskill mountain paintings in Haines Falls: Lake with Dead Trees at South Lake and the Kaaterskill Falls.
Major highways in Haines Falls include State Route 23A, Clum Hill Road, North Lake Road, and County Route 25. Horseshoe Bend is the location of many vehicle accidents and hikers who tumble off the falls. The town elevation ranges from 1500' to 2200' above sea level making it the highest unincorporated town in New York state.
Twilight Park Historic District, a cottage community in the hamlet of Haines Falls, New York, was constructed in 1887, one of several to spring up in the post-Civil War period to take advantage of the recreational opportunities available in the Catskill Mountains. The recreational development of the Catskills is one of the most important themes in regional economics and social history in upstate New York. While the upscale resort hotels taking hold in the Catskills in the 1880s often excluded children, these cottage communities offered vacationing families with similar interests the means to purchase property collectively and to control development and access to the community. The Twilight Club of New York was founded in 1883 by an eclectic group including businessmen, governors, authors, clergymen, artists, clerks, newsmen, and labor unionists. Representing the club, Charles Wingate, a civil/sanitary engineer and journalist, purchased the sheep pasture that would become Twilight Park. By 1891, lot leases that originally sold for $10 to $50, were selling for $1,500. Twilight Park offered members music, reading, golf, tennis, and mountain walks. The stick, Italianate, and other late Victorian styles were reflected in the architecture of the cabins. The Twilight Park Historic District contains 109 contributing buildings and structures and retains an exceptional level of integrity in setting and design.
The Twilight Park Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on June 27 2007.
The painting above is called Kindred Spirits from 1849. It is a painting by Asher Brown Durand, a member of the Hudson River School of painters. It depicts the painter Thomas Cole, who had died in 1848, and his friend, the poet William Cullen Bryant, in the Catskill Mountains. The landscape painting, which combines geographical features in Kaaterskill Clove and a minuscule depiction of Kaaterskill Falls, is not a literal depiction of American geography. Rather, it is an idealized memory of Cole's discovery of the region more than twenty years prior, his friendship with Bryant, and his ideas about American nature.
The areas shown in the painting is where I am staying this week in Twilight Park. How cool is that?