Rock Hill Lodge /
Holland Sporting Club
MOHEGAN LAKE, NY
In northern Westchester County a
small, largely forgotten, resort community existed around Mohegan Lake. Unlike
many resorts in the Catskills that still exist although abandoned, northern Westchester's resorts have almost entirely disappeared.
One resort that still stands will soon be bulldozed.
The Rock Hill Lodge was one of Mohegan Lake's lakefront resorts. It was built in 1915 and its fifteen acres included two large residential buildings, a casino and several cottages. A summer colony of bungalows and cottages developed near the Lodge, which was popular for "drinking, dancing and boisterous celebrations." Resorts throughout the Hudson Valley fell out of favor with the wealthy socializing set in the mid-20th century, and great hotels like the St. Nicholas Hotel and the Mohegan Inn disappeared entirely. Rock Hill Lodge, briefly renamed the Belvedere Hotel, eventually closed too, but its buildings continued in use after acquisition by an athletic club.
In 1969, a group of people of Dutch and eastern European descent, under the banner of the Holland Sporting Club, purchased the property. Founded in 1954, the club was once strong at 250 members. Many enjoyed soccer, and several times the club team toured Europe. By the early 1990s, membership was down to about 50 people, and soccer gave way to tennis, and the kitchen no longer served group dinners. Active recreation was replaced by more leisurely pursuits, and the aging members turned their thoughts to the future of the land.
A group of neighbors agreed to pay property taxes for the club while allowing the last few members lifetime use of the land. When the last member passed away, ownership of the property would turn over to the town of Yorktown for use as a passive-recreation town park. The Town of Yorktown acquired title to the land in 2005 but has made no effort to maintain and preserve the buildings for public use.
As left untended, the buildings have been boarded-up and spray painted, and neighbors want all of the structures to be demolished. Neighbors have complained that young people have chosen the abandoned property as a hang-out place, and thus the buildings should be demolished. Ironically, the lodge buildings indeed would be perfect as a sanctioned hang-out place for young people, if allowed to do so in a structured manner. The Town of Yorktown and the residents of Mohegan Lake would have been wise to adapt one or two buildings for use as a recreational hall for young people, who could also enjoy the waterfront access - a rarity now when much of the shoreline has been taken over by massive housing developments. Instead, the Town of Yorktown recently adopted a plan to borrow 250,000 dollars for the demolition of the Rock Hill Lodge and associated buildings.
UPDATE: JULY 22, 2012
The Rock Hill Lodge / Holland Sporting Club was demolished in July 2012.
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