The Laurel House from Prospect Rock

Laurel House (1852-1967)

In the early 1820's, Peter Schutt purchased a large tract of land, including Kaaterskill Falls. Schutt was a successful tavern owner in Saugerties, and owned an interest in a hotel in Catskill. One of the attractions for visitors to the Catskill Mountain House was to walk to nearby Kaaterskill Falls. There was a small mill pond just up Lake Creek from the falls, and, for a few coins, the miller would open the gate on the dam, "turning on" the falls. In 1825, a year after the Mountain House was built, Schutt built a platform looking out from the top of the falls, and a log cabin to serve refreshments to the visitors. As business at the Mountain House grew, so did the number of visitors to the falls, and in 1852 he built a boarding house for 50 at the top of the falls, managed by his son J.L. Schutt. It was enlarged to a full scale hotel in 1881. The hotel also replaced the miller's pond with their own dam and pond on Spruce Creek, closer to the falls.

It remained in operation to 1963, long after the larger and grander Catskill Mountain House and Hotel Kaaterskill had closed their doors. It was so badly decayed by the time the state acquired it, it was burned to the ground in 1967 and its grounds added to the Forest Preserve.

Newspaper clippings on the Laurel House and the Schutt family

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