Remembering Jeffersonville, NY in Livelier Days

When I was a kid (a long time ago in the ’50s) my family spent two weeks every summer on a farm in Calicoon Center, just over the hill from Jeffersonville [the location of the forthcoming TLC town makeover show, Town Haul, written about in “Pleasantville”]. It was too far to commute from our home in New Rochelle (this was before the NY State Thruway), but my father was able to drive up every weekend in his Studebaker to spend a few days with my mother, brother, and me.

During the week we swam in a dammed-up pond a short walk from the farm and spent a lot of time playing Scrabble, drawing, chasing chickens, and walking the country roads. My mom and I made several hikes on the rutted dirt road that lead from the Davises’ farm to Jeffersonville. The walk through the woods was wonderful! I was particularly impressed by the bright orange salamanders that scurried through the fallen leaves that covered the forest floor.

Compared to Calicoon Center, Jeffersonville was a large and lively town. It even had a movie theater, and one weekend my father drove us over the hill to see Blackboard Jungle. I will never forget the opening scenes with Bill Haley and the Comets rocking their way around the clock.

In the late ’60s, one of my first planning jobs was the development of a 701-funded land use plan in a community in nearby Delaware County. On my way back from a site visit I drove through Calicoon Center and was disappointed to see that they had paved the road past the swimming hole and the farm. I never did drive up through the woods to see if they had paved the country road to Jeffersonville.

Vivian Kahn, FAICP
Dyett & Bhatia, Urban and Regional Planners
San Francisco

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