Vintage photographs of Hill Crest Manor resort showing a variety of interior and exterior shots, including many features which no longer exist.
istorical archives put Hill Crest Manor on the Catskill vacation scene as early as 1901, under the proprietorship of Abram Millett. Although the still extant boardinghouse dates back perhaps as early as the 1860s, the building’s original use is unknown. We do know that it was in place by 1876, with a major addition added around 1905, and the main house appears to have been built at about the same time. This “fine summer house” was “Strictly American,” Mr. Millett advertised, with a 60-guest capacity, an “Amusement Hall,” and a “Table Unsurpassed.”
Sometime after 1935, ownership of the resort transferred to the partnership of Joseph Scholz (a liquor distributor based in Flushing, Queens) and Carl Riedlbauer (whose father — and later, brother — owned an eponymous resort nearby). At that time, the resort was comprised of at least seven separate buildings, and spread across nearly 90 acres of woodland with amenities including a 40’x70’ in-ground swimming pool, shuffleboard and tennis courts, horseshoe pits, ball fields, and a duck pond. Traces of some of these, including the neglected but surprisingly intact swimming pool, can still be found around the property today. A 1938 advertisement touted the “German-Hungarian Kitchen” with “Excellent Meals at Reasonable Rates.”
By 1952, the resort was billing itself as “Hungarian-American,” the “German” having probably been dropped during World War II. The capacity had expanded to 100 guests and the season had lengthened into “chilly weather” with the addition of a “heated recreation room.” Filling the rooms through the fall months were hunters, who were promised “an abundance of all kinds of game during the hunting season.” Other notable developments included a “Casino” and a “Bar and Grill for dancing,” with activities including “Masquerades, Amateur Nights, Wiener Roasts,” and “other amusements at night.” Several longtime local residents still remember the Hill Crest Manor Bar as the place to be for locals and visitors alike.
In 1962 the New York State Highway Department began construction of the new Highway 23. The new highway bypassed the villages of Catskill, Leeds and Cairo — through which Old Route 23 had meandered — and bisected the resort. The bar, poolside shower houses and ball fields were all razed. The once busy town road on which the resort stood had become a dead end, and only the main house, boardinghouse, swimming pool and some smaller outbuildings remained on an eight-acre parcel.
By this time, the Scholz-Riedlbauer partnership had dissolved, and management of the resort had been entrusted to “Hosts, Martha and Julius Bitter.” The Bitters purchased the truncated resort from Riedlbauer, erecting a two-unit motel on the property and filling in the duck pond to reclaim some lawn for croquet and shuffle board. They kept the resort going until 1972, when they reclassified the property as a “Temporary Residence,” and ran it for some years — as it probably began — as a rooming house. The old boardinghouse, swimming pool, and the new motel were eventually abandoned altogether when the Bitters ceased running the property commercially.
In 2005, Rosey Scenario, LLC purchased the property from Mrs. Bitter, with the intention of restoring the main house and re-opening to the public as an Inn and Event Space.
THE INN AT HILL CREST MANOR • P.O. BOX 873 • 14 HILL CREST MANOR LANE • CAIRO, NY 12413 For more information, rates and availability, please contact 518.622.3331 or Info@InnatHillCrestManor.com