Making Mountains: New York City and the Catskills

Paperback | February 11, 2010

byDavid StradlingForeword byWilliam Cronon

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For over two hundred years, the Catskill Mountains have been repeatedly and dramatically transformed by New York City. In Making Mountains, David Stradling shows the transformation of the Catskills landscape as a collaborative process, one in which local and urban hands, capital, and ideas have come together to reshape the mountains and the communities therein. This collaboration has had environmental, economic, and cultural consequences.

Early on, the Catskills were an important source of natural resources. Later, when New York City needed to expand its water supply, engineers helped direct the city toward the Catskills, claiming that the mountains offered the purest and most cost-effective waters. By the 1960s, New York had created the great reservoir and aqueduct system in the mountains that now supplies the city with 90 percent of its water.

The Catskills also served as a critical space in which the nation's ideas about nature evolved. Stradling describes the great influence writers and artists had upon urban residents - especially the painters of the Hudson River School, whose ideal landscapes created expectations about how rural America should appear. By the mid-1800s, urban residents had turned the Catskills into an important vacation ground, and by the late 1800s, the Catskills had become one of the premiere resort regions in the nation.

In the mid-twentieth century, the older Catskill resort region was in steep decline, but the Jewish "Borscht Belt" in the southern Catskills was thriving. The automobile revitalized mountain tourism and residence, and increased the threat of suburbanization of the historic landscape. Throughout each of these significant incarnations, urban and rural residents worked in a rough collaboration, though not without conflict, to reshape the mountains and American ideas about rural landscapes and nature.

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For over two hundred years, the Catskill Mountains have been repeatedly and dramatically transformed by New York City. In Making Mountains, David Stradling shows the transformation of the Catskills landscape as a collaborative process, one in which local and urban hands, capital, and ideas have come together to reshape the mountains a...

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New in Paperback--For over two hundred years, the Catskill Mountains have been repeatedly and dramatically transformed by New York City. In Making Mountains, David Stradling shows the transformation of the Catskills landscape as a collaborative process, one in which local and urban hands, capital, and ideas have come together to resha...

David Stradling is associate professor of history at the University of Cincinnati. His focus is the intersection of urban and environmental history. He is author of Smokestacks and Progressives: Environmentalists, Engineers, and Air Quality in America, 1881-1951 and editor of Conservation in the Progressive Era: Classical Texts.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:February 11, 2010Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295990147

ISBN - 13:9780295990149

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Table of Contents

ForewordPreface: The Haynes Family of Haynes HollowAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Types of the Permanent and Unchanging1) A Natural Resource2) Envisioning Mountains3) The Mountain Hotels4) Making Wilderness5) Mountain Water6) Moving Mountains7) A Suburb of New YorkEpilogue: Whose Woods These AreNotesBibliographical EssayIndex

Editorial Reviews

For over two hundred years, the Catskill Mountains have been repeatedly and dramatically transformed by New York City. In Making Mountains, David Stradling shows the transformation of the Catskills landscape as a collaborative process, one in which local and urban hands, capital, and ideas have come together to reshape the mountains and the communities therein. This collaboration has had environmental, economic, and cultural consequences.Early on, the Catskills were an important source of natural resources. Later, when New York City needed to expand its water supply, engineers helped direct the city toward the Catskills, claiming that the mountains offered the purest and most cost-effective waters. By the 1960s, New York had created the great reservoir and aqueduct system in the mountains that now supplies the city with 90 percent of its water.The Catskills also served as a critical space in which the nation's ideas about nature evolved. Stradling describes the great influence writers and artists had upon urban residents - especially the painters of the Hudson River School, whose ideal landscapes created expectations about how rural America should appear. By the mid-1800s, urban residents had turned the Catskills into an important vacation ground, and by the late 1800s, the Catskills had become one of the premiere resort regions in the nation.In the mid-twentieth century, the older Catskill resort region was in steep decline, but the Jewish "Borscht Belt" in the southern Catskills was thriving. The automobile revitalized mountain tourism and residence, and increased the threat of suburbanization of the historic landscape. Throughout each of these significant incarnations, urban and rural residents worked in a rough collaboration, though not without conflict, to reshape the mountains and American ideas about rural landscapes and nature.For those of us who live [in the Catskills] as well as visitors, this book reminds us of the genuine advantages of the mountains and when we read the quotes from years past, we know that these qualities are still here. This is a good book to have on your shelf.... Making Mountains enriches the experience of the Catskills and also provides an interesting thesis on the history of the area. - Towne Crier, Livingston Manor, NY