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Lost Towns
           Lost Towns                                                     
The Catskill  Water Supply System (Ashokan and Schoharie Reservoirs) was completed
 by 1926,  and already,  New York City knew that even more water was needed to meet its
growing  demand.  New  York  City  began  studies in the Rondout Valley in 1921, and by
1927, the  Rondout Valley was chosen for the site of a new reservoir. When New York City
 began building the Rondout Reservoir in1937,the future of three villages changed forever.
In  Eureka,  Lackawack,  and  Montela lived over 1,200  people (250 families). They were
forced to sacrifice over 1,000 buildings,  including  their homes, and move elsewhere. All
 the bodies  from the eight cemeteries in  the valley had to be moved. Of the three villages,
only one,  Lackawack, was relocated and still exists today. Building the reservoir required
the work of over 400  laborers,  while the construction of  the aqueduct  needed hundreds
more. The  main  dam, called the  Merriman Dam for the chief engineer, Thaddeus Merri-
man, who  passed  away  during the construction  of the  reservoir,  spans 2,600 feet from
one side of the Rondout Valley to the other.

Construction began on June 21, 1937, was delayed twice, once for World War II, once for
 the Korean War,  and  was  finally  completed on July 18, 1955. When construction began,
the  village  of  Lackawack  was  the first  and  largest  to  be  destroyed  and the only one
relocated. The largest village industry was a tannery that employed 350 men.

The historic  village  of Montela, known for the Battle of Chestnut Woods in 1778, was the
next to be razed.  Although  settled in the mid-1700s, Montela wasn't officially established
 until 1886. This village was  located on the border of Sullivan and Ulster Counties. The last
village  to  fall  was Eureka,  the smallest  of  the  three villages where a grist mill provided
most of the jobs. Also founded in the mid-1700s, its post office closed forever on October
 31, 1942, and like the rest, it disappeared under the water

Lost towns shown in Red: Eureka, Montela and Lackawack

New signs commemorate lost towns

MARGARETVILLE, N.Y.,  June 15, 2004 -  Road signs  are  being installed this summer marking
 the former locations of 26 communities  displaced  by five New York City  reservoirs in the Catskill
 Region. The  signs  are part  of a  commemorative   project coordinated by the Catskill Watershed
 Corporation(CWC in cooperation with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
 (DEP).  In 2002,  six roadside  exhibits were erected - one at each reservoir - to explain the histor-
ies of the former towns, and the building of the vast New York City water system.
 New signs have been installed in the Rondout basin, signs pay tribute to three towns:
 Eureka, Montela and Lackawack.

View of the Rondout Reservoir looking North from Route 55

A few Old Pictures of the old lost towns
Pictures could date back to the early 1800s. If anyone can put a date
 to a picture or would like to submit an old picture of the lost towns please
email the date or picture to me and I will post it and give you a mention
See larger view
Early map of Lackawack, NY
Lackawack, NY
A good view of Lackawack, NY. the way it was back then.
Early Lackawack Scene. Far Right the Shields Hotel.
Lackawack Main Street looking South. Large building
on the left is the Shields Hotel.
Lackawack Main Street and Shield Hotel
Lackawack Shields Hotel colorized Post Card. It was built
by John Sheils in the  1880s.
Another view of the Lackawack, NY Shields Hotel
Lackawack One Room  School
Lackawack Post Office
Lackawack Ice Harvest
Lackawack Lake
Road to Lackawack, NY 1921
 Lackawack, NY West Home. 1909. Operated by Earl West.
Another old post card of the Lackawack West Home
Swimming in the Rondout Stream near Lackawack, NY
Sheep farming on Sheil's farm. Lackawack, NY
Water Falls on the Rondout Stream at Lackawack, NY
Old Mill at Lackawack, NY
Montela Main street and Montela Hote
Another Montela Main Street view.. Early 1900s
Montela old Wooden Bridge across the Rondout Stream
Montela Lumber Camp in the Mountains 1908
Montela old wooden bridge crossing
Montela Mill
Montela Sawkill Falls
Eureka Main Street, Post Office on the right and old Mill on the left.

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