Discussing Rose Haven With Ron Biegel

Source: Boston Public Library; “The S. S. Rose Haven.” New steel swimming pool at Rose Haven, Acra, N.Y.”

The following is a bit of correspondence I recently had from Ron Biegel. Recently, I was discussing my visit to Rose Haven in Acra, New York, and the abandoned swimming pool I photographed in 2011. Since then, I have heard from numerous people who have had various ties to the former resort, including Jim Velsor, who sent me a series of vintage photographs of the resort. Ron asked me to post the audio recording along with a few pictures of how Rose Haven looks today. I happily obliged.

January 7, 2023
This follow-up email comes many years after several I sent you back in 2017. It seems long ago but compared to the subject Rose Haven not so long ago. At the time I had either sent you or was contemplating sending you digital files of the meal announcements at Rose Haven and other conversations with staff and their children. This was from the summer of 1973.

Regarding the audio clip, I did locate it on my computer.  I am reattaching it again in the hope you may be able to post it on your website.  In the comments on your website, one person was trying to recall how many times the meal announcements were repeated. My audio clip confirms it was three!  Reading through the posts, it seems there was quite a bit of interest in the nostalgia surrounding this place including a post from my fellow dishwasher Jimmy and one of the family members. I have wondered if that family member was the young voice I was “interviewing” in my audio clip.  I really have no close ties to any of these people but it was fascinating to see the responses.

Clearly, you have a talent for finding subjects that strike chords with many.  For me, it’s a fond teenage memory of working there in the summer of 1973 and commuting from a nearby bungalow complex on Route 23 in Cairo [New York] that my parents and relatives owned using my Yamaha motorcycle.

Not sure when that Rose Haven fire actually occurred but I believe the place was still there in the summer of 1974.  I had tried to get a job there again that summer but either they were not hiring or never fully opened. Jimmy and family members probably know lots more but just like the place my parents and relatives owned in Cairo that is still there but in disrepair, it is sometimes better to remember the better days.  Thanks to you and Jimmy there are some nice photos for that purpose on your website.

Back on our Rose Haven connection, where I live now is only about 10 minutes from the Rose Haven property. I have many times been tempted to walk around the property but there is a chain and sign prohibiting trespassing that I respect and don’t want to violate. I did relatively recently ( Aug 2021) ride by on my current electric motorcycle to take a few pictures including a panoramic picture of the property as it looks from the old entrance from old route 23. Not much different than what you saw but more recently as I pass by it on Route 23 it looks like someone was clearing the overgrown brush. I wonder if it was sold by the family and perhaps someone is planning to do something with it. The steel pool frame still stands and both it and the sign are the best references for the layout back when it was a busy resort. I hope they don’t throw the rusting sign away. That really should be restored and put in a local museum!

Ron Biegel


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