click here to return to the home page
local history people and business bulletin board



News & Views Archives

November 12, 1999
Ah.... The Chichester Post Office has some VERY good news for Sita Anderson, present Postmaster there.  Some government guidelines in favor of the postmaster positions have changed for the better over the course of years. When Helen Bennett was appointed as Chichester Postmaster by President Herbert Hoover over seventy years ago “it was necessary for the postmaster to purchase equipment and furniture for a fourth class office. Consequently the lock boxes, money drawers, tables and chairs” belonged to her (news article dated 1959).  Hmmmm......Now I am curious to learn more about Postmaster Assistant obligations. Incidentally, home delivery of U.S. mails became available in Chichester in 1961, from July 1st to September 15th, and only from the bottom of Sunshine Hill “up to the Moggre House which is the county line”, and also Silver Hollow to the Thomson residence, and Colony Road as far as the Raschid residence.
That darn old waterpipe, again! The Upper Chichester Water Supply had another pipe freeze and in the parking lot of the Chichester Wood Products factory...causing the water to shoot out of the ground there (March 1961).
William O. Schwarzwaelder, the father of modern Chichester (writer’s designation) was responsible for vast hamlet improvements from slightly before the turn of this century until the early 1920’s. Wonderful Tiskilwa Park.... replete with lake, bridges, waterfall, boathouse, and other impressive structures, certainly represented one powerful aspect of the man, his aesthetic and artistic nature. A garden at the entrance to this park (at the head of Park Road) spelled “Tiskilwa” through the use of various variegated coleus plants. Schwarzwaelder’s numerous homes, rented to employees of his woodworking factory, were meticulously maintained. Picket fences and flowers abounded everywhere. He encouraged the residents of these structures to maintain gardens by offering rent rebates and yearly money prizes. It has been brought to my attention that Chichester resident Randy Ostrander would be a likely candidate for winning one or more of Schwarzwaelder’s awards, if offered today. Many and many a cherished rose Randy has given away in his time, it is noted.
Chichesterite Nancy Parsons recently provided yours truly with an envelope of archival materials pertinent to the life and times of Addison Jones who was born in Chichester before the turn of the century and who lived to see the ripe age of 95 in 1990. The materials, collected by Addison’s sister, Evelyn L. Wilber, describe a family’s and child’s difficult times turned into a highly successful businessman (owner of the Kingston Jones Dairy for 40 years) community activist (Ulster Co. March of Dimes, Kingston Board of Supervisors, etc.) and renowned sports figure (New York State Bowling Hall of Fame, “Triple Crown of Mr. Bowler/Mr. Baseball and Mr. Sponsor”, etc.) Tied to many of the rooted families of this area.... Jones, Ostrander, Benjamin, Haynes, and etc....Addison Jones was memorialized in 1990 in all of the area’s newspapers for his accomplishments, contributions and successes in life. Several family letters, as well as a Jones Family genealogical tree, were included in the packet. Evelyn Wilber is seeking additional information on her Jones Family as related to Chichester and its illustrious history. Anyone who might have knowledge is requested to contact Charles J. Zimmerman, Town of Shandaken Historian, Shandaken, NY 12480 or at
October 10, 1999
The last several weeks have been very rewarding for me concerning the illustrious nature of our local history. Thanks to Ric Dragon and Brian Power's web, which lists my address, I received an e-mail correspondence from Joshua Gibbs, a Computer Science major at the University of Washington at Seattle, whose 7th great-grandfather was Samuel Chichester, one of the founders of our hamlet! Included was a web site containing the Chichester Family history and an elaborate Chichester genealogical workup. Numerous additional Chichester Family historical leads, too plentiful to mention here, were also included. Needless to say, this contact is an invaluable aid to us Chichester researchers.... Thanks, Josh, for sharing your family history and documentation with us. I informed Josh that a welcoming committee would await his arrival should he ever plan to visit Chichester.
Did you know that the Chichester Band as well as a marching corp represented Chichester, under leadership of the Schwarzwaelder Family? If you are lucky enough to come across photos of these two groups, the man playing the french horn is my grandfather, Daniel Zimmerman (as a youngster, I was told he played tuba.... mistaken for the french horn). The Chichester band performed at all special occasions as well as traveling throughout the region to such spots as the Globe Hotel in Phoenicia, and the Lexington House at Lexington, Greene County. Well....Chichester still lauds its musically inclined citizens. Travel to the Phoenicia Hotel on Friday nights and you will be fortunate to hear  Chichesterite Mario Saponaro perform his musical treats for you. Mario’s wife, Donna Costello, and her brother and sister, were my art students from Long Island, and now live in one of the original “tin town’ houses (a story in themselves) located directly next to what once was my grandparents’ second Chichester home. Ask Mario about the Ugly Van Band!
Hey, Brian Powers and Chichester upper water supply users.... Think you’ve seen enough problems with this over-century-old system?....a 1959 news article I recently located at the Shandaken Historical Museum describes the following....123 community volunteers were needed after a sub-zero temperature freeze-up of pipes totally disabled the system. Temporary pipe, loaned by the Federal Civil Defense, was installed to by-pass the frozen line, and water was pumped into the system from the Warner Creek, requiring the boiling of water until the problem was resolved. Chichester housewives declared.... “at least we can run our furnaces”. And the water system was barely over sixty years old at the time!
Also in 1959...”for the first time in the memory of present day residents of Chichester there is not a member of the Bennett family waiting on them at the community post office.” Miss Helen had retired. Yours truly has a vivid memory of securing the family’s mails from Helen Bennett, cousin to Reginald R. Bennett. Stop by the Chichester post office and you might find numerous additional articles related to our and the local post office’s history, compliments of Postmaster Sita Anderson and other community-minded citizens, alike.
September 04, 1999
   Ah, those Chichester creeks! Now I'm not going to reveal to you where the best fishing holes can be located, a secret shared with me by my father nearly 50 years ago (well, maybe one...near the old boathouse spot up in Tiskilwa Park), but suffice it to say, the rainbows, brookies and German Browns may be waiting there for the right fly to come along. Soooooo......stop by Brio's some early morning and Bonnie might be able to help you with the right bait.....she's kind of a fly expert, but don't take my work for it. See for yourself!
    Had the pleasure of a brief tour through Ric's Chichester studio/church this week and was given some very old documents to peruse....items Ric had discovered while working there ....Chichester temperance meeting notices and the like....
some indicating Daniel and Mary Zimmerman as leaders of the group. An eye-opener for me as the Zimmerman Family male members were noted for ther lack of inhibitions where drinking was concerned. Ric has offered these records to us for research in preserved form. Thanks, Ric.
    Chichesterites might want to read a section of Howard Frank Mosher's 1997 travelogue publication...NORTH COUNTRY, which deals with our fair hamlet...the author's viewpoint. Mosher, to those unaware, is the author who worked Reginald Bennett's THE MOUNTAINS LOOK DOWN. I cannot quote content therein (copyright), but my interpretation of Chichester life and lives differs drastically from that of the famous author. Feel free to stop by and check out my copy of NORTH COUNTRY.
    Emily Smith Osborne, native Chichesterite and the 'bike lady' of Rt. 214, has been continually sharing with me photographs and documents related to Chichester's illustrious history from the time I purchased her family's wonderful home here. Other than myself, the Smiths have been the only other occupants of this house from the time of its construction by William O. Schwarzwaelder nearly eighty years ago. The structure, by the way, was probably the last built by the Schwarzwaelder Family and was of modern vintage....bathroom and poured cement foundation! Thanks, Emily, for your continued interest in preserving Chichester's history and family lore......
(Gone fishin', but definitely NOT actin'.....relegated to the position of stagehand for the next production of the Shandaken Theatrical Society....I'd like to think it was that darned British accent, or lack thereof....)
August 26 ,1999:
During a luncheon at C.Z's home yesterday, and attended by Elizabeth Schwarzwaelder Brillion and several local ladies, the following was overheard....
"Reginald Bennett never, NEVER NEVER physically punished unruly or disobedient young ladies. Instead he would ruffle their hair. He placed both hands on the head and would twist, turn, pull, hair extending, and turn, ruffle, twist again and AGAIN until the young lady or ladies would leave, appearing to have gained another two or three feet in stature. This activity usually would solve current and any future problems in the classroom!"
Marilyn, are you familiar with this particular educational remedy? Today, a lawsuit, to be certain, would evolve. Betty left me several Schwarzwaelder grandparent/parent photo albums that, heretofore, have not been seen by historical-minded public.
I will keep you posted re: Chichester NEWS and VIEWS. Attending to the Chichester Post Office window has several added advantages!
September 02, 1999
Accolades abound here regarding Reg Bennett's The Mountains Look Down...numerous, native and "in between", are praising its historical work destined to become an immortality resource publication. Nearly every postal patron who has spoken with yours truly has lauded its long-term values.
 The postmaster assistant was sighted entering the Shandaken Theatrical Society's establishment on Monday evening where he purportedly offered his artistic services as stagehand worker. Instead, director Dennis Metnick INSISTED he audition for the part of Rev. Cruxible of Oscar Wilde's famed 'The Importance...." A puzzling British accent will surely stand in the way of his achieving a part!, not to dismiss the reality that yours truly is no stage actor. Acceptance of the position would be gratefully and gladly taken, if only a miracle would occur.
Chichester residents on their way to the city (Phoenicia) have noticed that the beautiful white birch in Marilyn's gardens has been topped....they are curious to know where all the nesting birds there have gone. Does anyone know?
Yours truly was stunned to have received a letter from Howard Mosher, Jr. after the fact, indicating his desire to have yours truly write the last chapter of Reginald Bennett's publication...The Mountains Look Down...dealing with the community from auction to the present. According to Mosher, the letter was sent to the Chichester post office where it was stamped...."addressee unknown", and forwarded back to him.
Yours truly regrets that Mosher had not consulted the telephone directory, computer- accessed directories, numerous residents and all the people with whom he worked from the Shandaken area. Yours truly believes that Reginald Bennett, looking down, would have appreciated knowing that a member of one of the oldest, if not oldest, worker-families of Chichester,  had been consulted to clarify numerous omissions in identification (eg. Joe Tryme is Daniel Zimmerman and etc.) as his interest in the Chichester village has proven to be more than a passing one. Yours truly is regretful of this odd failure to have received the letter but believes there is ultimately a very good reason why this "occurred". Time will tell. Anyone wishing to see this strange correspondence may receive a scanned copy for the asking.
Gone fishin' (or actin' ) until the next issue.