Almanack Contributor Charles Herr

Charles Herr

Since the early 1980s when Charles Herr purchased a camp in Inlet he has been interested in the history of the Fulton Chain region of the Adirondacks. He has been contributing history articles about the times and people of the Fulton Chain, covering transportation, steamboats, hotels and most importantly, the people to the Weekly Adirondack of Old Forge since November 2006.

His ambition is to uncover local and regional Fulton Chain history about people and events prior to 1930 and little covered in the histories of the region. He was the first president of the Inlet Historical Society and presents summer programs on Inlet history at the Town Hall in Arrowhead Park in Inlet, NY. His first book, The Fulton Chain-Early Settlement, Roads, Steamboats, Railroads and Hotels, will be available May 2017. More information is available at www.facebook.com/herrstory .


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Adirondack RR Spur Was Built Overnight To Loon Lake House

dr william webb 1894William Seward Webb’s company began building the Adirondack & St. Lawrence Railroad in the spring of 1891. A year later, the line had not been completed when Webb made a promise to President Benjamin Harrison he was not sure he could fulfill. He promised the President and First Lady, Caroline Scott Harrison, they could ride his train to the Loon Lake House so she could spend the summer there to recover her health.

Near the end of Harrison’s term in 1892, Caroline’s tubercular condition worsened. The Harrisons and her physician considered a stay for her in the North Woods in a desperate move to improve her prospects. They contacted Ferd Chase of the Loon Lake House who offered a cottage for the summer.  Learning this, Webb offered his assistance since Caroline’s condition limited her ability to withstand stage travel.  He promised a ride by rail for most of the distance but Mrs. Harrison’s condition would determine the timing of the trip. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Raquette Lake Railway Creation Myths

forge dock 4a11219uWhile researching the Raquette Lake Railway, I found several historical traditions that were repeatedly used by authors in their works regarding the railroad’s origin. Below I examine these traditions and then provide my research on its origin from period correspondence and historical sources, including the rationale from the words of its builder, Collis P. Huntington. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Traveling To the Fulton Chain In 1892

1892 fulton chain club 1_0In March, 1889, a group of Jefferson County business men and a Thousand Islands cigarette magnate (Charles G. Emery of Calumet Island Castle) purchased a block of overt 6,000 acres extending from Fourth to Seventh Lakes over to Limekiln Lake.  They formed a club, the Fulton Chain Club, and advertised the region to attract wealthy investors, but failed at this venture and began selling lots to anyone.  Within the Prospectus for this club is a description of the Fulton Chain region containing a valuable snapshot in time, 1892, of this area’s history.

A copy of the prospectus is held by the Adirondack Museum, from which the excerpts below were taken (my comments are in brackets): » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fish Tales: First Stocking of the Fulton Chain (1876)

1874 buell map - Copy (2)I recently discovered an article written by Alexander Byron Lamberton, one of Old Forge’s earliest historical figures, that was published in Forest and Stream in March of 1876.

The article describes the first large-scale stocking of fish on Fulton Chain waters. Lamberton had only recently taken over as owner of the Forge House, and his story reads like an adventure tale: » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 6, 2015

“Trout Fishing” by Eunice Lamberton

Trout StringerIn April 1888, Eunice B. Lamberton sold the Forge House and the Forge Tract, the present site of Old Forge today, to Samuel Garmon and Dr. Alexander Crosby.

Fifteen years earlier, according a note accompanying her poem: “These lines were written on the spur of the moment at the famous pool midway between Martin’s and Bartlett’s on the Saranac River- Adirondacks-as Mr. Lamberton ‘with split bamboo and a fly or two’ whipped the water.”  Her husband was Alexander B. Lamberton of Rochester.  The poem is frequently seen today on internet sites for fly-casting clubs today across the United States. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mob Rule: The Murder Of Orrando Dexter

William_RockefellerThe village of Brandon, in the town of Santa Clara, Franklin County, was built by a lumber company for its workers.   When the company and the lumber industry declined, most of the people left.  John D. Rockefeller’s brother, Standard Oil co-founder William Avery Rockefeller Jr., bought the land surrounding the village, fenced it in, and posted it. Woods located on private property that had been open for years to sportsmen and other residents were suddenly closed.

William Rockefeller made offers to the villagers for their houses and in the end just a few residents remained. One was Civil War veteran Oliver Lamora, with whom Rockefeller would battle over access to his new property for years. The full story of Lamora’s battles, financial and legal, against Rockefeller is given in Lawrence Gooley’s excellent 2007 book Oliver’s War (I wrote this article several years before Gooley’s book). » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 2, 2015

2 Notorious Guides In Adirondack History

P326ABefore railroads and automobiles, travelers depended on the quality and skills of North Woods guides to show them the region’s natural beauty, to feed them and provide the best in hunting and fishing.  Often, guides were entrusted with taking ladies in the woods.

The guides, especially those not aligned with large hotels, depended on per diem fees for subsistence and quality reputations for honesty, dependability and woodcraft benefited all guides.  So when two guides brought dishonor to the profession, guides hoped people realized these two were the exception. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

History Seventh Lake, Inlet and Its Hotel (Part II)

0 0 0 1 1910 a d 1910 seventh lake houseThis is part two of my look at the History of Seventh Lake.

According to a deed dated May 2, 1898, Duane Norton purchased sublots 48,49, 50, 51 & 52, lots 49-50 and part of 51 in Great Lot 8 and part of lot 51 and all of 52 in Great Lot 19, all being still then referred to as the “Munn Tract” purchased by James Galvin’s group in 1889.

An additional 5 acres were purchased by Norton to the rear of these lots.  Who was Duane Norton? » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Early History Of Seventh Lake

1909 ffg raquette lake (2000x1551)Until Robert Maloney’s 1989 history, A Backward Look at 6th and 7th Lakes, local histories of the Fulton Chain region had mostly concentrated on the growth and development of the more populated First through Fourth Lakes of the chain.

Though my primary subject here is the popular hotel that existed on the north shore of Seventh Lake, I wanted to also supplement Mr. Maloney’s information with additional early history about Seventh Lake itself.  » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Holls Inn On Fourth Lake (Part II)

1915a 638k_Pratt charles carolineIn 1896, Charles O’Hara had come from Glenfield and built Inlet Inn along the channel from Fifth Lake on land purchased from David Frank Sperry in 1897, operating it as a boarding house.

In November 1907, O’Hara purchased the Arrowhead from Albert C. Boshart and operated both hotels.  But on the morning of September 23, 1913, the hotel originally established in 1893 on the shores at the head of Fourth Lake by Fred Hess, renamed in 1898 the Arrowhead by William Moshier, burned to the ground.  While determining whether to rebuild, O’Hara leased the Eagle Bay Hotel for the 1914 and 1915 seasons. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Short History Of Holls Inn, Fourth Lake

1960 holls inn P000094 Aerial View of Holls InnOn the south shore of Fourth Lake near the Herkimer – Hamilton County boundary is Holl’s Inn.  According to a real estate ad in the Adirondack Express, the three story hotel on the six-acre parcel closed in 2006. However, Holl’s Inn continued to advertise rooms and meals as late as 2008 and housekeeping cottages until 2009 in the local summer guides.  The hotel sold in 2013.

Operating as Holl’s Inn since 1935, the hotel and its property has had a long history beginning with the first travelers to the head of Fourth Lake.  One of those travelers was Charles Pratt of Brooklyn, NY. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Town of Inlet Beginnings (Part II)

1892 fulton chain club 1_0For many property owners in Inlet, the abstract of title invariably lists James and Jennie Galvin as early, if not the first, owners.  But until I began researching this narrative, I believed, as have other Inlet landowners and early 20th century newspapers, that the Galvins were sole owners of the 6,000 acres surrounding the Head of Fourth Lake.  I learned that Galvin was an agent for the Fulton Chain Club and it was through his efforts that the land was sold for hotels and camps, and ultimately to the first residents of Inlet.

James Galvin, the son of an Irish immigrant, was born in 1835 in Wilna, Jefferson County.  His father Edward was a successful farmer and also managed a prosperous charcoal production trade.  James was listed as a farmhand and a farmer on the 1850 and 1860 censuses, respectively, but from the age of fifteen, he dealt in horses and cattle and became successful in buying stock both in New York and Canada.  He commanded large credit with banks in both regions. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Origins Of The Town of Inlet

scythe herrershoff manor_2On November 27, 1901, the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an act that created a new town from northern Morehouse, with the South Branch of the Moose River dividing the two towns.  Afterwards, Inlet held its first town meeting on January 14, 1902.  Presently (2009), the Adirondack Park Agency reports that Inlet consists of 42,446 acres of which just under 4,000 acres is not state land.

But this narrative is about the over 6,000 acres in the northerly Part of Township 3 of the Moose River Tract surrounding the “Head of Fourth Lake”, as Inlet was formerly known, and the connections among the speculators who owned it prior to Inlet’s creation.  This square tract covers the lands from Fourth Lake to Seventh Lakes down to Limekiln Lake at its southwest corner. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Forge House History Conclusion: Thomson Years

1870 butvauell Abstract adc from forge company003 - CopyThe Old Forge Company, Thistlethwaite now its president, sold the Forge House to Charles I. Thomson and his son, Raymond E. Thomson in August 1915.  Thistlethwaite would soon establish the Adirondack Development Corporation to which the heavily mortgaged Old Forge Company in January 1916 would transfer remaining unsold tract lots.

The new company would open a store front on today’s Point Park triangle.  Unbelievably, the deed acquired by Thistlethwaite’s company still included the 1871 right to raise the dam three feet that belonged to the state since 1879.  The state certified the dissolution of the Old Forge Company in 1919. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Forge House History: The Forge Company Years

1870 buuell 1897 P418 1 Map Old Forge village026In October 1895, Victor Adams assembled a group of investors together in Little Falls and secured an arrangement with Garmon and Crosby to purchase a 50% interest in the Forge Tract properties. The group’s business plan was to enlarge and improve the Forge House, to build a two-mile railroad from Fulton Chain Station to the Forge House dock and to begin development of the tract into a resort town.  They would eventually also establish a transportation company that would buy the independent public steamers on the lower four lakes.

The name of the syndicate would be The Old Forge Company, often referred to as the Old Forge Improvement Company.  In addition to Garmon, Crosby and Adams, the directors would also include Nelson R. Gilbert, J. Judson Gilbert, Homer P. Snyder and Hadley Jones.  Samuel F. Garmon was the company’s first president and Titus Sheard was a director in the new railroad company.  The company soon completed surveys of the Forge Tract, laid out the first streets named after most of these individuals in Spring 1896 and filed the first village map with the Herkimer County Clerk’s Office. » Continue Reading.


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