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President Arthur's Vacation

Ulster & Delaware Railroad
"The Only All Rail Route Through the Catskills"

President Arthur's Vacation
New York Times
September 12, 1884

From the New York Times, September 12, 1884



MARLBOROUGH, N.Y. Aug. 11 - President Arthur will probably remain in the Catskills the greater part of the week. He will, it is general anticipated, take a trip to the Grand Hotel some afternoon and return in the evening on a special train over the Ulster and Delaware Railroad furnished by Mr. S.D. Coykendall. When President Arthur returns from the Catskills he will probably come down the face of the mountain and so to Catskill village. Whether he will go down the Hudson River by the Day Line of steamers or not has not been decided, but he will either go that way or by the West Shore Road. It is quite possible that he may stop in Kingston over night as the guest of General Sharpe. If he should do so, his visit there will be a quiet one. Mrs. McElroy, the sister of President Arthur and the mistress of the White House during the Winter Season, is stopping at Lake Mohonk. The arrangement is that Miss Nellie, the daughter of the President, and Miss Jessie McElroy, the daughter of Mrs. McElroy, will stop at Kingston, and from this place go to Lake Mohonk and remain there with Mrs. McElroy some weeks. General Sharpe will see the young ladies safely to Lake Mohonk, going by way of the Wallkill Valley Railroad to New Paltz and up the Shawangunk Mountain in stages. President Arthur has visited Lake Mohonk before.

The daily routine of the President's party at the Kaaterskill House is as follows: The young ladies have early breakfast every morning and an early dinner, and spend most of the day walking and rowing on one of the pretty lakes. General Sharpe usually accompanies them on these trips. Very often the younger members of Mr. Harding's family also accompany them. The President remains in his own room, receives his mail, and works with his secretary, F.J. Phillips, until 2 o'clock in the afternoon. The he goes out riding with Mr. Harding's private team, Mr. Harding generally accompanying him. The drive ;asts about three hours. About 6:30 o'clock he dines in a private dining room with Chief Justice Waite and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Harding, and other invited persons sufficent to make a party of 12 each day. After dinner he spends an hour in the parlor with the ladies, and finishes up the evening by smoking a cigar on the front porch.

Secretary of the State Frelinghuysen, with his wife and daughter, reached the Kaaterskill House on Satuday, as geneally understood, going on official business. They dined with the President Saturday evening. It has been noticed in THE TIMES lately that France and China have manifested a willingness to refer the differences betwen them to the arbitration of the United States Government. The appearance of Mr. Frelinghuysen in the Catskills so soon after the announcement of this diplomatice event gives rise to the suspicion that his visit there is to confer with the President on that question. It is thought that he will remain at the Kaaterskill House several days.

The visit of the President to Hunter on Friday last was a pleasant one. The party consisted of the President, his secretary, F.J. Phillips, Mr. Harding, and General Sharpe. The distance is 10 miles from the Kaaterskill House. They were raken there in open carriages, drawn by splendid horses, which carried them that distance in one and a half hours. On the way the party stopped at Tannersville, the President having received an invitation from Mrs. Roggen. The Roggen House is the largest in Tannersville. There were a number of guests there. Many besides these had assembled from the cottages in the surrounding country. The President was welcomed in a short address delivered by a minister, a guest of the house. He then entered the parlor, where he was introduced to Mr. Roggen, who is an invalid, and had quite a char also with Mrs. Jacob Hardenburgh, of Kingston, (the President having been an acquaintance of Senator Hardenburgh during his life, and with Mrs. James M. Van Wagonen and others). The party then started for Hunter. Between Tannersville and Hunter there is a large number of boarding houses and cottages, which were decked as though it was a gala day. Col. Mason, who the President went to visit, had taken pains to have it known that the President was coming to Hunter, and all the guests of the different cottages were grouped upon the lawns in front of them waving flags, and with the word "Welcome" in evergreens displayed on the front of the houses. As they neared Hunter village they found the residences deserted. They were handsomely decorated but the people had gone to the Hunter House to be present at the reception. Hunter has one long street, and it was one succession of festoons, decorations of bunting and flags, flowers, and evergreens. The party were received at the Hunter House by Col. Mason and the committee of arrangements, and took lunch, after which there was a formal reception. In front of the Hunter House is a large suare with a grove of trees. Here the people gathered with many of the old soldiers and a band of music. In fron of the hotel was a platform elaborately decorated with bunting. The piazza and balcony were filled with ladies and childre, handsomely dressed. In all there were perhaps 3,000 people present to welcome the President. The exercises were in excellent taste, for they were short. Col. Mason made the address of welcome, after which President Arthur said that he appreciated deeply their kind greeting and welcome, voiced by Col. Mason, who had been his trusted friend fro a quarter of a century. After Gen. George H. Sharpe had made a very witty speech the President held a reception in the parlor. One of the pleasing features of this reception were the many handsome and prettily dressed children who were brought up to greet the President. Several of the pretty little girls he took in his arms and kissed. The party were escorted back throough the village by members of the Grand Army, the band of music and a number of people in carriages. While the procession was forming the inmates of the different cottages along the atreet returned to their dwellings, and when the President's party went slowly past they gave him such a greeting as any one might well be proud of. In front of every hosue the guests formed in groups, the children in the front rank, the young girls next, and the older persons in the rear. The girls were all dressed in bright, Summer dresses. On the roof of the porch of one house were three young ladies, graceful and pretty, one holding a red parasol, one a white, and the other a blue one. At one cottage a number of the young ladies sang the "Red, White and Blue" as the President passed. At another cottage a group of pretty girls, with rich, fine voices, sand the rollincking song which has for its chorus "He is a jolly good fellow."

The President was very much pleased by these acts of attention and friendship, and said it was such a delightful trip that he should remember it for many a year.

HOTEL KAATERSKILL, N.Y., Aug 11. - President Arthur did not retire until after 1 o'clock this morning, passing the time until then with Minister Kasson and young Mr. Frelinghuysen in the hotel corridor in conversation. However, he arose earlier than usual, eating breakfast about 8 o'clock with keen relish. On the arrival of the New York papers he became deeply absorbed in the account of the earthquake shock, which seemed to have been generally felt, although not the slightest jar was observable here. Miss Emily Harding had the President's company in a drive this afternoon, on which occasion Mr. Arthur submitted to having a tin type take of himself seated in the phaeton of Miss Harding. Only four pictures were taken, one of which the photographer tried to capture, but was unsuccessful. The roads being in a heavy condition after a hard rain, the Overlook drive was postponed until tomorrow. Tonight the President enjoyed the music with the guests on the front piazza. Minister Kasson left here today, sailing on Wednesday for Berlin.


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