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Vintage Catskills postcard of the landscape of Churchill Park in Stamford, New York.

Boat Landing and Stone Bridge, Churchill Park and Stamford, Catskill Mountains, NY

Stamford, Delaware County

Vintage Catskills postcard of the landscape of Churchill Park in Stamford, New York. The postcard was published by C. W. Hughes & Company. The postmark shows that it was mailed in 1927.

The 1905 pictorial guidebook titled Souvenir of Stamford, N.Y. offer a description of the beautiful setting of Churchill Park: “ONE of the most desirable strolls around the village of Stamford is through Churchill Park, in which is located the beautiful Rexmere. Its lakes, bridges, road-beds and drives through woods and lanes make it the universal place of outing for all the guests of Stamford. Its woodlands are dotted with rustic cabins. Loch Marion, the largest of the lakes, is used for boating. A fine collection of St. Lawrence skiffs and canoes is provided for those who desire to row.” (Danforth, Pierre W. Souvenir of Stamford, N.Y. “Queen of the Catskills.” Middleburgh, NY. 1905.)

Churchill Park was extensively developed by Stephen Churchill, a prominent local citizen, to help grow the tourism industry in that region. “In 1895, Churchill purchased a farm on the western edge of town and began to extensively landscape the property into a picturesque park. He first constructed two small lakes with plans for adding two more. He built roads, lining them with trees and installed slate sidewalks. By 1897 he saw the need for a hotel with modern conveniences to accommodate the affluent guests and proceeded to construct the “Rexmere” – the king of the meadows. The hotel, costing $75,000, was the largest in Stamford, accommodating 400 guests. Opened in July 1897, the five-story hotel was designed by Churchill in a Second Empire Revival style and sported a large outdoor swimming pool and golf course. Churchill also constructed some large cottages in the park which were rented by families for the entire summer.

In 1900, there were over fifty guest houses, hotels, and rooming houses operating in Stamford. However, with the advent of the automobile, business began to decline. The car gave people mobility to go to more than one place rather than spending the whole summer in the mountains. By 1920, most of the smaller hotels had closed and by the end of World War II, the resort business was finished. The Rexmere remained open until 1954, when the railroad ceased passenger service.”

The Churchill Park Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Rexmere, then operating as the Frank W. Cyr Center, was destroyed by a fire of unknown cause in 2014.