Since the early 1900’s when bungalow colonies first began
appearing in the Catskills, they were a place for working class families to
share in the beauty of Sullivan County. Bungalow colonies were a prime example
of an entrepreneurial spirit, which proved that with hard work and effort a
small business could be established that would benefit the community. The
colonies became a refuge for city dwellers anxious to escape an overcrowded
congested city for fresh air and a chance to experience “country” living for two
very brief months. Bungalow colonies became small communities, essentially
extended families, sharing life and activities over the summer.
Since the 1970’s the bungalow colonies have suffered a severe
decline as our nation’s wealth and lifestyles have changed. Many colonies were
abandoned, demolished or sold for development. In an encouraging sign, a number
have survived and thrive today as religious groups seek the same benefits for
their members. All in all, a miniscule few remain open for rent to the general
public. Many individuals and their children joyfully remember their summers here
in the Catskills as some of the happiest moments in their life. But there is no
physical, visual place to share those memories again. We propose the creation of
a Catskills Bungalow Heritage Museum that would celebrate this history.
Catskills Bungalow Heritage Museum:
The presentation and preservation of the heritage and history of bungalow
colonies in the Catskills.
A. Physical acquisition and restoration of at least 3 original period bungalows.
B. Presentation of furniture, objects, photographs and ephemera from era.
C. Collection of oral histories of former owners and service businesses for the
D. Preservation of the history of tenants and tourists of the bungalow colonies
Such a physical museum will become a destination point for the families and
children who once vacationed in these colonies, creating tourism that will
contribute to the economic revitalization of Sullivan County.
We invite all interested individuals to contact us. We are interested in your
ideas and thoughts about such a museum. We seek support from the local and
national community to develop an action plan.