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Fallsburg, Sullivan County, NY

Mountaindale, NY

The Town of Fallsburgh, Sullivan County, NY, as well as Mountaindale High School and Basketball...

General historical and genealogical source material about Fallsburgh Township, New York, including a small collection of mementos of life at Mountaindale, NY, High School in the 1930s...

We recently discovered a file containing some material created and collected by Helen Cross Brown and Edmond Brooke Brown during the 1930s.  While that collection is too small by itself to justify creating a CD-ROM to sell, we thought that visitors to this site might enjoy seeing portions of it regardless. It is included in its entirety on the CD-ROM of material about the Town of Fallsburgh and its communities (part of our ongoing Sullivan County Townships series). Ordering the Fallsburgh CD-ROM for information about ordering the CD-ROM.  Needless to say, Mountaindale is one of those communities.  A few portions of it follow here.

 

Background:

Mountaindale, a hamlet in the township of Fallsburgh, Sullivan County, NY, changed drastically in character from being the rural farming hamlet it had been, beginning with the arrival of the New York Ontario & Western Railroad, and the name change of the local post office, in December 1880, from Sandburg(h) to Mountain Dale.  Around that time a number of farmhouses that were more hotels than farms opened, and beginning in 1899 the ethnic character of the area began to change from predominately gentile to predominately Jewish.  

By the time of the crash of 1929, several Jewish welfare organizations were engaged in resettling Jewish families whose breadwinners were unable, due to health reasons, to make a living in the New York City sweatshops, onto subsistence farms in the Mountaindale area.  While good-hearted this effort may have been, in some cases it simply replaced urban poverty with an even more extreme form of rural poverty.  

Helen Brown, who became Principal of Mountaindale High School in 1931, told stories of children being sewn into their long underwear in October to be cut out in April, and one particularly poignant story of a young man who played on Mountaindale High School's basketball team who broke a leg going up for a rebound when her husband had taken them to New York City to scrimmage the Columbia Freshmen.  The broken leg simply did not heal.  Ultimately, it was discovered that the young man's diet at home did not contain any of the necessary nutrients -- in fact, it consisted of little more than flour and water.  Discovering that the poverty in the homes of most of the basketball players was equally dire, they undertook the practice of feeding the basketball team each Friday evening at their home in Liberty.

The Great Depression was monumental in Mountaindale, both in terms of length and depth.  The High School Principal's employment contracts -- particularly the constancy of the level of compensation -- throughout this period, evince that.

We appreciate the efforts of Marilyn Forbes in identifying some of the people in the photographs below.

 

Mountaindale High School students of the 1930s

Mountaindale HS students -- 1930s

Left to right:  Billy Goldstein, unknown, unknown, Sylvia Gelfand Rashkin, Naomi Shein Prottas

Mountaindale High School Students of the 1930s

More Mountaindale HS students -- 1930s

Mountaindale High School Basketball Team of the 1930s

Mountaindale High School Basketball Team -- 1930s.

 

Lots more Mountaindale HS material on the Fallsburgh CD-ROM!!  Ordering the Fallsburgh CD-ROM for ordering information.

To the Fallsburgh page to go to the Fallsburgh page!

To our e-History page to go to our e-History page!

 

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