The Town of Windham, Ulster County, NY was established in 1798. Two years later it became the western half of the newly created Greene County. Between 1813 and 1851 Windham was carved up to create the seven mountaintop towns of Ashland, Halcott, Hunter, Jewett, Lexington, Prattsville and Windham. The town’s earliest settlers were mostly farmers who had relocated from New England after the Revolutionary War.
Tanneries thrived for a brief time, and water-powered sawmills and grist mills built along the banks of the Batavia Kill provided lumber and flour. Small businesses along each hamlet’s main thoroughfare supplied various needs.
Tourists came to the mountaintop as early as the 1820s, traveling by stage up steep mountain roads. While Windham had a few drovers’ taverns and hotels for traveling salesmen, it didn’t become popular with visitors until the 1860s when farmers began to take in summer boarders to supplement their meager incomes. Improvements in roads and modes of transportation made it possible for more people to make the trip to the Catskills. Small boarding houses were enlarged to accommodate them and eventually amenities, such as tennis courts and swimming pools, were added.
Windham Country Golf club opened a 9-hole club in the 1920s, followed by its expansion to 18 holes in the 1960s, increased Windham’s appeal, while the addition of a ski resort originally called Cave Mountain and eventually evolved into the first class alpine experience; Windham Mountain Resort has turned the community into a year- round recreation destination. Not surprisingly many who once vacationed in Windham fell in love with the area and became residents of this town as well as second home owners looking to escape from the metro areas. Windham is proudly called the “Gem of the Catskills”