History of Shandaken
Shandaken, whose name is of Native American origin and is said to mean “land of rapid waters,” is located in the northwest corner of Ulster County, 25 miles northwest of the City of Kingston. Bounded on the North by Town of Middletown, Delaware County; East by Town of Hunter, Greene County and Town of Woodstock, Ulster County; South by Towns of Olive and Denning, Ulster County; and West by Town of Hardenburgh, Ulster County. Located along the Route 28 corridor within the Catskill State Park, the mountainous town lands are over two-thirds state owned and include Slide Mountain, the highest peak in the Catskill range, at 4,220 feet.
The town was originally settled around the Revolutionary War period and was formally established on April 9, 1804, when Governor George Clinton signed chapter 80 of the laws of 1804. Shandaken was separated from the Town of Woodstock and the first Town meeting was by law held the following year on the first Tuesday in April at the Home of William Rogers, the first Town Clerk. The name of the first settler is not known, although it is believed to be Conrad Meisner. Also, a man named Furlow is mentioned in early records. A part was annexed from Neversink, Sullivan County, in 1809. A part of Olive was taken off in 1823, a part of Denning in 1849, and a part of Hardenburgh in 1859. The Village of Pine Hill, incorporated in 1895, and the corporation was dissolved in 1986 and is now a hamlet of the Town. Other hamlets located within the town are Mt. Tremper, Mt. Pleasant, Phoenicia, Chichester, Allaben, Shandaken, Bushnellsville, Big Indian, Oliverea, and Highmount.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 119.8 square miles , of which, 119.8 square miles of it is land and 0.04 square miles of it is water.
The town is inside the Catskill Park, and it is entirely mountainous. Shandaken has the highest peak in the Catskills, Slide Mountain, climbed either from Woodland Valley via Cornell and Wittenberg, or from Winnisook Lodge, a private camp maintained by the Winnisook Club, founded in 1887 by Judge Alton B. Parker, the Hon. Thomas E. Benedict and other well-known men. The north town line is the border of Greene County, and the west town line is the border of Delaware County.The Esopus Creek flows across the town.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,235 people, 1,463 households, and 829 families residing in the town. The population density was 27.0 people per square mile. There were 2,666 housing units at an average density of 22.3/sq mi . The median income for a household in the town was $31,566, and the median income for a family was $40,927. Males had a median income of $38,854 versus $23,063 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,121. The median home cost in is $239,300. Home appreciation the last year has been 3.21 percent.
Shandaken public schools spend $10,573 per student. The average school expenditure in the U.S. is $6,058. There are approximately 12 students per teacher in Shandaken.