Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ashokan Farewell II

At the beginning of the twentieth century, five villages were uprooted and submerged in a massive eminent domain project that employed tens of thousands of workers to build the Ashokan Reservoir, New York City's largest reservoir.

Jay and Molly Ungar live in the Town of Olive, not far from the Ashokan Reservoir. They wrote a famous theme to the Ken Burns Civil War series, "Ashokan Farewell". It is one of the saddest meoldies ever written, but like the Catskills its nostalgia is beautiful. The Ashokan Reservoir is nostalgic and beautiful, like the song and the Catskills themselves. There is a tragic history to the Ashokan, though, and perhaps this tragedy relates to the Civil War. Local historians note that Revolutionary and Civil War veterans' graves were disinterred and moved (some to a cemetary in West Shokan) when the City built the reservoir in the early 1900s. I noticed a video interview of Jay Ungar:


Greg Goss said...

These pictures are not loading for me either.

Mitchell Langbert said...

Ugh. I'm sorry. I just re-uploaded them. I'm clueless as to what's causing the problem.

howzerdo said...

Interesting blog and nice pictures.

I have heard the number of relocated and lost hamlets referenced as 9 - 12, with 7 in the Town of Olive, but I have never heard just 5 before?

The list of 9 would be West Hurley, Ashton, Glenford, Brown's Station, Olive Bridge, Brodhead's Bridge, Shokan, West Shokan and Boiceville. The extra 3 are Olive Branch, Olive and Olive City (sometimes the number is claimed to be 10 villages - two of these last three are left out, or they are rolled into one and it is just called "Olive").