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Borscht Belt, or Jewish Alps, is a colloquial term for the (now mostly defunct) summer resorts of the Catskill Mountains in parts of Sullivan, Orange and Ulster counties in upstate New York. Borscht, a soup associated with immigrants from eastern Europe, was a euphemistic way of saying "Jewish". These resorts were a popular vacation spot for New York City Jews between the 1920s and the 1970s. Beginning in the 1980s the growth of air travel made the Catskills less attractive. Most Borscht Belt resorts hosted traveling Jewish comedians and musicians, and many who later became famous began their careers there.
When the colony that is now New York State established its first twelve counties in 1683, the present Sullivan County was part of Ulster County. In 1809, Sullivan County was split from Ulster County.
In the late 19th century, the Industrial Revolution and the advent of factories driven by water power along the streams and rivers led to an increase in population attracted to the jobs. Hamlets enlarged into towns.
Lifestyle and Household furniture and neccesaties have changed a lot since the days the county was formed.
This Exhibit will show what the typical home life was like with displays of Furniture, stoves, clothing and what home life was like for the average resident of Sullivan County over the year.
Sharon Thorpe, associate curator of the Sullivan County Historical Society, is installing the finishing touches on a new exhibit at the Sullivan County Museum, in Hurleyville, NY. She gathered authentic materials spanning two centuries of life in Sullivan County, bringing vivid descriptions of specific eras. Her intent is to show life in a time before modern conveniences became available.
SULLIVAN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY HISTORY PRESERVER AWARD 2015
Elsie Winterberger (1910 - 1992)
For Elsie Winterberger, the preservation of the history for her beloved town of Forestburgh was a labor of love. Her reverence for the past originated early in her life, heavily influenced by the era of rural schools and steam locomotives. Her memory and superb recollection of these earlier times were the conduit that bridged the experiences from her youth to the historical crusades that made up her later years. “I grew up in an era that is now nearing its end, and my job as historian gives me all the excuse I need to record those years in photos and words for the town,” Elsie once exclaimed. “I always say what’s on my mind and I don’t mince words. I’ve lived here all my life, I know the history of this town inside out. I even know town history they hoped I didn’t know.” Known for being persistence and with unrelenting energy, Elsie’s spirited advocacy of history helped raise greater awareness for historic preservation throughout the town and county.
SULLIVAN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY HISTORY MAKER AWARD 2015
Harold Gold (09/20/1923 - )
There are many ways to make history. A person can hold political office and decide vital matters of war and peace, invent machines that reshape the economy, or solve mysteries of the galaxies. Or a person can do ordinary things to an extraordinary degree and through dedication make the community a better place. My father, Harold Gold, has never held political office, invented transformative devices, or revolutionized science, but he has made local history through his business and community service in Sullivan County.