May 2012
(in subscribed newsletter, not here:  list of boarding house, copy of Sunny Hill brochure)


A steady rain greeted the crowd of 35 who came out for our “Sunny Hill as Archetype for Greenville’s Boarding Houses / Resorts” program, hosted by Sunny Hill owners—Gary, Wayne, & Gail—at Sunny Hill. Attendance results later.

A productive starting point that was the photo board as one entered the Rec Hall, where nearly fifty 8x10 photographs marked the progress of Sunny Hill from its early days until mid-late century. Those of us of a certain age (most of us attending) recognized many of the stages, and then realized how an accumulation of small changes can almost escape unnoticed until one sees proof leading to the current state.

Key moments included the building of the kitchen, the pool, the pond, and, of course, the various buildings.

I introduced the evening with the general overview of how boarding houses started, gradually took more people, had to adapt to customers’ wants, competed with similar area ventures, built a pool so the stream was not needed, built a rec hall or some other similar structure, added staff to service the increasing number of guests, added on to the main house or built new structures, renovated for private bathrooms, installed the newfangled TVs, set up air conditioning for those sultry days that we used to have to live with, and so on.

The Nicholsens had reproduced and preserved older photographs and home movies on CD/DVD over ten years ago. This evening, they decided to show the movie disk, which contained a couple dozen of some old home movies. We saw Arnold with his parents, snow scenes, views that later would be filled in with resort development, Mae with children, guests acting like guests (a lot of dress-up scenes, especially men dressing as women), and a lot of good times. Although the films were silent, Gary narrated as we went along, filling in facts and background, sidestepping to a short story, and more, as Gary can do.

After the movie show, Wayne took over, filled in more information, and fielded questions about history and day-to-day operations. For me, one of the most telling parts was the list of entertainment that Sunny Hill provides, from the old fashioned bingo and horse-racing nights to the sought after golf and fishing to the rather recent Lake Loree centered events and the fire-works. Wayne also listed the trips the buses take guests to, stretching from Saratoga to Poughkeepsie , Cooperstown to Lee , MA

At meeting’s end, I thanked the Nicholsens for hosting our local history meeting and wished them continued success in their efforts. Their hospitality symbolizes the community spirit Sunny Hill has shown throughout the years.

And a big thank you goes to Stephanie and Christine for providing refreshments for the evening. Your help was much appreciated.


I tried to take attendance but was too busy to keep an accurate list, especially as numbers swelled by the 7:30 suggested opening. So, at the risk of leaving someone out (you will have to let me know so I can correct it for next newsletter), I will attempt such a list. I believe I saw: Stephanie Ingalls, Bob & Marie Shaw, Phyllis Beechert, Kathie Williams (it’s been a while, Kathie, and nice to see you), Orrin & Shirley Stevens, Dot Blenis (and daughter), Walter & Donna Ingalls, Bette Welter, Christine Mickelsen, and County Historian Dave Dorpfeld.

Some of the visitors included (my memory is even hazier with this!): Ken Mabey, Jackie Park (Greenville’s newest Town Clerk), Kurt Spohler and daughter Sam, Charlie Gombar (longtime acquaintance from my Spohler days), Margaret Donahue, the Mrs. Preisner & Bear & Jennings (I don’t know them well enough to call by first name!), Sally Staunch, Mary Lou Nahas and several more that I missed or didn’t know.


The next meeting, June 11, will feature Professor Dr. Titus, Senior Full Professor of the Geology Department at Hartwick College (also, a Freehold resident, a neighbor and friend of mine). Titus will remind us of the destructive power that Hurricane Irene unleashed on our area, and then explain why the damage was as bad as it was.

In addition to his college work, Dr. Titus writes a weekly geology column for the Daily Mail (Thursdays, usually) and a quarterly column for Kaatskill Life magazine. He has presented at least two other programs for the GLHG, and I look forward to his engaging lectures.

Also, we will use this event to encourage anyone who wants to contribute to the flood relief efforts to do so. In particular, I have agreed, with Robert’s urging, that we take a free-will donation for the Pratt Museum in Prattsville which suffered major damage (both the museum and the town!). We thought it appropriate that one history-minded organization help another one for this event. Of course, if you wish to help out any flood relief effort in any other way, you should do so. And, I know that some of you have done your share already.

I will collect whatever (checks or cash) is given at our June meeting and forward it to Carolyn Bennett, director at the Pratt Museum . Thank you all, for any help, you are able to give.



The Greene County Historical Society’s Home Tour takes place on June 2nd (I hope you are getting this newsletter in time). I enjoy seeing structures that otherwise would be out of my purview. The Town of Durham is the epicenter this year, and the tour starts at the Yellow Deli and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contact GCHS for more information, or feel free to contact me.

Reproduced in this newsletter is the list of resorts that I handed out at this past meeting. These are the ones for which I have found proof – advertisement, pamphlet, post card, etc. Remind me if you can think of others (I know I have to add King Hill Cottage, Kathie!)

I will attempt to put online the contents of newsletters that I create. This is the first one, and I will work my way back for several issues, or so. Then, I may include a few that stand out for historical purposes. The one major omission will be the pages that I have copied from some place else (brochures, photos, etc.), and this is a big omission but I don’t have the technology to fix this yet.

The historian’s files are available on line, if you are willing to download a Word file. Go to (if this makes no sense to you non-computer-users, skip this paragraph!).

Looking ahead: June will be as described above; the July program will focus on what I have done on the resorts and web site; August will be shared with the Library, and will be a history-of-Greenville slide show (mostly); September is in limbo, as I might be out of the country.

We will try to schedule a share session but… to be honest, the last few share sessions, at least on an every-other-month basis, seemed to be lagging in attendance and fullness of spirit (although those of you present certainly made it worthwhile!). I think one or two or three in a season will be satisfactory but unless otherwise directed I will try to limit their number.

Having said that, there have to be programs to fill the gaps, and this year has started well enough. As always, if you have an idea for programs, feel free to refer them to me (and a couple of you have done that, and thank you).

Included in this newsletter, in addition to the list of boarding houses / resorts, is a copy of a Sunny Hill history brochure.

Also, in addition to online posting of the newsletter, I can email it to those of you who wish to receive it that way. Contact me at my email address ( if you would rather do that any time in the future.


Take care,