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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

MARILEE AND SAL Guarneri look at Marilyn Schein's postcard collection during Smallwood’s 75th anniversary celebration Sat.

Smallwood Residents
Remember It All

By Ted Waddell
SMALLWOOD — August 26, 2003 – Regina Maguire of Smallwood was thrilled to see a photograph of her father featured in the special journal issued in celebration of the 75th anniversary of Smallwood (1928-2003).
Published under the sponsorship of the Smallwood Civic Association, the photo of her father was titled “In Loving Memory of Roger Hohl, who loved fishing.” It was signed by Rose, Regina, Matthew, Patrick, Liam, Andrew, Aidan and Sean.
The photo shows him dressed in swimming trunks, holding what appears to be a freshly caught fish.
Marilee and Sal Guarneri are spending their 61st summer in Smallwood. They stood in line to see exhibits of Smallwood memorabilia and were absolutely thrilled to see a postcard picturing the church they were married in on April 6, 1963.
The Guarneris were joined in holy matrimony in the United Methodist Church of Kauneonga Lake and recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. They are fifth-generation residents of the close-knit community.
The postcard collection is owned by Marilyn Schein of Smallwood.
Col. Harry A. Conroy compiled a brief history of Smallwood that appeared in the 1953-54 Smallwood Yearbook.
“Our vacation land is well-steeped in American history,” said Conroy. “The story of Smallwood is the story of America, the story of the pioneer. His spirit is the spirit of daring and courage, gladdened by adventure, strengthened by faith.”
According to Col. Conroy, a promoter named A.N. Smallwood first became interested developing the area in 1928.
The first cabin was built by the Smallwood Company a year later in the Highview section of Mountain Lakes Development.
Smallwood advertised Mountain Lakes in the New York Times, offering a promotional tour of the property with inspections of model cabins starting at $300 and wrapping up the afternoon with a barbecue.
And from then on, little summer cabins began sprouting up all over the place.
In 1933, a post office was constructed at Mountain Lakes, and the community was officially named “Smallwood, New York.” Mr. DeCamp served as the first postmaster.
Smallwood passed away in October 1942, and his widow, Ruth Smallwood, a former Ziegfeld Follies girl, continued to operate the company until she sold it four years later.
The new owners did not make a go of it, and she got the property back in 1949 through foreclosure proceedings.
On February 16, 1951 a newly formed Holding Corporation of Smallwood took title to the property, after purchasing the land from Ruth Smallwood.
In the 75th Anniversary journal, June M. Barrett compiled and edited “Smallwood: A Patchwork Quilt of Memories” that featured the fascinating recollections of many of the older “Smallwoodites.”
“According to accepted writings, the Lenape Indians were the first inhabitants of Bethel, therefore of Smallwood, making their homes around the many lakes and beside the streams with which we are familiar,” said Barrett. “The first pioneers, it is said, were the Pintlers, who settled White Lake circa 1798.”
As the community of the early 1930s evolved, Barrett said, “It has been remembered by some that families set up tents for the summer while cabins were being built. As paths and trails were cleared, many more cabins began to appear. No electricity, no bathrooms, no in-house water in those early days...”
On Saturday, August 23, the community of Smallwood turned out in force to celebrate their 75th Anniversary.
Clint Partridge, a singer/songwriter of Bethel, and guitarist Eric Babicz from Middletown performed on a small stage set up in front of the tent filled with Smallwood artifacts.
As folks exchanged memories, kids played in the hot sun, and another Smallwood summer was recorded in the local history books.

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