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History of the Pine Hill Arms

The Pine Hill Arms Was Established in 1882, thirty years after the first stage coach trip from Kingston to Pine Hill. That trip took seven hours with good horses and marked the beginning of the tourist boom in Pine Hill. The boom peaked in the forties when pine hill had over twenty-eight hotels and boarding houses, four churches, two bowling alleys, two newspapers and a movie theater. Over 10,000 tourists traveled to Pine Hill during the summer months of those years. Pine Hill became renowned for its pure water (home of the Crystal Spring Bottling Company), pollen free air and beautiful landscapes. Then, with the advent of super highways and inexpensive air travel, the tourism industry began a steady decline. Today, Pine Hill can boast of only two operational Inns.

The Arms, built by F.W. LaMent was originally called the Avon Inn. It became the Pine Hill Arms Hotel when Joe Pessenar bought the inn in the early 1900's. Joe added a silent movie theater and ran a Speak Easy in one of the small cellar rooms. The movie theater is now the Hot Tub Spa and Game room, while the old gin mill now stores skis.

Claus and Hedwig Dammann purchased the Arms in 1944 after Joe's boot legging business went sour and silent movies went to sound. Claus and Hedwig with a lot of help from "Mom" operated the Arms until 1973. Under the Dammanns' leadership and the arrival of the new sport skiing, the Pine Hill Arms became "The Place" for ski enthusiasts. The wood stove bar became known as "Claus's and Claus's" and became the place for apre-skiing.

Then, one spring night in 1973 after a good ski season and a great deal of vodka, Claus sold the Arms to Robert Konefal. Robert quit his job as a chemist and became cook, dishwasher, bartender,

handyman and husband to Valerie. Together, Robert and Valerie brought the Arms in to the 1990's. Their first project was to renovate the twenty-five rooms and add private baths. As Robert was learning the art of being a handyman through "trial by fire," this project took some ten years. Then renovations and innovations speeded up. The restaurant was opened in 1983, the greenhouse addition was added in 1985 and the sunroom dance floor was completed in 1988. The Hot Tub Spa and Game Room were opened in 1980 and the ice sculpture has been an annual winter fixture since the year of no snow.

We hope that you enjoy both the old and the new that the 116 year old Arms has to offer.

Yours Truly,
Valerie and Robert Konefal

Old Post Cards

Pine Hill Arms as Avon Inn, circa 1920
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Office and Lobby
Pine Hill Arms Lobby

Living Room
Pine Hill Arms Living Room

Dining Room
Pine Hill Arms Dining Room

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Pine Hill Arms Hotel & Restaurant P.O. Box 225, Main Street, Pine Hill, NY 12465
845-254-4012 • • • send e-mail
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