September 1917

McKinley by the Railroad Tracks.
McKinley by the Railroad Tracks.
September 5, 1917
Dear Father,

We had a holiday today as this is the day when the drafted men were called.

There was a big parade in Chattanooga. My company was not in it fortunately and I had a day off.

I watched the men march down Market St. They took about three quarters of an hour passing. The drafted men marched behind the soldiers. There were a number of Civil War veterans in the parade wearing their old uniforms of blue or gray.

I bet the drafted men will be sick of war soon. We got some hard drill at first, but I don’t think it was anything to what the conscripts get.

Some of our non commissioned officers were transferred to train the National Army as the conscripts are called, and from the way most of the regulars feel and speak of the “d—- slackers” they won’t be shown as much consideration as we were.

Some of our men got awful lectures at first and the NC officers say that a man that has to be made to fight, doesn’t deserve to be shown the patience a volunteer deserves.

I don’t mean they will be ill treated because of the rules in the discipline that forbid striking a man and all that. But they will probably get some savage calling downs and be reminded they were forced to fight for their country.

At noon a couple of the boys and I were down on Market St. I was just going to look for a restaurant when a fellow came up to us and said. “Boys, there’s a lunch for you soldiers at the courthouse.”

The lunch was served by the “Daughters of the Confederacy” and they sure treated us fine. They seemed to be afraid we won’t get enough to eat and they kept urging us to eat some more. Continue reading

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Green Meadows II

dancing-greenmeadow-lawn
Dancing on the Lawn of Green Meadows.
early-pic-of-barn-which-was-recreation-hall
Green Acres Recreation Hall with Disney characters.
front-lawn-Main-House
Green Meadows Main House and front lawn.
Henny-piano-greenmeadow
Henny Schmid (husband of Agnes) at the piano in the late 1950s.
music-green-meadows-barn
Henny Schmid, on left playing accordion in the barn.
potatopeeling-greenmeadows
Agnes (left) and Martha, a kitchen helper for years, peel potatoes. All photos courtesy of Diane Pankow.

In 1950 Charlie Pankow married Ann Hughes, a regional account manager for the Woolworth Company, who had been a guest in the Highland Lake area. At the time Ann, her sisters, brother, and mother Lillian Hughes lived in Brooklyn.

Ann had borrowed her older sister Mildred’s name and working papers so she could get a job at Woolworth’s before the legal age. The result was she was always known as Millie (except to her family) and Green Meadows became “Millie and Charlie’s” place.

Charlie and Millie married in mid-September and there were still several guests left at Green Meadows. Millie was suddenly charged with the tasks of cooking, waitressing, and dish washing. She was used to eating out in New York City, and could “barely boil water.” When she peeked out from the kitchen, she saw guests dropping her biscuits on the table to demonstrate their density.

Within a few winters Millie not only mastered the art of cooking and particularly baking, but became well known in the area for her meals and baked goods.

Guests gained about 10 pounds on their week-long vacations, as food was served “family style” and offered in unlimited portions with everything being made from scratch.

On busy holiday weekends like the Fourth of July and Labor Day, many of the Green Meadows guests would have to sleep at some of the other boarding houses around the lake due to lack of rooms, but they ate at Green Meadows, requiring twice the amount of meals, which in turn, resulted in two seatings for meals.

Guests were known to gather in the kitchen and help peel potatoes, crack eggs, and shuck corn. Most would come the same week or weeks every year. Some wives and children came for the whole summer and the husbands came up from New York City on weekends only. Continue reading

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Green Meadows, August 1941

The bride Florence Schmerfeld (standing by one of Disney’s Snow White dwarves) took part in a “Mock Wedding,” one of the many fun social activities at Green Acres. A fellow guest was the groom in the “wedding” of August 1941. Courtesy of the Bosch Family.
The bride Florence took part in a “Mock Wedding,” one of the many fun social activities at Green Acres. A fellow guest was the groom in the “wedding” of August 1941. Courtesy of the Bosch Family.
Green-Meadows-MockWedding-1941a
The bride and groom. Photo courtesy of the Bosch Family.
The” bride” Florence standing by one of Disney’s Snow White dwarves. Photo courtesy of the Bosch Family.
The” bride” Florence standing by one of Disney’s Snow White dwarves. Photo courtesy of the Bosch Family.
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Playing tennis at Green Meadows. Courtesy of the Bosch Family.
Green-Meadows-boatdock-1941
Florence in a canoe on Lake Highland. Photo courtesy of the Bosch Family.
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Volleyball at Green Acres. Photo courtesy of the Bosch Family.

Green Meadows—Matchmaker’s Paradise
Green Meadows (first Bosch’s Lake House, then Green Acres) was the most popular venue on Highland Lake for many years.

Located on the swampy end of Highland Lake, Green Meadows did not even have a beach, just a boat house, a dock, and a submerged fenced plank platform for children to wade and swim.

Competing boarding houses may have had more luxurious accommodations and even a beach, but none could compete with the friendly, festive atmosphere and plentiful, delicious food that the Pankows provided. Charlie Pankow transformed Green Meadows into a thriving business for 25 years. He was a great entrepreneur who knew how to show his guests a good time.

At some point before the 1940s, a semi-circle of small cabins were constructed in the rear of the main houses, shaded by plentiful apple trees.

The cabins were given colorful names, many named for well-known hotels: “The Waldorf,” “The New Yorker,” etc. Disney characters were painted on the cabins and even on the barn.

Every Saturday night there was a dance party in the barn, with much drinking and revelry. There was also a mid-week dance.

Other nights featured movies, bingo games and other entertainment. In the early forties “mock weddings” of randomly selected singles were held, complete with costumes and a “preacher.”

During the day, there were spirited games of bocce ball on the front lawn, lounging in the shade of the many trees, swimming and sunbathing at the boat house, and driving to visit local attractions. There was a snack bar in the “barn” and outdoor speakers filled the air year after year with the memorable hit songs from the juke box.

The days were punctuated morning, noon and late afternoon by the welcome dinner bell, signifying the call to yet another delicious meal. In the evening boarders would stroll along the road and later congregate in the barn for a scheduled event or just to socialize.

In actuality, Green Meadows was a match-maker’s paradise. Many couples met at Green Meadows and later married, including my mother and father. My mother, Florence met my dad, Willie, while she was vacationing there in 1941 and they married the following year. His brothers Henry “Whipple” and Charlie both met their wives when they were guests at Green Meadows.

Many waitresses, dishwashers, handymen and cleaners met friends and sweethearts while working summers at Green Meadows.
—Ken Bosch. Farewell to Eldred, pp. 238–9.

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Lake House, Green Acres/Meadows

1930s Green Acres Dock. Green Acres (former Lake House) in the background on the left Photo courtesy of Diane Pankow.
1930s Green Acres Dock. Green Acres (former Lake House) in the background on the left. Photo courtesy of Diane Pankow.
Sign to Green Meadows (Green Acres/Lake House) on Lake Highland.
Sign to Green Meadows (Green Acres/Lake House) on Lake Highland.

Bosch Lake House
The original Wilhelm Bosch Lake House was on Hartung Road, a bit north and west of the top of Highland Lake.

Ed Bosch assumed ownership of Lake House in the early 1920s.

Ed built a small house for his father Wilhelm and his second wife Mary, across from the Lake House.

Charlie Pankow and Green Acres
Charlie Pankow was the new owner of the Lake House in June 1938.

Charles, his sister Agnes Schmid, and mother Agnes had been guests at the Lake House for a couple years around 1935. They became interested in becoming innkeepers and rented the Lake House as innkeepers in 1936 and 1937.

Charlie renamed the place Green Acres and it became a family endeavor. Charlie’s sister Agnes Schmid and her husband Henry’s sisters Catherine and Lillian, and a cousin Martha worked in the kitchen cooking; Charlie and Henry worked on renovations.

Henry Schmid worked for Commercial Union Insurance on Maiden Lane in Manhattan, and came up weekends. Henny was an accomplished self taught musician and entertained the guests with his ragtime piano skills, accordion, banjo or guitar.—Diane Pankow. Farewell to Eldred, p. 187.

At some point Green Acres became Green Meadows.

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Wilhelm’s Boat Canal

Lake-House-Canal
Lake House Canal Wilhelm Bosch dug. Photo taken 1915–1917 courtesy of Bosch Family.

We had dug a well where we got water for our use. We carried the water to the barn in the winter for the animals because it was too slippery and they would fall on the ice.

We had a dozen apple trees and we always had lots of apples to eat. Also, a big Bartlett pear tree and a larger cherry tree, black cherries and one red cherry tree, one crab apple tree, and two large grape vines, and they was loaded every year. Plenty of grape jelly for the winter or year around.

Pop also had 5 acres of garden and most of it red and yellow onions. Herman and I had to weed them. Some big piles of weeds.

But one year Gus Myers put a dam in the lake’s outlet and raised the lake too high and flooded the onion field, so no more onions to weed. We planted hay on the onion patch. How big the hay got. The Dailey boys always cut the hay for my father, and piled it all up for the winter. Pop sold some of it to the neighbors.

Herman and I used to go to Mud Pond and pick cranberries in the fall. There was loads of them. We picked 2 and 3 big feed bags full in a day. We got them home with the horse and wagon. Then we ran them through the fan mill to blow the chaff and leaves out. Pop sold them in 
Port Jervis.—Ed Bosch, son of Wilhelm and Mary Maier Bosch.
—Echo Hill and Mountain Grove, p. 152–3.

2011 photo of the canal Wilhelm Bosch dug courtesy of Ken Bosch.
2011 photo of the canal Wilhelm Bosch dug courtesy of Ken Bosch.
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The Lake House & The Bosch Family

The Bosch Family and The Lake House
Wilhelm and Mary Maier Bosch had a boarding house called The Lake House on Hartung Road, northwest of Highland Lake. In the early 1890s Wilhelm built the Lake House, a smaller residence, and a barn for their 2 cows, horse, pig, and chickens. Lake House would later be called Green Acres and then Green Meadows (which we visit in August 1941, in a soon-to-be-post.)

Most of the lumber was said to have been hauled up to Highland Lake via Shohola from demolished buildings in New York City. Notice from the old photographs that even when the buildings were newly built, they did not look new. Other buildings and guest cottages were added over the years. For lake access, a boathouse and docks were constructed. Wilhelm dug a boat canal using a mule and a plow.—Ken Bosch, great-grandson of Wilhelm Bosch.

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Boarders at the Lake House built and owned by the Wilhelm Bosch Family. Photo courtesy of the Bosch Family.
    The Lake House in the Heart of the Sullivan County Hills
    The Lake House stands on high ground, overlooking the beautiful Highland Lake from the north, about 250 yards away. The lake is one and one-half miles long and one mile wide; is surrounded by a heavy growth of timber and abounds in several kinds of fish.

    The house is new, contains 27 rooms, and has accommodations for 50 guests. The rooms are airy and comfortable. The parlor is supplied with a piano for the accommodation of guests. The Lake House is 7 miles from Shohola by carriage over a beautiful road. Livery accommodations are reasonable. All guests are promptly met at Shohola Station when notified. Transportation: 75¢. Trunks 25¢.

    Parties who wish a quiet healthful resort are sure to find it at this house. There are other boarding houses and lakes nearby, affording plenty of attractions and amusements to all who desire to avail themselves in that direction; and a good time and lots 
of sport can be assured.

    Fresh vegetables from the garden. Fresh eggs, milk, and the best of meats are supplied, and prices are reasonable. Mail daily and telephone nearby. Board $6 to $8 per week. Children under 10 years half price. Wilhelm Bosch, Prop.—Lake House Flyer.
    —Echo Hill and Mountain Grove, p. 153

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August 12, 1917

McKinley writes his mother Jennie Austin.
McKinley writes his mother Jennie Austin.
McKinley's letter.
August 12, 1917 letter on Y.M.C.A. stationery from McKinley Austin to his mother.

Army Stationery
Mac and later Raymond usually wrote their letters on stationery from the Y.M.C.A. It seems there was a choice between paper with a Y.M.C.A. or Knights of Columbus letterhead.

McKinley Austin to Jenny Austin
August 12, 1917
Dear Ma,
I have not got any letters yet, but I suppose everyone is well. The army is no picnic, but it is not so very bad. They say our bunch is to be assigned to the machine guns.

I was vaccinated the second time and it is coming on pretty good.

I was down to the station where they were unloading watermelons and a man dropped one of the melons on my sore arm.

Most of the officers are good, but there are two I don’t like. One is a sergeant who thinks that hollering is the only way to learn a man. The other is a conceited kid corporal. Jimmy Sullivan says he would like to meet them again when the war is over. Continue reading

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August 4, 1917

Postcard of Mountain Grove House where Mort, Jennie, Raymond, Will, Elizabeth, Art, and Robbie Austin lived in Eldred. Postcard in the Austin Family Collection.
Postcard of Mountain Grove House where Mort, Jennie, Raymond, Will, Elizabeth, Art, and Robbie Austin lived in Eldred. Aunt Aida and Uncle Lon Austin lived nearby.

McKinley Austin, Chattanooga, to Aida Austin, Eldred
Dear Aunt,
I am here and like it better than at Fort Slocum. We get better food and the officers seem better, though we had a fine sergeant there.

It took over 34 hours to come here, counting from the time we left the barracks at Ft. Slocum, till we got here. If I am lucky, and come back, I wouldn’t miss this for five thousand dollars. The trip down to here was worth a year of a man’s life. I’ll never forget it. I am sure.

For the present, my address is: Mortimer Austin, 11 U.S. Inf., F Company, Military branch, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Your nephew, McKinley

McKinley Austin, Chattanooga, to His Family, Eldred
To all family, relations, friends,

I am very well and certainly like this place. We left Port Jervis on the morning train instead of the 12:15. Of the 15 applicants, only 2, Al Delaney and I went. We were examined at Poughkeepsie and a bunch of us, 13 in all, were sent to Ft. Slocum. We got there late at night.

Sunday we were examined again and four were sent back. Also we were vaccinated and inoculated for typhoid. My vaccination didn’t take, but the inoculation did.

Monday we got our uniforms and were assigned to our squads. Tuesday afternoon, we were told to get ready to go South. And we were examined again.

About 7:30, we left our barracks, turned in our blankets and marched to the parade ground. The commander inspected us. Then we were sent aboard a ship and sent down the East River.

All the way down, everybody on shore was waving. Every boat was saluting and the factory whistles were blowing. The Battery was crowded with people cheering, waving and throwing their hats in the air. I saw the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and other noted places. Continue reading

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Slocum, Logan, & Riley, July 1917

McKinley Austin arrived safely at Ft. Slocum.
July 7, 1917, postcard from McKinley Austin. I have arrived safely. M. McKinley Austin.

McKinley at his aunt Aida Austin's house.
McKinley at his aunt Aida Austin’s house.
McKinley Austin to His Family
July 7, 1917: I have arrived safely. I have been accepted and am at Ft. Slocum. Your son, McKinley

Irwin Briggs, Ft. Logan
On July 7, 1917, Irwin Briggs enlisted in the army at Ft. Logan, Colorado. In 1935 Irwin and his family will live in Barryville. He will be the Methodist pastor for Eldred, Barryville, and Pond Eddy. Pvt. Briggs was sent to Ft. Riley, Kansas, for training. He asked to be placed in the Medical Corps and was with the 89th Infantry.

Both McKinley and Irwin would be stationed in France.

Irwin Briggs, future Methodist minister, was a medic in WWI.
Irwin Briggs, future Methodist minister was sent to Ft. Riley, Kansas, for training.
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