Diagonal Parking On Broadway In Monticello

Question from Les Kristt: "Hello Tom ... Have a question please ... When did they discontinue the slanted parking on Broadway? I am going to guess about 1947 ... I am sure you know or can find the answer ... Thank you ..." Answer: You're probably just about exactly right, as the description of the above photo shows (from p. 57 of "Monticello" [2010]) attests: "This springtime photo shows Broadway (Route 42) from above the corner Oakley (now Lakewood) Avenue. It may be more recent than the newest automobiles shown because production was curtailed during the war years. Mayor Luis DeHoyos opposed elimination of diagonal parking, but parallel parking on Broadway became mandatory in 1946 when the village sought the state's permission to install parking meters. At right, in the Bogner Building, is the Sol Strand Barber Shop & Beauty Parlor (later David's Fast Photo); Gottesman's Gifts (now Crown Chicken); Bogner's Meat & Poultry; the Green Door Bar & Grill; and Keller Sign Co. Next is Luzker's Hosier; Trachtenberg's (now Chinatown Kitchen); Joe Hertz's shoe repair; taxi-cab company; and another barber. At the corner is St. Peter's Church (minus its steeple), then the Post Office. (Courtesy of Ralph Cutler.) The above news clip is from The Republican Watchman, June 20, 1946, page 1. In contrast to Monticello, the City of Newburgh has managed to retain its longstanding tradition of diagonal parking, despite the fact that they also have parking meters and Broadway in that city (like Broadway in Monticello) is a state highway, as well.

Monticello's 2012 Broadway Parade Program

A July 4th “coaching day parade” passes the Mansion House (now Heritage Inn). Patriotic bunting adorns the intersection of Broadway and St. John Street, then the corner of Main and Mill streets. If from an elevated veranda, as it appears, this was before the fire of 1909 destroyed the grand Hotel Rockwell which towered until that year above the corner from which this photo was taken (later site of the Rhulen Building, now Rotary Corner). Still a dirt road road, pictured above, "Main St." was paved in 1912, making 2012 Broadway's centennial year.

Download a PDF file of the printed program for the parade.

Histories of Three Old Monticello Houses

Following are items describing three of Monticello's historic homes: Bennett House, courtesy of The Recovery Center
  • Bennett House Hamilton Avenue (flyer, no date; now houses administrative offices of The Recovery Center)
  • Bush House Hamilton Avenue (Republican Watchman, 12/14/1951; present site of Wendy's Restaurant)
  • Fairchild House Fairchild Street (Liberty Evening News, 6/9/1977)

Sullivan County Politics Over The Centuries

The following two documents serve as a reminder that political speech in this country, including in the local area, has a long history of receiving wide berth under the free expression clause of the First Amendment, with sometimes with unseemly results. Click either image for a higher-resolution version of the text.

"Dogtown" Float Placed 2nd In 1899 Coaching Day Parade

The annual Coaching Day parade held in Monticello in September 1899, at which a variety of fanciful and colorful decorated floats rolled from the former county fairground down eastward on Broadway, was attended by roughly 6,000 people, according to a contemporary observer. The Republican Watchman reported on its front page of September 8, 1899 of the above pictured float that took part in the parade: "John Osborn won second prize. His display was a wagon filled with dilapidate household effects, chicken coops, etc. The occupants were a colored couple and two pickaninnies. On top of the wagon was a sign bearing the words 'Moving to Dogtown.' Although the latter was more burlesque, in the opinion of the judges a steer hitched to a wagon was more of a novelty than a mule hitched the same way" [source] The float's maker, dentist John Osborn, died at the early age of 28 in 1908, nine years after the event. According to an Osborn family genealogist and relative, Susan Benton Schock, John would have been 19 or 20 when he made the float shown in the photo at right. It is unknown whether the above photo pictures Osborn himself, with adult riders wearing black-face. The origin of Monticello's the "Dogtown" name is unknown. Nor is it known why this section of town was chosen as a theme for the Osborn float. Despite using an overtly racist word that a modern source politely calls a "derogatory term for black children", the Osborn float earned second prize in the parade. Nowadays the driver would be lucky if he wasn't pelted with rocks, or worse. A June 9, 1899 edition of The Republican Watchman reported that Dogtown resident Mrs. Charles Webber had her neighbor, Henry J. Weasmer, arrested for allegedly poisoning her hens and pigs with a "biscuit buttered with Paris green". Town justice William B. McMillen issued a warrant and the defendant was brought before him, according to the news account. In the ensuing trial, the Watchman reported, "...considerable evidence was taken, much of it extremely contradictory in its character, and the court, after giving both parties an admonition to abstain from the unneighborly bickering with which they had disgraced Dogtown for some months, discharged the defendant." [source] Henry and Lila Weasmer and all of their immediate neighbors - including Charles and Mary Webber (the defendant in the above poison biscuit case) - are listed in the 1900 census are listed as white. [source]. Interestingly, John Osborn, age 19, lived in the same neighborhood [source]. So whether African-American families lived in what Monticello residents knew as "Dogtown" remains uncertain, despite local legend. Writing in March 2011, local restaurant chef Andy Yeomans offered the theory that Dogtown area of Monticello "...was the area of town that was built up as an ethnic community. Much like NYC having Irish, Italian, Chinese, Afro-American groups of homes,... it has been suggested [this] was the case with Dog Town. Afro-Americans grouped in that neighborhood owned dogs that would run loose in the area. Kids back then dubbed it 'Dog Town' and they knew they should avoid it out of fear of attack by dogs. I have no idea if there is any validity to this, but it's something that was shared today by a customer I asked." Longtime residents remember Dogtown as it was before the middle of the 20th century as an area where low-income families lived. Former village building department employee Jim Carnell informed this writer that a brothel existed in the area in the Dogtown area during the 1960s. Prior to that, according to Monticello resident June Barthol, a dog pound once stood in the area. Sullivan County historian John Conway provided a scanned image of a 1936 ticket to for the Monticello Greyhound Association, which reportedly held events in the Dogtown area, near the old county fair-ground. In an accompanying e-mail he noted, "...Of course, everyone used to call that area Dogtown. I know there were dog races held there at one time... but Judge [Lawrence H.] Cooke once told me that the name pre-dated the races. The dog pound story [see above] makes sense, but I cannot vouch for it." Equally possible, "Dogtown" may have an old generic descriptive term for areas where squatters lived, with run down shacks that was applied to a specific location in Monticello because it fit the colloquial meaning. (Photos courtesy of William Horton and John Conway) Monticello has always been a diverse community. African Americans lived here since the settlement was founded in 1804 when history records that Samual F. Jones, one of two brothers who founded the village, owned at least one slave who was of African descent. Judge William Thompson also owned at least one slave, a woman by the name of Jenny, who lived in Monticello past 1850. For a partial list of heads of household listed as "Black" or "Mulatto" in federal censuses between 1860 and 1920, see this link. Black faces are rarely seen in Monticello class pictures until the about the 1960s, but there is no denying this part of Monticello's long heritage.
[1] Sullivan County Historian John Conway added, "...a son of the couple you mention, was a well-known peddler in Monticello for many years in the mid-20th Century. He dressed like a homeless person, but the scuttlebutt always was that he was extremely wealthyand a miser. He lived in a large house with a housekeeper in Dogtown, and they operated a small store there for some years. i would say he died in the mid-1960s."

Decorative Lights Lately Restored During Monticello's Broadway Renovation Are Reminiscent Of The Past

Decorative period lamp-posts that began going up today (see below) on the corner of the intersection now known as Broadway and St. John Street, across from the Sullivan County Court House, are not inconsistent with the style of lights that existed on Broadway in the late 1800s and early 1900s, until Broadway was destroyed by the most damaging fire in the county's history on August 9, 1909, depicted above in an antique postcard. Above, at the corner then known as Main and Mill streets, earlier lamp posts are shown on the same corner as where new lights were put up today, in front of the once grand Hotel Rockwell, destroyed in the big fire. Alongside members of Delaware Valley Job Corps Center, working under the supervision of a licensed professional, Monticello Village Mayor Gordon Jenkins (in light blue shirt) and Village Trustee Carmen Rue (right in green jacket) stood to observe the occasion of the first light's erection on October 18, 2011. It is not known whether the lamps shown above were of the old style gas-powered variety, or electric. The conflagration that destroyed Monticello in 1909 began at the Murray Electric Co., about two blocks from the above corner, then located on the present site of the Landfield Avenue Garage. The original antique lights shown above in all likelihood burned gas. Debate over the style of lighting that makes Monticello's is not new. The lights being erected this week by members of Delaware Valley Job Corps Center in Callicoon, without authority from the village's legislative body, the Board of Trustees, were ordered deleted from the project by a former village manager who said he thought the electric bill for them would be too high, contributing to a delay in completion of the road work while the Department of Transportation re-worked the Broadway plans without lights, which the former village manager told DOT should be replaced with a brick meridian. Later, with the advocacy of Legislator Alan Sorensen (who took the color photo above), federal funds were obtained to restore the decorative lights the plan with funding channeled through Sullivan Renaissance. Legislator Sorensen was present at the above gathering, and took the photo. In 1925, over a decade after the reconstruction of Broadway following the 1909 fire, members of the Monticello Board of Trade (including "boarding house keepers") held a meeting that was briefly reported in The Republican Watchman (May 5, 1925) under the headline, "What Kind Of Lights Do You Want Here - Meeting of Citizens to be Called to Decide Style of Lamp" (left). The lights discussed then were electrically powered. Photos from February 1914 show electric lights lining Broadway. Village officials have the ability to choose when to use the extra lamps and when to conserve power. Clicking on any of the above images will allow you to download a high-resolution version of each image. Related Stories:

Where To Get "Images Of Monticello" Pictorial Local History Book

This pictorial local history of Monticello can be seen in Google Books. Copies are sold at the following fine retail establishments:

In Monticello:



Online Outlets:

Good News in the Village of Monticello

This note on FACEBOOK

“Nobody can acquire honor by doing what is wrong”

- Thos. Jefferson

Monticello's "Memorial Park" (Now "Joe's Park")

On October 6, 1896 the Sullivan County Ladies Monument Association, Inc. unveiled a major landmark for a small at a prominent entry to Monticello's Broadway, at the corner Jefferson Street. Its purpose was "to perpetuate the memory of the soldiers and sailors who fought to preserve the Union," and funds were collected from private donors throughout Sullivan County.

In 1918 the organization met again and added a second panel recognizing the men and women lost in the World War. In 1942, a plaque was placed on a boulder in the corner which was known as "Memorial Park" remembering Jack C. Stapleton, a Fireman First Class in the U.S. Navy was placed by the Mayor's Civic Advisory Committee of Women.

2009 Annual Report Of The Village Historian

At the reorganizational meeting of the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees held on Monday, April 6, 2009, I was appointed Village Historian by the Village Manager. The last time a Village Historian was named was 2004, in an appointment made by then Village Manager Richard Sush.. The day after my appointment I posted a Certified letter to the last gentleman known to occupy this position, and hand-delivered a copy to the Village Clerk. I cited the New York State Art and Cultural Affairs Law §57.09, which requires of all local historians:

Report On Past Monticello Village Managers' Residency Requirements

To: Monticello Village Manager, Mayor, Trustees, Attorney, Clerk, and Others Whom It May Concern:

Following is an historical summary of residency requirements placed on past appointed Village Managers. Historically, the last person prior to one recent brief occupant of the office who was fired at the end of December, to be “permanently” appointed by the Board of Trustees as Village Manager who lived inside Village limits at the time of his hiring as Manager was Robert Norris of Lake Street, some 21 years ago in 1998.

Monticello Village Historian Appointed

At the reorganizational meeting of the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees held on Monday, April 6, 2009, a relatively minor item of business was the appointment of Tom Rue as Village Historian. The last time a Village Historian was named was 2004, in an appointment made by then Village Manager Richard Sush. To the best of my knowledge, based on a review of minutes, the Village Historian position appears to have been been vacant since 2005.

Hidden Woman Saga Inspires Research, Book

This column by Sullivan County Historian John Conway appears in today's edition (July 25, 2008) of The Sullivan County Democrat. This is the second of a two-part series in Sullivan Retrospect on the subject, the first of which appeared last week. I e-mailed Mr. Conway after reading last week's column. He incorporated information that I sent him into his follow-up piece. Mr. Conway has written about this subject in the past, including at least two past Retrospect columns.


By John Conway

Adelaide M. BranchJuly 25, 2008 - It has often been said, and written on occasion in this column, that few stories in Sullivan County’s history are as fascinating as that of the hidden woman of Monticello. Perhaps no one has been as fascinated by the saga as Tom Rue.

Rue, who has for years accumulated historical tidbits on his website, including a tantalizing quiz about local history that is currently running, and who was recently appointed the official historian for the Sullivan Masonic District, is a dogged researcher who has managed to put together more information on Melvin H. Couch and Adelaide Branch-- the key characters in Monticello’s hidden woman saga-- than anyone ever has, and intends to eventually publish a booklet about the affair.

Pioneer Cemetery In Monticello Rescued

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MONTICELLO – A forgotten graveyard has gotten a long-overdue cleanup. The Litts cemetery, on the boundary of Sleepy Hollow Apartments and Monticello High School, is the resting place of the remains of some of the area’s first European pioneers.

The stone of Daniel Litts lies flat on the ground, barely legible. He was christened 7 January 1772 in Shawangunk. Another stone memorializes Metje (Martha) Masten Litz of Wawarsing. They married 5 October 1795. She was christened 7 April 1776 in Shawangunk, making her 82 at her death. Their children were: Lea Litz, christened 26 January 1796; Johannis Litz, christened 6 August 1798, both in Wawarsing; and Isaac Litz, christened 11 February 1815 in Wurtsboro.

The ancestors of the Litz family were Huguenots, said Tom Rue, historian for the Sullivan Masonic District, who posted an article on the web at the end of March calling on Monticello village officials to take action to save the cemetery from destruction. Rue’s headline asked, “Who cares about an old cemetery?”

The Breadth Of Monticello's Broadway Is "Six Rods"

Download a copy of the original survey of the Newburgh and Cochecton Turnpike, Liber 18 of Deeds, pp. 325-336, filed 13 June 1807 in the Ulster County Court House at Kingston by William A. Thompson, Esq., first Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, County of Ulster, State of New York. (11 pages, 16MB, Acrobat file).

"The Breadth of Broadway" summary report to Village Attorney and short version given as public comment at the July 7th the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees meeting; relevant cases, and cover letter.

Monticello and the NYS Department of Transportation have discussed use of eminent domain proceedings to acquire title to small pieces of sidewalk along either side of Broadway. DOT has reportedly said the sidewalk parcels must be title-searched and if not owned, be purchased.

This latest requirement creates yet another delay, even as all the shade trees that lined Broadway have been cut down and utility poles moved.1 It is not entirely clear this delay is actually necessary. Simply because someone from the government says something is true does not necessarily mean it is so. Sometimes it is worth taking time to do your own research and to question what seems to be authority.

Win A Free Copy Of "The History Of Sullivan County" By J.E. Quinlan

Win a free digital copy of the full, unexpurgated version of James Eldridge Quinlan's classic local history tome, The History of Sullivan County, 1873 edition, 655 pages.

Score 70% or better on this quiz to download your free e-book.

Test your knowledge of local history in preparation for the county's bicentennial in 2009.

The 25-item quiz is limited to no more than 15 minutes. There is no cost or obligation to try. Consider it an "open book" test, remembering that Google is your friend.

Click the image at right to take the quiz. If you don't pass on the first attempt, try again. You'll receive an e-mail reply within minutes telling you which items you got right, and correct answers for the rest.

NOTE: Feel free to tell others of this offer. But please link to this page, not directly to the quiz. Thanks.

Masonic Historian For Sullivan County, 2008 to 2010

"It would be a double honor", I told newly installed District Deputy Grand Master John Wells when asked to assist him during his two-year term by serving a Historian for the Sullivan Masonic District.

John told me the last man to serve as Historian for the Sullivan District was Bert Feldman, late of Mongaup Valley. Bert published numerous articles on the subject of local history. He was also a friend and sponsored my initial application to become a Freemason in 1992.

Who Cares About An Old Cemetery?

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It's been said that you can tell a lot about a community by observing how they treat the elderly, children and their cemeteries.

On the northern boundary of Sleepy Hollow Apartments, adjacent to athletic fields of Monticello High School, there sits a small abandoned cemetery. Located inside a dilapidated split rail fence are several graves, with at least two visible tombstones. One marks the final resting place of Daniel Litts. The stone has been knocked over and lies flat on the ground, its lettering is barely legible. Next to to it is an unmarked block which which may memorialize Danie's wife Metje (Martha), who reportedly died on November 4, 1859 in Forestburgh. Metje was christened 7 April 1776 in Shawangunk, Ulster County, making her 82 years old at the time of her death.

The tract on which Monticello High School and Sleepy Hollow Apartments are today situated, in the southwestern section of what is now the Village of Monticello, was once owned by Ezekiel I. Masten. A portion described as being "on the road from Mamakating Hollow to Kinnebrook" was granted by Johannes Masten and Magdalena (or Madleen) Swart, who was born about 1756, to their sons-in-law Daniel Litts and Evert Terwilliger who moved there in February 1797.

Frederick Douglass Breakfast 2008

Frederick Douglass Breakfast photosPhotos taken at the Frederick Douglass Breakfast held Sunday, February 10th at the Woodbourne Fire Hall, and a copy of the breakfast journal (without ads) describing the accomplishments of the honorees, can be viewed by clicking on the image at right.

The 2008 recipient of the Frederick Douglass Award, Dorothy Fields of South Fallsburg, is pictured along with other recipients including Anthony McKinny of Monticello, Garrick Jackson of Liberty, and Jennifer Williams of Ellenville.

The full text of Ms. Fields' acceptance speech is posted here with the author's permission.

Judge Burton Ledina sworn in again on New Years Eve

Photos of the public ceremony in which Sullivan County Court Judge Burton Ledina was sworn into office for another term may be found here, along with a link to order reprints for personal or non-profit use.1

The ceremony was held on December 31, 2007 at the Lawrence H. Cooke Court House in Monticello, New York, with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kane presiding. In the photo below, Sullivan County Bar Association president is shown presenting Judge Ledina with a new set of judicial robes following the administration of his oath. Another photo taken with Judge Ledina, this one taken on Election Night last month, is here. If you were present that night and would like a link to a password-protected album, let me know.


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