The Kenoza Dell House is an abandoned tourist boarding house in the Catskill Mountains of New York.
Boarding houses began to develop in the Catskills in the late 1800s as working-class families sought refuge from the dirty, unhealthy city in the mountains. 1 Lodgers would rent one or more rooms for one or more nights, and meals were usually not included in the tab.
The earliest boarding houses were on farms that enabled rural families to supplement their farm income. 1 In some instances, farmhouses would be enlarged, or entirely new structures would be built to accommodate guests. Like tenements in New York City, the boarding houses typically had shared bathrooms and flexible spaces, where living rooms could double as bedrooms or workrooms. Privacy was a luxury.
The advent of the automobile led to fewer stays at boarding houses as it became more feasible for tourists to conduct day trips without the need for overnight accommodations. Additionally, by the middle of the 20th century, expectations for family privacy and guest services made taking in boarders unappealing. 1 It also became uneconomical, as new motels began to take the place of boarding houses.
The Kenoza Dell House was operated by Joseph Welch and opened circa 1896 on a hillside overlooking the scenic East Branch Callicoon Creek. 3 It featured “modern improvements, amusements, automobile service” with room for 70 people according to a 1914 advertisement. 2 It closed circa 1955 as a boarding house. The first floor was used as a single residence until circa 1995.
- Scheer, Virginia. “The Farmhouse as Boarding House.” Voices, 2000.
- “Kenoza Dell House.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 21 Jun. 1914, p. 20.
- “At the Summer Resorts.” Sullivan County Record, 24 Jul. 1896, p. 1.