Catskills Poll: Shark, Whale or Alligator?

September 19, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

During the last ice age of 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, receding glaciers left behind many gigantic “erratics” throughout the Catskills. Erratics can be defined as “a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests.” Many examples of these rocks and boulders as well as other interesting rock formations can be found around South Mountain and the North-South Lake area. As per 19th century fashion, many of the more noteworthy erratics and formations were named, both as a means of identification but also to promote tourism. Locations such as Druid Rocks, Pudding-Stone Hall, Lemon Squeezer, Elfin Pass, Fairy Spring, Star Rock, Boulder Rock, and The Sphinx enthralled visitors as they hiked through the woods in and around the famed Catskill Mountain House. Many of these funky rocks are still popular hiking destinations today.

 

The glacial erratic seen here was perhaps the most popular and widely known, and has gone by a number of names through the years, depending on the era and which of the great hotels you were staying at.

 

Although history is clear as to which name became the most commonly used, I thought it would be interesting to see what the Catskills community thinks today.

 

Does this glacial erratic look more like Shark’s jaws, a Whale’s mouth or an Alligator? Please respond with your thoughts by adding a comment.

 

The Shark's Jaws

Vintage postcard titled “The Shark’s Jaws” that depicts a glacial erratic in the Catskills; the erratic has also been known as the Whale’s Mouth, but is most popularly known as Alligator Rock.The Shark's Jaws, Catskill Mountains, New YorkDuring the last ice age of 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, receding glaciers left behind many gigantic “erratics” throughout the Catskills. Erratics can be defined as “a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests.” Many examples of these rocks and boulders as well as other interesting rock formations can be found around South Mountain and the North-South Lake area. As per 19th century fashion, many of the more noteworthy erratic and formations were named, both as a means of identification but also to promote tourism. Locations such as Druid Rocks, Pudding-Stone Hall, Lemon Squeezer, Elfin Pass, Fairy Spring, Star Rock, Boulder Rock, The Sphinx, and perhaps the most popular and widely known, Alligator Rock, enthralled visitors as they hiked through the woods in and around the famed Catskill Mountain House. Many of these funky rocks are still popular hiking destinations today.

This vintage postcard titled “The Shark’s Jaws” depicts the glacial erratic that has also been known as the Whale’s Mouth but is most popularly known as Alligator Rock. The postcard was published by Curt Teich & Company located at Chicago, Illinois. The postmark on the reverse side shows that it was mailed in 1924.

 

Whale's Mouth

Vintage postcard titled “Whales Mouth” that depicts a glacial erratic in the Catskills; the erratic has also been known as the Shark’s Jaw, but is most popularly known as Alligator Rock.Whales Mouth, Catskill MountainsDuring the last ice age of 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, receding glaciers left behind many gigantic “erratics” throughout the Catskills. Erratics can be defined as “a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests.” Many examples of these rocks and boulders as well as other interesting rock formations can be found around South Mountain and the North-South Lake area. As per 19th century fashion, many of the more noteworthy erratic and formations were named, both as a means of identification but also to promote tourism. Locations such as Druid Rocks, Pudding-Stone Hall, Lemon Squeezer, Elfin Pass, Fairy Spring, Star Rock, Boulder Rock, The Sphinx, and perhaps the most popular and widely known, Alligator Rock, enthralled visitors as they hiked through the woods in and around the famed Catskill Mountain House. Many of these funky rocks are still popular hiking destinations today.

This vintage postcard titled “Whales Mouth” depicts the glacial erratic that has also been known as the Shark’s Jaw but is most popularly known as Alligator Rock. The postcard was published by the National Art Views Company located in New York City. The postmark on the reverse side shows that it was mailed in 1904.

 

Alligator Rock

Alligator Rock, located near South Lake, is a glacial erratic left behind during the last ice age.Catskill Mts., N.Y., Alligator Rock (Near Catskill Mountain House)North-South Lake, Greene County

During the last ice age of 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, receding glaciers left behind many gigantic “erratics” throughout the Catskills. Erratics can be defined as “a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests.” Many examples of these rocks and boulders as well as other interesting rock formations can be found around South Mountain and the North-South Lake area. As per 19th century fashion, many of the more noteworthy erratic and formations were named, both as a means of identification but also to promote tourism. Locations such as Druid Rocks, Pudding-Stone Hall, Lemon Squeezer, Elfin Pass, Fairy Spring, Star Rock, Boulder Rock, The Sphinx, and perhaps the most popular and widely known, Alligator Rock, enthralled visitors as they hiked through the woods in and around the famed Catskill Mountain House. Many of these funky rocks are still popular hiking destinations today.

 


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