Livingston Manor Scout Camps

Beech Mountain Scout Camp - DeBruce

Onteora Scout Camp - Grooville


BEECH MOUNTAIN SCOUT CAMP  by Don Gordon <click link> NEW

Beech Mountain Scout Camp Memories

I joined this group a while back, after Googling Beech Mountain Scout Camp and finding a post-card picture of a camp scene in one of your photo albums.  Seeing your recent post related to “Fond Memories” and thinking about the concept of local history, I wonder what part the camp may have played in the history of the “neighborhood”.  I certainly have fond memories of camping at Beech Mountain, and working on staff two summers. 

I lived in Orange County in those days, so the trip to Beech Mountain was “17 to Livingston Manor, turn right across from the Robin Hood Diner”.  For me, Livingston Manor and Beech Mountain were somewhat the same destination, but I rarely if ever see anything posted here about the camp.   

What kind of interaction if any was there between the village and the camp?  Other than traveling through, my only recollections were attending church in LM when my troop spent a weekend at the camp in the fall or spring, and a visit to a local doctor for treatment of an injury one of the summers when I worked on staff. - Jeff

I enjoyed reading your remarks and questions about the camp and wondered if this is the site you meant:
So many things have changed since you were there last, I imagine. I hope someone can answer your questions, And I wish you much luck in all your endeavors. Nice to see someone posting. Glad to see someone else appreciates this informative site about Livingston Manor. May I ask what church you visited and who was the doctor that assisted you? You didn't mention a year... so I wondered. Cheers. - Mary Ann

Bill Cotter’s web site about the Onteora Scout Camp is awesome, and I’ve looked through it extensively, but that’s a different camp from the one I attended in 1956-1961.  He mentions BMSC on a few pages, even includes a photo of the swimming waterfront, where I worked one of my summers. 

Beech Mountain Scout Camp” (BMSC) has changed a lot – it no longer exists.  All the buildings in the main camping area have been torn down and…disappeared.  Roadways are still clearly defined.  Building sites are identifiable, if you know where to look, but the only remains I observed were a couple large concrete agglomerations, one of which had been the base of a fireplace in one building.  I understand the land now belongs to some sort of conservation organization. 

I could go on, and on, and on – many memories – but I’m at work…. 

The church?  White, probably Methodist or Presbyterian.  Really don’t remember it, obviously.  The doctor, likewise.  I’d guess he had an arrangement with the camp to deal with more serious medical issues than the camp nurse was permitted to handle.  He may have been the doctor who administered medical examinations to incoming campers at the beginning of their camp sessions. - Jeff

I was more familiar with the Onteora Scout camp more so than the Beech Mountain camp. The caretaker and his family lived on the premises at the Onteora camp and were part of our community. The caretaker's children went to Livingston Manor Central School and were, and probably still are, friends to many of us who are part of this site. The Boy Scouts and their leaders were often in town, picking up supplies of groceries or hardware, especially during their winter jamborees.

The early history of the development of the Beech Mountain site begins with the person of Patrick Harvey Flynn. Flynn was an engineer and contractor from New York City who was responsible for many of the city's infrastructure projects during the latter half of the nineteenth century, including the piers of the Williamsburgh Bridge, the trolley system to Coney Island and Newark's municipal water system. He amassed a large fortune as a result of these projects, but decided to abandon the rigors of city life to that of the country, accumulating in the late 1890's over 1,350 acres in the Town of Rockland at the Hodge Pond area and building an elaborate mansion over-looking the pond to live the remainder of his life in seclusion.

I know of no photographs that survive showing his Hodge Pond residence but upon inspection of the property it appears to have been along what was once the town road that led up from Mongaup to Shin Creek. In the general area are existing numerous small structures, probably bunk houses used by the scouts, those that survive are in a general condition of decay. In front, there are remains of a foundation from what appears to be a large structure, the foundation segments that survived made of laid-up stone. Entrance steps to the structure as well as the driveway location can also be noted amongst the briers and brambles.

The location is on the east side of the pond, at the junction of town road and the trail that led to the top of Beech Mountain. I can not be positive that this is the Flynn residence since no photographs have yet to be found. Since the house burned down in 1926, it would not have been there when the Boy Scouts purchased the property. Did the scouts have any large structure in this general area besides those bunk houses? - Fred

Included is the Neversink quadrangle of the U.S.G.S. topographical maps showing the Hodge Pond area. The edition of the map, as well as the survey, has a date of 1910 but was republished in 1936.

If the buildings that show along the east side of Hodge Pond were those that existed in 1910, then they would be part of the P.H. Flynn residence. But if the 1936 republished edition kept current with structures, then it is unknown what these buildings were, though it still would be before the era of the Boy Scouts. - Fred

I sincerely thank you both for the historical information about Beech Mountain Scout Camp. Fred, it appears from your message you’ve recently been through part of the former camp. My wife and I covered a lot of the same territory about two years ago. Between that hike and my experience there as a scout, I can tell you the following about the area you described:

The area was known (or at least I think of it) as the “family area”. When a scoutmaster’s family accompanied him to camp with his troop, his family – wife and young children, generally – would spend most of the day in that area. I remember families coming to meals in the main dining hall along with all the campers. My assumption is that the families slept in the small cabins you described.

You may have noticed that one of the “cabins” was actually a bathroom facility. I don’t remember details from my recent hike – there may have been an obvious shower area in it, or one or more toilets or both – but there was the general impression of a bathroom facility.

Vestiges of a larger building define the location of… a larger building. I’m not sure how this was used in conjunction with the family nature of the area, but my guess is that it provided a sort of living room where several families could gather, wives commiserate, kids play indoors on a rainy day, stuff like that.

The troop I belonged to (From Cornwall-on-Hudson) used that larger building once or twice a year for a weekend camping experience, as did many other Orange and Sullivan County troops on other weekends. It was divided into two rooms – kitchen and dining area/bunk-room. I’d guess the kitchen was ~10’ x 24’, the other room ~24’ x 48’. There was a big old stove in the kitchen, don’t recall what fuel it burned, or what other furnishings and equipment filled the rest of the kitchen. The other room had – a guess – twelve bunk-beds, one or two dining tables with benches, and a big stone fireplace.

The appearance of the family area –open fields (lawn?), the large fir trees, the well uphill from the top of the open area – along with its proximity to the road all suggest this as a likely location for the mansion you described. Put all that together with the old map that just came in from Kathy Fries, and I think we can be pretty sure that’s where the mansion was located.

I have a topographic map at home (lunchtime at work now). From memory I think it’s from the fifties and shows the main camp buildings that were south and west of Hodge Pond as well as the buildings you saw, Fred, and the large building I described above.

There’s more I’d like to add and will do so from home this evening. - Jeff

Back in 1955 or 1956 I located the Flynn mansion, and later confirmed the location with Fred Owens, who was the Beech Mountain caretaker at that time. I was the marksmanship counselor, and so I was at the rifle range most of the day. The troops from the two reform schools were not allowed to take riflery so I used to have time on my hands when they would have been at the range, and I used to wander around the general area looking at stuff. Somebody – Bill Engert, maybe – had talked about the Flynn mansion and I decided to find it.

To reach it, you start at what you correctly identified as the family area, and proceed along what, when I was there, was the remains of a dirt road that ran down to Shin Creek, turning into a real road some distance down the road, at the house of Irving Berlin, the composer.

The remains of the mansion were, even back in the 1950s, overgrown with tree growth. My memory is not clear just how far along the road from the family area the site was, but a quarter of a mile is probably a good guess at this point. It was definitely before the road starts the downhill to the Irving Berlin place. The mansion itself was located on the right hand side of the road if you are walking towards the Shin Creek end of the road. It was maybe 75 feet back from the road. You could see some remains of foundations above the ground, as well as places where the ground was depressed (the cellar I would say). I remember finding some white hexagonal tiles like you would see in a bathroom or kitchen of a fancy house back then. It was a good sized house, and if my memory is good on it, I would say about 80’ across the front and about 50’ front to back.

I’m thinking that there was probably a view of something back when the mansion was built, but the trees were too grown up to see anything even in the 1950s. - Geoff

The location you describe appears to coincide with one of the buildings on the map provided by Kathy Flynn earlier today.

Also, looking at the old map, and imagining a vista void of trees, the house would have overlooked Hodge Pond.

Big house. Amazing to be way out in the woods like that.

Do you by any chance remember Waterfront Director Chet Blomquist? I think he started in the mid fifties, ran the waterfront for fifteen years or so. I camped and worked on staff at Beech Mountain 1956-1961, including one summer on the waterfront. I talked with Chet late in 2005 or early 2006. - Jeff

Thanks for the information concerning Hodge Pond. Apparently the foundation that I described would probably be the structure that existed in the family area, as described by Jeff. Unless this building was built on the same foundation, the foundation I described would not have been P.H. Flynn's residence.

It seems like deja-vu all over again for I believe that Geoff and I had this discussion on this site a number of years ago, for I remember looking for the remains that he described. I believe I remember seeing this location, and noticing the disturbance in the landscape that a structure would create but couldn't help but wonder why a residence, especially one of the supposed grandeur of Flynn's domicile, would be located there. It was far enough away from, and with the local topography not within the view of the pond. It also did not appear to be near enough to the road drop-off heading to the Shin Creek valley for any view of the valley, trees not withstanding. I surmised the first location that I described, but it was only a quess, for the fact there was a spring there, no doubt being developed by the scouts, but possibly used before by Flynn. I failed to find any springs at the site further down the road. I will try to revisit this site again before being covered in snow. - Fred

I looked at the map after I wrote my post, and I think you are absolutely right. Thinking back further, I think that there were a couple of depressions near the big building with the fireplace – on the side toward the road running down to the lake – that could have been former buildings of that estate. They were in tall grass, so they were not obvious, but I think they were there.

Yup I do remember Chet Blomquist. I had not thought of him in years, decades maybe, but I do remember him now that you mention his name. I think 1956 was my last year on the staff (I started out on the staff as the 12 year old bugler in 1953 because they were desperate for a bugler, and after I had been on the staff they couldn’t really make me be a camper again, so I got mostly make-work jobs for the next three years).

I get the impression from the earlier posts that Beech Mountain is no longer an active scout camp. Any idea when they stopped using it, and why, and who owns it now? It was really a pretty spectacular place. - Geoff

Turns out the map I had at home was printed in 1944 and based on aerial photography done in 1942 – part copy attached. It shows one building that seems to coincide with the Flynn mansion.

The mental map image of multiple scout camp buildings south and west of Hodge Pond apparently came from an online map you can see at

This map is referred to as a topographic map made in 1981. All the main camping area buildings are shown, and two rows of buildings in the family area. It’s not clear whether the large family area building is one of the nine that are shown, but I think it might be the southernmost of the group. Fred, if you get up that way again, it might be interesting to note how many small cabin remains are still visible. I’d be interested in your thoughts on whether the large building is shown on the 1981 map.

If you look at the web site I listed above, you’ll see a tab for “Aerial Photo” of the same area, dated May 1997. The main camp area buildings are definitely gone, and I wasn’t able to discern any buildings in the family area. The small cabins have to be there, of course, because their remains still exist, but they’re not visible in the photo.

The scout camp has essentially ceased to exist, apparently some time between 1981 and 1997. I drove there – or tried to – some time in the nineties, and got as far as the ranger’s cabin. It was obvious there was no longer a camp farther up the road, because the road was all grown up with grass and weeds. As I sat there contemplating this unexpected sight, a woman came over from a clothes line beside the cabin and asked if she could help me.

According to her, the camp property had been sold to a hunting club, and had not been a camp for years.

More recently, I’ve learned, it was bought by a conservation organization that allows a certain amount of hiking activity on the land, camping “with permission”. There’s a parking area just south of the ranger’s cabin, a trailhead map, and other information which I have at home, if you’re interested.

I have lived north of Albany, NY since 1970 and it’s not convenient for me to get back to that area, much as I would like to, and roam around some more. The exceptions have been the drive in the nineties and the hike a couple years ago.

Walking around there, if you knew where to look, there were many, many signs of the land’s former use. You can get some idea from the aerial photo described above. The roads are all still there, the clearings, the small cabins.

In the summer, my troop usually used the campsite above the office and trading post building, and I found the path up that steep hill, discontinuous stone steps still in place. It was all very familiar, even though I hadn’t even thought about it for nearly fifty years.

I found a concrete slab in the ground on the shore of the pond – you may remember the tower on the waterfront, and the “buddy board” at its base. The slab was under the buddy board. - Jeff

First summer of Lenape camp site at Beech Mt. Scout Camp. Best recollection circa 1948. in 49 we spent one week prior to the Philmont trip to get to know each other.. - Gregory De Blase
Third row up, starting second person (l/r) Jack Sherwood, Charles Dutcher, me, Burr Hartig.

I wonder what happened to the Boy Scouts in the area. It must have gone out of style or something – although I guess “progress” could have done it in also, as they would probably nowdays have to have flush toilets, and all kinds of other modern conveniences to be considered a safe place. It seems to me that we had a pretty good deal. It was really a huge tract of pretty wild country we had, and I could compare it with Ten Mile River, which was really a lot like an RV park as I remember it.

I’m trying to remember the names of the various camping areas at Beech Mountain. There was Lenape and (I think) Iroquois on the hill above the parade grounds. South of the admin building and parade grounds was the staff area (there is a building shown there on the topo map you linked – aside from being a place where the Order of the Arrow stuff was kept, I never understood why they even had that building.) Then there was Towanda campsite, pretty much opposite the Nature Lodge. Then the Mess Hall facing the waterfront, and the Health Lodge, and the shower building. Then there was Shawnee campsite, and then Sioux (or was there one in between them?) and then there was Blackfoot out in the woods at the end. Someplace on the lake there was the ampitheater, and I realized I could get a really good echo off the mountain if I played taps from there.  Brings back a lot of memories….  -  Geoff

I don’t think scouting has gone out of style, just has a lot of competition. My son played youth hockey all winter long from age ~6 until he finished high school. Practice 2x/week, games Saturday and/or Sunday almost every weekend from October to April or May. His daughters swim, play soccer, basketball, I’m not sure what all.

There’s a very active troop in my area; if you Google “Beech Mountain”, one of the hits is a diary of a troop in or near Newburgh I think that’s been active over fifty years. They’re out there, but I think a smaller percentage of the population. And as you say,” camping” has changed a lot in fifty years.

Beech Mountain was quite a place and I don’t know what happened to it, but it probably was somehow related to money – have to pay the staff more, raise the fee for campers, fewer campers, etc.

I think you hit the campsites right on the money, even to your uncertainty about a site between Shawnee and Sioux. I can’t remember if there was another one either. Our troop stayed in Lenape except 1956 when our scoutmaster couldn’t go and we stayed in Blackfoot with a “provisional scoutmaster”. Heh. You remember Don Gordon? - Jeff

The remaining small cabins behind the location of the family building along the old Beech Mountain Road. There are nine that are still standing - Fred

Visited Hodge Pond and area this afternoon. Found little in the way of the P.H. Flynn residence's location. The photograph shows Hodge Pond from the western shore, looking back towards Beech Mountain. The Scout's family area, along with the old Beech Mountain Road, would be midway up the hill, the location is noted by a couple of large spruce trees. - Fred

Remains of a building in the location where the family building stood. Debris consists of blue stone, chimney tiles, fire bricks and pieces of concrete and seems to be located along the back side, towards the cabins, of an old foundation. There is a laid stone column, which appears on the right of the picture, which may have either been part of a porch entrance, or stonework along the driveway. The rest of the debris may be the remains of a chimney and most likely the family building. - Fred

Outlet of Hodge Pond - Fred

Beach Mountain Road, the abandoned Town of Rockland road that traveled past P.H. Flynn's, later the Beach Mountain Boy Scout Camp. The road left the Mongaup Pond Road, over the divide, to the Shin Creek Road. - Fred


Trail leading to camping area on the west side of Hodge Pond. - Fred

The Hodge Pond - Frick Pond area is now owned by the State of New York and is open to all. Hiking trails have been developed along some of the old log roads leading to both ponds, with a designated snow-mobile trail running through its heart of the property leading from the Mongaup Pond area. The main trail to Hodge Pond is actually the old Beech Mountain town road, though it skirts around the residence above the trailhead parking lot, home of one of the local forest rangers, for a couple of hundred yards before rejoining the old road. Hodge Pond proper is actually owned, or at least they have the deed rights, by a conservancy group, consisting of over 250 acres. This includes the pond and Beech Mountain itself, where a ski lodge has been erected on top and numerous cross-country ski trails maintained. The view from this lodge is one of the best in the Catskill's, looking towards the southern peaks of the Catskills, though it is man-made which, by my viewpoint, takes some of the natural beauty away from its grandeur. The public is allowed over this property though there are restrictions on camping and fishing at the lake.

The scouts probably abandoned the property during the early eighty's after it was logged off (others may be more certain of that date), when developers bought the property and applied for a subdivision with the town. Part of their petition required the town to abandoned the road, which they did in 1987. The property was then sold to the state, except for the Hodge Pond area. Though some members of the Town Board felt, at the time, that they were double-crossed by this action, it is simply nice to have such an wilderness area, basking in history from lumberjacks to scouts that is slowly becoming forgotten by most of us, preserved for all of us to appreciate. - Fred

Patric H. Flynn was not the type of fellow who would wait for things to happen; he would make them happen. When the Civil War erupted, a small matter of being too young to enlist did not deter Flynn from joining, though he was at most 13 years of age. The "Hero of 1865",as inscribed on his grave-stone, became part of Grant's army that dislodged the rebels from their Petersburgh trenches to their final surrender at Appomattox Court House.

Returning to Brooklyn, he joined in the building of New York City and its infrastructure, creating a massive personal fortune. From real estate to trolleys, he linked the two, joining one rail system after another, linking Long Island with Manhattan, enhancing both his city real estate and his wealth. It was a power game that he excelled in, playing developer against developer and politician against politician, dividing those who knew him into loyal friends or bitter enemies. By 1898, as legal problems began to sink into his fortune, Flynn desired to escape the city, purchasing the wilderness area that surrounded DeBruce. No small land deals for our man Flynn, this estate would eventually encompass over 1700 acres, including two ponds and the surrounding mountains that overlooks them. To help protect his wealth, the property was not deeded in his name, but into that of his niece, Helena Meht, who, with Flynn, retreated to their remote estate. - Fred

"Contractors came from New York Tuesday to erect a house at Hodge Pond, near DeBruce. Mr. Flynn has purchased 2,000 acres of land which will be graded and will contain a park and fish pond. No expense will be spared to make it one of the most desirable of country residences." - July 10, 1898 - Walton Daily Reporter

The story that circulated at Beech Mountain was that most of the work on the place was done by NYC employees on the public payroll. Anyone ever hear that? - Geoff


The foundation for the "family house" was located behind the spruce trees. I believe that this is also the general area of the original Flynn mansion, which burned to the ground in 1926. The small cabins can be seen in the background. - Fred

Juncture along the old Beech Mountain town road with the scout's family area to the left of the junction. The trail leading up the hill to the right climbs to the top of Beech Mountain, now to the recently erected ski lodge. The main trail begins its descent toward Shin Creek Road. Foundation remains of the old spring house can be seen at this intersection. - Fred

Remains of spring-holding reservoir, along the old town road at Flynn's residence. The small cabins can be seen in the background. - Fred

Hodge Pond from the dock area, looking towards Beech Mountain. Beech Mountain, although it is an un-named peak on the topographical map and is considered to be a spur of the neighboring Mongaup Mountain, is actually the highest point in Sullivan County, which was once considered to be Denman Mountain, outside of Grahamsville. - Fred

P.H. Flynn's reclusive DeBruce mansion also did not shield him from the various legal actions against him. His problems were mainly self-inflicted, the result of bad decision making or just plain bad luck.

The Nassau Electric Railroad Company, of which he was president, expanded during the 1890's with the help of the Brooklyn Aldermen, who favored Flynn, and his political connections, when giving out the franchises for the proposed trolley routes. Though Flynn had friends in high places, even in the Brooklyn judicial system who conveniently would "lose" records, his railroad was considered a "paper railroad", and in the end could not hold off the competitors through legal challenges.

Flynn's syndicate bid on the construction of the New York tower of the Williamsburg Bridge, and though the bridge commissioners thought Flynn was not up for the job, he foolishly proposed to bond his part of the project three times more than what was proposed on the contract. The commissioners accepted Flynn's bid. Problems arose, delaying the finishing of the tower, which naturally delayed other aspects of the bridge's construction, adding to Flynn's legal woes.

In the early 1890's Flynn's syndicate joined Henry Beldon of Jersey City and secured the contract to provide that city with municipal water. Unfortunately, Beldon soon suffered health problems and became incapacitated, allowing his brother to alter his will, setting off a legal battle with the rest of the family that held up the water project for years. When finally begun, residents along the proposed rivers proposed to be dammed, claimed riparian rights of water use against Flynn's taking of the water, delaying the project and a new set of legal problems for Flynn.

Court decisions were mainly not in his favor, and creditors were knocking on his door. Flynn declared bankruptcy in 1906. - Fred

The trail to Patrick H. Flynn's secluded DeBruce estate became well-traveled by his creditors, with judgment after judgment going against Flynn and his syndicate, wiping out his fortune. He had two true friends left, one being John Baldwin, proprietor of the Manor House in Livingston Manor. Flynn often stayed at the hotel, especially when he traveled in winter. On one winter return to the Manor from his downstate legal problems, Baldwin's hotel cutter and team took Flynn up the DeBruce road toward his Hodge Pond home. At DeBruce, the snow was so drifted that the team could not get through. Instead of turning back with the hotel's sleigh, Flynn continued on, trekking over waist deep snow the last few miles to his lonely destination.

Harry Hanbury, indebted to Flynn for his political connections and his own financial success on the docks of Brooklyn, remained true to the end. To help mask his remaining fortune, which by now was sifting away to his creditors, Flynn and his niece, Helena Meht, used Hanbury to shield what remained. When the courts got wind of this, Hanbury was called to testify against his friend over the transactions made, which he refused to do, claiming it was a private matter with no connection to the claims against Flynn. Hanbury was imprisoned for this refusal to answer the court's questions, the time served until bail was met by some unknown party. - Fred

12-28-2007 - Norman Buck sent me an e-mail with the new(??) L.M. web site. very nicely done. was particular interested in the Beech Mt. story. I was very fortunate to have gone there 6 years (45-50). The 50's onward i have little recollection of, since that is when i entered the Navy and afterwards relocated to Long Island.

As you remember. my parents owned the Arlington Hotel and L.M. was a very busy town during the summer months after the war. Most of the resort hotels were filled to capacity. And to keep me out of their hair i, was sent off to Beech Mt. for the full summer. our rooms were filled most weekend with over flow. Too, since most of the hotels were Kosher, the Arlington was one of the few places the Kosher cliental, without traveling to Liberty, that one could sit down and have a plate of Chinese roast pork or shell fish.. So off to camp i went for the summer - (It was only $8.00 dollars a week in 1945) along with Jack Sherwood, Burr Hartig, and one year Harold Dutcher's boy and George Van Steenberg. The point i am getting at is the references to some of the building shown on the topographical maps may have some errors.

Reference to the large structure west of the Hodge Pond (HP) as remains of Flynn's house was in reality the large new mess hall, built in the fifties or sixties. The smaller structures just east of the Pond and near the creek draining HP that fed Frick Pond (FP) was the old mess hall and the trading post/commissary. Just across the creek was the new nature lodge, built 47 or 48.. continuing on the road on the left were the campsites, with only platforms for tents. the first one being Towanda, back of which were the showers. Then came four or five more sites, the last one named Apache. Some of the sites were for those units that sent a large portion of their troop for two weeks. one troop i can remember, came from Tuxedo. The larger site were for boys from mixed troops of Orange and Sullivan County Council, as it was known then before becoming the consolidated Council, running from Delaware county to the Hudson river (not sure of other counties ) The Lenape site mentioned was constructed in 47or 48.. I am mailing you a picture of the scouts and councilors staying there that first year..

On the other side of the pond road from the camp sites was the camping and pioneering areas. Then, about half way down the path leading to the Pond was the leanto for the waterfront crew.. Up through 1950 there were no cabins or family camping as shown in your pictures or referred to in the comments. At the far end of the Pond was where the Saturday night campfire was held. with the camp chief standing in his canoe ,gliding across the water, torch to light the fire, held high.

Do any of you first year scouts remember on the road side of the pond sitting on the hill side during the weekly "Snipe Hunt"just after dusk. In the six years i was at camp i never knew of any scout, with burlap bag in hand, landing a snipe

The final part of the Beech Mt at the top of the hill was the health lodge, making a sharp left down the hill the road ended at the parade ground and the (in the 40's) mess hall was a building. Comments about foundations, stone slabs may be correct, for the path pass the by the health lodge was the beginning of a trail that lead to the plane crash site and also to Flynn's Point, from which you could look some 20 miles or so to Shandlee,on the other side of L.M. the other side of the point you could look out at all of the highest spots in the Catskill, i.e.; Slide, Balsam, Double Roundtop, to name a few.

I am sending a copy of this note to Jack for him to correct, delete, add to what i have tried to remember. He also has knowledge of ownership and through whose hand it property pass, which my memory serves correctly came after the those mention on the web site..

In closing, it matters little if i have made mistakes in my remembering, but one thing I have not forgotten is, what a wonderful time it was for young boys who were lucky enough to have been there.

There are memories that will never be forgotten.. Carl Meltzer, who took 20 to 30 boys on their annul trip to Philmont, NM, Carl was the most inspiring man i knew, for young boys to learn what the concept of Boy Scouting was all about. Some being -- Confidence in one's self, understanding the meaning of charity, giving to others the way others had given to you, to try to fulfill the 12 scout laws at "all times", and the love of God and Country.

An event happened a few years after in the fifties. It was at the National Jamboree held on the, then, Irvine Ranch which also gone now,"where the wild goose went".

I was there with the Navy to sent up a radio for the ground crew to communicate with the Navy's flying "Blue Angles". Since I had attended the 1950 Nat. Jamboree at Valley Forge I ask the Officer in charge after getting all set up, if I could have some time off to walk around. The ground was slopping grassing fields.. Up one of the hills, about 400/ 500 yards away came the tall, lopping young man from Goshen, NY, who recognized me way off, and with his deep voice gave out loud yell "HEY MEATBALL"

What a wonderful treasure it is to be stuck with a nick name. Not sure of the number, but i would guess over a thousand scouts, I made contact with during those 6 years, remembered me long after our Boy Scouting days faded in to the past, because of that handle.. People, I am sad to say I have forgotten.

Again Jack is much better at this than I am. A few, thoughts, still remain. The Order of the Arrow had a W W W acronym for a pass word. Well there was little fellow (little i say because like my Father was only 5' 6" and he was smaller than I)... He was given a handle of WWW standing for Wee Willy Wilkins. Then on the Philmont trip in 49 there was an assistant leader, forgot his name, if I ever did know it, but i can tell you the color of his, hair, eyes and facial features. I remember him as Sash-in-door. He was from Dubuque, Iowa when it was known as the Sash and Door manufacturing capital in USA. Long before "made in China" became the vogue...

It is nice to have some of the newer, younger, campers from the fifty's on, but it also would be nice if some campers of the 40's would ring in -- before they like the "Greatest Generation" drop off..

feel free to use any, all or none of this, as you see fit, but don't forget to get Jack's input.

regards -  Gregory DeBlase

The money was gone. All of the wealth Patrick H. Flynn accumulated was either spent to defend his wealth or else turned over by the courts to his creditors. that was left was his handsome home and the Hodge Pond estate, the property which was deeded in his niece's name. Still, this did not deter his creditors. In 1917, they succeeded in getting a favorable decision from the Brooklyn courts that stipulated that the DeBruce property, valued well over $150,000, could indeed be used for payment of judgments against Flynn. Flynn was on the verge of losing it all, until his last, and possibly now his only friend, Harry Hanbury, intervened in the proceedings and purchased the Flynn estate in 1921, satisfying the claims of the creditors, allowing Flynn and his niece to remain at his secluded home.

The now aged Fynn, whose personal wealth at one time was considered to be in the millions of dollars, was now living off of his only source of income, the fifty dollar Civil War veteran's pension and the promises within a box filled with worthless I.O.U.s by past associates. His lavish home furnishings were gone. The large mansion, already in disrepair from years of neglect, further deteriorated, as did his health. He retreated further into seclusion. Rarely, if at all, did he leave his estate, cutting off all ties to the outside world, relying on his DeBruce neighbor, Clarence Polhamus, to bring the necessary supplies for him and his niece up the Flynn trail. - Fred

Headstone of Patrick H. Flynn at the Orchard Street Cemetery

Spring was late in coming to Sullivan County in the year of 1926. The month of April was so cold that ice was still lodged within the rivers for the beginning of the year's fishing season. Throughout the month, area farmers were unable to work over many of their fields due to the remaining patches of snow. For the month of May, temperatures increased grudgingly as the month proved to be the coldest in recent memory. And then the rain stopped. With little rainfall throughout the last half of April and May and as the snowpack melted, fear of forest fires grew. Forest fires started that spring at the southern end of the county, with blazes raging around Bloomingburg, Otisville, Port Jervis, Barryville, Black Lake and Lake Huntington, keeping the observers positioned on the Conservation Department fire towers ever so vigilant.

The old Balsam Lake Club firepower overlooked the upper Beaverkill valley and beyond to the Delaware River highlands as it sat atop Balsam Lake Mountain, one of the highest peaks in the southern Catskills. On the morning of May 14th, as the fire tower observer scanned the vista before him, a cloud of black smoke arose from behind the near ridge to the south, the ridge that divides the Willowemoc and Beaverkill watersheds. Knowing the landscape before him as he would the back of his hand, he immediately knew the general location; above DeBruce, perhaps one of the Mongaup lumber camps.

With the spring's persistent cold weather, Helena Meht kept the Flynn residence warm by keeping the fires going in the furnace. Going about her duties in caring for the frail and invalid Mr. Flynn, she heard the explosion upstairs. Upon investigation, she came upon a wall of smoke and searing heat as the upper story room in which the chimney passed through was ablaze, driving her back down to the first floor. There was no time for her to attempt to extinguish the blaze, but only to find her aged uncle through the smoky haze and vacate the building as soon as possible. It was no easy task, but she succeeded, both of them leaving the premises just as the whole structure erupted in flames. They could only watch as the once-glorious Flynn mansion disintegrated into pile of embers.

When the Livingston Manor firemen arrived, the main building was already down, but because of the dry conditions, the lawn and neighboring woods were set ablaze, threatening the nearby cottages and barn. With great effort, the blaze was subdued by the firemen and the remaining buildings were saved. As for Patrick Flynn, he too was saved from the blaze, though barely. With the destruction of his handsome home and his prized furnishings, the fire finally took what his creditors could not; his will to live on. - Fred

Patrick H. Flynn was a quiet, unassuming man, who rose from poverty to prominence due to his unlimited energy, unfailing memory and devoted loyalty. Though uneducated, his early years were spent working on the docks of Brooklyn by day and attending school at night, realizing that he needed to hustle and scheme if he was to succeed. By dealing in real estate, Flynn made his wealth; the accumulation of street railroads brought him political power; construction contracts brought him powerful enemies, and the beginning of his downfall; the DeBruce mansion gave him seclusion and the unsuccessful escape from the world he helped create. After the  was increasingly deteriorating, made plans for one more scheme; the planning of his funeral.

At first it was thought that Flynn could remain at Hodge Pond, staying with Helena at the smaller cabin that was saved from the flames, but his health demanded access to better care than the primitive cabin provided so the couple moved to Clarence Polhemus's residence outside of DeBruce. Here, Flynn began working on building his coffin, a simple pine box made from the pine lumber from his estate. The headstone was ordered, a block of pink granite, with humble and simple words inscribed on the smooth face, denoting his pride as well as his modesty in only a few short words. Flynn was now ready.

Flynn died a month after the fire, on the morning of June 15th, 1926. His funeral, as was his desire, was attended by only three individuals; Judge William McGrath of the Manor, who helped oversee his final legal affairs, John Baldwin, in whose Livingston Manor hotel Flynn often stayed, and Harry Hanbury, his only loyal friend from his Brooklyn past. The headstone placed upon the grave gives no indication of the individual buried underneath; no name being inscribed on its finished surface. Only the reference to an episode in his life, recalling his youthful days marching with General Grant's Union Army; "A Hero of 1865". - Fred

The Flynn estate at Hodge Pond, without the elaborate mansion that had burned to the ground, now only consisted of the smaller cabin and barn, which now was used by Harry Hanbury as a hunting lodge. A portion of the Flynn tract included the old Burton place, situated along the outlet of Hodge Pond. Benjamin Frick, another New York capitalist, purchased the farm in 1900, built a handsome residence, though on a smaller scale than Flynn's, and where the small stream passed over the remains of old beaver ponds, erected a dam across the stream to create a trout pond. He never realized his final vision of the place for Frick passed away within a year, his name still survives on the remains of his pond.

At the time of Patrick Flynn's death, the upland forests surrounding DeBruce, were now being harvested by lumber companies, large business concerns from Pennsylvania. Large lumber camps sprung up on either side of the Flynn tract, where the lumberjacks both worked and lived. The largest of these camps was the Reese-Sherriff camp on Orchard Lake, cutting timber off of the old Hammond and Prindle tracts.

Hanbury, immediately after Flynn's death, went into contract with Ernest Archer, of Titusville, Pennsylvania, selling off the timber rights of the property, except for the area around Hodge Pond and the original location of the Flynn buildings. The Archer lumber camp was created on the Frick residence, and populated with woodchoppers and sawyers brought from Pennsylvania, with smaller camps located wherever the portable mills were located.

Hanbury, ever mindful of the effects of fire since the destruction of the Flynn house, stipulated in the deed with Archer that he, Hanbury, would not be responsible for damages to life or property caused by fire during the tenure of the lease. This deed language, agreed upon by both parties, was to be an omen of bad times ahead. - Fred

Frick Pond

Frick Pond Lobdell Memorial Stone