The story of the iconic Catskills resort Kutsher’s, one of the last vestiges of Jewish Borscht Belt culture, is coming to an end after more than a century. The Monticello, N.Y. hotel, which opened as Kutsher’s Brothers Farm House in 1907 and operated seasonally until recent years, is going to be demolished later this month, JTA reports. The property was sold for $8.18 million in December 2013 to a company with plans to build a “health and wellness resort” on the premises.
Kutsher’s Hotel and Country Club became a veritable Jewish institution the 1950s and 60s, and its demise—along with the other resorts of the Catskills—has been well-chronicled. Marisa Scheinfeld documented the physical deterioration of long-empty nearby resorts like Grossinger’s and the Pines Hotel in a photo slideshow. The resorts themselves embodied the spirit of a cultural moment in American Jewish history that’s best known to today’s generation as the places that inspired Dirty Dancing. For us to confront their ruins at the hands of time and disuse is nothing short of haunting.
Kutsher’s though, remained the best known of the Catskills hotels, appearing to adapt well to the passage of time. Concerts were held on the hotel grounds, and in 2012 descendants of the original owners opened Kutsher’s Tribeca in New York City, attempting to capture the hotel’s charm and capitalize on the potent combination of nostalgia and hunger. A documentary about the resort, called Welcome to Kutshers: The Last Resort in the Catskills, was released in 2012.
The end of Kutshers, though, means the end of an era.
Related: The Ruins of the Borscht Belt
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.