Tuesday, January 2, 2018

"Stone In Winter" Display About Roxbury's Stone Houses

The More House 1829

"The Stone Jug" 1814

From December 29 through January 31 on view at the Roxbury Library is Catskills Folk Connection's display "Stone in Winter", exhibiting photos of Roxbury's six traditional stone houses.  The display was funded in 2017 through an Action Grant from Humanities New York. Photographed for the display by Jill Ribich, the houses are shown in their winter habitat that emphasizes the shape and texture of the stone structures.  The display was fabricated by Deb Fleming of Sign Designs and features a portrait of each house, showing the design of its facade.  The display is available for public viewing during the Library's regular hours Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 10-5, and Saturday 10-2. 

Constructed in the first three decades of the 19th century, the Roxbury stone houses share common traits, but yet are distinctive one from another.  Two of them, among the earliest, are two stories high with a symmetrical facade and refined details, such as contrasting brick trim or a version of a Palladian window, that bespoke the influential status of the first owners.  The others are one story high, two with the same symmetry of facade, two with doors that are off-center.

Three of the houses share the feature of having a walk in cellar.  Dan Underwood, descendant of the builder of the Oliver Underwood House, explained that this was not unusual in stone houses because he understood that the builders kept the cellar open as long as possible so the stone boat or wagon could be driven right into the cellar hole, easing considerably the labor of transferring stones up to the walls.  At the Hardenburgh House the on-grade cellar door led to a store, while in the Underwood House it led to a cellar kitchen.

The display at the Roxbury Library includes information about each house, as well as the winter portrait for each.  More information can be found in The History of the Town of Roxbury by Irma Mae Griffin, available to borrow or purchase at the Library, 53742 State Highway 30, Roxbury, NY  12474  607-326-7901.

Catskills Folk Connection is sponsored by the Roxbury Arts Group, and is funded in part by the New York State Council on the Arts Folk Art Program, by an Action Grant from Humanities NY, by Gov. Cuomo and the NYS Legislature, and by the O'Connor Foundation.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Second Catskills Folk Lyceum Talk

The Hardenburgh House, Roxbury NY

Saturday, October 28 at 2 p.m. Neil Larson will present a talk about the six stone houses in Roxbury and their architectural traditions.  

His presentation will take place at the Jay Gould Reformed Church, 53837 State Highway 30, Roxbury, NY 12474.

Mr. Larson is well-known in the field of historic preservation and architectural history.  His talk will consider the Roxbury stone houses in the context of northeastern building patterns and also of comparable stone structures in the Hudson Valley.  Join us for an interesting and informative afternoon.

For more information contact Ginny Scheer, Folklorist, Catskills Folk Connection, 607-746-3521 or vscheer@juno.com.

Catskills Folk Connection is funded in part by the New York State Council on the Arts Folk Art Program, by Gov. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, by an Action Grant from HumanitiesNY, and by the O'Connor Foundation.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tonight on WIOX at 6 p.m. Photos for 2 Hour Program

Photos to Accompany Catskills Folk Radio Program

Tonight, Tuesday, October 17, on WIOX 91.3 FM and wioxradio.org.

Late 18th Century House in Margaretville

Gorsch House, Roxbury. Early 19th century symmetrical plan with lobby stair, 
Plan for symmetrical plan with central chimney intact.

Bouton House, Roxbury.  Early 19th Century symmetrical plan.
May have had end chimneys.

Walter Stratton House, 1828 Roxbury.   Assymmetical hall-parlor plan.

Stone Tavern Farm, Roxbury. Early 19th century - stone part only.
Hardenburgh House, Roxbury.  Late 18th - early 19th centuries.
More House, Roxbury.  c.1800.  Symmetrical plan.
Stone Jug, Roxbury. Early 19th century asymmetrical plan.
Maybe a "half-house".
Underwood House, Roxbury.  Early 19th Century two story symmetrical plan
Also known as Georgian facade and plan.
Hubbell Family Homestead, Kelly Corners. Early 19th century.
Two story symmetrical plan and facade, Margaretville.
Alsoknown as Georgian facade and plan.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Young Fiddlers at Fiddlers!24 in Roxbury

Traditional fiddler Jackie Hobbs of the New York Old Tyme Fiddlers Association brought her youth group to Fiddlers!24, the annual October event at the Roxbury Arts Group Last weekend.  Called "Fiddlin' Future", the group is a youth chapter of the Association, and includes some pretty amazing fiddlers.  Here's is a photo of Jackie's kids playing with the professional performers at Fiddlers!24's jam. 

Listen to WIOX tonight for a non-scheduled edition of Catskills Folk to hear just the audio of Jackie's kids and  more about the performances at Fiddlers!24.  91.3 FM or streaming on line at WIOXradio.org.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


The first Catskills Folk Lyceum lecture this year will take place on Saturday, October 14, 2-4- p.m.,(location TBD) and will feature folklorist Hannah Davis, New York Folklore Society's Upstate Regional Representative.  In keeping with Catskills Folk Connection's focus on traditional Catskills food, Hannah will speak about New York State foodways in her talk titled "Spiedies, Grape Pies, and Garbage Plates (Oh My!): A Serious Look at Upstate New York's Silly-Sounding Foods." 

Join CFC for an afternoon of fun in which we will find out about Hannah's recent work with good traditions in central New York.  At the reception following Hannah's talk, Catskills Folk Connection will share a mini-slide show about Catskills food traditions and will offer free recipe cards from local food tradition bearers. 

Watch this blog for the announcement of the location for Hannah's talk.  It will be in either eastern or central/western Delaware County.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Family Fun at September 16 Square Dance in Walton

This Saturday, September 16 from 7-10 pm, Catskills Folk Connection is sponsoring an old-time traditional square dance at the Walton Grange, 135 Stockton Avenue, Walton, NY  13856.

Continuing in the tradition of Hilt Kelly and the Sidekicks, music will be provided by the Tremperskill Boys with John Jacobson fiddling and calling.  John spent many afternoons with Hilt Kelly, playing and transcribing his fiddle tunes and learning the square dance calls. The result is a continuation of the traditional "Eastern" square dance that for decades was the entertainment at house dances and community halls in the Catskills.  Based in community and family life, it developed as an accessible form of self-entertainment to which all were, and are, welcome.

If you have square danced before, this dance will take you back to its roots in 19th and 20th century fiddle tunes and to old-time dance figures that Thomas Jefferson would recognize.  If you have not square danced before, this dance with the Tremperskill Boys will be a gentle introduction to a democratic and cooperative dance form danceable by all ages.

At the September 16 dance, all dances will be taught.  You need not bring a partner.  Come enjoy an evening of lilting square dance tunes, songs for dancing, and fiddle tunes for listening.  Admission is $5, age 12 and under free.  Refreshments will be provided by the Walton Grange.

Also available for sale at the dance on Saturday will be Hilt Kelly's 2016 CD "Tunes I Learned From My Dad."  It consists of 10 tunes, many of which have not been previously published.  They are unnamed tunes identified by ethnomusicologist Jim Kimball as tunes from quadrilles that may never have had names.  Income from CD sales goes into a revolving fund for future digital publication of Hilt Kelly recordings and future written publications about Catskills traditional music and dance.

For more information about the September 16 dance and about the CD featuring Hilt and Stella Kelly, contact Ginny Scheer, Catskills Folk Connection folklorist, at 607-746-3521 or vscheer@juno.com.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July 28 Folk Art at Catskill Art Society, Livingston Manor, NY

Tonight on WIOX 91.3 FM or www.wioxradio.org I will once again be talking about folk art in anticipation of Catskills Folk Connection's presentation on Friday at the Catskill Art Society in Livingston Manor.

The radio program will be a preview of my talk on Friday about the folk painters represented in Catskill Art Society's  Rural Life Festival exhibit "Homegrown."  Asking the questions "What is Art?" and "What is Folk?" we will look at the works of Don Strausser and Cheryl Kolb and compare them with Catskills artists, both fine artists and folk artists.

Last time on WIOX listeners and I dealt mostly with the "folk" question and applied it especially to traditional dance and music. We compared traditional examples of singing with revivalist examples, revealing difference not so much in style as in the singer's relationship to the cultural source of the song.  Tonight we will continue the comparison with the paintings.  Cheryl Kolb's paintings are illustrated below in unfortunately tiny images that cannot be enlarged.  Scroll down the blog to the previous post for a one of Don Strausser's paintings and then check the Gallery for more of Don's and Nellie Bly Ballard's paintings.

I'll play some music breaks not necessarily related to tonight's theme, and if there is time I'll try to give you another sample of Luvan throat singing that I heard at the Old Songs Festival last month.

Join me if you can this Friday from 3-5 p.m. for the opening reception of "Homegrown" featuring quilts, photographs of Catskills farming, and the folk paintings.  My talk will be at 3:15 p.m. and the photographer's talk will be at 3:45 p.m.  The gallery is called "The Laundry King" and is at 65 Main Street, Livingston Manor, NY  12758.  

 -- Ginny Scheer, Folklorist and Host of Catskills Folk  at 7 p.m. on WIOX. 

Cheryl Kolb's landscapes near her home in Pennsylvania:

And examples of Catskills artists other than Don Strausser and Nellie Bly Ballard, for comparison:

Thomas Cole, View of Schoharie Valley, Fenimore Art Museum

John Hoopkins, Landscape

Robert Selkowitz, Manhattan Country School Farm
Mary Leone, Farm Scene