Parksville is a hamlet of the town of Liberty,
which is locally known as "the
heart of the Catskills." The town of Liberty was created from the Town
Lumberland in 1807 and was settled mostly by families from Connecticut
other eastern states. Around 1800 settlers arrived in Parksville. Lemuel
Martin and Eber Hall are attributed to be the first settlers.
Parks and his family arrived shortly after and started to build mills and
improve the area. Martin wanted to call it Martinville but the settlers revered
Parks more, and hence the name Parksville. Although later Parks moved
Ulster County, when he was 80 he visited Parksville, fell ill and wanted
be buried there. His grave and those of his extended family are in the
Baptist Church Cemetery behind the currently active First Methodist
of Parksville, also known as the Parksville United
Methodist Church, built in 1898. The Baptist Church in
Liberty is an offshoot
of the original Baptist Church in Parksville. Another house of worship,
the Tefereth Israel Anshei Parksville Synagogue, was built in 1907 and
is currently inactive. Both houses of worship have been added to the
National Register of Historic Places.
Parksville used to be in the town of Rockland but the inhabitants
annex to Liberty because it was only 4 miles away. Parksville was originally
a swamp but became forested and dry. It is in a valley surrounded by
and the Little Beaver Kill River runs through it. William Bradley built
tannery there, and James Bush, also a prominent resident, was a merchant
politician and invested in Bradley's tannery.
Parksville had shops and mills and was a bustling community. This was back
day in the early 1800's when coffee was 36 cents a pound, a gallon
was $1.00, and panthers roamed the hills.
The railroad mainly contributed to the fast growth of the Catskill
the late 1800's up through the 1930's. The O & W (Ontario & Western)
served the surge of building of summer hotels and houses. to A well-known
landmark in Parksville is Young's Gap - named after a Liberty family
famous by the railroad surveyors. Parksville was a railroad stop on
the O &
W and became touted as a pretty village in the heart of the trout country
In 1904 Parksville was officially founded and in the early 1900's it was
considered a peaceful resting destination spot.
Within two decades the hamlet had become so popular that it was
longer a quiet, peaceful place. Main Street was so clogged with throngs
people shopping that cars couldn't get through. There were listed 39
and resorts in Parksville. After the Great Depression, however, many
businesses failed. The large resort hotels still thrived - the Grand
Klein's Hillside, the Paramount, and Breezy Hill to name a few. The
Gap Hotel was built in the 1920's and was the prize of Parksville.
thrived through the 1960's as a fun place to stay.
Unfortunately, over the decades there was a decline. The popularity
railroad through the Catskills diminished and the last trains ran through
Parksville in the late 1950's. Vacationers flocked to the New Jersey
Long Island beaches and the vogue of the Catskills waned. The doors
huge resorts began to close where there had been very successful night
clubs, comedy acts, and indoor shopping meccas.
There was a brief revival of Parksville in the 1990's. There were
of enthusiastic business owners who worked together to bring Parksville
life. Dead End Café, owned by Tom and Michele Caltabellotta, was opened
1989 and helped to kick start new growth on Main Street - another restaurant,
an antique shop, a coffee shop, a silk-screening studio, a tattoo parlor,
video store and a beauty salon among others. But after 15 years, by
businesses on Main Street were lost once again. For some reason, the
called "The Quickway," Route 17, had an adverse impact on
the flow of
traffic towards Main Street Parksville. Parksville was no longer a
destination spot and businesses on Main Street and the highway pulled out,
yet many businesses throughout the hamlet are still in operation today.
The Department of Transportation completed the Interstate 86 bypass
of Parksville in October 2011 and now the highway no longer runs
through the center of the hamlet. They improved the roads and signage,
and planted flowering trees and plants, and installed sidewalks and a municipal
This has now spurred growing interest in the community's revitalization.
The O & W Railroad path is now being restored in Parksville to an active Rails to Trails
and a community effort by Liberty and Parksville is ongoing to beautify it
with flowers and signage, and work to connect it to the Town of Liberty to
make it a longer trail.
New businesses are beginning to anchor on Main Street just in the last year.
Revitalization is forthcoming.