Cragsmoor Art Colony
It is seldom one finds so many congenial people in a small community as in Cragsmoor.
Cragsmoor Journal, August 15, 1904
Cragsmoor, a tiny village near the Shawangunk Mountains in Ulster County, New York, began its distinguished history as an American art colony in the early 1870s. Like other art colonies in the late nineteenth century, Cragsmoor provided welcome relief and inspiration for artists seeking to escape from busy cities to pursue nature in a place not yet touched by industrial progress. Cragsmoor (known as Evansville until the 1890s) was such a place. Here was a rural setting with valleys and mountains, ever-changing light and weather, all together providing idealistic landscape scenes that could easily be marketed in those same busy cities where artists lived, worked, and taught during winter months.
"Cragsmoor" was successfully promoted by one of the colony's early artists, * Frederick Samuel Dellenbaugh, who persuaded residents to choose that name when they petitioned for a post office in 1893. Dellenbaugh had come to Cragsmoor in the 1870s, along with such noted artists as * Edward Lamson Henry, * Eliza Pratt Greatorex, * John George Brown, and * William Holbrook Beard. All wanted to experience what Judge Addison Brown described as "its stimulating air, its distant horizon, its wide expanse of landscape, valley and mountain, the brilliancy of its sunset skies, and the grandeur and awfulness of its summer storms!"1 A journalist in 1906 described Cragsmoor as "a harmonious community . . . active-minded and deeply interested in the best art, literature, drama and music. . . . These people have seen the world far and wide, yet they find the charms of Cragsmoor undimmed by comparison."2