Today, Luna the Dolphin explored the historic hackledam in Rock Hill NY. This short half a mile hike from the parking lot to the dam is beautiful and serine. This is also the path that the school kids had to take to come to school. They would cross a cable suspension foot bridge over the freezing Neversink River.
Imagine having to cross a bridge over water and you’re just eight years old or younger. You would have to walk from your house to the bridge, cross over, and then walk an uphill. While the parking lot for the cars is half a mile up, the school for the kids was at least another half a mile down the road. When I was younger I had to walk .6 miles from home to the school. In the winter we had to bring a piece of wood to be burned in the wood burning stove that kept us warm. My path was straight road, their path was hard and straining. After walking to school you had to sit down and learn. I’m sure that was difficult for some of them, I know it couldn’t have been easy.
Hackledam school was built in 1870 to serve the logging community children. In 1916 the school was moved further north due to increase in population. So imagine having to walk even further down the road from where your previous school was. Luna the dolphin, our adventure mascot, enjoyed her hike and little history tour of the area. While there isn’t much left of the past, the stacked rocks are still standing. These rocks helped support the mill and controlled the water dam. The mill dam is what powered the saw mill. The abutments of the old bridge are still visible on both sides of the river.
Historic Hike at the Gorge
If you’d like a tour of the area like Luna got, you can hike the trails yourself and view three waterfalls. You can also sign up for a guided 90 minutes tour to the half mile location. NYNJTC member Nancy Bachana does guided tours to this location once a year. You can look up “Historic Hike At Neversink Gorge” to learn more about the tour and location details.
Our history is slowly disappearing but it’s up to us to keep it alive. In upstate New York you will see remains of the past in numerous locations or even as you drive. Whether it’s a stack of rocks or a full foundation, you will be reminded that there once was a community living in woods, by the rivers, and along our current trails.