South Mountain Road

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South Mountain Road is a winding, two-lane historic road on the northern border of New City, New York, a hamlet in Rockland County. Historic High Tor State Park is an attraction on South Mountain Road.[1] Also on the road is the Henry Varnum Poor House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.[2] South Mountain Road's western terminus is New York State Route 45 in Pomona. The eastern terminus is in New City at Haverstraw Road.

Although the post office and some individuals abbreviate it as S. Mountain Rd., the south in the name is not a directional. There is no North Mountain Road. It gets its name from being the road south of the mountain.

In the early 20th century, the road attracted a host of artistic people who made up an informal artists' colony. Members of the group included Maxwell Anderson, the playwright (in later years, actor Barry Bostwick lived in Anderson's house, selling it in 2005); composer Kurt Weill and his wife, singer/actress Lotte Lenya;[3] actor/director/producer John Houseman, and architect/potter/painter Henry Varnum Poor. Other notable residents included Norman Lloyd, Dr. Martha MacGuffie, Michael DiLorenzo Jr, Eva Zeisel, and a teen aged René Auberjonois, who occasionally baby-sat for some of the residents.

Maxwell Anderson's daughter, Hesper Anderson, wrote a book titled South Mountain Road: A Daughter's Journey of Discovery (Simon & Schuster, 2000) about her family life and this circle of artists.[4] The road and some of its features gets a mention in writer James Salter's 1997 memoir Burning the Days.[5] He and his family lived nearby and were part of the social scene.

The road also served as the inspiration for musical artist James G. Barry's song "South Mountain Road" on his debut album Wake Up Singing. As a teenager living in New City, driving along South Mountain Road was for him an escape, an adventure, and an exploration (of mind and spirit).


  1. ^ New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. "High Tor State Park". Retrieved 15 April 2015.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  3. ^ The Historical Society of Rockland County. "A Brief History of Rockland". The Historical Society of Rockland. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  4. ^ "South Mountain Road: A Daughter's Journey of Discovery". Publishers Weekly. January 3, 2000.
  5. ^ James., Salter, (2007). Burning the days : recollection. London: Picador. p. 335. ISBN 9780330448826. OCLC 137312561.