William England and His 1859 Tour of the Catskills (Part 3)

March 19, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Introduction

 

William England (1830-1896) was a 19th century British photographer who was widely known for his travel images. He was an early adopter of photography, operating a studio in the late 1840s, less than ten years after the daguerreotype was created by French inventor Louis Daguerre. England’s 1859 trip through the United States, including a visit to the Catskills, and Canada gained widespread praise. His image of Charles Blondin tightrope walking across the Niagara Gorge is among the top selling stereoviews of all time. Although largely forgotten today, William England was considered one of the great photographers of his era.

 

 

Continued from Part 2

 

The Catskills

 

“A ramble, or, as might properly be said, a scramble amid the varied scenes on the Catskill mountains, is a thing to be felt and remembered. Their ever-changing features, and the sublimity of their aspect, strike home to the heart, and sink deep into the soul.”

 

 

The photographs of the “North American Series” by William England contained 238 unique views. Of those 238 views, 26 of the scenes were taken from within the Catskill Mountains, almost exclusively within the Kaaterskill Clove, then known as Kauterskill Clove, and Plattekill Clove, then known as Plauterkill, regions. Catskills’ scenes included the world famous Kaaterskill Falls, Fawn’s Leap, Moore’s Bridge Falls, Sylvan Lake (now North-South Lake), and various other waterfalls and rugged mountain landscapes.

 

Catalog numbers for the Catskills stereoviews from the “North American Series” ranged from 53 to 78. Although the individual stereoviews were not numbered they can be cross-referenced against the catalog by name. Only in several cases is there mild confusion due to a similar or duplicate name.

 

#53 Plauterkill Gap, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#53 Plauterkill Gap, Catskill Mountains.#53
Plauterkill Gap, Catskill Mountains.
“This wild and almost untrodden spot is one of the most rugged scenes in the Catskill Mountains. By a strange and sudden convulsion of nature, the solid mountains has been cleft, as it were, in twain, the stupendous masses which have fallen from its sides filling the intermediate chasm with vast piles of solid blocks, heaped one upon another in grand confusion. Stretching out far beyond, an extensive area is covered with these gigantic fragments and as one gazes on them, strewn far and wide, he is prone to think that nature dissatisfied with a portion of her handiwork, and disdaining the mountains she had once reared, had, in momentary anger, undone her work and scattered the huge mountains in fragments around. From between the fallen ruins a solitary tree will raise its head, the almost leafless branches partaking of the desolation around.

Crags, knolls, and mounds confusedly hurled
The fragments of an earlier world.”–Scott.

Source: England, William, photographer. Plauterkill Gap, Catskill Mountains. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a58e-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

“This wild and almost untrodden spot is one of the most rugged scenes in the Catskill Mountains. By a strange and sudden convulsion of nature, the solid mountains has been cleft, as it were, in twain, the stupendous masses which have fallen from its sides filling the intermediate chasm with vast piles of solid blocks, heaped one upon another in grand confusion. Stretching out far beyond, an extensive area is covered with these gigantic fragments and as one gazes on them, strewn far and wide, he is prone to think that nature dissatisfied with a portion of her handiwork, and disdaining the mountains she had once reared, had, in momentary anger, undone her work and scattered the huge mountains in fragments around. From between the fallen ruins a solitary tree will raise its head, the almost leafless branches partaking of the desolation around.

 

Crags, knolls, and mounds confusedly hurled

The fragments of an earlier world.”–Scott.

 

Source: England, William, photographer. Plauterkill Gap, Catskill Mountains. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a58e-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

#54 View in the Kauterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains. (Same name as #71.) OR Kauterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#54 View in the Kauterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains.#54
View in the Kauterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains. (Same name as #71.) OR
Kauterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains.

“The Kautsberg or Catskill mountains have always been a region full of fable. The Indians considered them the abode of spirits, who influenced the weather, spreading sunshine or clouds over the landscape and sending good or bad hunting seasons. They were ruled by an old squaw spirit, said to be their mother. She dwelt on the highest peak of the Catskills, and had charge of the doors of day and night, to open and shut them at the proper hour. She hung up the new moon in the skies, and cut up the old ones into stars. In times of drought, if properly propitiated, she would spin light summer clouds out of cobwebs and morning dew, and send them off from the crest of the mountain, flake after flake, like flakes of carded cotton, to float in the air until dissolved by the heat of the sun, they would fall in gentle showers, causing the grass to spring, the fruits to ripen, and the corn to grow an inch an hour. If displeased, however, she would brew up clouds black as ink sitting in the midst of them like a bottle-bellied spider in the midst of its web; and when this cloud broke, woe betide the valleys.” Notes to the “The Sketch Book,” by Washington Irving.

Source: England, William, photographer. View in the Kauterskill Glove, Catskill Mountains. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a584-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

“The Kautsberg or Catskill mountains have always been a region full of fable. The Indians considered them the abode of spirits, who influenced the weather, spreading sunshine or clouds over the landscape and sending good or bad hunting seasons. They were ruled by an old squaw spirit, said to be their mother. She dwelt on the highest peak of the Catskills, and had charge of the doors of day and night, to open and shut them at the proper hour. She hung up the new moon in the skies, and cut up the old ones into stars. In times of drought, if properly propitiated, she would spin light summer clouds out of cobwebs and morning dew, and send them off from the crest of the mountain, flake after flake, like flakes of carded cotton, to float in the air until dissolved by the heat of the sun, they would fall in gentle showers, causing the grass to spring, the fruits to ripen, and the corn to grow an inch an hour. If displeased, however, she would brew up clouds black as ink sitting in the midst of them like a bottle-bellied spider in the midst of its web; and when this cloud broke, woe betide the valleys.” Notes to the “The Sketch Book,” by Washington Irving.

 

Source: England, William, photographer. View in the Kauterskill Glove, Catskill Mountains. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a584-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

#55 Kauterskill Fall, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#55 Kauterskill Fall, Catskill Mountains.#55
Kauterskill Fall, Catskill Mountains.
“This branch of the Kauterskill Falls, after winding and rippling o’er its rocky bed, singing and murmuring through forest shades and wild secluded glens, descends in a white and misty torrent over a ledge of rock to the depth of 180 feet, its incessant music, as it splashes on the projecting ledges in its descent, falling pleasantly on the ear.

From rock to rock the waters leap,
In a fair white sheet they flow,
Then sparkling fall o’er the rugged steep,
To the dark abyss below;
Dashing and splashing in extacy,
As they dance to their own rough minstrelrcy.”

Source: England, William, photographer. Kauterskill Fall, Catskill Mountains. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a57e-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

“This branch of the Kauterskill Falls, after winding and rippling o’er its rocky bed, singing and murmuring through forest shades and wild secluded glens, descends in a white and misty torrent over a ledge of rock to the depth of 180 feet, its incessant music, as it splashes on the projecting ledges in its descent, falling pleasantly on the ear.

 

From rock to rock the waters leap,

               In a fair white sheet they flow,

Then sparkling fall o’er the rugged steep,

               To the dark abyss below;

Dashing and splashing in extacy,

As they dance to their own rough minstrelcy.”

 

Source: England, William, photographer. Kauterskill Fall, Catskill Mountains. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a57e-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

#56 Kauterskill Fall, Catskill Mountains.–View from Below.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#56 Kauterskill Fall, Catskill Mountains.–View from Below.#56
Kauterskill Fall, Catskill Mountains.–View from Below.
“This portion of Kauterskill Falls, when viewed from beneath, presents a most peculiar feature. From a height of nearly 180 feet the water descends into an ampitheatre scooped by the hand of nature out of the solid rock, and forming a cavern of vast extent, and of grand and solemn aspect. As we stand upon the floor of this and gaze upward, we behold the limpid waters descending in a white and flaky column, their light and sparkling beauty contrasting greatly with the gloomy walls of the overhanging rocks, the misty stream presenting the appearance of a bright sunbeam piercing through the arched roof above.”

Source: England, William, photographer. Kauterskill Fall, Catskill Mountains.–View from Below. 1859. J. Paul Getty Museum, Open Content Program.

“This portion of Kauterskill Falls, when viewed from beneath, presents a most peculiar feature. From a height of nearly 180 feet the water descends into an ampitheatre scooped by the hand of nature out of the solid rock, and forming a cavern of vast extent, and of grand and solemn aspect. As we stand upon the floor of this and gaze upward, we behold the limpid waters descending in a white and flaky column, their light and sparkling beauty contrasting greatly with the gloomy walls of the overhanging rocks, the misty stream presenting the appearance of a bright sunbeam piercing through the arched roof above.”

 

Source: England, William, photographer. Kauterskill Fall, Catskill Mountains.–View from Below. 1859. J. Paul Getty Museum, Open Content Program.

 

 

#57 Mountain Scene on the Catskills.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#57 Mountain Scene on the Catskills.#57
Mountain Scene on the Catskills.
“WASHINGTON IRVING in his “Sketch Book” thus writes of these mountains;– “Every change of season, every change of weather, indeed every hour of the day, produces some change in the magical lines and shapes of these mountains; and they are regarded by all the good wives, far and near, as perfect barometers. When the weather is fair and settled they are clothed in blue and purple; and print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky; but sometimes when the rest of the landscape is cloudless, they will gather a hood of clear vapours about their summits, which in the last rays of the setting sun will glow and light up like a crown of glory.” ‘Twas on these mountains that “the simple good natured fellow Rip Van Winkle, a descendent of the Van Winkles, who figured so gallantly in the chivalrous days of Peter Stuyvesant and accompanied him to the siege of Fort Christina,” took his long doze of twenty years’ duration.”

Source: England, William, photographer. Mountain scene on the Catskills. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a58c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

“WASHINGTON IRVING in his “Sketch Book” thus writes of these mountains;– “Every change of season, every change of weather, indeed every hour of the day, produces some change in the magical lines and shapes of these mountains; and they are regarded by all the good wives, far and near, as perfect barometers. When the weather is fair and settled they are clothed in blue and purple; and print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky; but sometimes when the rest of the landscape is cloudless, they will gather a hood of clear vapours about their summits, which in the last rays of the setting sun will glow and light up like a crown of glory.” ‘Twas on these mountains that “the simple good natured fellow Rip Van Winkle, a descendent of the Van Winkles, who figured so gallantly in the chivalrous days of Peter Stuyvesant and accompanied him to the siege of Fort Christina,” took his long doze of twenty years’ duration.”

 

Source: England, William, photographer. Mountain scene on the Catskills. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a58c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

#58 Kauterskill Chasm, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#58 Kauterskill Chasm, Catskill Mountains.#58
Kauterskill Chasm, Catskill Mountains.
“To where the bank opposing showed
Its huge square cliffs and shaggy wood,
One prominent above the rest,
Reared to the sun its pale grey breast;
Around its broken summit grew,
The hazel rude and sable yew;
A thousand varied lichens dyed
Its waste and weather-beaten side,
And round its rugged basis lay,
By time or thunder rent away,
Fragments that from its frontlet torn,
Were mantled now by varied thorn.”–Scott

Source: England, William, photographer. Kauterskill Chasm, Catskill Mountains. [London? or New York?: London Stereoscopic Company, Publisher] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2017660499/>.

“To where the bank opposing showed

Its huge square cliffs and shaggy wood,

One prominent above the rest,

Reared to the sun its pale grey breast;

Around its broken summit grew,

The hazel rude and sable yew;

A thousand varied lichens dyed

Its waste and weather-beaten side,

And round its rugged basis lay,

By time or thunder rent away,

Fragments that from its frontlet torn,

Were mantled now by varied thorn.”–Scott

 

Source: England, William, photographer. Kauterskill Chasm, Catskill Mountains. [London? or New York?: London Stereoscopic Company, Publisher] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2017660499/>.

 

Source: England, William, photographer. Kauterskill Chasm, Catskill Mountains. 1859. J. Paul Getty Museum, Open Content Program.

 

 

#59 Forest Scene, on the Catskill Mountains.

#59  Forest Scene, on the Catskill Mountains.#59 Forest Scene, on the Catskill Mountains.

 

#60 Mountain Gorge, on the Catskills.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#60 Mountain Gorge, on the Catskills.#60
Mountain Gorge, on the Catskills.
“‘Mountain scenery,’ remarks an elegant writer, “is, after all, that which most impresses the mind with the greatness of the works of the Creator. The summit of the mountains crowned with granite, and lifting its unadorned crest to the clouds, or perhaps above them, speaks to us in a majesty and glory derived from its severe boldness of outline, as well as magnitude of parts.

To sit on rocks, to muse on flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shade scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flocks that never need a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude; 'tis but to hold
Converse with Nature's God, and view his stores unroll'd.”
BYRON.

Source: England, William, photographer. Mountain Gorge, on the Catskills. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a58a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

“‘Mountain scenery,’ remarks an elegant writer, “is, after all, that which most impresses the mind with the greatness of the works of the Creator. The summit of the mountains crowned with granite, and lifting its unadorned crest to the clouds, or perhaps above them, speaks to us in a majesty and glory derived from its severe boldness of outline, as well as magnitude of parts.

 

To sit on rocks, to muse on flood and fell,

To slowly trace the forest's shade scene,

Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,

And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been;

To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,

With the wild flocks that never need a fold;

Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean;

This is not solitude; 'tis but to hold

Converse with Nature's God, and view his stores unroll'd.”

BYRON.

 

Source: England, William, photographer. Mountain Gorge, on the Catskills. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a58a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

#61 Forest Scene, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#61 Forest Scene, Catskill Mountains.#61
Forest Scene, Catskill Mountains.
“A ramble, or, as might properly, be said, a scramble amid the varied scenes on the Catskill mountains, is a thing to be felt and remembered. Their ever-changing features, and the sublimity of their aspect, strike home to the heart, and sink deep into the soul. In after-times, although one may speak of their beauties, and extol with graphic effect the scenes with which they abound, ‘tis impossible to convey by words alone, a just idea of their attractions. ‘Tis only amid the scenes themselves, that one can be fully awakened to their impressive grandeur and extent.

When to the city’s crowded streets,
The fiercest spells of summer come,
Then for they calm and cool retreats,
Sweet Catskill may the wanderer roam.

Then may he seek thy guardian haunts,
They quiet streams, they shady tree,
And, while the world around him pants,
From all oppression find him free.”

Source: Author’s Collection.

“A ramble, or, as might properly be said, a scramble amid the varied scenes on the Catskill mountains, is a thing to be felt and remembered. Their ever-changing features, and the sublimity of their aspect, strike home to the heart, and sink deep into the soul. In after-times, although one may speak of their beauties, and extol with graphic effect the scenes with which they abound, ‘tis impossible to convey by words alone, a just idea of their attractions. ‘Tis only amid the scenes themselves, that one can be fully awakened to their impressive grandeur and extent.

 

When to the city’s crowded streets,

               The fiercest spells of summer come,

Then for they calm and cool retreats,

               Sweet Catskill may the wanderer roam.

 

Then may he seek thy guardian haunts,

               They quiet streams, they shady tree,

And, while the world around him pants,

               From all oppression find him free.”

 

Source: Author’s Collection.

 

 

#62 View on the Catskill Mountains. (Same name as #67.)

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#62 View on the Catskill Mountains. (Same name as #67.)#62
View on the Catskill Mountains. (Same name as #67.)
“The Catskill Mountains are the most grand and picturesque of the mountain ranges of the United States, and are part of the great Appallachian chain, which extends through all the eastern portion of the Union, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Their chief ranges follow the course of the Hudson River for some twenty or thirty miles, lying west of it, and separated by a valley stretch of ten or twelve miles. These mountains lend to all the landscape of that part of the Hudson from which they are visible, its greatest charm. Of the unrivalled sight one can never weary; and at the dawn of day, or as the rising of the sun, when its magical beams are lifting the mystical vapours and cloud-curtain, which the night has invisibly spread over the scene, the beauty of these rugged mountains is complete.”

Source: England, William, photographer. View on the Catskill Mountains. 1859. J. Paul Getty Museum, Open Content Program.

“The Catskill Mountains are the most grand and picturesque of the mountain ranges of the United States, and are part of the great Appallachian chain, which extends through all the eastern portion of the Union, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Their chief ranges follow the course of the Hudson River for some twenty or thirty miles, lying west of it, and separated by a valley stretch of ten or twelve miles. These mountains lend to all the landscape of that part of the Hudson from which they are visible, its greatest charm. Of the unrivalled sight one can never weary; and at the dawn of day, or as the rising of the sun, when its magical beams are lifting the mystical vapours and cloud-curtain, which the night has invisibly spread over the scene, the beauty of these rugged mountains is complete.”

 

Source: England, William, photographer. View on the Catskill Mountains. 1859. J. Paul Getty Museum, Open Content Program.

 

 

#63 View on the Kauterskill River, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#63 View on the Kauterskill River, Catskill Mountains.#63
View on the Kauterskill River, Catskill Mountains.
“Like streamlet on the mountain north,
Now in a torrent racing forth,
Now winding slow its silver train,
And almost slumb’ring on the plain.”–Scott.

Source: Author’s Collection.

“Like streamlet on the mountain north,

Now in a torrent racing forth,

Now winding slow its silver train,

And almost slumb’ring on the plain.”–Scott.

 

Source: Author’s Collection.

 

 

#64 Cascade on the Kauterskill River, Catskill Mountains.

64  Cascade on the Kauterskill River, Catskill Mountains#64 Cascade on the Kauterskill River, Catskill Mountains

 

#65 Sylvan Lake, Catskill Mountains.

 

 

#66 Split Rock, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#66 Split Rock, Catskill Mountains.#66
Split Rock, Catskill Mountains.
“The scenery around this spot stands almost unrivalled. It carries with it a charm peculiar to itself. Bold and striking in some respects, simple and beauteous in others, it fails not to delight the lover of all that is grand and beautiful in nature. Through the gaping chasms and openings in the tall stupendous rocks we behold the wild and rugged scenery beyond; the tall aspiring mountains, from the steep sides of which the slender pines spring up as it were ambitious of topping the mountains themselves, while at their feet the gushing waters of no “babbling brook,” but some foaming cataract add to the charms of the scene by their rough unceasing music.

It was a wild and strange retreat,
As e’er was trod by outlaw’s feet,
The dell, upon the mountain crest,
Yawned like a gash on warrior’s breast.

Suspended cliffs, with hideous sway,
Seemed nodding o’er the cavern gray,
From such a den the wolf had sprung,
In such the wild cat leaves her young.”–Scott.

Source: England, William, photographer. Split Rock, Catskill Mountains. [London? or New York?: London Stereoscopic Company, Publisher] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2017660498/>.

“The scenery around this spot stands almost unrivalled. It carries with it a charm peculiar to itself. Bold and striking in some respects, simple and beauteous in others, it fails not to delight the lover of all that is grand and beautiful in nature. Through the gaping chasms and openings in the tall stupendous rocks we behold the wild and rugged scenery beyond; the tall aspiring mountains, from the steep sides of which the slender pines spring up as it were ambitious of topping the mountains themselves, while at their feet the gushing waters of no “babbling brook,” but some foaming cataract add to the charms of the scene by their rough unceasing music.

 

It was a wild and strange retreat,

As e’er was trod by outlaw’s feet,

The dell, upon the mountain crest,

Yawned like a gash on warrior’s breast.

 

Suspended cliffs, with hideous sway,

Seemed nodding o’er the cavern gray,

From such a den the wolf had sprung,

In such the wild cat leaves her young.”–Scott.

 

Source: England, William, photographer. Split Rock, Catskill Mountains. [London? or New York?: London Stereoscopic Company, Publisher] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2017660498/>.

 

 

#67 View on the Catskill Mountains. (Same name as #62.)

 

 

#68 Falls of the Kauterskill, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#68 Falls of the Kauterskill, Catskill Mountains.#68
Falls of the Kauterskill, Catskill Mountains.
“FENNIMORE COOPER in his story of “The Pioneer” thus describes these cascades: “The water comes croaking and winding among the rocks, first so slow that a trout might swim in it, then starting and running like any creature that wanted to make a fair spring, till it gets to where the mountain divides like the cleft foot of deer, leaving a deep hollow for the brook to tumble into. The first falls is night 200 feet, and the water looks like flakes of snow before it touches the bottom, and then gathers itself together again for a new start, and maybe flutters over 50 feet of that rock before it falls for another 100 feet, when it jumps from shelf to shelf, first running this way, and then that way, striving to get out of the hollow, till it finally gets to the plain.”

“Midst greens and shades the Kauterskill leaps,
From cliffs there the wood flower clings;
All summer he moistens his verdant steeps,
With the sweet light spray of the mountain springs;
And he shakes the woods on the mountain side,
When they drip with the rains of autumn tide.

“But when in the forest bare and old,
The blast of December calls,
He builds, in the starlight clear and cold,
A palace of light where his torrent falls,
With turret, and arch, and fretwork fair,
And pillars blue as the summer air.”–Bryant.

Source: England, William, photographer. Falls of the Kauterskill, Catskill Mountains. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a57a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

“FENNIMORE COOPER in his story of “The Pioneer” thus describes these cascades: “The water comes croaking and winding among the rocks, first so slow that a trout might swim in it, then starting and running like any creature that wanted to make a fair spring, till it gets to where the mountain divides like the cleft foot of deer, leaving a deep hollow for the brook to tumble into. The first falls is night 200 feet, and the water looks like flakes of snow before it touches the bottom, and then gathers itself together again for a new start, and maybe flutters over 50 feet of that rock before it falls for another 100 feet, when it jumps from shelf to shelf, first running this way, and then that way, striving to get out of the hollow, till it finally gets to the plain.”

 

“Midst greens and shades the Kauterskill leaps,

               From cliffs there the wood flower clings;

All summer he moistens his verdant steeps,

               With the sweet light spray of the mountain springs;

And he shakes the woods on the mountain side,

               When they drip with the rains of autumn tide.

 

“But when in the forest bare and old,

               The blast of December calls,

He builds, in the starlight clear and cold,

               A palace of light where his torrent falls,

With turret, and arch, and fretwork fair,

               And pillars blue as the summer air.”–Bryant.

 

Source: England, William, photographer. Falls of the Kauterskill, Catskill Mountains. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a57a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

#69 View in the Kauterskill Glen, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#69 View in the Kauterskill Glen, Catskill Mountains.#69
View in the Kauterskill Glen, Catskill Mountains.
“In old times, say the Indian traditions, there was a kind of Manitou or Spirit, who kept about the wildest recesses of the Catskill mountains, and took a mischievous pleasure in wreaking all kinds of even and vexations upon the red men. Sometimes he would assume the form of a bear, a panther, or a deer, lead the bewildered hunter a weary chase through tangled forests and among ragged rocks, and then spring off with a loud ho! ho! leaving him aghast on the brink of a beetling precipice or raging torrent.”– Notes to “The Sketch Book,” by Washington Irving.

“The pent up flood, impatient of control,
In ages past here broke its granite bound,
Then to the sea in broad meanders stole,
While the ponderous ruins strew’d the broken ground
And these gigantic hills for over closed around.”

Source: England, William, photographer. View in the Kauterskill Glen, Catskill Mountains. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a586-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

“In old times, say the Indian traditions, there was a kind of Manitou or Spirit, who kept about the wildest recesses of the Catskill mountains, and took a mischievous pleasure in wreaking all kinds of even and vexations upon the red men. Sometimes he would assume the form of a bear, a panther, or a deer, lead the bewildered hunter a weary chase through tangled forests and among ragged rocks, and then spring off with a loud ho! ho! leaving him aghast on the brink of a beetling precipice or raging torrent.”– Notes to “The Sketch Book,” by Washington Irving.

 

“The pent up flood, impatient of control,

               In ages past here broke its granite bound,

Then to the sea in broad meanders stole,

               While the ponderous ruins strew’d the broken ground

And these gigantic hills for over closed around.”

 

Source: England, William, photographer. View in the Kauterskill Glen, Catskill Mountains. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a586-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

#70 View in the Kauterskill Glen, Catskill Mountains. OR View near the Kauterskill River, Catskill Mountains.

#70  View in the Kauterskill Glen, Catskill Mountains.#70 View in the Kauterskill Glen, Catskill Mountains.#70
View in the Kauterskill Glen, Catskill Mountains. OR
View near the Kauterskill River, Catskill Mountains.

 

#71 View in the Kauterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains. (Same name as #54.)

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#71 View in the Kauterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains. (Same name as #54.)#71
View in the Kauterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains. (Same name as #54.)
“The scenery around this spot is grand and varied in the extreme – unflagging in its influence, and unwearying to the gaze. At every turn fresh beauties meet the eye; and, although they be of the same wild and rugged character, their dissimilarity in form and outline, and the many changing hues of their aspect, make each one rise up before us as something new, and to be admired afresh. The rough uneven lines of rock, crowned with dark masses of foliage; the tangled woods stretching out as far as they eye can reach; and as we look down upon them from some neighboring height, appearing like a troubled sea, heaving and swelling, as each pliant branch bends in obedience to the passing winds; the gushing water of the mountain stream dashing onward o’er its rocky bed; the bright blue heavens, and the solitary quietude which reigns around:–

Make up a scene so melting to the soul,
That o’er the hear there steals a sudden joy,
But that so sweet and tranquil on the whole,
That e’en a whisper would the spell destroy.”

Source: England, William, photographer. View in the Kauterskill Glove, Catskill Mountains. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a582-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

“The scenery around this spot is grand and varied in the extreme – unflagging in its influence, and unwearying to the gaze. At every turn fresh beauties meet the eye; and, although they be of the same wild and rugged character, their dissimilarity in form and outline, and the many changing hues of their aspect, make each one rise up before us as something new, and to be admired afresh. The rough uneven lines of rock, crowned with dark masses of foliage; the tangled woods stretching out as far as they eye can reach; and as we look down upon them from some neighboring height, appearing like a troubled sea, heaving and swelling, as each pliant branch bends in obedience to the passing winds; the gushing water of the mountain stream dashing onward o’er its rocky bed; the bright blue heavens, and the solitary quietude which reigns around:–

 

Make up a scene so melting to the soul,

               That o’er the hear there steals a sudden joy,

But that so sweet and tranquil on the whole,

               That e’en a whisper would the spell destroy.”

 

Source: England, William, photographer. View in the Kauterskill Glove, Catskill Mountains. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a582-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

#72 A Rocky Scene in the Plauterkill Clove, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#72 A Rocky Scene in the Plauterkill Clove, Catskill Mountains.#72
A Rocky Scene in the Plauterkill Clove, Catskill Mountains.
“THE PLAUTERKILL CLOVE, a mountain pass in the Catskills, abounds with wild and rocky scenes, At every turn fresh ones present themselves, each one appearing more beautiful than the last. On the one hand a tall, bare cliff rises like an aspiring giant, ambitious of reaching the heavens themselves; while, on the other, the heaving plain is strewn with the crumbling fragments of former stalwart rocks. Here a dark and dismal cavern, hewn by the hand of Time, in the solid rock; there the dark chasm, ridge and abyss, formed by the rushing water of former mighty torrents. Here, too, the babbling waters of the mountain stream flow happily and contentedly on, till, reaching the overhanging ledge of some steep precipice, they lash themselves into anger, and dash unhesitatingly over, and in a sheet of whitened foam fall into the rugged basin beneath, where they boil and bubble in smothered wrath; but, growing calmer as they reach the outer edge, they again travel on, singing and murmuring in their course, to the Hudson River.

“Rock upon rocks incumbent hung,
And torrents down the gullies flung,
Joined the rude river and brawled on,
Recoiling now from crag and stone,
Now diving deep from human ken
And raving down its darksome glen.”
The Bridal of Trierman.

Source: England, William, photographer. A Rocky Scene in the Plauterkill Clove, Catskill Mountains. 1859. J. Paul Getty Museum, Open Content Program.

“THE PLAUTERKILL CLOVE, a mountain pass in the Catskills, abounds with wild and rocky scenes, At every turn fresh ones present themselves, each one appearing more beautiful than the last. On the one hand a tall, bare cliff rises like an aspiring giant, ambitious of reaching the heavens themselves; while, on the other, the heaving plain is strewn with the crumbling fragments of former stalwart rocks. Here a dark and dismal cavern, hewn by the hand of Time, in the solid rock; there the dark chasm, ridge and abyss, formed by the rushing water of former mighty torrents. Here, too, the babbling waters of the mountain stream flow happily and contentedly on, till, reaching the overhanging ledge of some steep precipice, they lash themselves into anger, and dash unhesitatingly over, and in a sheet of whitened foam fall into the rugged basin beneath, where they boil and bubble in smothered wrath; but, growing calmer as they reach the outer edge, they again travel on, singing and murmuring in their course, to the Hudson River.

 

“Rock upon rocks incumbent hung,

And torrents down the gullies flung,

Joined the rude river and brawled on,

Recoiling now from crag and stone,

Now diving deep from human ken

And raving down its darksome glen.”

               The Bridal of Trierman.

 

Source: England, William, photographer. A Rocky Scene in the Plauterkill Clove, Catskill Mountains. 1859. J. Paul Getty Museum, Open Content Program.

 

 

#73 Scene in the Catskill Mountains, After a Flood.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#73 Scene in the Catskill Mountains, After a Flood.#73
Scene in the Catskill Mountains, After a Flood.
“At certain seasons the floods and torrents in this extensive range of mountains are terrific in the extreme, especially during the spring freshets, when the snows and ice of winter begin to dissolve from the mountainsides. The water gathering strength as they descent, at last becoming so mighty and unyielding in their nature that huge giants of forest-trees that have braved the tempests of centuries, are swept away, ponderous rocks and mounds of reft asunder, the raging torrents sweeping and dashing the immense fragments aside or bearing them onwards with a thundering roll, to deposit them, at last, in rude heaps, which may subsequently form the rough bed of a brook – a scion, perhaps, of the once mighty torrent.

“The brooklet raved, for on the hills
The upland showers had swollen the rills,
And down the torrents came.”–Scott.

Source: England, William, photographer. Scene in the Catskill Mountains, after a flood. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a590-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

“At certain seasons the floods and torrents in this extensive range of mountains are terrific in the extreme, especially during the spring freshets, when the snows and ice of winter begin to dissolve from the mountainsides. The water gathering strength as they descent, at last becoming so mighty and unyielding in their nature that huge giants of forest-trees that have braved the tempests of centuries, are swept away, ponderous rocks and mounds of reft asunder, the raging torrents sweeping and dashing the immense fragments aside or bearing them onwards with a thundering roll, to deposit them, at last, in rude heaps, which may subsequently form the rough bed of a brook – a scion, perhaps, of the once mighty torrent.

 

“The brooklet raved, for on the hills

The upland showers had swollen the rills,

               And down the torrents came.”–Scott.

 

Source: England, William, photographer. Scene in the Catskill Mountains, after a flood. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a590-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

#74 The Fawn’s Leap, Kauterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#74 The Fawn’s Leap, Kauterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains.#74
The Fawn’s Leap, Kauterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains.
“At one period these mountain ranges and thick tangled forests, were the homes of the red deer, and from a circumstance which transpired some years since, the spot, which the accompanying photograph represents, was named; and from which it would appear, that a fawn, pursued by the angry dog of one of the settlers, and just as escape seemed hopeless, suddenly espied this wide and gaping chasm. Goaded by desperation, the fawn attempted the leap, and succeeded in reaching the opposite side in safety. The dog, less nimble that his expected prey, in attempting to follow, missed his footing, and was dashed down the yawning abyss, his mangled body being carried away by the current.

Fresh vigour with the hope returned,
With flying foot the heath he spurned,
Held westward with unwearied race,
And left behind the panting chase.–LADY OF THE LAKE.”

Source: London Stereoscopic Company. The Fawn’s Leap, Kauterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains. 1859. J. Paul Getty Museum, Open Content Program.

“At one period these mountain ranges and thick tangled forests, were the homes of the red deer, and from a circumstance which transpired some years since, the spot, which the accompanying photograph represents, was named; and from which it would appear, that a fawn, pursued by the angry dog of one of the settlers, and just as escape seemed hopeless, suddenly espied this wide and gaping chasm. Goaded by desperation, the fawn attempted the leap, and succeeded in reaching the opposite side in safety. The dog, less nimble that his expected prey, in attempting to follow, missed his footing, and was dashed down the yawning abyss, his mangled body being carried away by the current.

 

Fresh vigour with the hope returned,

With flying foot the heath he spurned,

Held westward with unwearied race,

And left behind the panting chase.–LADY OF THE LAKE.”

 

Source: London Stereoscopic Company. The Fawn’s Leap, Kauterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains. 1859. J. Paul Getty Museum, Open Content Program.

 

 

#75 Scene in the Plauterkill Gorge, Catskill Mountains. OR View in the Plauterkill Gorge, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#75 Scene in the Plauterkill Gorge, Catskill Mountains.#75
Scene in the Plauterkill Gorge, Catskill Mountains. OR
View in the Plauterkill Gorge, Catskill Mountains.
“The gorge is a grand pass in the Catskill Mountains, five miles below the Kauterskill passage. ‘Tis a wild and beautiful spot, rich in scenes of glen and rock, the mountain torrent which runs through it forming several silvery cascades as it jets over the cliffs, and winds its way between the fragments of rock, which have been washed down by the floods in ages past, and where the hemlock and

“Grouped their dark hues with every stain,
The weather beaten crags retain;
With boughs that quaked at every breath,
Grey birch and aspen wept beneath;
Aloft the ash and warrior oak,
Cast anchor in the rutted rock;
And higher yet the pine tree hung
His shattered trunk, and frequent flung,

Where seemed the cliffs to meet on high,
His bows athwart the narrowed sky,
Highest of all where when peaks glanced,
Where glistening streamers waved and danced,
The wanderer’s eye could barely view
The summer heaven’s delicious blue,
So wondrous wild, the whole might seem
The scenery of a fairy dream.”–Scott.

Source: England, William, photographer. Scene in the Plauterkill Gorge, Catskill Mountains. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a580-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

“The gorge is a grand pass in the Catskill Mountains, five miles below the Kauterskill passage. ‘Tis a wild and beautiful spot, rich in scenes of glen and rock, the mountain torrent which runs through it forming several silvery cascades as it jets over the cliffs, and winds its way between the fragments of rock, which have been washed down by the floods in ages past, and where the hemlock and

 

“Grouped their dark hues with every stain,

The weather beaten crags retain;

With boughs that quaked at every breath,

Grey birch and aspen wept beneath;

Aloft the ash and warrior oak,

Cast anchor in the rutted rock;

And higher yet the pine tree hung

His shattered trunk, and frequent flung,

 

Where seemed the cliffs to meet on high,

His bows athwart the narrowed sky,

Highest of all where when peaks glanced,

Where glistening streamers waved and danced,

The wanderer’s eye could barely view

The summer heaven’s delicious blue,

So wondrous wild, the whole might seem

The scenery of a fairy dream.”–Scott.

 

Source: England, William, photographer. Scene in the Plauterkill Gorge, Catskill Mountains. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a580-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

#76 Sylvan Cascade, Plauterkill Clove, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#76 Sylvan Cascade, Plauterkill Clove, Catskill Mountains.#76
Sylvan Cascade, Plauterkill Clove, Catskill Mountains.
“This cascade is justly considered the finest of the Kauterskill Falls, and may literally be said to take its course through a rock grove, for on either side the perpendicular cliffs rise to a height of many hundred feet, sheltering the sparkling stream from summer sun, and casting a subdued and mellow light on the scene. From the rough sides of these towering cliffs stunted trees and shrubs stretch out their verdant arms, the green foliage presenting a pleasing contrast to the dark ledges of rock, and offering a charming relief to the otherwise nakedness of the view. From ledge to ledge the beautiful waters descend and in a succession of silvery cascades unceasingly tumble and flow, the waters of each fall as they reach the deep and rugged basin beneath, boiling and bubbling as through impatient of delay, then bursting their momentary bonds, again hurry on, winding their way between the fallen fragments, till they reach the brink of the next precipice, over which they again descend in a white and foamy stream. There is a quiet and secluded beauty about this spot which is only equalled by that of the Alhambra Cascade, Trenton.

Bright scenes of mountain and of lake,
With rugged glens where torrents break,
In floods of silver white;

Mid cliffs, and crags, and stone peaks,
Green woods, and isles of flowing creeks,
In chequered shade and light.”

Source: England, William, photographer. Sylvan Cascade, Plautterkill Clove, Catskill Mountains. [London? or New York?: London Stereoscopic Company, Publisher] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2017660500/>.

“This cascade is justly considered the finest of the Kauterskill Falls, and may literally be said to take its course through a rock grove, for on either side the perpendicular cliffs rise to a height of many hundred feet, sheltering the sparkling stream from summer sun, and casting a subdued and mellow light on the scene. From the rough sides of these towering cliffs stunted trees and shrubs stretch out their verdant arms, the green foliage presenting a pleasing contrast to the dark ledges of rock, and offering a charming relief to the otherwise nakedness of the view. From ledge to ledge the beautiful waters descend and in a succession of silvery cascades unceasingly tumble and flow, the waters of each fall as they reach the deep and rugged basin beneath, boiling and bubbling as through impatient of delay, then bursting their momentary bonds, again hurry on, winding their way between the fallen fragments, till they reach the brink of the next precipice, over which they again descend in a white and foamy stream. There is a quiet and secluded beauty about this spot which is only equalled by that of the Alhambra Cascade, Trenton.

 

Bright scenes of mountain and of lake,

With rugged glens where torrents break,

               In floods of silver white;

 

Mid cliffs, and crags, and stone peaks,

Green woods, and isles of flowing creeks,

               In chequered shade and light.”

 

Source: England, William, photographer. Sylvan Cascade, Plauterkill Clove, Catskill Mountains. [London? or New York?: London Stereoscopic Company, Publisher] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2017660500/>.

 

 

#77 Crystal Cascade, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#77 Crystal Cascade, Catskill Mountains.#77
Crystal Cascade, Catskill Mountains.
“Prone down the rocks the whitening sheet descends,
And viewless Echo’s ear astonished lends;
Dim seen thro’ rising mists and ceaseless showers,
The hoary cavern wide, surrounding lowers.
Still through the gap the struggling river toils,
And still below the horrid cauldron boils.”

Source: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Crystal Cascade, Catskill Mountains." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a576-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

“Prone down the rocks the whitening sheet descends,

And viewless Echo’s ear astonished lends;

Dim seen thro’ rising mists and ceaseless showers,

The hoary cavern wide, surrounding lowers.

Still through the gap the struggling river toils,

And still below the horrid cauldron boils.”

 

Source: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Crystal Cascade, Catskill Mountains." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1930. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-a576-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

#78 Silver Cascade, Catskill Mountains.

Historic Catskills stereoview by William England taken during his 1859 tour of the United States.#78 Silver Cascade, Catskill Mountains.#78
Silver Cascade, Catskill Mountains.

“The sunny land, the sunny land where nature has displayed,
Her fairest works with lavish hand, in hill and vale and glade;
Her streams flow on in melody, thro’ fair and fruitful plains,
And from the mountain to the sea, Beauty and Plenty reigns.”

Source: Author’s Collection.

“The sunny land, the sunny land where nature has displayed,

Her fairest works with lavish hand, in hill and vale and glade;

Her streams flow on in melody, thro’ fair and fruitful plains,

And from the mountain to the sea, Beauty and Plenty reigns.”

 

Source: Author’s Collection.


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