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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • PROTECT HER FROM TUBERCULOSIS

Catskills Modern: 1953

Catskills Modern: 1953

September 23, 1953. "Stevensville Hotel, Liberty, New York. View to dining room. Herbert Phillips, client." Gottscho-Schleisner photo. View full size.

 

Potato Chips

Love the upholstered versions of the Eames molded plywood "potato chip" chairs in the foreground. My parents had 2 of the unupholstered wood grain version of these. Not the most comfortable seat in the house, to be sure, but very lovely to look at.

Swan Lake swank!

Still there, but abandoned.

A very interesting page on the location, with pics and stories can be found here. Just the ability to go back and visit this place would alone justify the building of a time machine.

The Three A's

After decades of attracting Jewish vacationers from the city, the Borscht Belt resorts of the Catskills fell on hard times starting in the 1960's on account of the Three A's: air conditioning, which made urban summers more tolerable; airlines, which enabled people to travel to much farther destinations for the price of a couple weeks in the Catskills; and assimilation, which made the idea of vacationing in an all-Jewish environment less appealing.

The Stevensville actually outlasted many other resorts, closing around 1990. During its last several years the owners had changed the property's name to the Imperial and made an attempt to attract Asian-American vacationers in addition to its Jewish base. In the late 1990's, amid proposals for casino gambling in the Catskills, new owners reopened the Stevensville's main building as the Swan Lake Resort Hotel. It closed once more in 2003 after the gambling plans were shelved and has been vacant ever since.

Still, all hope is not necessarily lost. In recent years the Catskills have become popular among New York's burgeoning Hasidic population, and the Stevensville's buildings are said to be reasonably intact. Another reopening cannot be completely ruled out.

Note: rumor has it that the Mob often used Swan Lake, across the road from the Stevensville, as a convenient dumping ground for stiffs. Allegedly.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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