By 1845, when the above image was created, Catskill was already a tourist destination. Popularized by the works of Hudson River School artists, most notably Thomas Cole, the Catskill mountains quickly became the playground of the wealthy and artistic. The landing at Catskill was an important port for packet sloops and passenger steamboats alike.
Thomas Cole's 1844 painting, "A View of the Two Lakes and Mountain House, Catskill Mountains, Morning," is a typical example of the Hudson River School of Art. A smocked painter stands in the foreground for scale, and wild, gnarled trees and tumbled boulders emphasize the wilderness. And yet, in the distance, perched on the edge of the wilderness, is some civilization - the Catskill Mountain House.
Opened in 1824 near Palenville, the Catskill Mountain House remained in operation for over a century - its last season was in 1941. The hotel was burned in the 1960s by the NYS DEC to conform to requirements for the state's "forever wild" clause which prohibited structures on land deemed "forever wild." Today, you can visit the site of the Catskill Mountain House and take in the breathtaking views that inspired generations of artists.
If you'd like to learn more about Thomas Cole, you can visit his home in Catskill, now a National Historic Site.
This Captains' Log is kept by the captains and crew of Solaris and Apollonia and staff of the Hudson River Maritime Museum.