A history of Fleischmanns is depicted in the Digital Patchwork Quilt sponsored by the Skene Memorial Library and the Fleischmanns Museum of Memories.

During its pre-World War II heyday, Fleischmanns was among the most well-known and prosperous rural communities in the northeast. Hotels and rooming houses were filled to capacity as folks rode the train to the mountains and enjoyed long-term visits. Restaurants and shops, likewise, did brisk business.This golden era of tourism started shifting with the advent of the automobile. With numerous vacation options available via car travel, the village’s popularity — and prosperity — began a steady descent. The dwindling number of lodging guests naturally translated into a steep drop in Main Street commerce. Businesses closures were next; the accompanying decay of disuse followed.

By the late 1960s, most of the large hotels in and around the community had been shuttered. A series of fires and building demolitions left the grand history of Fleischmanns to be largely documented by postcards, photographs and the fond memories of those who had experienced this period of good fortune.

On the Upswing

But several years ago, a subtle, positive change began taking shape in the village. The basis for this renewal hinged on two mundane, yet fundamental improvements — a water system upgrade and the installation of a municipal wastewater system.

What ensued has not been a gold rush, but rather a slow trickle. A handful of people have begun to visualize the possibilities in a village that had been largely dormant for a long period. To the astute onlooker, the historic infrastructure is not an eyesore, but the foundation for a wonderful renaissance. The neglect that had enveloped and corroded much of the village is now viewed as a mere nuisance — something to be chipped away to reveal a wonderful gem.

Rather than lamenting Fleischmanns’ fate and partially downtrodden appearance, people are peering past the gritty surface and appreciating the village’s stellar underpinnings. Hard work and capital are being recognized as worthwhile investments. Reasonable commercial real estate prices are being appreciated as unrivaled opportunities.

As 2011 unfolds, what started as a low hum of activity a few years ago has translated into a steady murmur. Just as the country is gradually emerging from a recession of devastating proportions, Fleischmanns is mirroring this turnaround. A growing number of people are now discovering what Fleischmanns “is” — and can become.