Ashland was Scienceville

Ashland in 1854 was Scienceville

From the Daily Mail, Saturday, July 20, 1929

 Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin

 Ashland, Greene county, was first called "Scienceville" because some families who settled there had more than an ordinary education and were interested in the establishment of schools of a high standing.

Ashland lies along the Batavia Kill and is second to none in beauty of location. On the mountain side one looks down on the valley and creek, where in summer with birds sweetly singing in the trees, long shadows are seen along the stream which sparkles and gleams as it flows where the willows gently sway in the breeze. Around is the cool green of the grassland and before one are cornfields and waving grain.

In early morning herds of cattle pass through the bar ways to the mountain pastures which year after year creep nearer the summit. The tinkle, tinkle of the cow-bell, which is no longer heard in the Hudson valley, is a pleasant experience in Ashland, and the whole settling of this village has been likened by travelers who know the scene in Switzerland.

During the Revolution Batavia Indians helped make the trail safe and peaceful for the prudent Dutchmen, who first settled there. One of the tourist places in the village whose house is over a hundred years old, has bee names "Batavia Home," in memory of the Batavia Indians who were the first real Americans to live there. Arrow heads are found on the flats and on the mountainside is a large flat rock containing a message which no one has been able to read. Some say it may be a map containing information for one tribe from another. They were friendly and peaceful.

At Woodchuck Lodge, home of the late John Burroughs at Roxbury, can be seen hanging there, a school bay in which he carried his books to and from the Ashland Collegiate Institute. This Institute opened on May 6, 1854, and burned in 1860. The main building had a frontage of more that 200 feet and was five and a half stories high, with a wing of 100 feet, which contained a chapel, recitation rooms, laboratory, etc. It had a library of 1500 books. Its course of study included music, painting, trigonometry, surveying, civil engineering, astronomy and the more common branches of learning. There were Biblical lectures, and students were to attend church in the village on Sunday morning and the Institute chapel in the afternoon. The associate principals were Rev. Henry J. Fox and C. Rutherford, A. M.

In the lot back of the buildings is a rock, where it is said, John Burroughs wrote his first essay.

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