Come Discover Tannersville and all it has to offer. Award winning eateries, antiques, shops, lodges, services, theater,
hiking/biking trails, skate park, Rip Van Winkle Lake and much more!
Tannersville, (the highest elevation Village in New York State) is nestled in the Great Northern Catskills.
The heart of the Catskills, Tannersville, New York has been aptly called “The Painted Village in the Sky” due
to the fact that most buildings in the village have been painted in cheery, vibrant colors.
Milo Claude Moseman, a tireless promoter of Tannersville during the early to mid 1900’s wrote:
Tannersville is where
The skies are bluer, the air is purer,
And sometimes said Men’s hearts are truer.
Tannersville’s 200-year history involved numerous small hemlock-tree tanneries (hence, the name) which created many forest related jobs. Sawmills, gristmills, woolen mills, and furniture factories brought families to Tannersville to work its land. These jobs were invariably difficult, but provided the income necessary to allow families to prosper.
It was shortly after the tanneries opened in 1820 that the legendary Rip Van Winkle woke from his 20-year sleep in the Catskills. So when thunder hits the village, remember, it’s probably just Rip and the little Dutchmen playing nine pins that are causing the noise. The tanneries brought work, but they stripped the mountains of their hemlock trees. Roland Van Zandt stated (Catskill Mountain House, 1991), “By 1890 the unbridled exploitation had destroyed the virgin forest, the tanning industry collapsed, and the mountains grew up again to the hardwoods of today.”
Tannersville was always one of the busiest and proudest of the Mountain Top communities. The beautiful mountains and spectacular vistas attracted three private cottage communities adjacent to the village of Tannersville. In 1887 Onteora Park and Twilight Park were established, followed three years later by Elka Park. All three parks have contributed greatly to Tannersville with financial contributions, employment, and culture.
The turn of the century through the 1920’s was a boom time for Tannersville. Hotels and boarding houses dotted the streets and the Ulster & Delaware Railroad opened a train station in the village. The U & D created a faster and more comfortable trip to the mountains and tourism burgeoned. In 1902 Tannersville had 52 hotels & boarding houses, accommodating 2,350 guests. In 1920 over 100 boarding houses were in the village and its outskirts.
Tannersville became an incorporated village in 1895, making it the highest elevation (1900 ft.) of any mountain village in the state of New York. Our village is famous for the spring awakening of the Catskill Mountains, the cool summers, fantastic fall foliage, and winter wonderland offerings.
Tannersville has a great deal to offer. In addition to the many retail establishments and restaurants in the village center, Tannersville also has a ninehole golf course which opened in 1929, a cross country ski center with over 35km of groomed trails, a newly updated Orpheum Theater featuring renowned musicians, dancers, and of course movies. The village also features hiking and bike trails, and various recreational activities at the Rip Van Winkle Lake at the southern end of the village.
Dede Terns-Thorpe, Town Historian