Bethel in New York

There is a small town in Sullivan County located in New York City known as Bethel. The town has a very small population of less than 5,000 inhabitants. This beautiful town started getting fame after it hosted the ‘Woodstock Festival’ in the year 1969. This festival was actually planned for Wallkill town, but later changed to Bethel when Wallkill town withdrew from hosting the Woodstock Festival.

It is said that the first inhabitants of Bethel began in the year 1795 which is about more than two centuries in the past. The town was officially named Bethel in the year 1809. Previously, this town was known to be called as ‘Town of Lumber land.’

During the mid 19th century, tourism in the Bethel town began to grow. Many hotels slowly began to be constructed including a number of sleep away camps such as Camp Ma-Ho-Ge, Camp Ranger, Camp Chipinaw etc. The official colors of these camps were Red and Gray.

Though the population was less than 5,000 inhabitants, in the year 1969 the town gained world’s attention when more than 500,000 people from across the globe came to Max Yasgur’s farm to attend the ‘3 days of Peace and Music.’ Max Yasgur had a dairy farm in Bethel and it was on this farm that the fair took place. He is said to have rented out his farm for $50,000 during that time. The total area of the farm was 2.4 square kilometers. There were lots of mixed reactions when Max rented out his farm as the locals disagreed to the number of visitors visiting their small town.

Today, Bethel town is said to have a total area of 233 square kilometers. Out of this, 221 square kilometers are filled with land while the remaining 12 square kilometers are filled with water. There are some beautiful scenic lakes in Bethel which you must not miss out during your visit to this beautiful city.

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Bethel was initially known as Brandon. Initially Bethel was just like any other normal crossroads village but since the introduction of a railroad across the village, things began to change completely and the village began to rise as one of the leading towns located in Pitt County.

It was in the year 1774 that the railroad was constructed. The routes were Martins Borough (which is today known as Greenville) to Halifax. During the same period another road was built which commenced from Tarboro and ended at Williamston. With the introduction of the two railroads, it took a crossroad within the upper allocation of Pitt County.

With the launch of these railroads, there was a substantial increase in the number of people traveling to Bethel. It was at this very place that in the year 1776, the Flat Swamp Primitive Baptist Church was built which was about 4 miles from the east of the crossroads. Another church known as Methodist Episcopal Church was built in the year 1814, about 38 years after the Flat Swamp Primitive Baptist Church was built.

In the year 1840, a person by name Oliver Spain started the very first store in this beautiful village. This particular store served as a muster area and a voting place in their local militia. Soon after, in the year 1858, the village got their first post office which was named as ‘Bethel Post Office.’ The postmaster of this Post Office was David W. Stokes. By 1866, Fernando C. James became the first doctor in the village to begin practicing. It was in the year 1873 that the Town of Bethel was organized. By the year 1883, the village of Bethel had about 200 inhabitants living there. The village had about 10 merchandise stores, 1 steam sawmills, a dancing school, 1 coach making shop etc.

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