“History as it Happened” a tribute to Catskill Mountain News

Clarke Sanford in press room of News, c. 1904

The Historical Society of the Town of Middletown will pay tribute to the Catskill Mountain News which has chronicled the life of the central Catskills region for 115 years in a program Saturday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. at the HSM hall, 778 Cemetery Road, Margaretville.

“History as it Happened” will also

serve as an appreciation of the Sanford family, publishers of the paper from 1904 until this year, when the News was sold to Joan Lawrence Bauer.

Four readers – Roy Moses, Gene Rosa, Sydney Asher and Sally Fairbairn – will read excerpts from the News from 1902 through 1973. Steve McQuide will serve as narrator and will also give voice to his grandfather, Clarke A. Sanford, and to Clarke’s son, Roswell Sanford, who succeeded him as editor and publisher. Roswell’s son Richard took over as publisher at his father’s death in 1985.

Period images and family photographs will appear in the background during the reading.

Clarke Sanford purchased the newspaper in 1904 upon the death of its owner, William Hamilton Eells, who had acquired the Margaretville Messenger two years before, changing its name to a more-inclusive “Catskill Mountain News.” (The Messenger was the successor to the Utilitarian, which had begun publishing in 1863.)

For six decades, Clarke Sanford’s name was synonymous with the News which covered everything from disastrous fires to farm innovations, births to business transfers, politics to personal comings and goings, school news to scandals.  The weekly paper linked communities to each other and to momentous world events, promoted local organizations and businesses, and fed the regional economy. Then as now, the CMN was the lynchpin of greater Margaretville.

In 2006, HSM, with the cooperation of CMN publisher Dick Sanford and Fairview Public Library, custodian of bound volumes of the paper, arranged to have the News from 1902-73 digitized and posted online (nyhistoricnewspapers.org). It is that resource which will be the basis for Saturday’s program.

For information on these and other upcoming HSM programs and to become a member, visit www.mtownhistory.org.