Looking Backward -Tales of Whiskey, Warblers and Walks in the Woods

What is it about Whiskey Hollow that has fascinated folks for so many years? Is it the unusual name, the rich history, the great bird-watching or the fact that it's one of the prettiest hikes you can make in the Baldwinsville area? Well, I'm not aware of any official polls, but I would vote for all of the above. When it comes to tales of whiskey, warblers and walks in the woods, Whiskey Hollow is without peer. This may explain why Tony Christopher, former Van Buren Town Historian, referred to it as the "Valley of Intrigue" in his many articles about the place in the 1960s and 1970s.

According to Christopher, "The road through Whiskey Hollow was surveyed as far as the early Skeel's mill in 1816. Years later, it extended to the top of the hill. This road was a necessity since there were stands of fine timber in the hollow and on the plain above, called Pine Hill." His probable source was Charles Williams, a Jordan printer who wrote about Whiskey Hollow in a series of articles for the Marcellus Observer in 1938. "Whiskey Hollow is rather a brash name but it covers a wooded locality that was a natural beauty spot with a winding road following a cold, spring brook that coursed its way through it .It is part of the Pine Hill forest that stretches three miles along the brow of the hill country that parallels Dead Creek from near Iona to Bangall, a midway stopping place."

Christopher described Bangall in another article. "The mill stream passes through the settlement of Bangall, once called Sand Springs, on its way to join Dead Creek. When the Whiskey Hollow watercourse turned mill wheels, there was a larger volume in all bodies of water in the state. And, Sand Springs or Bangall was a thriving community, as well as a mill center. In its regions have existed, in the early times of the settlement, sawmills, gristmills, a distillery, cotton mills and other industries. The last was a creamery." He once described the area in more geologic terms. "A deep gulch, cut through sandy terrain by the once fastest stream in Van Buren, has been known for a long time as Whiskey Hollow. The gully was formed by the erosive effect of water flowing down the steep slope over a period of many, many years."

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