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Throwback Look at Cliff House Hotel at Lake Minnewaska

If you go to Lake Minnewaska today you would think it’s land was unspoiled by commercial development, but there was a time when it had a couple of big hotels right near the lake.

I found some old video about the Cliff House at Lake Minnewaska and it is kinda weird. The announcer makes statements about women which seem awkward to me. If you said it today, you would probably be ripped to pieces on social media, but this was taken in the 1950’s and obviously things were different back then.


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There were two big hotels near the lake. Cliff House and Wildmere. The website tells some of the history of the Cliff House. It was a very busy resort for a while, but it cost a bunch to run the place. Eventually the owner, Kenneth B. Phillips Sr. filed for bankruptcy and the place was abandoned in 1972. Then in 1978 there was a huge fire.

At the New Year in 1978, Cliff House burned to the ground in a spectacular fire that according to news reports brought “shock and regret” to those in the valleys who had valued the venerable resort. has some great old pictures of both The Cliffhouse and Wildmere. In it’s heyday the place was more popular that the nearby Mohonk Mountain House and they were connected by a carriage road.

Having hiked around the lake a number of times, I can’t visualize the place with two large hotels hanging right near it’s beautiful cliffs. There is still a really cool looking house that sits up near the cliff, but I really don’t know if anyone lives in it or if it is just for park employees. If you know, please leave a comment on our Facebook page.

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