of New York
STORY OF LIBERTY
on Highlighted Text for Historic Images)
Delbert E. Van Etten, Town
William Cogswell,Town Historian
The Town of Liberty area is credited with providing 303 men who
fought in the Revolution. Liberty was carved originally from the
then large township of Lumberland and was itself at this time so
large that it included the present Towns of Callicoon and Fremont.
The Town today covers 85 square miles.
When the first white settlers came to this area, known as the Blue
Mountain country, they settled to the Northwest of the present village
at the existing Revonah
Lake, formerly known
as Broadhead Pond. The early settlers came here from Connecticut
and some of the oldest remains left in the Town are the laid up
stones in the outlet of Revonah Lake which were probably placed
there in 1797 for the purpose of building the first sawmill in the
As the land was cleared of the dense dark hemlock forest that the
early settlers found, the area went through various stages of development.
After the farms were cleared one
of the earlier forms of industry to be established was the tanneries
which ran through the Civil War era. Following this, the dairy farming
came into its own, to be followed by the taking in of "summer
boarders" which gradually led to the founding of the large
House and many others.
It was along about 1900 that the large Loomis
Sanatorium was established for the care of TB or
tubercular patients and Liberty in general went through another
stage of its development which lasted until other cures beside the
fresh air and rest were found.
It was also early in the century that the Workmen's
Circle, a leading
Jewish fraternal order, built a sanatorium east of Liberty, the
property now occupied by the County Home
and Infirmary and also the site of the Social Service Buildings.
Then the town in general fell back to it dependency upon the tourist
and its so called summer season. Being blessed with an abundance
of rural beauty and nearness to the metropolitan area provides many
advantages in this respect.
As the years went by, and different settlements began to develop,
they eventually became the Village
and Hamlets that we know today. Some of the old settlements
either changed their names or were lost in the ways of progress.
Doubtenville, Glen Cove, Egypt and Red Brick are just a few of the
Still remaining within the confines of the Town of Liberty today
are the Village
Liberty and the smaller hamlets of Ferndale, Parksville,
Swan Lake and White Sulphur Springs.
of Liberty, incorporated
on September 17, 1870, is by far the largest of the Town's communities,
being located at the crossroads of the Quickway (Route 17) and State
Highway Route 52.
Liberty can boast of its tanneries, of the old Liberty
Normal Institute, established in 1847, its famous
Coaching Day Parades, and its hotels of the 1900 era. The Liberty
House was the greatest and was the site of many Lincoln Dinners
and reunions of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Of the smaller hamlets, Parksville
is the only one to maintain its original name. Even
before the formation of the Town of Liberty there were people in
this area. The Martins and the Halls were early settlers, arriving
in 1804. At a later date the Parks family came to the area and proved
to be extremely active and productive and through their efforts
came the name Parksville,
otherwise it more than likely would have been known as "Martinsville."
Springs was originally
called Robertsonville, being named for Bradley Robertson who left
Connecticut and settled in the area in 1809, and later fought in
war of 1812.
The Hamlet has always been a rural area. At one time it was surrounded
by many small dairy farms and had a cheese factory operating within
In the 1890's and early 1900's it was doing a thriving hotel and
Boarding House business. It was during this period of time that
a large hotel, called the White
Sulphur Springs House was built. The hotel took its'
name from the Sulphur Spring whose waters were supposed to have
medicinal benefits which were obtainable either by drinking or bathing
In December of 1890 Robertsonville officially changed its' name
to White Sulphur Springs, no doubt to further help the promotion
of the tourist trade.
In later years many additional hotels were constructed in the Hamlet
and the business flourished in the summer for many years.
originally known as Liberty Falls, was settled by Roswell Russell
in 1807. It
had, during the Civil War era, thriving tanneries within its confines.
The tall brick chimney
of one of the tanneries stood until sometime in the 1950's when
it was taken down for its bricks.
The name was changed from Liberty Falls to Ferndale
by the O
& W Railway because of a mix up of the mails.
The name Ferndale
covers a much larger area than the hamlet itself.
Ferndale is credited with having the Grossinger
Hotel within its boundaries. This large layout all
started by the Grossinger
family taking in a few summer boarders to help meet expenses
Lake originally called
Stevensville, was named after the Stevens brothers who
built a large sole leather tannery there. The tannery was in existence
until about 1873.
Since the 1880's the Swan
Lake area has been noted
for its hotel and tourist industry .
Many of the local farm girls found jobs there in the early 1900's.
The lake has always had
an abundance of fish and brings sportsmen into the area.
Alden S. Swan arrived there from New York about 1895 and by the
time of his death in 1917 owned much of the land and all of the
lake. The name was changed to Swan Lake in January 1927.
The Swan estate was purchased by Siegel and Kretchmer and the Siegels
went on to build the Commodore and Stevensville
the latter developing into a large sprawling hotel run
by the Dinnerstein family.
Delbert Van Etten, Town Historian