Cheesecote Mountain Town Park
I've always been intrigued by a parcel of land on the NYNJTC's Southern Harriman map identified as the Cheesecote Mountain Town Park, and especially with the cemetery denoted on the map just east of Call Hollow Road. Internet reserach revealed this to be the cemetery for residents of Letchworth Village, described by its superintendant in 1912, Charles S. Little, as "The Newest State Institution For The Feeble-minded And Epileptic". In The New York Times from December 13, 2007, Peter Applebome writes, "There was no reason to think that anyone would ever care to remember the 910 or so anonymous souls buried in a distant sloping glade under the T-shaped metal markers with no names, just numbers. They had, after all, been almost invisible in life. Why try to glimpse them now?"

Families were often ashamed of relatives who suffered from mental disabilities, and burying them in anonymous graves was a way to continue hiding them even after death. As the Times article indicates, a few years ago a brand new bronze marker was added to the cemetery to remember 625 of those buried here. It's a haunting place to visit armed with this understanding.

So today we visited the Letchworth Cemetery, and then continued east along the Long Path to Cheesecote Pond. We then explored two woods roads. The first road west of the pond heads north past a graffiti-ridden ruin of a home overlooking the pond on a cliff, and then continues ascending to a spectacular view looking north. Ironically, this spot is not marked by the usual vista "star" on the NYNJTC map. When we got to the top we were greeted by a lone beagle who nonchalantly noticed us before getting back to sniffing the peak vigorously. No human beings were anywhere to be seen, so the pooch, wearing a collar, must have lived nearby. The second woods road west of the pond also headed north but descended to a T where going either east or west led to a huge drop. So we backtracked to the LP and then headed west back to the car, passing through the cemetery once more.

Total distance hiked today was 4.2 miles in nearly 3 hours.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

Long Path at cemetery entrance

Lots of rushing water ...

... after the recent rains

Monument and benches ...

... are flooded ...

... and inacessible

First view of the graves

Just numbers


Nearly 1,000 are buried here

Some have named markers ...

... paid for by their families

LP crosses powerline cut

This is the same cut ...

... that extends from Route 87

Washed out part of LP

LP is a stream in parts

Interesting stones line path

And old tools


Houses near Cheesecote Pond

Cheesecote Pond

From western bank


Cheesecote Pond

It's still quite frozen

Colorful garbage can

Graffiti-ridden ruins


Colorful chimney


View from front

Continuing north on woods road

Looking south

It winds as it ascends

At the top

The views are NW

Aerial on Jackie Jones Mountain

View west

Looping at the top

View NW to Harriman mountains


Laura and the beagle

View north to powerline cut

Remains of pipe?

Continuing east from peak

Another view north

Distant mountains north

View of the Tor

Power station (?) in Haverstraw


Inviting woods road

Back on the watery LP


Swampy area


Green! Spring is coming!

Laura and her new friend ...

... a skull car ornament

Blue trail? Not on map

View to Horse Chock Moutain

Deep drop to Call Hollow Road

Grave is sagging

Letchworth Village Cemetery ...

... looks a bit less solemn ...

... in the sunshine


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