This gazebo, located on Delhi’s Courthouse Square, is a somewhat iconic place for our village. The square is where many area happenings go on, including the annual Fair on the Square, which runs each Friday in Julys.
Note: This is the sixth and final in a series of stories that are being done by participants of the HooHaa Holga Challenge. The series ran Sunday through today. See links for the rest at the bottom of this post.
This has been quite a challenge – especially in a photography way.
The others in this challenge, it seemed, had bigger areas to explore, discover and shoot. That’s one of the reasons I made this challenge within a 15-mile radius of your home area.
When this first started, I went back and forth with Mike about his “town,” which is Waco, Texas. His “town,” you see, is a city. With the space and population he has (including a major college), there were many possibilities for him.
See Jeff, who brought us to Seattle.
We also had close-ups of places like Geneva, Switzerland and what life was like in Kuwait and England.
And then there’s me, with Delhi (pronounced Del-hy, not Del-ee, like the city in India), a small town in upstate New York.
Though the business that owns this car wash has changed over the years, I remember it best when it was owned by a local car dealership. I had a lot of work done on cars there and bought a few cars there as well. Back in the day, there used to be three dealerships in town. Now there’s one. It’s much like everything else in this area when it comes to business – it’s hard to stay above water.
Nestled in the Catskill Mountains, Delhi is a wonderful little town. It’s an outdoorsman’s paradise in some places. We have a lot of history here and during the summer, it’s quite the peaceful place.
During the other months, our population swells up with an additional 2,000 or so people when the students of the local two-year state school come back for the year.
Despite all of these outdoorsy things, it’s still sometimes hard to get creative with photography. For someone who is a city dweller, I’m sure this would be a great place. The chances to shoot nature and see something different other than a concrete jungle would likely be welcomed.
For me, the city is where I’d like to be. Maybe not a place the size of a New York City, but somewhere slightly smaller, such as Albany, our state capital.
A lot of people say their places are small – as Mike. He thought Waco was small. But when I say Delhi is small, I mean small.
As with many rural areas, Delhi – and our county in general – has quite a few old cemeteries. Many of them aren’t active anymore, but they are a source for history, local and afar. I’ve come across many cemeteries with graves of people who have fought in the Revolutionary War. There is a lot to be learned in these old cemeteries and it’s nice that most of these places are still kept up decently well.
In the 2010 Census, the village of Delhi had a population of 3,087. If you go a little bigger and make it the town of Delhi, we’re now up to a whopping 5,117.
Let’s put this into a bit more perspective.
Delaware County, which is where Delhi is located, had a total of 47,890 people, according to the 2010 Census. The county isn’t small, either, as it’s a total area of 1,468 square miles. Of that land mass, only 22 square miles are water!
We’re surrounded by rolling hills and mountains. Trees are abundant. If the Census counted cows, our population would drastically rise.
It’s a great place to be and a nice area to raise kids. The crime rate isn’t high (crimes do happen, though) and, for the most part, one can feel safe being outside at most hours of the day.
In Delhi, there isn’t much to do.
I had to leave this photo in for two reasons. First, it is one of the photos that got hurt when the back popped off my Holga. Second, it shows something this area is really known for – it’s fishing spots. Whether it is small ponds or our branch of the Delaware River, there are some great spots to fish. And with there being a lot of DEC land, there are more opportunities for other outdoors adventures.
If you’re under the age of 21, you can scratch off the local bars for hangouts, too, so it becomes even less exciting. Despite being the county seat, Delhi doesn’t have any movie theaters, malls or shopping areas.
There’s an outdoors basketball court and a few parks. There are also some softball and baseball fields; soccer fields and some nature trails.
Heck, we don’t even have a village pool anymore, though they are trying to raise funds to put one in again.
Oneonta, which is in Otsego County, is the nearest “city.” It’s not even that big with a population just shy of 14,000. There are movie theaters there and some other activities people can get involved in, but it’s a 20- to 25-minute ride.
As I said, that makes challenges like this quite difficult as you need to open up and see things slightly different.
The village became incorporated in 1821 and has been featured in some pop culture places.
One thing about this area and the mountains is that it produces a lot of excellent spring water. In some places, hoses run off the mountain and people can stop and get cold, crisp water from the source. It’s a wonderful treasure and one I try and take advantage of any chance I get.
The Courthouse Square gazebo was even featured in the Saturday Evening Post on July 7, 1951. It was the cover for that magazine for that edition.
Delhi was also the setting for the award-winning children’s book, My Side of the Mountain.
The village has a size of 3.2 square miles, none covered by water, outside of the West Branch of the Delaware River, which runs through and opens up the chance to canoe, kayak or tube down the river.
Delhi isn’t perfect by any means. Many people who graduate high school here leave for better opportunities. Much of the village is off the tax rolls, be it for government buildings, non-profit places or whatever else. It’s also a village with an older population.
Being the county seat means Delhi is home to the county office buildings, courthouse and jail. The DMV is also located in town.
Just outside the village of Delhi and in the town, there is this rock wall. It’s the Greek Wall of sorts as the walls are painted by the fraternities and sororities from the local college.
Recent years have shown a gradual push toward some better things, such as a few restaurants, a better nightlife and local events that draw the village residents together. Still, there’s not much to keep the younger generation here as jobs aren’t as plentiful and getting decent-paying employment isn’t easy to do.
That leads to houses sometimes being sold to people who turn them into student housing and now college students sometimes mix in with everyday residents and that doesn’t always end well. Town-gown relations are up-and-down, depending on the day.
Some kids are respectful and quiet after a night of partying, while others are loud and destructive. I witnessed one year (and called police right away) a couple of kids walking up the street and kicking cars, breaking mirrors and whatever else – seemingly just to be destructive.
Politics are not the greatest here, either, as can be expected in a small place such as this. The good ole boys network is still prevalent with some things and not with others. But many times it is definitely who you know. I imagine many small towns and villages are like this, but when you live in an area, you notice it much more.
Ahhh, a picnic with nature. This is something that you can do around here as there are many picnic tables in local parks. On a summer evening, you can grab some food and go sit in a park, watch the world go by and have your dinner. Delhi’s small park system has grown in recent years and there are several where one can go explore, walk and enjoy being outdoors.
Delhi is a massive part of my life and has been, even when I was away. And, with the latest happenings in my world, I’m realizing it will likely be part of my past soon enough. This area is tough to keep people, as I’ve noted. And I’ve tried and tried to stay here, but things aren’t working out and reality is, I’ll be heading elsewhere sometime.
No matter what, though, Delhi is always a part of me. I’m actually writing this on my laptop in one of the local parks – the Courthouse Square. It’s peaceful and a nice place to go and write and people watch. It’s times like this that I’ll miss when I move on. I have a feeling it would be hard for me to go to a park in a place like NYC and do what I am doing here, without being a bit worried anyway.
The photos I chose for this story aren’t necessarily the biggest or best things about Delhi or the area, but it’s some of the things I always relate with my home area. And it’s the things I’ll take with me when I move on.
I hope you’ve enjoyed your trip through Delhi!
Here are the rest of the photos from my challenge:
Delaware Academy. The local high school and home to the 2001 Class C state champion football team. I have to be honest – I hated my time at this school, for many reasons. But it doesn’t take away that it’s a major part of our town. It’s on a hill and it’s quite scenic from many different parts of the town. The clock tower is something many from this area – whether they stayed or left – will always remember. This shot is also a double-exposure as it has the image of a “welcome to Delhi” sign I had taken, too.
Fitch’s Covered Bridge (black and white) and Hamden Covered Bridge (color) are two historical structures in our area. The two are separated by about 10 miles. There’s another – the Downsville Covered Bridge – that’s about 22 miles from Delhi or so. These bridges are two of about 25 remaining historical covered bridges in New York State. As a big fan of covered bridges, I love being close to a couple as they are constantly a source of photographic inspiration.
Hamden Covered Bridge.
I’m not sure how it is in places where you live, but we have quite a few seasonal roads. Basically, they are roads that aren’t taken care of, say, from November to April. In reality, they aren’t kept up that well in the other months, either. They are rough dirt roads and places where you usually want to only go if you have a vehicle that is higher up off the ground and/or has four-wheel drive.
These blue and yellow signs dot the land all over our state, but there are many of them in Delaware County and in Delhi. These signs identify historical places, houses and lands or historical happenings. They are sources to help us connect to events or places that came before our time.
HooHaa Holga Challenge:
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