Site 3. Catskill Creek

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Thomas Cole. View on the Catskill, Early Autumn. Oil on canvas, 1836-37, 39 x 63 in. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gift in memory of Jonathan Sturges by his children, 1895, 95.13.3. (Average user rating: 4.0)

Introduction

Winding over thirty miles from the Schoharie hills to the Hudson River, Catskill Creek never attracted the tourism or the artistic interest that its tributary, Kaaterskill Creek, did. But for the one artist who made the village of Catskill his home, Catskill Creek was his favorite painting subject. Thomas Cole painted Catksill Creek no less than ten times, with his first painting of the creek completed in 1827.

View on the Catskill was commissioned by Jonathan Sturges, who asked Cole to paint the creek as he wished it might look. Approximating the view from Snake Road in the area known as "Jefferson Heights," Cole painted a pastoral creek scene out of a mythic past. In reality, Catskill Creek in the 1830s was the focus of intense industrialization and development. In 1836, for example, the creek was lined with "16 grist mills, 26 sawmills, 8 fulling mills, 7 carding machines, 1 woolen factory, 2 iron works, 1 trip hammer, 10 tanneries, 2 paper mills and a brewery."

When 18-year-old Frederick Church arrived in Catskill in 1844 to study painting with Thomas Cole, Cole brought the young student on sketching trips to his favorite sites around Catskill, including Catskill Creek. Although Church later moved on to new subjects, it was Catskill Creek that took center stage when Church first introduced himself to New York's art scene. At an exhibition at the National Academy of Design on April 17, 1845, Church made his public debut with two paintings of his teacher's favorite spot on Catskill Creek.


Map & Directions

Driving Directions: We recommend Google Map . Site coordinates: 42.223621 Lat., -73.887604 Long.

Location Notes: From Trail Site 1 (the Thomas Cole Site), turn right out of the parking lot to the corner of Spring Street and Route 23. Turn left onto Route 23 West, go 1/2 mile and turn left onto Route 9W South. Proceed 1000 feet on 9W, past the ramp to Jefferson Heights, to the bridge crossing the Catskill Creek. The classic view of the Catskill Creek with the mountains in the distance can be seen from the bridge or from the property of Tatiana’s restaurant on the north side of the bridge.

Trail Check Ins

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Admissions

Free


Parking

Free Street


Restroom

No


Accessibility

Generally Accessible
Meets most ADA standards and has few barriers. Some visitors with disabilities may need some assistance


Hours

Open all seasons
No restriction


Difficulty

A, solid pavement, sidewalk
Distance: 0.1 miles
Elevation gain: 0 ft
Hike time: 0 min


Scenic View Quality

Unobstructed