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I recently came across a rare circa 1900 postcard of Narrowsburg’s Main Street. Given that more than a century has passed since the picture was taken, things really haven’t changed all that much. Today’s Main Street skyline is remarkably the same as it has been. You can make out the buildings on the left now occupied by Narrowsburg Proper, The Chi Hive and River Gallery, and Uncle Vinny’s on the right. The biggest change I notice is that we’ve introduced a tangle of electric wires and poles to the skyline.
I’m in the beginning phase of restoring a very old house a couple miles from Main Street in the Luxton Lake community. From all accounts, it has been abandoned since at least the 1960s. Neighbors who’ve been here much longer than I recall when the house had a sign across the front reading “Sleepy Hollow,” and the local kids believed it was haunted. It may have been built in the mid-1800s by William H. Mapes, according to some old maps and documents I dug up in the records room of the Tusten Historical Society (198 Bridge St.) and the Sullivan County Government Center(100 North St., Monticello). Mapes also owned and operated a sawmill nearby on the Ten Mile River, so I expect the lumber used to make the beefy two-by-four studs and amazingly well preserved clapboard siding was harvested and milled just down the road from the house.
Step one of the renovation process is removing the old lathe and plaster walls, which have deteriorated due to decades of neglect. Thinking back to Main Street circa 1900 postcard, I imagine that the two-story brick building—which advertised an inventory of “Lime, Cement, Wall Plaster, Plasterboard, Brick, Sewer Pipe”—is probably where the wall materials we’re now removing were originally purchased.
If, like me, you’re interested in the history of Narrowsburg or the story behind your old house, I’d encourage you to become a member of the Tusten Historical Society, follow its Facebook page, and save the date for its annual meeting on Sunday, October 21, at which Jane Luchsinger will present a program on the logging and rafting industry in our area. And if anyone reading this has history to share about the “Sleepy Hollow” house or the Luxton Lake section of Tusten, I’d love to hear from you at email@example.com.