The Village of Monticello is in the central part of Thompson, adjacent to New York Route 17. Monticello is one of the largest villages in the county.
On March 20, 1801, an act was passed authorizing the building of a new turnpike road from the Hudson River to the Delaware through what was then Ulster and Orange counties. There were two important reasons for this undertaking. One was to facilitate travel between Newburgh and the rich coalfields of Pennsylvania and the other was to provide a suitable passage for large droves of cattle and wood products taken from the virgin forests of Sullivan County. The proposed Newburgh and Cochecton Turnpike ultimately brought about the founding of the village of Monticello.
Two brothers, Samuel F. Jones and John Patterson Jones, built Monticello. The turnpike company entrusted Samuel F. Jones to explore the vast forests west of the Mamakating valley to find the best route for the new turnpike. While so engaged, Mr. Jones foresaw that Ulster County would undergo many changes and growth when the new turnpike was completed, He also realized that because of this growth a new county would ultimately be formed out of the southwestern part of the county. He predicted the county seat for this new county would be located along the new turnpike. Returning home, Samuel related his predictions and vision to his younger brother, John.
The final route for the Newburgh-Cochecton Turnpike was determined that spring, and it was precisely where Samuel Jones wanted it. The brothers then determined where to build their intended city. It was at this time that the name Monticello was given to the planned village. The brothers were ardent admirers of Thomas Jefferson, who invented the word from two Latin words meaning "heavenly mountain", which Mr. Jefferson gave to his home place.
Before the log house was built in Monticello or the first tree cut, the farseeing brothers first surveyed their planned village, laying out broad streets and a central park. Trees were marked to indicate the lines. Consequently, Monticello became a grand town with wide streets, magnificent shade trees, and a beautiful "public square." In addition, as Samuel Jones planned, the Newburgh and Cochecton Turnpike ran straight through the village.
As an inducement to inhabit their village, the brothers offered 1-acre (4,000 m2) lots to anyone who would build and settle there. Advertisements were inserted into many newspapers of southern counties that enticed many to take advantage of their offer. One of these pioneers was Platt Pelton of Putnam County, a tanner by trade, who came to Monticello in 1804. He built a sawmill and a temporary shanty. The following year erected the second house in Monticello. In 1805, John P. Jones built a blacksmith shop and Miles Curtis put up a house. Sometime that summer Curtis Lindsley commenced building a hotel, where later the county court would be held until a courthouse was built.
On March 27, 1809, by an act of the Legislature, Sullivan County was created from part of Ulster. In June the new county government was organized and John P. Jones became the first County Clerk. He was later elected state senator and held several other public offices. Samuel F. Jones became one of the county's first judges and in 1811, when a postal route went into operation from Newburgh to Ithaca, New York, Samuel became Monticello's first postmaster.
David Hammond, who became an active businessman in the village, came to Monticello in 1805 or 1806. In 1811, he built the Mansion House. Eli Fairchild came to Monticello in 1815. He built the first iron foundry on Main St. and a gristmill and sawmill on the Cold Spring Road. All his businesses were conducted successfully for many years. Ephraim Lyon Burnham came to Monticello about this time and established a large tannery, which was later owned by Strong, Starr and Company.
On the 13th of January, 1844, a great fire swept the county seat destroying, with other structures, the county's buildings.
On August 14, 1862, Mr. John C. Holley received authority to recruit a regiment in Sullivan County, which was organized at Monticello, with David P. DeWitt as Colonel, and there mustered in the service of the United States for three years October 8, 1862. The companies were recruited principally in: A at Monticello, Fremont, Bethel, Rockland, Forestburg, Liberty and Beaver Kill; B at Bethel, Thompson, Fallsburg, Forestburg and Stormville; C at Fallsburg, Rockland, Grahamville and Neversink; D at Ithaca and Lansing; E at Wurtsborough, Bridgeville, Monticello and Phillipsport; F at Fremont, Callicoon, Jeffersonville, Rockland and Monticello; G at Fremont, Bloomingburg, Neversink, Monticello, Thompson, Cochecton and Tusten; H at Liberty, Monticello and Rockland; I at Dryden and Cochecton; K at Cochecton, Monticello, Tusten, Callicoon, Highland and Thompson.
The regiment left the state October 14, 1862; it served in the defenses of Washington in the 3rd Brigade, Abercrombie's Division, from October 16, 1862; in 3d, Hughston's, Brigade, Gurney's Division, Department of Virginia, at Suffolk, Virginia, from April, 1863; in the 1st Brigade, Gordon's Division, of 7th Corps, from May, 1863; of 4th Corps, from June, 1863; in the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 11th Corps, from July 14, 1863; in the 3d Brigade, 1st Division, 20th Corps, from April, 1864; in the 2d Brigade, Bartlett's Division, 22d Corps, from June 30, 1865; and, under Col. Horace Boughton, it was honorably discharged and mustered out July 20, 1865, at and near Washington, D.C.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 3 officers, 13 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 2 officers, 25 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 1 officer, 177 enlisted men; total, 6 officers, 215 enlisted men; aggregate, 221; of whom 3 enlisted men died in the hands of the enemy; the large loss by accident (9), was principally caused by a railroad accident on March 20, 1863
Even though the village grew a great deal from the turnpike, the village was not as fortunate with the railroad. Although one survey for the Erie Railroad went to Monticello, when the final route was determined it did not go near the village. Later when the Midland Railroad (later the O&W) was built through Sullivan County, it too missed Monticello by going through Fallsburg five miles (8 km) away. A railroad line between Monticello and Port Jervis was launched in 1869 with the formal opening taking place on January 23, 1871. The name of the little railroad was changed several times before it was taken over by the New York O & W in 1903. The O & W ran the line until it was suspended in 1935.
On August 10, 1909, Monticello suffered its worse calamity in history when a fire wiped out most of the business section of the village. It was thought that the fire started from a large burned out smokestack belonging to the Murray power plant. The fire broke out on a Tuesday evening about 8:30 when the evening mail was arriving. The streets, stores and hotel porches were thronged with summer visitors when the alarm sounded. By the time the firemen responded and the hoses were laid the power house was roaring in flames. The fire quickly spread to the huge Palatine Casino, which was consumed in fire in a matter of seconds. A strong wind spread the fire from building to building and in less than an hour, both sides of the street were a fury of fire. When it was over forty buildings had been consumed along with a million dollars worth of property. Fortunately, no lives were lost as hundreds of horrified people watched, powerless to save one hundred years of growth and industry. Monticello was quick to rebuild; replacing many of the wooden buildings with more fire resistant ones made of brick. Unfortunately replacing the beautiful trees that once lined Broadway would take a great deal longer.
hotels in the county were located in
Monticello; the Mansion House and the
Rockwell were important places during
the Sullivan County resort era. There
was a lot of summer activity and
entertainment in Monticello. During the
early 1900s, there was a Driving Park
Association that held races in the
village. In 1910 the "Lyceum", the
largest theater in the county opened in
Monticello. It was successful until 1922
when the moviegoers visited the
Rialto Theater, the new showplace in
town. The Monticello Amusement Park was
popular until it burned in 1932.
Monticello played host to the Sullivan
County Fair for over fifty years until
it closed in 1931. Although few of
Monticello hotels successfully made the
transition into the later resort age,
the village continued to draw the
tourists who stayed at nearby hotels and
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 4.1 square miles (10.5 kmē), all of it land.
The Village of Monticello is located in the southern portion of Upstate New York in the Catskill Mountains region. By driving distance, Monticello is approximately 80 miles (130 km) NE of Scranton, Pennsylvania, 90 miles (140 km) SE of Binghamton, New York, 150 miles (240 km) SE of Elmira, New York, 90 miles (140 km) NW of New York City, New York, and 100 miles (160 km) SW of Albany, New York.
There were 2,554 households out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.9% were married couples living together, 21.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.8% were non-families. 36.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.14.
In the village the population was spread out with 28.3% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.
The median income
for a household in the village was
$22,671, and the median income for a
family was $29,554. Males had a median
income of $32,623 versus $22,827 for
per capita income for the village
was $14,433. About 30.8% of families and
35.6% of the population were below the
poverty line, including 49.7% of
those under age 18 and 23.7% of those
age 65 or over.
The local bus station is served by Coach USA ShortLine, and the station acts as a hub for the entire area.
The community was
once well-known internationally for its
massive resorts including the Concord
and Grossinger resorts, among many
others. Today, only a few and smaller
resorts remain, including Kutcher's
Resort and the Villa Roma Resort and
Conference Center in the western part of
the county near