Tannersville to tear down ruins of historic Cold Spring House

Above: Cold Spring House in 2008. Photo by Erika Karl via Flickr.  

The Tannersville village board has decided to demolish the mouldering ruins of the historic Cold Spring House, a once opulent 200-room wooden hotel that catered to Jewish guests during the Catskills' golden "mountain house" era in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The hotel, which was built in the 1890s, has been slowly decaying at its location on 55 Spruce Street for decades, according to a 2012 column by Greene County historian David Dorpfield in the Register-Star newspaper. 

Above: Cold Spring House, depicted in a postcard from the 1930s or1940s. From the Tichnor Brothers Collection of the Boston Public Library. 

Jim Planck at the Windham Journal reports that the village board made the decision on Tuesday, Feb. 10 after the village's code enforcement officer recommended that the structure be taken down.

At the meeting, nobody turned up to speak for the ruined hotel, Planck reports:

At Tuesday’s hearing, the building’s owner, Saber Khouri, was not in attendance, but may not have been able to make the hearing, as one person present suggested a medical matter may have prevented it.

No one at the meeting was there, in fact, for the Cold Spring hearing, and -- in answer to Tannersville Mayor Lee McGunnigle’s legally thrice repeated inquiry whether anyone was -- no one addressed the board regarding [the building inspector's] report.

After formally closing the hearing, McGunnigle told fellow board members the next step was a decision.

“Do we go with the determination of the building inspector?” he asked.

“No one has responded to the violation,” he said, “and no one is here to speak on behalf of the Cold Spring.”

Above: Cold Spring House in 2005. Photo by Carolyn and shared in the Watershed Post Flickr pool. 

Cold Spring House has been a magnet for ruin enthusiasts, who are fascinated by its Grey Gardens-like aura of derelict grandeur. Visitors document their visits with photo galleries and videos (see below).

One blogger, Nancy de Flon, has been stopping by Cold Spring House to check on the progress of its decline for years. This January, she asked in a prescient post if the structure would last another winter, noting that the hotel's destruction seems to have sped up in recent weeks: 

On December 26 I drove up there with my son, Anton, who had never seen Cold Spring House before, and I was dismayed to see what had happened to it in that short time ... That right wing has come crumbling down, and the iron staircase outside the building at the top floor, well, it now looks like the iconic “Stairway to Heaven.” This was nearly three weeks ago, and the Catskills have had some pretty severe weather again, including very high winds.