Exploring Our Area
Did You Know?
Native wildlife has been expanding steadily in our region since the mid-1970s. Residents and visitors are very familiar with the large White-tailed Deer population in Cairo, and Black Bear sightings are not uncommon.
Rarely seen species on the rise include the Bobcat, Red & Grey Foxes, and even the Canada Lynx.
Smaller mammals like Beavers, Raccoons, Muskrats & Skunks abound, and we now even catch glimpses of Fishers, Martins, and Otters in our midst.
(Photo from: Tim Christie.)
Cairo was home to some of the first Ski Slopes in Greene County, pre-dating the mountain runs of Hunter & Windham. Rope tows provided skiers with a ride to the highest points, and the downhill trails were significantly less challenging than those today. These somewhat humble facilities were set up to provide outdoor activities that would draw guests to Boarding Houses in winter months. Their popularity validated and inspired the development of the modern Ski Resorts in the Great Northern Catskill Mountains.
The Greene County Youth Fair has been held every July since 1954. It has found its home in Ashland, Durham and since 1995, at the Angelo Canna Town Park in Cairo.
From its agricultural beginnings as a 4-H Club Fair, this has grown into a four-day event with exhibits, rides, events & entertainment for the entire family.
The Cairo Historical Society’s Home Town Hero project recognizes the service and sacrifice of over 250 of our locally-born Soldiers, Sailors, Fliers, Coast Guards, and Marines. Street side banners provide a continual memorial throughout every hamlet in the town. Veterans from the French & Indian War to our most recent deployments are honored by family, friends and local businesses.
Cairo’s central location in the county made it an ideal place for an airfield. With the return of American pilots from WWI, residents and visitors were treated to exciting rides with spectacular mountain and river vistas.
Former members of Eddie Rickenbacher’s Hat-in-Ring squadron, not only barnstormed up and down the valley, but flew mail and supplies into the mountain towns and remote areas of the Catskill Park.
The 1920s ushered in the heyday of Boarding House Resorts in Greene County valley towns. A week or two stay at a transformed farm-house, bountiful meals, and scenic splendor lured thousands of city dwellers to the area for rest, relaxation, and family fun. Visitors often chose where to stay by the ethnic flavor of the house cuisine – which was always delicious. Notable house specialties included: German staples like Sauerbraten, Schnitzel and Strudel; Italian Antipasti, Lasagna and Parmesans; New York Style Steaks & Chops, and; Full Irish Breakfasts.
Thomas Cole (founder of the Hudson River School) was commissioned to paint five landscapes of the northern Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River during the summer of 1827. ‘View of the Round-Top in the Catskill Mountains’ subtitled ‘Sunny Morning on the Hudson’ is the only one of the five that faces the river from the west. His vantage point overlooks the southern hamlets of Purling, Round Top, and South Cairo from a point higher up Blackhead Mountain.
(Photo from: http://www.mfa.org/.)
Tourism has been Cairo’s largest industry since the 1800’s. It was one of the first towns in the area to develop ski slopes and trails. Many of the regular visitors have made the conversion to seasonal or permanent residents.
The Cairo Railroad provided freight transportation to the industries in town starting in 1884. Early cargo consisted of locally mined bluestone, and hay and fruit from the local farms. In 1894 the Catskill Shale Brick Company became the railroads primary customer until the plant closed in 1914. The lack of steady freight and the increasing improvements to the local highways resulted in the termination of service at the end of the 1918 tourist season.
(Paraphrased from: http://cairochamberofcommerce.weebly.com/.)