by Linda Jones

Living, as I do, so close to one of the brooks, I find myself pondering its swirling eddies and ensnared debris. I walk along Back Street trying to catch glimpses of the moving water through the trees and notice how it washes over and past the stones aligning it. The stones themselves are beautifully covered in some places with lichens and moss. Chipmunks run in and around the stones, disappearing behind then appearing in crevices, clinging in death defying attitudes to the fronts and undersides of the stones, sometimes skipping over the partially submerged stones in their mad games of catch-me-if-you-can, ignoring the rushing water that, to these tiny animals, must seem like a wild, raging river.

When I read the Draft of the Comprehensive Plan, I noticed that the brooks were not mentioned. They are deteriorating, some stones becoming dislodged with each season, and sometimes, unthinking children toss the stones off the walls to see them splash into the water. In the past, residents got together to repair the stonewalls and used stone boats and horses to dredge the Tremperskill from the High Street (Back Street/Union Avenue) Bridge to the school, every few years, so that the narrower part of the brook would be able to handle floodwater without inundating Main Street. The County last performed this service in 1978 or 1979 and it has not been done since. There are two waterways lined with stone work running through Andes: The Tremperskill (A on the map) which starts at the convergence of Gladstone Hollow Brook (B) and Tributary 11 (C) which runs along Gladstone Hollow Road, above Cox’s (Secort’s) Drive (D), runs through the Village adjacent to the Tremperskill Road and ends at the Pepacton Reservoir. Liddle Brook (once known as Sands Brook) (E) runs down from the Andes-Delhi Road and converges with the Tremperskill behind the Cameron property on Lower Main Street (F).

These stonewalls comprise the two largest man-made structures in Andes and are enjoyed by residents and tourists as well as wildlife and plants. Gladstone Hollow Brook is a spawning area for trout and an integral part of stocking the Pepacton. Both brooks have stonework that was laid by hand sometime in the early 19th century when the brooks were used to power mills. There is evidence of the dam that created the millpond for the Armstrong Mill located behind and across the brook from Hogan’s. It was dynamited in the 1930s. Parts of the stonewalls were laid over timber which was covered with soil. The timber, now exposed to the elements, has deteriorated as the soil has washed away. The stones have been dislodged in places or are in danger of being dislodged.

This enhanced natural resource, a pleasure to walk along or lean over a bridge rail to look at, can be perceived as a precious artifact. Residents and tourists can only profit if it were repaired and maintained. To enhance the brooks further, plaques could be placed along the public walkways/roadways detailing the flora and fauna and history of the area.

The repair and maintenance of the stonewalls and the placement of plaques is being incorporated into the Joint Comprehensive Plan for the Town and Village of Andes. The Plan will be available for public review from Monday April 21st to May 4th. The time has come for acknowledgment of this important part of Andes. ~

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