Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society
We recently received a wonderful movie poster from Fred and Anne Schühle.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was the first full-length animated film released by Walt Disney; it made its U.S. debut in Feb. of 1938. The reverse side of the poster announces its showing in the Highland later that year.
Where did you go after the movie? Maybe to the soda bar at Muller's Drug Store or The Sweet Shop. While you were enjoying your ice cream soda or a milk shake, you could like listen to your favorite tunes on one of the juke boxes supplied by James DeMare's Highland Amusement Company.
The first theater in this location was established by Milo Gregory in 1914. It passed through several owners until it was purchased by Walter Seaman in 1922. The theater, known as the Cameo Theatre, was severely damaged by fire in Nov. 2, 1934.
The renovation of the theatre took three months and cost $20,000. The Marlboro Record reported on Feb. 1, 1935, "the designers and craftsmen have been engaged in transforming the old structure into a cinema palace which would do credit to a city many times the size of Highland." The seating capacity was 407; the walls and ceilings were covered with celotex, the latest technology which was washable, as well as acoustically superior. "Chrome pilasters at regular intervals on the side walls and chrome moulding on the ceiling add much to the appearance." A beaded curtain of silver completed the décor. Two new projection machines and the Western Electric sound equipment were considered the "same as used in practically all the most famous theaters of the county."
The theater was renamed the "Highland Theatre." A large canopy and neon sign were just installed when "spectators were much thrilled Wednesday when the brick façade of the Cameo Theater buckled dangerously under the weight" of the new addition. It was quickly lowered and reinforced.
In 1938, the theatre was sold to Frances Vincent Walsh. When he died in 1943, his children continued to run the theater. It was sold in 1954 and passed through several owners until it was purchased in 1969 and converted to the "Highland Art Cinema" which showed adult films. It closed in 1985 and was destroyed by a fire in 1987. The site is now a parking lot next to Sal's.
When our new nation was formed at the end of the Revolutionary War, New York State decided some governance was best done at the local level. In 1788, they divided counties into towns which were primarily responsible for keeping the peace and maintaining roads. Lloyd was not one of the original towns; it was part of the Town of New Paltz.
New Paltz stretched from the Shawangunk Mountains to the Hudson River, an area of about 40,000 acres. At first, the area along the Hudson was sparsely populated, but as its population grew, governing such a large area became difficult – the fastest form of transportation was a horse and post offices were few and far between. Residents of the remote parts of New Paltz felt they were being neglected. Finally, on Apr 15, 1845, New York State created a new town from the eastern part of New Paltz. They declared the town would be named Lloyd, and its first town meeting would be held on the first Tuesday of May at the house of Lyman Halstead.
The town's residents assembled on May 6 in the ballroom of Lyman Halstead's hotel. The "ballroom" was the room over the stables – perhaps "Dance Hall" would have been a more accurate description.
The men (only men with property worth more than $250 were allowed to vote) elected the first town supervisor, three justices of the peace, a town clerk, a superintendent of schools, a highway commissioner, an overseer of the poor, and , of course, a tax collector. Apparently quite a celebration ensued after the meeting.
Thanks to a summary of the 1845 census, we know a bit about the new town. The population of 2035 consisted of 1036 men and 999 women. There were 239 married women under the age of 45 and 187 unmarried females between the ages of 16 and 45. (As historian Sherwood remarked "Quite a range of old maids" note – he never married). In the year preceding the census, there were 19 marriages, 77 births, and 24 deaths. 212 Men were subject to military service and 464 were entitled to vote. There was 1 pauper, 2 deaf and dumb, 3 blind, 1 idiot and no lunatics.
There were 10 merchants, 6 manufacturers, 126 mechanics, 1 attorney and 1 physician but most of the men, 312, were farmers. Here's is a summary of what they produced.
Much of the unreported acreage was probably orchards; fruit production was a big part of the economy. And, of course, there were animals.
Much of this produce was shipped to New York City, as reported in this article "Receipts of Produce by North River Boats" published in New York City on Apr. 29, 1847.
Bark Berkshire, L. Elting, from New Paltz – 2500 bushels corn
200 bbls rye flour 50 bales hay 80 tubs butter 20,000 eggs 180 calves
30 bbls apples to the captain.
The women also contributed to agricultural output by spinning and weaving 1611 ¾ yards of cloth, 1928 yards of flannel and wool, and 485 ½ yards of linen. Supporting the farms were 8 gristmills, 3 saw mills, 1 carding machine, 1 woolen factory, 7 tanneries and no distilleries.
The town included 5 inns, 9 retail stores, 2 Presbyterian churches (the old meeting house had not yet been removed) and 1 Methodist church. At the time of the census, no ministers were recorded, so the churches must have been temporarily vacant.
There were 9 district schools for 306 pupils; the average daily attendance was 174.
As Sherwood summarized "Altogether the Town was rural, productive and didn't care too much for "book larnin." But it was a good town full of the promise of good things to come."