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Democrat Photo by Dan Hust

SULLIVAN COUNTY DEMOCRAT employee Lee Hermann, right, thanks the crowd for her Upper Delaware Heritage Alliance award as Alliance President Edward Boyer listens on Sunday.

Upper Delaware
Heritage Alliance
Hands Out Awards

By Dan Hust
BEACH LAKE, PA — September 30, 2003 – Lee Hermann finds it easy to recollect history.
She types it up every Monday.
And the Callicoon resident’s “Down the Decades” column is widely considered one of the best parts of each Tuesday’s Sullivan County Democrat. The page-long column chronicles 130 years of local history from the perspective of several now-defunct newspapers, of which the Democrat owns the archives.
Hermann and a host of other area history preservers were honored Sunday at the Central House in Beach Lake, Pa. as part of the Upper Delaware Heritage Alliance’s (UDHA) annual meeting.
“We have so many awards to give this year,” remarked UDHA President Edward Boyer, referencing the 16 awardees.
Topping that list was the Springhouse in Barryville, owned by a group of New York City natives who have recreated its turn-of-the-century boarding house charm in the form of a cafe and – soon – a bed and breakfast.
“It is essential that we applaud these restoration efforts,” said Boyer before handing co-owners Mark Veeder and Lynne O’Neill the UDHA’s Preservation Award.
“This means a lot,” said Veeder, who thanked county officials and Liberty architect Robert Dadras for their help.
Awarded in memory of the late Lumberland Supervisor Tom Hill and his efforts in the Delaware River valley, the Tom Hill Award for Excellence in Public Service was given to Gene Woock, a retiree of the National Park Service.
“Gene is very seriously retired,” quipped Boyer. “He’s on a fishing trip in Minnesota.”
So Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Assistant Superintendent Sandra Schultz accepted on Woock’s behalf.
Schultz said Woock is well-known and well-regarded for his availability and wisdom regarding the river park, the Delaware and Hudson Canal and area preservation efforts.
“If the situation was raining lemons on your parade, he’d make lemonade,” she said. “He’s a terrific supporter.”
Certificates of recognition were handed out to a diverse mix of individuals and organizations – all of whom share a desire to enhance, preserve and promote Sullivan and Delaware counties in New York and Wayne and Pike counties in Pennsylvania – just like the UDHA.
• Town of Mamakating D&H Canal Linear Park Commission – “For those who like to hike, bike or cross-country ski, we have nearly 20 miles [to do so],” said Mamakating Supervisor Fred Harding of the newly opened (and still in progress) trail following the canal’s path through the town.
• Fort Delaware Museum of Colonial History Director Joanne Szakmary – “We’re very proud of her efforts at Fort Delaware,” said Legislator Chris Cunningham in accepting the recognition on Szakmary’s behalf. “When she came to Fort Delaware [in Narrowsburg], things changed,” added local historian Mary Curtis. “She brought . . . a real understanding of historical professionalism and an understanding and love for living history.”
• Liberty Museum and Arts Center – “We were the first to get this whole thing [Liberty’s revival] started,” remarked Lee Parks, a founding member of the center. He thanked Cunningham, fellow Legislator Kathleen LaBuda, the Greater Liberty Chamber of Commerce and Liberty ALIVE for their help.
• 1804 Woodland House in Delhi, owned by Ken Knapp – Boyer said Knapp, now in his 90s, bought the 28-room house and property in 1944 and has now donated a conservation easement on it to the UDHA, valued at nearly $5,000. Barbara Yeaman of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy accepted on his behalf and will present the award to him on his birthday next week.
• Photographer Donald Kaszner of Equinunk, Pa. – “The value of his [historical photo] collection lies in its completeness,” said Boyer of Kaszner’s numerous photographs of Equinunk-area buildings, some long-gone. “Everybody’s got their camera out now to get even,” quipped a truly appreciative Kaszner of the camera flashes during his acceptance speech. “The pictures they’re taking today, those will pop up 50 years from now and come back and haunt me!”
• Hortonville Presbyterian Church – “It’s an honor to be here . . . among folks who share a common bond,” said Elaine Emmett, one of several local people who successfully worked to place the church on the state and national historic registers. “You really should take a look at our church,” added Mary Cullen. “It’s so beautiful. We’re very proud of it! It was a lot of work but obviously well worth it.”
• Town of Highland – “It was a wonderful event,” said Legislator LaBuda of the town’s 150th anniversary celebration this year. “The board actually decided recently to have the event annually.”
• Basha Kill Area Association’s D&H Canal towpath interpretive walks – Led by naturalist Gary Keaton, these walks have educated thousands about the Basha Kill and its environs, which teem with life near Wurtsboro. “Gary is a personal friend and very instrumental in the creation of our linear park,” said Fred Harding while accepting the award on Keaton’s behalf. “This is a richly deserved award.”
Several people were also recognized for their publications:
• Kurt A. Reed and Walter B. Barbe of Honesdale, Pa. for “The Glass Industry in PA, 1807-Present” – “This is a beautiful and comprehensive book that shines with scholarship and dedication,” said Boyer. The authors could not attend the dinner.
• Frank T. Dale of Hope, NJ, for “Bridges Over the Delaware River: A History of Crossings” – “It may persuade us that a bridge doesn’t have to be covered in wood to merit our attention,” said Boyer before presenting Dale with his award.
• Emily Hallock of Narrowsburg for “Those Who Came Before” – “I really appreciate being recognized for something I love to do,” said Hallock, a genealogist who has spent many, many hours researching local families’ histories. “Everybody should know where they come from.”
• Paul O’Hara of Pleasant Mount, Pa., for “Pleasant Mount in Postcards” – “A handsome book,” said Boyer before handing O’Hara his award for preserving the small town in a postcard retrospective.
• Joseph Freda of Kenoza Lake for “The Patience of Rivers” – “The novel’s historical references . . . reveal a knowledge of history and place that’s both solid and insightful,” said Boyer. “I’ve always been moved to write by and about the Delaware River valley,” said Freda, who grew up in Callicoon, the setting for his fictional account of another boy’s adolescence. “[Callicoon’s history] echoed the history of most of our river towns. It gives us context, texture, substance by which we can appreciate the present.”
• Leota “Lee” Hermann of Callicoon for the Sullivan County Democrat’s “Down the Decades” weekly column – “For many, ‘Down the Decades’ has been favorite reading material,” said Boyer. “We’re pleased to be able to recognize her tireless work.”
“I’m a genealogy buff,” admitted Hermann, a more than 30-year employee of the Democrat. “I think it’s important to bring these items to people’s attention.”
True to form, after thanking three generations of Fred Stabberts for publishing her work in the twice-weekly paper, Hermann entertained the crowd by recollecting interesting bits of local history.

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