Catskills, Then and Now: Villa Maria

May 23, 2020  •  1 Comment

Haines Falls, Greene County

 

The now abandoned Villa Maria property was first developed in 1903 by W. I. Hallenbeck and operated as The Fenmore. A 1913 advertisement described the resort as a “House newly built and newly furnished; lighted with electricity; bathrooms and closets; open fireplaces; steam heat for cool days; 75 guests. Large, cool sleeping rooms. Piano. Croquet grounds, etc. Fresh vegetables, Milk, Butter, Eggs and Poultry Raised on the Farm. Telephone. Three daily meals. Immediate vicinity of Methodist and Catholic Churches.”

 

By 1945 the property was purchased by Anthony Putignano, who changed the name to Villa Maria. The resort advertised itself as the “most up-to-date resort in the Catskill Mountains” and “The Ideal Place for Honeymooners and Vacationists.” It boasted accommodations for 150 people with a wide range of facilities such as the 2nd largest swimming pool in New York State, a baseball field, tennis courts, basketball courts, shuffleboard, playground, and evening entertainment. The resort was then purchased by Frank DeNino who operated it through the 1950s and 1960s. More recently in the 1990s the property operated as a Christian summer camp. The property was then largely abandoned and fell into decay. Due to non-payment of taxes the property was acquired in 2012 by Greene County, who then sold it to the town of Hunter, who then sold it the Hunter Foundation, a local non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing the mountain top area.

 

The first postcard shows several of the buildings at the once popular Villa Maria resort at Haines Falls, New York. The postcard was published by Ad-View Post Cards at 6 Church Street in New Haven, Connecticut. My photograph was taken in the spring of 2016. Notice the image of the DeLuxe Lodge on the top right of the postcard when compared to my more recent photograph.

 

Vintage Catskills postcard of the now abandoned Villa Maria resort at Haines Falls in Ulster County, New York.Villa MariaHaines Falls, Greene County

This a vintage postcard of the Villa Maria resort at Haines Falls, New York. The postcard was published by Ad-View Post Cards at 6 Church Street in New Haven, Connecticut. The postcard is published here courtesy of the state of Massachusetts online digital collection.

The now abandoned Villa Maria property was first developed in 1903 by W. I. Hallenbeck and operated as The Fenmore. A 1913 advertisement described the resort as a “House newly built and newly furnished; lighted with electricity; bathrooms and closets; open fireplaces; steam heat for cool days; 75 guests. Large, cool sleeping rooms. Piano. Croquet grounds, etc. Fresh vegetables, Milk, Butter, Eggs and Poultry Raised on the Farm. Telephone. Three daily meals. Immediate vicinity of Methodist and Catholic Churches.”

By 1945 the property was purchased by Anthony Putignano, who changed the name to Villa Maria. The resort advertised itself as the “most up-to-date resort in the Catskill Mountains” and “The Ideal Place for Honeymooners and Vacationists.” It boasted accommodations for 150 people with a wide range of facilities such as the 2nd largest swimming pool in New York State, a baseball field, tennis courts, basketball courts, shuffleboard, playground, and evening entertainment. The resort was then purchased by Frank DeNino who operated it through the 1950s and 1960s. More recently in the 1990s the property operated as a Christian summer camp. The property was then largely abandoned and fell into decay. Due to non-payment of taxes the property was acquired in 2012 by Greene County, who then sold it to the town of Hunter, who then sold it the Hunter Foundation, a local non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing the mountain top area.

Postcard courtesy of the state of Massachusetts Collection Online, Tichnor Brothers Collection. 

 

The now abandoned Villa Maria resort at Haines Falls in Ulster County, New York operated for many years as a successful boarding house and hotel.Villa MariaHaines Falls, Greene County

The now abandoned Villa Maria property was first developed in 1903 by W. I. Hallenbeck and operated as The Fenmore. A 1913 advertisement described the resort as a “House newly built and newly furnished; lighted with electricity; bathrooms and closets; open fireplaces; steam heat for cool days; 75 guests. Large, cool sleeping rooms. Piano. Croquet grounds, etc. Fresh vegetables, Milk, Butter, Eggs and Poultry Raised on the Farm. Telephone. Three daily meals. Immediate vicinity of Methodist and Catholic Churches.”

By 1945 the property was purchased by Anthony Putignano, who changed the name to Villa Maria. The resort advertised itself as the “most up-to-date resort in the Catskill Mountains” and “The Ideal Place for Honeymooners and Vacationists.” It boasted accommodations for 150 people with a wide range of facilities such as the 2nd largest swimming pool in New York State, a baseball field, tennis courts, basketball courts, shuffleboard, playground, and evening entertainment. The resort was then purchased by Frank DeNino who operated it through the 1950s and 1960s. More recently in the 1990s the property operated as a Christian summer camp. The property was then largely abandoned and fell into decay. Due to non-payment of taxes the property was acquired in 2012 by Greene County, who then sold it to the town of Hunter, who then sold it the Hunter Foundation, a local non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing the mountain top area.


Comments

Jil DeMasi(non-registered)
Hi Matthew,

So happy to see your pictures. W.I. Hallenbeck was my great grandfather. Can the pictures be purchased? I would love to frame them.

As soon as the virus passes, my husband and I are going to visit Haines Falls. I would love to see the property where the Fenmore once stood. W.I. Hallenbeck also owned the Hallenbeck Hotel at some point in time. Do you have pictures of that establishment?

Best regards and be safe!

Jil DeMasi
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