The Catskill Mountain House
was a famous hotel near Palenville, New York
in the Catskill Mountains
overlooking the Hudson River Valley
, built in 1824. In its prime, from the 1850s to the turn of the century, it was visited by three U.S. presidents (U.S. Grant
, Chester A. Arthur
and Theodore Roosevelt
) and the power elite of the day.
The Mountain House's site, the "Pine Orchard," had long been famous for its panoramic views up and down the Hudson Valley and even beyond to the east. John Bartram
and James Fenimore Cooper
had both written about it in different contexts.
Artists and writers had discovered the Catskills some time earlier. Shortly after it was constructed, the Mountain House and its surroundings became a favorite subject for Washington Irving
and artists of the new Hudson River School
, most notably Thomas Cole
. Cooper advised his European audience, "If you want to see the sights of America, go to see Niagara Falls
, Lake George
and the Catskill Mountain House."
The hotel was built in 1823 and opened a year later by a group of merchants from nearby Catskill
on a plateau with sweeping views of the Hudson Valley on one side and two lakes on the other side that provided water and recreation.
In 1839, Charles Beach
, whose father ran a stage coach
line from the town of Catskill to the Mountain House, leased the hotel from the owners for six years and then bought it outright. Beach rebuilt the Mountain... Read More