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Trip Planner USA  /  New York State  /  Catskill Region  /  Bethel

Bethel

4.3
Theaters · History Museums · Distilleries
Bethel is a town in Sullivan County, New York, USA. The population was estimated at 4,255 in 2010.The town received worldwide fame after it became the host of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, which was originally planned for Wallkill, New York, but was relocated to Bethel after Wallkill withdrew.HistoryThe first settlers arrived around 1795 near the present communities of Bethel and White Lake. The Town of Bethel was established in 1809 from the Town of Lumberland.By the middle of the 19th century, a tourist industry began to grow. Bethel was home to numerous hotels that were part of the "Borscht Belt" and numerous sleepaway camps for most of the 20th century, including Camp Ma-Ho-Ge, Camp Chipinaw, and Camp Ranger - all on Silver Lake. In 1961, legendary Son of Sam mass murderer David Berkowitz was a camper at a now defunct summer camp in Bethel. Berkowitz left the camp after a suspicious fire occurred in his cabin.The Town of Bethel was brought to the world's attention in 1969 when nearly 500,000 people gathered at Max Yasgur's Farm for "Three Days of Peace and Music". The documentary made about Woodstock released in 1970 showed interviews with numerous Bethel residents, including Art Vassmer, co-owner of Vassmers General Store in Kauneonga Lake. A movie called Taking Woodstock was released in August 2009 based on the book of the same title by Elliot Tiber, whose parents owned the nearby El Monaco Motel in White Lake and played a pivotal role in bringing the Woodstock nation to Bethel.
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