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 residents Down the Decades column is widely considered one of the best parts of each Tuesdays 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 Alliances (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 ONeill the UDHAs 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. Hes on a fishing trip in Minnesota.
So Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Assistant Superintendent Sandra Schultz accepted on Woocks 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, hed make lemonade, she said. Hes 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 canals path through the town.
Fort Delaware Museum of Colonial History Director Joanne Szakmary Were very proud of her efforts at Fort Delaware, said Legislator Chris Cunningham in accepting the recognition on Szakmarys 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 [Libertys 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 Kaszners numerous photographs of Equinunk-area buildings, some long-gone. Everybodys got their camera out now to get even, quipped a truly appreciative Kaszner of the camera flashes during his acceptance speech. The pictures theyre taking today, those will pop up 50 years from now and come back and haunt me!
Hortonville Presbyterian Church Its 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. Its so beautiful. Were 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 towns 150th anniversary celebration this year. The board actually decided recently to have the event annually.
Basha Kill Area Associations 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 Keatons 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 doesnt 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 OHara of Pleasant Mount, Pa., for Pleasant Mount in Postcards A handsome book, said Boyer before handing OHara his award for preserving the small town in a postcard retrospective.
Joseph Freda of Kenoza Lake for The Patience of Rivers The novels historical references . . . reveal a knowledge of history and place thats both solid and insightful, said Boyer. Ive 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 boys adolescence. [Callicoons 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 Democrats Down the Decades weekly column For many, Down the Decades has been favorite reading material, said Boyer. Were pleased to be able to recognize her tireless work.
Im a genealogy buff, admitted Hermann, a more than 30-year employee of the Democrat. I think its important to bring these items to peoples 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.