Roxbury history

Our History


Established in 1788

Settlements started popping up in the area in the 1790s. Hunting and trapping sustained the early settlers, followed by farming. But early on, the new Roxburians realized that the rugged land was not ideal commercial farming--

“Two rocks for every dirt.” They turned to dairy farming, and that became an important industry in the area. With the arrival of the rail road, Roxbury shipped its dairy downstate, and became known for its wonderful butter.

Growth in Roxbury

The trains had another effect on Roxbury—they brought visitors. By the 1870s, many city dwellers discovered the beauty and cool, fresh air of the Catskills. Boarding houses and Inns were built, farmers rented out rooms -- the first agri-tourists were born!

Today, Roxbury hosts full- and part-time residents, and many visitors, still drawn to the area by its rural charm, a desire to enjoy all that Roxbury has to offer, and the goal of protecting and maintaining this unique and beautiful place.

Roxbury famous people

Famous Sons of Roxbury

Although born in Roxbury within a year of each other, these two famous sons (and classmates), could not have been more different in their worldly pursuits.


Jay Gould, born in 1836, was a leading American railroad developer and speculator. He has been portrayed as one of the ruthless robber barons of the Gilded Age, whose success at business made him one of the richest men of his era. He was hated and reviled, with few defenders.  However, the Gould family has had a beneficial influence on the town, leaving many notable landmarks, including Kirkside Park, the Jay Gould Memorial Church, the Roxbury Arts Group, and Shephard Hills Golf Course, and helping in hard financial times.


John Burroughs, born in 1837, became a naturalist and writer, and was active in the budding Conservationist movement in the U.S. He taught millions of people to enjoy the natural world he grew up loving on a farm near West Settlement. As he grew older, he returned to spend his summers in Roxbury at his Woodchuck Lodge.

 Roxbury famous people