The lush rolling farmlands, the busy bluestone quarries, the bustling little markets, the beautiful homes, the thriving little hotels with their barns and stables, and the tall majestic shade trees are only a memory now. No cock crows at daybreak to announce the dawning of a new day. No longer can one hear the whistle and the rumble of the Rip Van Winkle Flyer as she glides through town. The church bells no longer peal out on a Sunday morning, beckoning the worshipers in to the meeting. The air is no longer filled with the merry shouts and laughter of mischievous children on their way home from school, or the whinny of the horses and the clip-clop of their hooves as they pull their burdens through the dusty streets.
Oh, to be able to tum back the hands of the clock, and be carried back to a time and place of a bygone age; to be able to meet the people, to visit in their homes, to see them at their work, and to experience a few of their joys and sorrows; to travel their streets, to see their homes and shops, and to get a taste of life as they lived it…
So begins the nostalgic tour of the long gone village that Allen Rowe loved – West Hurley, in Ulster County, NY. Here we have descriptions of the complete workings of a stone yard, a saw mill, and even the transportation of their finished products to market. But this isn’t just one man’s recreation of a day in the life of a thriving village about to be inundated by millions of gallons of New York City water. No, this is a documentation of a forgotten way of life – the quiet, rural, day-to-day existence of a previous generation, filled with benign gossip and accounts of the commonplace events and tragedies in the lives of all the residents. As you read these pages you will feel as if you know the people, with all their joys and sorrows. Allen Rowe brings them to life for us in the years before the Ashokan waters flooded their homes.