Historical Society of Middletown hosts Sept. 14 talk on Pepacton Reservoir and Arena

MARGARETVILLE -- An illustrated talk on the construction of the Pepacton Reservoir and its impact on displaced communities, particularly Arena, will be presented Sunday, Sept. 14 at 1 p.m. at the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown (HSM), 778 Cemetery Road, Margaretville.

Admission is $2 for HSM members, $4 for non-members. More information on the Historical Society and on Middletown’s history can be found at http://www.mtownhistory.org.

Diane Galusha, author of Liquid Assets, A History of New York City’s Water System, will deliver the program titled “Remembering Arena: 60 Years Gone.” She will explain the City’s 20th-century search for reliable sources of water, the damming of the East Branch of the Delaware River to create the largest reservoir in the City’s supply, and the repercussions to 1,000 people in four communities who were forced to leave their homes, farms, and businesses.

Special focus will be given to the lost hamlet of Arena in the Town of Middletown. Photos of most of the buildings in the hamlet, many taken by Catskill Mountain News photographer Al Weiss, will be shown. Other communities claimed for the 21-mile-long reservoir were Shavertown and Union Grove in the Town of Andes, and Pepacton in the Town of Colchester. Those with photos and/or memories of these communities, or of reservoir construction, are encouraged to share them.

The speaker is President of HSM, a former journalist and editor of the Catskill Mountain News, 1989-96. She is employed at the Catskill Watershed Corporation.

In addition to Liquid Assets (1999), she has written several other books of local and regional history, including Another Day, Another Dollar, The Civilian Conservation Corps in the Catskills (2008); Through a Woman’s Eye: Pioneering Photographers of Rural Upstate (1991), When Cauliflower was King (2004), and As the River Runs, A History of Halcottville, NY (1990). 

The Arena home of James Martin was moved from the Pepacton basin in August, 1954. It was relocated to Dunraven.



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