The Town, formed in 1814, is situated on the highlands above the Delaware River and takes its name from these ridges. Highland was first inhabitated by the Lenape Indians and the trappers of Minisink and Mamkating. Colonial period hunters, trappers and lumbermen were drawn to Highland because of its streams and lakes, dense hardwood and conifer forests and wild game.
Much of Highland began its development as stores and taverns opened to support the construction of the Delaware and Hudson Canal (D&H Canal) in 1828. A black-smith shop, a gristmill and broom-handle factory were established in Barryville shortly thereafter. Later, a glass factory which made molded glass opened on on Half-way Brook along Route 55, remnants of the factory barely remain after the recent floods. The Town grew with the Canal, providing a large maintenance and supply depot.
Later, the development of the Erie Railroad, now Conrail, helped in the growth of the resort areas in Yulan and Highland Lake. By the early 1900s, the Town's major industry was catering to summer visitors who traveled via the railroad. When the Erie Railroad ceased to carry passengers and the automobile became the major mode of transportation, Highland slowly emerged as a second home community to the surrounding metropolitan areas.
Named for William T. Barry, postmaster general under President Andrew Jackson, this engaging hamlet's heart is marked by a blinking light at the intersection of Route 55 and the Byway; State Route 97. The community grew up around the D&H Canal, which opened in 1828 and operated until 1898. The canal ran through what is today the center of the hamlet, and the canal company operated a number of stores, an office and a dry dock here.
Today, the area is experiencing a proud and swift resurgence of popularity. The intrigue of yesteryear is back! Barryville is constructing a history walk of the hamlet, which will soon be available at the Information Station, a place where visitors and residents can retrieve current and historical information as well as inquire directions on places to shop, eat and stay.
The Barryville Methodist Church provides an annual River Road Fair in June to welcome summer to the region and in the fall PumpkinFest has become a popular time to gather to taste the harvest goods. To delight the palettes of both local residents and visitors the Barryville Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from May to October.
Also located on the Byway is Minisink Ford, a small hamlet know for a large event the Battle of Minisink and John A. Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct.
The Delaware Aqueduct at Minisink Ford is the oldest suspension bridge in America. Built by John Roebling, designer of the later built Brooklyn Bridge, carried the D&H Canal across the Delaware River. After 50 years of use as an aqueduct, it became a motor vehicle bridge in 1898. It is now owned by the National Park Service and is a National Historic Landmark. Neighboring the bridge is the original tool house used when the bridge was privately owned. During the summer months, the toll house is open for visitors to view exhibits and take tours of the bridge provided by the National Park Service.
On July 22, 1779, the Upper Delaware River valley's only Revolutionary War battle was fought on the plateau above Minisink Ford. The battle was fought between the colonial militia of Goshen, who suffered a devastating defeat against a group of Indians and Tories commanded by Mohawk chieftain Joseph Brandt. The Minisink Battleground Park, operated and maintained by the Sullivan County Division of Public Works is open from Mother's Day weekend through Columbus Day and is located about one mile northeast from New York State Route 97 at Minisink Ford in the Town of Highland on County Route 168.
The Battleground Trail begins at the Visitor Interpretive Center near the parking area and after ascending to the level of the battleground loops around and returns to the parking lot. The Battleground Trail is a groomed trail.
There are public restrooms at the northern end of the parking area along with displays of historical materials on the battle and other area attractions. Individuals and group picnic areas are also available. There are two additional trails that traverse the park they are: the Woodland Trail and the Old Quarry Trail. Trail brochures are available at the interpretive center.
Because of the nature of the battle there is no set place where it completely unfolded, rather it was a rushed retreat up from the Delaware River and ending at the top of the hill spreading over many acres. When standing in the area between the Minisink Monument, Sentinel Rock and Hospital Rock you are in the approximate area where the militia created a square defensive position so that they could counter Brant's efforts to completely surround them. It is typical of many of the battles that were fought in the American Revolution. There are three significant sites on the battleground. To learn about the trail and see a map. Learn more about the sites on the Battleground Trail.
Visiting the Minisink Battleground Park
Portions of the above content was adapted from Lumberland - A Gem with Many Facets.
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