Otto Hillig – New Photographs

November 18, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Otto Hillig can be considered one of the great photographers in Catskills history. Arriving from Germany in the United States as a poor teenage immigrant he took on a series of odd jobs before developing a prosperous photography business at his adopted hometown in the village of Liberty in Sullivan County, New York. He operated a well-regarded portrait studio in the village, extensively photographed the landscapes of the region and was considered an earlier pioneer of aerial photography.

 

I have recently acquired a number of new photographs by Otto Hillig. They have all been added to the Otto Hillig gallery, which now contains over 90 of his works.

 

Vintage postcard from photographer Otto Hillig depicting a beautiful country scene including a road, a river, several houses and railroad tracks.Picturesque Scene in Sullivan County, N.Y.Well-known photographer Otto Hillig of Liberty, New York published this vintage postcard titled “Picturesque Scene in Sullivan County, N.Y.” The scene shows a country road, a river with a small cascade, several homes and a double set of railroad tracks. The postcard was never mailed.

Otto Hillig can be considered one of the great photographers in Catskills history. Arriving from Germany in the United States as a poor teenage immigrant he took on a series of odd jobs before developing a prosperous photography business at his adopted hometown in the village of Liberty in Sullivan County, New York. He operated a well-regarded portrait studio in the village, extensively photographed the landscapes of the region and was considered an earlier pioneer of aerial photography.
Picturesque Scene in Sullivan County, N.Y.

 

Trees, cows and blue skies are reflected in a calm lake in this beautiful postcard titled “Mirror Picture In Sullivan County, N.Y.” by photographer Otto Hillig.Mirror Picture In Sullivan County, N.Y.Trees, cows and blue skies are reflected in a calm lake in this beautiful postcard titled “Mirror Picture In Sullivan County, N.Y.” by photographer Otto Hillig. The postcard was manufactured in the United States. It was never mailed. Mirror Picture In Sullivan County, N.Y.

 

Vintage postcard by Otto Hillig of a beautiful waterfall scene at the hamlet of Ferndale in Sullivan County, New York.Water Falls, Ferndale, N.Y.The hamlet of Ferndale in Sullivan County, New York is the site of this beautiful waterfall scene set amongst the peaceful countryside. The photograph was taken by famous photographer and adventurer Otto Hillig of Liberty, New York. The postcard was manufactured in the United States. The postmark on the reverse side shows that it was mailed in 1925.

Otto Hillig can be considered one of the great photographers in Catskills history. Arriving from Germany in the United States as a poor teenage immigrant he took on a series of odd jobs before developing a prosperous photography business at his adopted hometown in the village of Liberty in Sullivan County, New York. He operated a well-regarded portrait studio in the village, extensively photographed the landscapes of the region and was considered an earlier pioneer of aerial photography.
Water Falls, Ferndale, N.Y.

 

Well-known photographer Otto Hillig published this vintage postcard of the Hall House located at the village of Liberty in Sullivan County, New York.Hall House, Liberty, N.Y.Well-known photographer Otto Hillig published this vintage postcard of the Hall House located at the village of Liberty in Sullivan County, New York. The postcard was mailed, although the postmark date is illegible.

The four-story Hall House was constructed between 1885 and 1890 and operated for many years by John Carrier Hall. By 1930, after several changes in ownership, the hotel was known as The Lenape, for the Native Americans that once lived in Sullivan and Delaware Counties. The hotel shut down on November 30, 1956, but reopened again in 1958 under the new ownership. The Frey family then operated the hotel from 1958 to 1970. The hotel was then converted into one-bedroom apartments for senior citizens. For more history on this historic hotel, you can refer to an article by Delbert Van Etten, Liberty Historian, titled “Hall House – The Lenape” in the May 12, 1977 issue of the Liberty Evening News.

Below are a few advertisements from the early 1900s that describe the popular Hall House.

1900 advertisement
“The Hall House, at Liberty, J. C. Hall, proprietor, stands on high ground in the center of the village, in the midst of well shaded and well drained grounds. It is about a quarter of a mile from the depot. There are fifty rooms and the illumination is by electricity. The piazza is broad and the balcony affords a fine view of the village and the surrounding hills. The place furnishes a vegetable garden, spring water and croquet grounds. The amusement room, with the piano, is ample for the accommodation of the guests. References are supplied upon request.” (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 17, 1900.)

1901 advertisement
An ideal place to spend the summer or any portion of it is at the Hall House. It is situated at Liberty at an elevation of 1,600 feet, which insures freedom from all undue humidity and dampness. Malaria, and asthmatic affections are unknown in the vicinity. The table receives the most painstaking care and is well supplied with the best that can be obtained in the markets. Delightful grounds with plenty of shade surround the house. Rate will be furnished upon application to the proprietor, J. C. Hall.” (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 16, 1901.)

1902 advertisement
“The Hall House is situated on an eminence at an elevation of 1,600 feet, in the village of Liberty, in the midst of well-shaded grounds. The house has been enlarged, and now consists of fifty fine, airy, pleasant rooms for guests; is lighted by electricity, and is modern in structure and conveniences. The piazza is broad and extensive, and the balcony affords a fine view of the village, and an extended panorama of the surrounding country. The house is conducted in a strictly first-class manner, and there is ample provision made for the amusement of guests. The rates are $8 to $12 a week. J. C. Hall is the proprietor.” (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 22, 1902.)
Hall House, Liberty, N.Y.

 

Well-known photographer Otto Hillig published this vintage postcard titled “Residence of J. C. Young, Liberty, N.Y.”Residence of J. C. Young, Liberty, N.Y.This vintage postcard titled “Residence of J. C. Young, Liberty, N.Y.” was published by renowned photographer Otto Hillig of Liberty, New York. The postcard was manufactured in Germany. It was never mailed. Residence of J. C. Young, Liberty, N.Y.

 

Vintage postcard titled “Indian Spring in Sull. Co., N.Y.” by photographer Otto Hillig.Indian Spring in Sull. Co., N.Y.The Indian Spring in Sullivan County, New York is beautifully depicted in this postcard by famous photographer Otto Hillig of Liberty, New York. The postcard was manufactured in the United States. It was never mailed. Indian Spring in Sull. Co., N.Y.

 

Famous photographer Otto Hillig photographed this beautiful scene at the Trout Preserve in Liberty, New York.Trout Preserve, Liberty, N.Y.Famous photographer Otto Hillig photographed this beautiful scene at the Trout Preserve in Liberty, New York. The wooden bridge reflects brilliantly in the calm waters of the lake. The postcard, manufactured in Germany, was published by Barton & Spooner of Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y. The postmark on the reverse side shows that it was mailed in 1915. Trout Preserve, Liberty, N.Y.

 

Photographer Otto Hillig published this scenic postcard depicting the Agloe Lodge along the Beaverkill in Sullivan County, New York.Agloe Lodge on the Beaverkill, Sullivan Co., N.Y.Photographer Otto Hillig published this scenic postcard depicting the Agloe Lodge along the Beaverkill in Sullivan County, New York. Notice the historic covered bridge at the bottom left of the view. The postcard was never mailed.

Agloe was a town that really wasn’t a town. Check out the NY times article titled “Seeking a Town on the Border of Fiction and Reality” for more interesting details.
www.nytimes.com/2014/03/29/nyregion/in-search-of-agloe-ny-a-town-on-the-border-of-fiction-and-reality.html
Agloe Lodge on the Beaverkill, Sullivan Co., N.Y.


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