Just behind the majestic gothic style Gould Church on Roxbury’s Main Street lies a stretch of green gracing both sides of the East branch of the Delaware River. Known as Kirkside Park, this 11-acre treasure is rich in natural beauty and history which Roxbury proudly enjoys today.From the late 1890’s to the late 1930’s, Kirkside Park was part of the estate of Helen Gould Shepard. It was extensively landscaped and appointed with rustic Adirondack style bridges and gazebos, graceful paths along the stream, a small falls, rustic style furniture, and stone terraces.More
Naturalist John Burroughs paid lifelong homage to his Delaware County roots. Scattered throughout his essays are scores of recounted memories from the first 17 years of his life, years that he spent near Roxbury, New York. “My blood,” he said, “has the flavor of the soil in it; it is rural to the last drop.” Biographer Edward Renehan, Jr . writes that Burroughs “had a deep psychic connection not only to the geography of his home region, but also to his kin who lingered there above and below ground.”
In the 19th century over 400 one-room schools dotted Delaware County’s landscape, the last remaining open until the 1960s. Today they are fondly remembered by former teachers and students alike. Many one-room schools have been converted for use in a multitude of ways.
The most common schoolhouse seen in Delaware County was a small, one-room, wood framed structure, varying in size. A common misconception about one-room schools is that they were painted red. In fact, most schoolhouses were white. The care of the building was the responsibility of the trustee.
“The school trustee in Delaware County was generally a successful, though not necessarily wealthy, farmer who was considered to be a man of integrity and had some ability to make good decisions.”
Pamela S. Hillebrand, “Treasures of the One-Room Schoolhouse”
In the nineteenth century mail bound for Delaware County arrived by stagecoach and later by train. It was delivered to a post office, often housed in a general store.Before the 1890s there was no rural delivery of mail to individual addresses in Delaware County. Residents had to go in person to the post office in order to pick up or send correspondence and packages.
“My parents had sent a postcard to my older brother telling him when a package was going to arrive from them. We had to go by horse and wagon to the depot at Shinhopple to pick it up.”
John Scofield, East Branch, NY
Despite the inconvenience a trip to the nearest town to pick up mail provided rural families with an opportunity to socialize and catch up with their neighbors.More