25 May 2010

Catskills Bungalow Heritage Museum

While many people joyfully remember their Catskill summers as some of the happiest moments in their lives, there is no physical, visual place to share those memories.

Many Catskill summer kids remember this sign (left). We may have been oblivious to lots of things, but that sign was good to see each year.

Some determined individuals want to change that and create The Catskills Bungalow Heritage Museum.

Phil Brown of the Catskills Institute (which archives information about the region), informed me about this new project

A meeting about the project - whose purpose is the preservation of the heritage and history of bungalow colonies in the Catskills - is set for 11am, Sunday, June 13, at the Mountaindale Firehouse, Mountaindale, New York.

All interested individuals are invited to attend and discuss:
-- Physical acquisition and restoration of at least three original period bungalows.
-- Presentation of furniture, objects, photographs and ephemera from era.
-- Preservation of the history of tenants and tourists of the bungalow colonies
-- Collection of oral histories of former owners and service businesses for the bungalow colonies.
The organizers are Allen Frishman, Evadne Giannini and Raymon Elozua.

We are interested in your ideas and thoughts about such a museum. And we seek support from the local community to develop an initial action plan. We ask if possible to put your thoughts in writing so that the committee will be able to review your recommendations at a later date. We look forward to seeing you there.

Since the 1970s, the bungalow colonies have suffered a severe decline as our nation's wealth and lifestyles have changed. Many colonies were abandoned, demolished or sold for development. In an encouraging sign, a number have survived and thrive today as religious groups seek the same benefits for their members. All in all, a miniscule few remain open for rent to the general public.
The organizers' hope is that the Catskills Bungalow Heritage Museum will become a destination point for families and children who once vacationed in these colonies, creating tourism that will contribute to the economic re-vitalization of Sullivan County.

If you are interested and wish to be kept informed about the project, or wish to share ideas or contacts, email the organizers (above).

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