Narrowsburg, located in the town of Tusten, was established in 1853, when the town was separated from the Town of Lumberland. The town is named for Lt. Col. Benjamin Tusten of Goshen, New York, who was one of the fallen heroes of the July 22, 1779 Revolutionary War Battle at Minisink.
The history of the region is tied to the river, commerce and transportation. In the mid 1750's, when settlement began here, this community was first known as Homan's Eddy, named for early settler Benjamin Homan. Later the community was known as Big Eddy for the large quiet pool in the river at this location. Narrowsburg became a favorite stopping point for lumbermen who steered the great timber rafts down river to the large markets of Easton, Trenton, and Philadelphia. At the peak of the rafting, a thousand rafts men could descend on Narrowsburg in search of a good meal and a clean hotel room for the night.
Later in the 1800's the railroad carried people from the New York City area seeking relief from the stifling heat of the city. From the 1930's through the 1950's, thousands of New York City Boy Scouts arrived by rail to attend the nearby Ten Mile River Scout Camps. At the present time, there are two railroad-dependent businesses in Narrowsburg: a feed mill and a lumberyard.
visitors, arriving year-round in their personal vehicles, still seek the same things: beautiful surroundings and relief from city life. Narrowsburg's lively streetscape is anchored by the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, and businesses oriented to both visitors and the local community. The annual RiverFest and EagleFest events draw thousands of visitors to Main Street. Narrowsburg is known as the Eagle Capital of New York State.
Arts and entertainment events have been an important part of the Narrowsburg community for many decades. Built by the Narrowsburg Fire Department in 1925, the Tusten Theatre helped pay expenses by presenting silent films, dances and small traveling shows in "The Community Theater" portion of the building. In the 1930's the theatre became known as the "Park Theater" and remained a permanent part of Tusten's entertainment until the late 1980's. In 1973, the building was purchased by the Town of Tusten and became the Town Hall.
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The Tusten Theatre
The Delaware Valley Arts Alliance presents live concerts, opera, theatre, film and media. The Tusten Theatre was renovated in 1989-90 through a HUD grant obtained by U.S. Representative Benjamin Gilman and in partnership with Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, the Town of Tusten, and the Sullivan County Planning Department.
the summertime, the many boarding houses in the region filled with families enjoying the surrounding countryside's quiet beauty and cool air. In the fall, hunters return.
The coming of the Erie Railroad in 1848 brought more track-side "eating houses" and hotels. Many of the German and Irish immigrant laborers who helped build the railroad stayed in the area and their descendants still populate the region.
Products to Market
As the lumber and related tanning bark businesses faded, agriculture remained strong and bluestone quarrying grew in importance. The railroad carried these products to market. Here, eggs are readied for the trip to New York City.
Ice was harvested every winter from the Big Eddy. Notice the covered bridge crossing the river at the narrow point.
The Arlington Hotel, owned by Joseph and Mary Gutheil, was rebuilt in 1894 after a devastating fire in 1893 destroyed it and several other Main Street buildings. The first hotel in the area to have indoor plumbing, it boasted a vast dining room on the second floor and a billiard room and a barroom on the ground floor.
The Delaware Arts Center, formerly the Arlington Hotel, was purchased in 1981 by the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, the Arts Council for Sullivan County. It was placed on the
State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1983. The first building in the Upper Delaware Valley to receive Historic Places status, the Arlington Hotel/Delaware Arts Center has played host to contemporary art exhibitions, readings, recitals and digital media events since the mid-1980's.
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Little Lake Erie
[?] end of Main Street, the Erie Railroad created Little Lake Erie to provide water for their steam engines. Later, when dining cars became fashionable, ice [?] [?] from the lake for refrigeration.
Across the street from the current Post Office, stood a hay press or weighing station. You can catch a glimpse of the postman riding by on his bicycle on the right.
Top: The Anderson Building still stands today, with a third floor added. Bottom: Visitors' horses and other supplies were sheltered in the Arlington Barn, renovated in 1926. Part of it served as the Post Office. Today shops occupy the building.