Catskill is a town in the southeast part of Greene County, New York, United States. The population was 11,775 at the 2010 census. The western part of the town is in the Catskill Park. The town contains a village, also called Catskill, with a population of 4,081 at the 2010 census. The village of Catskill has a well-defined main street and a public boat launch on the Hudson River called Dutchman’s Landing. Catskill is the county seat of Greene County.
Thomas Cole, View from Catskill
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 64.2 square miles, of which 60.5 square miles is land and 3.7 square miles (5.69%) is water.
The east town line is defined by the Hudson River, forming the border of Columbia County. The south town line is the border of Ulster County.
The New York State Thruway (Interstate 87) and U.S. Route 9W pass through the town.
On July 23, 2003, an F2 tornado ripped across the town. The worst of the damage occurred at the Kiskatom flats. The tornado crossed over New York Route 32 and went past the Friar Tuck Inn, causing two mobile homes to flip over.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village of Catskill has a total area of 2.8 square miles, of which, 2.2 square miles is land and 0.6 square miles (20.85%) is water.
The village is on the west side of the Hudson River, where Catskill Creek joins it.
Alsen – A hamlet in the southeast part of the town on Route 9W.
Cairo Junction – A hamlet in the northwest part of the town.
Catskill – A village.
Cauterskill – A hamlet west of Catskill village.
Hamburg – A hamlet north of Catskill village on the Hudson River.
High Falls – A hamlet by the south town line.
Jefferson Heights – A hamlet northwest of Catskill village.
Kiskatom – A hamlet southwest of Catskill village.
Lawrenceville – A hamlet in the western part of the town.
Leeds – A hamlet by the north town line.
Palenville – A hamlet in the southwest corner of the town.
Smith’s Landing – A hamlet south of Alsen on Route 9W.
The area of the town was purchased from the natives for some trinkets in 1678 and settlement followed. The town was established in 1788 while still part of Albany County. The town was increased by an addition from the town of Woodstock in 1800, but was later decreased upon the formation of the towns of Cairo (1803) and Athens (1815).
Most of the village land was purchased from the natives in 1684. At the end of the American Revolution there were only ten houses in the community. The village was incorporated in 1806.
Catskill is one of only twelve villages in New York still incorporated under a charter, the other villages having incorporated or re-incorporated under the provisions of Village Law.
Main Street, 1954
As of the census of 2000, there were 11,849 people, 4,780 households, and 3,035 families residing in the town of Catskill. The population density was 195.8 people per square mile. There were 5,700 housing units at an average density of 94.2 per square mile. The racial makeup of the town was 89.84% White, 6.03% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.86% from other races, and 2.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.03% of the population.
There were 4,780 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.5% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.94.
In the town the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $33,531, and the median income for a family was $42,807. Males had a median income of $33,832 versus $25,058 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,563. About 11.2% of families and 14.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.4% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census of 2010, there were 4,081 people, 1,565 households, and 1,026 families residing in the village of Catskill. The population density was 1,962.0 people per square mile. There were 2,048 housing units at an average density of 914.9 per square mile. The racial makeup of the village was 60.40% White, 30.73% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 2.48% from other races, and 3.37% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.22 (4% Mexican) of the population.
There were 1,765 households out of which 29.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.9% were married couples living together, 18.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.6% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the village the population was spread out with 25.5% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 89.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.5 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $28,075, and the median income for a family was $34,635. Males had a median income of $32,857 versus $21,578 for females. The per capita income for the village was $15,169. About 16.6% of families and 19.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.1% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.
Voters in Catskill tend to be slightly more liberal than the rest of Greene County’s voters. It is somewhat of a battleground area, but it has emerged Democratic by small margins in many of the past elections. Greene County remains a solidly Republican county.
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Economy and employment
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Catskill Creek railroad bridge
Places of interest
The Thomas Cole House, also known as Cedar Grove or the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, is a National Historic Landmark that includes the home and the studio of painter Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School of American painting. It is located at 218 Spring Street, near the approach for the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. The site provided Thomas Cole with a residence and studio from 1833 through his death in 1848.
The property was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965. It was declared a National Historic Site in 1999.
Cole’s student Frederic Edwin Church became a close friend of the family and sketched much of Cedar Grove in 1848. Following Cole’s death, a number of artists traveled to visit Cedar Grove, with some renting his studio and making paintings and sketches of the houses and grounds. Jasper Francis Cropsey and Charles Herbert Moore were among those who visited, and descriptions of the site began to appear in magazines and newspapers. Cole’s privileged position in American art during the mid-19th century ensured constant interest in his place of work by the artistic community until many years after his death.
In the 1880s, however, the family had fallen on hard financial circumstances, with Frederic Church forced to assist them in 1882. The size of the property gradually diminished due to a combination of public works (including a road and reservoir) and sales to help the family’s financial situation. In 1933 the construction of the nearby Rip Van Winkle Bridge at first threatened to demolish the house, but after concerted efforts by the Cole family only took a portion of land.
In 1964 the last surviving descendent of Cole held an auction to sell a number of Cole’s paintings and furnishings. During the 1960s, the historic flower beds were abandoned, and the old cottage that Cole had initially rented was demolished. After New York State declined to preserve the property, it was purchased by the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development who listed it for sale with restrictive deed covenants in 1981. In 1982 it was purchased by four art enthusiasts who began restoration work. After the National Park Service declined to acquire the site, a grant from the Beecher Trust helped the Greene County Historical Society purchase the site in 1998. Restoration began in earnest and Cedar Grove opened to the public in 2001.
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Shopping and dining
394 Main Street
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John Adams, United States Congressman from New York, died in Catskill.
Jedediah Berry, author, was raised in Catskill.
James Bogardus, inventor, architect, pioneer of American cast-iron architecture, for which he took out a patent (1850).
Mickey Brantley, an outfielder for the Seattle Mariners who later went on to be a coach for the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets, was born and raised in Catskill.
George Caines, lawyer and reporter of decisions for the New York Court of Appeals.
Robert Charels (Robert Smith), a blues singer who has recorded three albums nationally (including the Duke Robillard-produced Metropolitan Blue), was born and raised in Catskill.
Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School of painting lived in Catskill from 1827 until his death in 1848. Cole was a member of Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church in Catskill, and designed the present church building; a stained-glass window there honors the Cole Family. His house at Cedar Grove is open to the public.
Zachary Cole Smith, frontman of indie rock band DIIV.
Jennifer Connelly, actress.
George Q. Daley, Preeminent molecular and stem cell research scientist (oncology and hematology) and one of only 12 individuals who graduated summa cum laude from Harvard Medical school.
Boxing manager Cus D’Amato formed a gym in Catskill where he trained future heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
Edward W. Dwight, Wisconsin politician, was born in Catskill.
John Hill (1821–1884), represented New Jersey’s 4th congressional district from 1867 to 1873, and New Jersey’s 5th congressional district from 1881 to 1883.
Broadway actor and composer Tom Judson lives in Catskill.
George W. Lay, former US Congressman.
Charles Palmetier, Wisconsin State Senator, was born in Catskill.
Jaap Penraat, interior designer, architect, sculptor, and Dutch resistance fighter during the Second World War.
Robert Seaman, millionaire entrepreneur, was born in Catskill.
Mike Tyson (above, 1987, in Catskill), heavyweight champion boxer, moved to to the village from Brooklyn, trained at local gym and went to Catskill High School.
President Martin van Buren was married in the village.
Abraham Van Vechten, New York State Attorney General, was born in Catskill.