Old West Shokan (prior to destruction)

To supply a thirsty three million people, New York City hired the engineer John Freeman in 1900 to survey possible areas to augment the system. In the Catskills he found the Esopus Creek, with solid bedrock, to be a prime spot. It was, however, not his first choice since it meant re-routing the railroad and uprooting the thriving towns of West Shokan with its 1,200 permanent residents. Freeman noted in his report that this would cause "a great disturbance of population, flooding a large portion of all the good land in the valley." His first choice, the Housatonic River in Connecticut, became impossible to tap due to the involvement of crossing state lines.


NYC Watershed Retrospective