Buried Treasure

Phoenicia_low_res-16I never considered myself a treasure hunter.

My story starts a few months back when I was watching a episode of Unsolved Mysteries (Robert rack version) late at night.

I sat with wide eyes as I watched a fascinating story about a New York gangster by the name of Dutch Schultz. Schultz, who found himself being charged with tax fraud and racketeering, buried 7 million in cash and bonds in the Catskills in the 30’s. He wanted to avoid the government seizing his assets.  This “keepsake” was to keep him a float during his incarceration.

Instead what ended up happening was that he was acquitted of his crimes, and soon after, he was gunned down in a New Jersey bar. Rumor has it, he was killed before he could retrieve his loot.

For decades, the location and possible recovery of the treasure has created an energy that draws people just outside of the Phoenicia, NY.

I was immediately drawn to the story and decided to investigate the town and surrounding area. Pouring through online forums and books I gathered as much information as I could and set out on my hunt.

These are my findings.

 

Phoenicia_low_res-2Phoenicia, NY. 122 miles north of New York City. The city was a local haunt for the likes of Babe Ruth and Dutch Schultz. The city was calm, almost desolate. With a population of only 309, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

catskills_phoenicia3My first pieces of research led me just off the main road. “Old Route 28” next to Esopus Creek. But I did not find the pine grove I was told to look for. Instead I found houses and lovely views along with the smell of local fudge in the air.

 

Phoenicia_low_res-8This was turning out to be harder than I expected. I was lost and felt I was in the wrong area. I returned to my cabin and turned to the treasure Hunter’s forum I found form 2005. Looking for anything, I found the email of a man named Gary. Gary seemed to know a lot and encouraged contact, but this thread from a decade ago.. So I emailed him and hoped for a response.

Later that night I got a email:

Re: Schultz Treasure 

Jacob,
 
    I don’t know what you read that led you to contact me. The complete story is broken up into a couple of threads on the Treasurenet web site. Basically I posted the results of my hunt where I ultimately located the cache site and posted a pic of the tree carving “1934” probably made by Shultz’ own hand while his bodyguard dug the hole. 1934 was the year Schultz buried the cache and turned himself in to authorities. A map of the treasure location was known to exist, though the bonds in the box had never been cached. So two schools of thought existed; first, it must have been found because there was a map; second, it was never found because the bonds were never cashed. I am from W. Mass and pursued this treasure because, unlike most, it is located here in the northeast. The legend of the treasure contributes to the local economy. No one want to hear what I have to say. During my search I started to create a map to mark off my search of the location of interest. When I found the site I turned my map into a rough location map. Attached is my map in two parts as well as a pic of the carving. This location matches all known info on the map and I’m on to other things.
– Gary

 

Dutch Map2

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I now had a new map and continued by journey.

 

Phoenicia_low_res-35Old Boiceville Inn. This was the first structure I needed to find on Garys Map to make sure I was heading in the right direction. I decided to go on back way via the rail road tracks not to being attention to myself.

 

Phoenicia_low_res-32Entrance to the path which will take me to the railroad. I thought once I got on the rail road and cross the Esopus creek, i should be at the pine grove and the site of the treasure..

 

Phoenicia_low_res-33But no one warned me I would run into this. I was literally stopped in my tracks. I was a fool and did not look at the satellite view on google maps! The side access point was down; swept away by very creek that I looked at and depended on for the last few days.

I was close, but not close enough. I felt excitement and disappointment in the same instance. The rain set in and I had to make a choice. I was forced to return to my car. It was time to go back to the city; my rental car was due back in within a few hours.

Although I did not find the hidden treasure, its allure grew bigger. For all I know I was just a few feet away.

Stay tuned.

 

Additional Photographs from Phoenicia and surrounding areas:

 

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