|Author & Speaker, Robi Josephson
~ Publicity ~
SULLIVAN COUNTY DEMOCRAT
by John Conway -Sullivan County Historian,
Oct 23, 2015
WALLKILL VALLEY ALMANAC (Wallkill Valley Times Supplement)
US Route 44/55 is a spectacular drive over the Shawangunk Mountains of Ulster County, New York. As the road climbs west from the Wallkill or east from the Rondout Valley, homes and building give way to a realm of forest and stone. The Trapps mountain hamlet was located in this lofty realm extending on both sides of the modern highway. So begins "An Unforgiving Land: Hardscrabble Life in the Trapps, a Vanished Shawangunk Mountain Hamlet," written by local authors Bob Larsen and Robi Josephson.
Published in 2013 by Black Dome Press, the book ventures back in time to take an up close look at life in The Trapps and the pioneering people who made it their home... Read more...
Gardiner... Drivers who traverse U.S. Route 44 State/Route 55 through the Mohonk Preserve, may not know that just off the highway are reminders of a pioneer lifestyle that lasted well into the 20th century.
About 200 to 300 people from 40 to 50 families lived here in an isolated hamlet known as the Trapps, said Robi Josephson, who coauthored the book “An Unforgiving Land” with longtime Mohonk Preserve ranger and boundary man Bob Larsen.
[Video & Photo] The Van Leuven Cabin has been restored as an exhibition space to show how the cabin was used originally. It is owned and maintained as a small museum by the Mohonk Preserve.
The hamlet spanned land across the Mohonk Preserve, Minnewaska State Park Preserve and properties owned by private owners, she said.
Robi Josephson and lifelong Mohonk ranger and cultural historian Bob Larsen have meticulously pulled together an account of the early settlement of the mountain hamlet from old newspaper accounts and public records and crafted a book that reveals much about not only the Trapps, but the shaping of nearby places like Rosendale, Kerhonkson, Ellenville, and New Paltz. They trace the impact of the Smiley brothers, the Shawangunks’ most successful hoteliers, on the lives of the mountain-dwelling regular folks – and the impact those regular folks had on the resort/preserve/state park that is today the region’s defining feature, and it’s a thought-provoking read. Read more...
ABOUT TOWN MID-HUDSON VALLEY COMMUNITY GUIDES
"...Robi Josephson and Bob Larson have researched and brought us the unvarnished hardscrabble life of the Shawangunk Ridge with the perseverance and dedication matching the settlers themselves. The book is describe by Glenn Hoagland, Executive Director of the Mohonk Preserve, "... as the definitive chronicle of the Trapps, and its vanished community."" Read more...
NEW PALTZ TIMES
[Photo: Local historians Bob Larsen and Robi Josephson on the foundation of the old Enderly farmhouse near Split Rock in the Trapps region of the Shawangunks.]
The release of the gripping and provocative nonfiction book An Unforgiving Land, by local authors Bob Larsen and Robi Josephson (Black Dome Press), positions a hardscrabble, subsistence post-Civil War mountain community in stark contrast to today’s thousands of acres of breathtaking land under the protection of the Mohonk Preserve and Minnewaska State Park for modern-day conservation, recreation and one of the “Earth’s last great places.” Read more...
THE DAILY MAIL
Shawangunk—One of the areas often considered as part of the greater Catskill Mountains region is the Shawangunk Ridge, also known as the Shawangunk Mountains, and even more often just called the Shawangunks.
For New York State’s tourism district purposes — whether in the 19th, 20th, or today’s 21st century — the Shawangunks are always grouped under “The Catskills” heading, and with good reason — the social and business interaction of the Shawangunks has always been part and parcel of the greater Catskills identity, as the presence of the famed Mohonk Mountain House still attests. Read more...
DELAWARE & HUDSON CANVAS
It could have been the towering grayish white cliffs, the treacherous thrill of a defying hairpin turn on US r44/55 or even an inviting pass through a mountain range known as the Shawangunks. Whatever the lure, the Shawangunk mountain range bellowed a seductive invitation to Robi Josephson, then (late 60's) freshman college student at the State University of New York, New Paltz. She was from the City, as in New York City, Queens and was absorbing the sensuous thrills of her first climb through the Labyrinth to Sky Top. "The Labyrinth was then part of freshman orientation..."
BLACK DOME PRESS
An Unforgiving Land
For about 150 years, colorful characters abounded in this “region where the Maker of Mountains went mad,” their stories echoing even today across a high hollow nestled between Lakes Mohonk and Minnewaska. The Trapps hamlet is all but gone now; only a few vestiges of this proud and independent community remain. The rest has vanished along with the way of life that sustained it, but Robi Josephson and Bob Larsen breathe life into this vanished place and the people who once called it home. This long-awaited book, the result of their combined fifty-year odyssey and Bob’s groundbreaking research, extracts history from Shawangunk Mountain ridges and ravines, from libraries and archives up and down the Hudson Valley, and—most significant of all—from interviews with the last generation to be born and raised in The Trapps. Press Release...
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