Skip to Main Content

View of Pratt Rock.
One of New York's oddest landmarks. Burial nook is at bottom center.

Pratt Rock

Field review by the editors.

Prattsville, New York

"America's First Mount Rushmore" was carved into a cliff side south of Prattsville, NY, to please Zadock Pratt, wealthy entrepreneur, congressman and husband of five wives.

Pratt ran the biggest shoe leather tannery in the world and loved to promote himself. The story goes that one day in 1843 a jobless man asked Zadock for a handout. Pratt, who believed in workfare not welfare, asked the man what he did for a living. When the man replied that he was a stonecutter, Zadock pointed to the cliff overlooking his 350-acre farm and told him to start carving Zadock's life story. The luckless laborer didn't stop until Zadock finally died, 28 years later.

Pratt is the Father of the US Bureau of Statistics.
Pratt is the Father of the US Bureau of Statistics.

The carvings -- which include Zadock, his son, a horse, and a brawny arm holding a sledgehammer -- lack symmetry of the Prez heads in SD, and, your could push 'em all up Lincoln's nostril and still have room. But there is a serpentine path up the hill that allows for close-up inspection and a dizzying view of the Schoharie River below. The path is narrow, steep and crumbly, so it probably isn't a good idea to bring your grandmother here, much as it isn't a good idea to take her to another nearby Catskills attraction that we could name but won't.

Zadock planned to be buried in a tomb carved into the cliff beneath his own giant head, but it leaked water whenever it rained so the plan was abandoned. The tomb now makes a handy shelter for changing the camera settings on your smartphone.

Mr. Big Deal Industrialist had to be buried with the common folk in Benhem Cemetery, downtown. However, Pratt Rock is graced with the common grave of six of Zadock's favorite horses and dogs, all lying beneath a big mound marked with a tombstone near the picnic tables.

Pratt Rock

Hwy. 23, Prattsville, NY
On Hwy. 23 just south of Prattsville. Look for the green sign with the white horse. Park just off the road, and hike up the hill.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Partridge Family Bus ReplicaPartridge Family Bus Replica, Prattsville, NY - 2 mi.
Roxbury Motel: Pop Theme RoomsRoxbury Motel: Pop Theme Rooms, Roxbury, NY - 8 mi.
10 Ft. Tall Davy Crockett10 Ft. Tall Davy Crockett, Phoenicia, NY - 17 mi.
In the region:
S.C. Billboard: Save Moo-La, Esperance, NY - 29 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in New York

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in New York.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Map and Plan Your Own Roadside Adventure ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

New York Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Bloodstained Tomb of Nina Craigmiles, Cleveland, Tennessee (Apr 8-14, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Favorite Quirky City Sights