I'm glad this sign was recently put up...
...because I always wondered what these ruins were doing in someone's yard. They're the ghost buildings of what was once a thriving furniture factory.
The company-owned hamlet of Chichester was founded by the brothers Frank and Lemuel Chichester. With an abundance of hardwoods and the water power of crisscrossing streams, this area of the Catskills was the perfect spot to situate their factory. They specialized in chair and cradle making. Old timers would have you believe that every chair on the east coast came out of Chichester.
picture from the Empire State Railway Museum
The factory was later purchased by William Schwarzwaelder, maker of fine office furniture. Workers enjoyed recreational buildings, a general store, post office, school and church - all company-built, owned and maintained.
Decades later, the great depression devastated the business and it went kaput in 1939. The rest of the hamlet no longer had an owner, and would be doomed if it didn't find another. The village, at the time comprising of 44 houses and buildings, was put up for auction on October 28th, 1939. The hamlet was purchased at the auction and has been in the hands of private owners ever since.
Hopefully, these remnants of the past will stay standing for another 150 years.