If you’re familiar with New York, then you know that tucked away in remote areas of our state you can find unbelievable hidden treasures. Out in the Thousand Islands, adventurous divers can explore the underwater worlds that lie in the
bottom of Lake Ontario. With that said, many of our residents still manage to pass right by sunken towns on a daily basis and never even realize it! Right in the Catskill Mountains, you can discover handfuls of historic towns that have been wiped off of the map to create reservoirs.
Ironically named Neversink and Bittersweet, two historic towns of New York were submerged back in 1953.
That's right! The town of Neversink will forever remain under water. Many of our residents who don't live in this region of New York will be surprised to hear just how many towns were destroyed back in the early 1900s.
But why was the state of New York sinking towns and farms left and right? The Big Apple had a thirst to be quenched! As New York City's population steadily increased, our state decided that it was time to create new reservoirs in the Catskill that would provide drinking water to the city.
By the time the small town was destroyed, it had roughly 2,000 residents who were not happy about what was happening to their homes.
Between The Lakes
you can see a small glimpse of what the town once looked like. Pictured above, you can get a taste of how small Neversink really was, with a district schoolhouse that only was equipped with two rooms.
Now hidden nearly 200 feet below the Neversink Reservoir's surface, the small town was once full of charm.
If you've visited the Catskills then you know that this region is filled with remote small towns that are fully of friendly faces and mass amounts of charm. When the Board of Water Supply decided in 1941 that the two towns were to be written off of the map, nearly all of the town's residents were upset by the decision.
Founded in 1798, Neversink featured a picturesque covered bridge, main street, Methodist church and more.
If you've never lived in a town that had to be relocated, then you may not be familiar with the huge hassle that comes with this process. Residents of these sunken Catskill towns were forced to relocate their business, homes and even passed on loved ones that were buried in the towns' cemeteries.
On June 4th, 1953, the two towns were flooded by the Neversink River and the Neversink Reservoir was created.
Many of our residents are unfamiliar with the fact that the town of Neversink remains underwater because the town relocated to just down the road. Today, the new Neversink can be found in Sullivan County and as of 2010 has a population of 3,557 residents. Pictured above, you can see how close the town and the reservoir are to each other.
While most who drive along Route 55 and the Neversink Reservoir don't realize exactly what's hiding underneath the surface, some claim to be able to see the towns' ruins when the water is low.
Another popular reservoir with a sunken town? The Ashokan Reservoir that's also located in the Catskills. In 2002, while we were experiencing a severe drought, residents claimed to be able to see the tops of barns and churches that were sunk when the Ashokan Reservoir was created in the early 1900s.
So, did you know that handfuls of sunken towns were hiding under the Catskill Mountain's reservoirs? The next time you drive along Route 55 and are soaking in the sights of one of our largest man-made reservoirs, know that the original town of Neversink is hiding just below the surface!