Cairo Historical Society



Welcome to the Cairo Historical Society website!

Cairo Hometown Heroes Banner Program

Cairo Family Tree Program

The Cairo Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the Town of Cairo's rich historical past and providing opportunities for the public to learn about their heritage.  The Cairo Historical Society was founded in 2007 with 10 enthusiastic members.

Current Board of Directors: John Kargoe, President; John Gallagher, Treasurer; Sylvia Hasenkopf, Vice President and Secretary, Hillary Higgins, Vice President.
Trustees: Robert Hempstead, Linda Larsen, John Kargoe, Ann Clapper, Ron Hasenkopf, Gail Kargoe, Robert Uzzilia


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The Cairo Historical Society invites you to join us and help support historical programs and preservation efforts. Your membership contribution is tax deductible: 

Send your cheque to:

Cairo Historical Society
P.O. Box 803
Cairo, NY

Membership dues application

Membership List

We thank you for your generous support!


The Cairo Historical Society will hold their monthly meeting on the third Thursday of each month at 7:00pm at the Cairo Public Library in the Community Room, unless otherwise posted.

The monthly meeting dates for 2014 are as follows:


January 16
February 20
March 20
April 17 - Our annual meeting
May 15
June 19
July 17
August 21
September 18
October 16
November 20
December 18 - Our Christmas Party

Everyone is welcome! Meetings are used to discuss new projects, updates on existing projects and present new items of interest. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the Town of Cairo and its rich history.


Minutes of Meetings:

Do you want to know what we discuss and the status of projects underway? Check back here on a monthly basis. Meeting minutes will be posted for everyone to review.



2014 Projects:


1.    Digitize the Cairo Cemetery

2.    Lay the Cairo Railroad Track

3.    The Town of Cairo Hometown Heroes Book - Launch May 2015

4.    Solmon/Earle Cemetery Remediation


2014 Calendar of Events: More Events Coming Soon


A Victorian Tea with Charles L. Beach - the Proprietor of the Catskill Mountain House

January 18, 2014
Gallagher's Banquet Hall, 513 Main St., Cairo, NY

2:00pm -5:00pm
Join Joe Capobianco, as he transforms himself into Charles L. Beach, the man behind the success of the Catskill Mountain House, America's first resort hotel, which catered to famed actors and actresses, business tycoons, Presidents and Royalty. A Victorian Tea will also be served. Menu as follows:


A variety of teas
accompanied by


Finger Sandwiches

Cucumber and Herb Cream Cheese on French Bread
Chicken Salad on Baby Croissant
Ham & Baby Dill Pickle on Rye Cocktail Bread


with your choice of
Apricot, Blueberry and Peach Preserves


Chocolate & Butter Cookies

$5 Admission charge


State of the Union Dinner

February 15, 2014
Masonic Hall, Main St. Cairo
4:30pm to 7:30pm
Tickets are $18pp and $10 for children 10 and under
Choice roast beef or ham, with homemade mashed potatoes, gravy, silvered almond green beans, honey glazed carrots, salad, roll, slice of pie, coffee, tea or soda


Cairo Historical Society Annual Meeting 
April 17, 2014
7:00pm, Cairo Public Library, Railroad Ave, Cairo, NY


Coxsackie-Athens Community Band
May 18, 2014
3:00pm, Gallagher's Banquet Hall, 513 Main St., Cairo, NY

Under the direction of Ann Clapper, the Coxsackie-Athens Band will play a program to be announced soon.

This event is sponsored by the Cairo Historical Society.


The Cairo Line of the CMRR - with Roger Liller
September 26, 2014
3:00pm Cairo Library Community Room
Following the commemoration of the Cairo Line tracks


Rails to the Catskills

November 8, 2014

2pm, Cairo Public Library, Community Room

Rails to the Catskills is a history of the dynamic railroad industry in the Catskills of New York State. Catskill railroads have roots in the canals of the 1820's and the post Civil War boom.
The film explores:

Rails to the Catskills uses original footage, contemporary and vintage photographs, postcards, rare films, railfan-movies, newspapers, and historic archives.


Cairo Historical Society Christmas Party

December 18, 2014
7:00pm, Cairo Public Library, Railroad Ave, Cairo, NY



Items for Sale


Mail your cheque to:
Cairo Historical Society

PO Box 803
Cairo, NY



Local pick up can be arranged at the Cairo Town Hall on Main St. Cairo.


For more information call Sylvia Hasenkopf 518/821-3752 or email her at


All proceeds go to supporting the Cairo Historical Society's projects.


Our Books on Local History:


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1. Portrait of the Past - A photographic journey into Cairo's Past. $15.00 plus $3.00 shipping and handling

2. Legs Diamond, Gangster by Patrick E. Downey - Brand New in 2012 - This extremely well researched book on the legendary "Legs Diamond" is a must read. Hard to put down with many new, previously unpublished facts about his life and times. $19.95 plus $3.25 shipping and handling       

3. Historic Places in Greene County by the Greene County Historical Society - This truly amazing hardcover book has 276 pages of breathtaking historic images and contemporary photos of historic places and homes in Greene County. Each designated site has detailed histories. Published by Flint Mine Press. The book is 9 inches by 12 inches. Price $49.95 plus $4.00 shipping and handling.

4. May God in His Mercy Spare our Lives, the Civil War Letters and Diary of Eseck G. Wilber, 120th NYV, this book captures the Civil War exploits of Eseck G. Wilber, who was just 21 when he volunteered for the Union Army in August of 1862. He was full of youthful arrogance and pride which slowly eroded as disease, hunger and death surrounded him. Eseck was at the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg before he was captured by the Rebels at James City, Va and sent to Libby Prison. Moved to Pemberton, then Belle Isle and finally Andersonville, GA, Eseck saw first hand the deprivations of his fellow soldiers. Eseck's 80 letters and his diary tell the tale of his military exploits and his incarceration by the South. $24.99 plus $3.25 shipping and handling.


Our DVD's on Local History:

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  1. William Kennedy's Prohibition Story - New in 2011 - Master storyteller and Pulitzer Prize winning author William Kennedy recounts the fascinating and violent exploits of gangster-bootlegger Jack "Legs" Diamond during the Prohibition Era. $19.95 plus $3.00 shipping and handling.

  2. The New York Capitol Fire - New in 2011 - On the morning of March 29th 1911 a massive fire ripped through the New York State Capitol - a building that had taken 30 years to complete. This documentary incorporates stunning photographic images, dramatic reenactments and interviews to unravel the mysteries of the fire's origin, spread and aftermath. Cost is $19.95 and $3.00 shipping and handling.

  3. Sweet Violets - New in 2012 - The surprising story of the Violet Capital of the World - Rhinebeck, New York. Sweet Violets tells the forgotten story of the violet industry in the Hudson Valley region of New York State. The documentary includes interviews with historians and violet growers, along with rare film footage, vintage photographs, 19th century music, postcards, poetry and art. Cost is $19.95 and $3.00 shipping and handling.

  4. Catskill Mountain House and the World Around  - New in 2010. Tobe Carey's masterful documentary of the Catskill Mountain House and its impact on local and national history. A must see for local history enthusiasts! Cost is $19.95 and $3.00 for shipping and handling.

  5. Deep Water: Building the Catskill Water System - Deep Water chronicles the true story of the building of the Catskill Water System that feeds New York City's insatiable thirst for clean water. It is the tale of heroism and heartbreak, political maneuvering, lost villages, brilliant engineering and the power struggle between New York City and the Catskills. Cost is $19.95 and $3.00 shipping and handling.

  6. Greene County, USA - Greene County, USA chronicles the growth of this unique county and the great number of "historic firsts" made by its inhabitants. From early flint mines of prehistoric times to the tensions of the Revolutionary War that resulted in kidnappings and murder, to Greene County inventions of national importance, this documentary will educate, entertain and delight audiences of all ages. Cost is $19.95  and $3.00 shipping and handling.

  7. Rails to the Catskills is a history of the dynamic railroad industry in the Catskills of New York State. Catskill railroads have roots in the canals of the 1820's and the post Civil War boom.
    The film explores:

    • For Love of Trains

    • Canajoharie & Catskill Railroad

    • Before Railroads - the D&H Canal

    • New York, Ontario & Western Railroad

    • Electric Trolleys

    • Ulster & Delaware Railroad

    • Catskill Mountain Railway/Otis Elevating Railway

    • Wallkill Valley Railroad

    • West Shore Railroad

    • Delaware & Ulster Railroad

    • Catskill Mountain Railroad

    • Rails & Trails Conflict

    Rails to the Catskills uses original footage, contemporary and vintage photographs, postcards, rare films, railfan-movies, newspapers, and historic archives. Cost is $19.95 and $3.00 shipping and handling.

Other items on Local History:

The Cairo Historical Society's first Cairo Herald 2011, a four page re-creation of Cairo's own newspaper. Articles, pictures and advertisements are from the Prohibition Era. Cost is $2.00 for local pickup and $3.00 to mail. A collector's item.

The 8 page second edition of the Cairo Herald 2012 is now available for sale. Chock full of entertaining tidbits, newspaper articles, advertising and pictures from Cairo's Prohibition Era. Cost is $2.00 for local pickup and $3.00 to mail. A collector's item.

The Cairo Herald 2013 is also an 8 page edition and is jammed full of stories, advertising and pictures of the Town of Cairo in the 1920's Cost is $2.00 for local pickup and $3.00 to mail.

Editions 2011, 2012, 2013 for $5.00 local pickup and $6.50 to mail.


Get your own Temperance and TommyGuns T-Shirt. Black with white lettering and white with black lettering. Sizes M, L, XL, XXL. $15.00 each tshirt plus shipping. Above is the logo which appears on the back of the Tshirt. The front has a Cairo, NY on the left breast area.


Town of Cairo Blanket Throw - A beautiful 50 inch by 70 inch blanket throw. Ideal for covering up while watching TV or reading. Manufactured in the USA. Depicted on the throw are iconic scenes from the Town of Cairo - the WW 1 Memorial fountain in Town, the Almshouse, the Greene County Fairgrounds, Shingle Kill Falls and Grist mill and many others. A must have! Cost is $55 plus $12.00 shipping.



Town of Cairo Baseball Cap - In six different colors - blue, green, brown, black, white and wheat. Only $15 per hat plus $4.00 shipping. Pick up available at the Cairo Town Hall.

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