Posts Tagged ‘Old Forge’

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Benjamin Harrison’s 1895 Flag Speech

1895 Forge House flag raisingDuring ex-President Benjamin Harrison’s first summer stay in 1895 at Dodd’s Camp, he gave a rare public address commemorating the raising of a new 112 foot flagstaff holding an 18 x 24 foot flag.  This address, given on a rainy July 27, 1895 afternoon, was later printed in the Lowville Journal & Republican. Though the language is somewhat dated, its sentiments are just as inspirational today when we consider the struggles our diverse republic faces as a free nation.

Place yourself on the Old Forge dock facing, perhaps in the Forge Motel direction, and imagine a rainy day (not too difficult), a large flag and a former President with a long historical family tradition.  Listen as Benjamin Harrison rises to speak…Oh, an interruption as Riley Parsons gets the crowd to give a “tiger” cheer.  Then Harrison speaks, without the benefits of a wireless microphone… » Continue Reading.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Old Forge Company: Defeat and Decline

P1686 Forge House  1900 or so from postcard039At the stockholders and directors meetings of the Old Forge Company held in December, 1900 at Little Falls were Dr. Alexander Crosby, Judson J. Gilbert, Homer P. Snyder and Eugene Arthur, representing 90% of the Company’s shares.  Snyder was elected vice-president and Nelson R. Gilbert was continued as treasurer, a position held since 1896.

For the first time since its founding, the Company elected a new president, Dr. Alexander Crosby, replacing Samuel Garmon, and a new secretary, Eugene A. Arthur, replacing Hadley Jones.  Eugene Arthur was appointed to handle land contracts for a salary plus expenses.  According to Charles Snyder, “the members of these companies have gotten into a row among themselves and that only one or two of them are financially capable of seeing things through.” » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Old Forge Company Against Collis Huntington’s RR

fulton chain rr boat adirondack news ad 1900John Pierpont Morgan owned Camp Uncas.  To reach the railroad connection for his Manhattan headquarters, he faced two options, neither to his liking.  He could race his team up Durant’s new road from Uncas, passed the Seventh-Eighth Lake Carry, reached the Sucker Brook Bay Road (now Uncas Road) and turned left for Eagle Bay to hopefully meet the scheduled Crosby Transportation Company steamer.  Then he transferred in Old Forge to the Fulton Chain Railroad terminus for the two mile spur to Fulton Chain Station.  Instead of going to Eagle Bay, he could have continued north about a mile from Eagle Bay and followed the Durant trail past Cascade Mountain to connect with the road from Big Moose Lake and meet the railroad at Big Moose Station.

Collis P. Huntington owned Pine Knot on Raquette Lake.  I do not know if he ever sat on a keg of nails on a Company steamer to Eagle Bay as some suggest, but he wrote about his experiences on the tedious series of stages, carries and small steamers necessary to travel from Fourth Lake to Brown’s Tract Inlet, crossing the road from Camp Uncas used by Morgan.

But Morgan and Huntington knew that travelers deserved a faster and cheaper way to reach the North Woods. In Huntington’s words, “It is a health resort for the rich and poor, for in these forests may be found the castle, the cabin and the tent, and the inmates of these forests share alike in the life-giving air of the  woods”. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Old Forge Company:
Rise Of A Transportation Monopoly

Old Forge Co Stock Cert002A quick look at an Old Forge town map reveals streets named Garmon, Crosby, Adams, Gilbert and Sheard.  These are the oldest streets in town except for Main Street (Route 28), originally an extension of the Brown’s Tract Road.

The “main drag” was briefly named Harrison Avenue for former President Benjamin Harrison, the region’s most famous camper.  But this name was dropped from the maps of the Adirondack Development Corporation in the first part of the 20th century.

Recently, the Goodsell Musuem has been permitted by the Town of Webb to reinstate “Harrison Avenue” with a sign at the corner of Gilbert and Route 28.

Except for Main Street, these streets were created by the Old Forge Company, often called the Old Forge Improvement Company.  When its Directors established building lots through the woods of the Forge Tract, they assigned these names to the streets on the first village map filed in July 1896 with the Herkimer County Clerk.  What follows is part of a history of the Old Forge Company from its inception to 1899. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Celebrating Father’s Day In The Adirondacks

d8318bd2-ce67-275d-7a457cecb603a4e6Celebrating Father’s Day is easy in the Adirondacks.  My children  plan on honoring their father with a day highlighting his  favorite things. With numerous mountains to climb and streams to fish, the ability to have fun is around every corner.

It’s nice that my children don’t have to opt for the stereotypical new tie or coffee mug to show their appreciate to the man who gave them life. That doesn’t mean my husband won’t get another hand-painted mug and a few crazy ties. Whatever my husband is gifted I know he will appreciate , but he would rather be outside and active.

Here are a couple of events happening this weekend that are all about spending quality time together. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Some History Of The Old Forge Dam

264d_OF_DamThe historical publications Old Forge: Gateway to the Adirondacks and The Story of a Wilderness inform us that George Deis & Son operated a large lumber mill near the Old Forge dam until 1900 when they relocated to Thendara.

Adirondack Lakes by Thomas Gates shows a picture of the Ben and Ira Parsons’ boat shop at its second location on the knoll now occupied by Water’s Edge Motel.  Their dad Riley, along with John Sprague and Theodore Seeber, built Fulton Chain steamers and guideboats at a location next to the Deis sawmill during the 1890s, then they relocated in 1902.  In 1901, the Fulton Navigation Company sued to prevent competitors’ steamers from soliciting customers and landing at their dock and train depot area in front of the Forge House.

This series of events seemed unrelated until I found articles dating from midsummer 1900 when V. K. Kellogg, the attorney for the state’s Forest, Fish & Game Commission, and Herkimer County Sheriff Daniel Strobel served notice on the owners of businesses occupying state lands adjacent to the Old Forge dam.  » Continue Reading.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Adirondack Paddlefest and Kayak Demos

With springtime finally here in the Adirondacks, it is time to think about water sports. My family is in the market for a few kayaks, but our pocketbook doesn’t always match our expectations. I do what research I can, test friends’ kayaks and ask question upon question.

This past weekend I was fortunate to be able to go to Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters Kayak and Canoe Free Demo Days at the Lake Flower boat launch in Saranac Lake. Though most of the kayaks were out of our budget, it was with welcome relief when a representative started by asking very specific questions regarding my family’s supposed usage and what my expectations are. This mini survey helped narrow down my options and helped me focus on my quest. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Charlie Herr: The Founding Of The Town of Webb

1895 County MapOn a recent election day, I was reminded of the Supreme Court’s historic decision that determined the 2000 Presidential election and of the importance of every vote cast.  I learned of another close election while researching the building of the Sucker Brook Bay Road (now Uncas Road).  I also discovered why the building of the segment from Eagle Bay to Old Forge took five years while Sucker Brook Bay Road was completed within two.

Examining this delay revealed that a court ultimately approved the handling of highway contracts.  I also learned that a judge determined who would be the first supervisor for the new Town of Webb and that the decision was based on improperly completed ballots. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Herreshoff Manor: Witness to Tragedy

P506 Herreshoff Manor 1892Photographs of the Herreshoff Manor that stood in today’s Thendara depict what could easily pass for a haunted house.  It seems that the building, which stood on an elevation of land not present today, overlooking then (1892) newly built Fulton Chain Station, would collapse with the next stiff breeze.

The story of this structure cannot be told without telling of the trials of its occupants:  Herreshoff, Foster, Waters, Grant, Arnold, Short and Sperry.  Tragedy would be the common thread among those connected with this building. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Old Forge Hardware History

P3415 Original Old Forge Hardware 173 (2)On May 10, 1922, the Old Forge Hardware store built by Moses Cohen burned to the ground.  Three days later the fire was still burning coal, unsold construction materials, and other debris and would continue to smolder for days to come.  But Moses Cohen continued to serve his customers, securing an office in the neighboring Givens Block and receiving permission from the Village of Old Forge to install his stock in the Fire Hall (today’s Nathan’s Bakery).  In 1923, his rebuilt store sold everything from “paints, bath tubs and up to the best in parlor suites.”  Today, the year 1922 is engraved under the Cohen name on the façade of the present store.

A year after the fire, as the construction of the present store was almost complete, the Utica Daily Press interviewed Moses Cohen in an article titled “Moses Cohen’s Story of Struggle to Top”. I thought Moses Cohen’s recalling his beginnings in Old Forge a worthy chapter to the town’s early history and how one man overcame ethnic prejudice with sound business practices. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Short History Of The Second Fulton Chain Railroad

PC1367 OmnibusOne afternoon in early July 1905, four girls aged about seven years old were playing on the railroad tracks in the newly incorporated Old Forge village.  They were the Levene girls and fellow classmates Hilda Abbey and Erma Garratt.  The village school had dismissed the students for the day.  The schoolhouse had been built ten years earlier.

While the girls were playing, a train was backing up to its depot at the Forge dock and the engineer did not see the children.  The children may not have heard the train since it was propelled by an oil burning engine and was probably coasting.  People on the scene claimed that the children would surely have been killed had the train’s brakeman on the last car had not seen them and given signals to stop at once.  The alert engineer was able to stop the cars two feet from the startled children on the tracks, the tracks of the 2 and a 1/4-mile Fulton Chain Railway. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Peg Leg Line: The First Fulton Chain Railroad

P3935-Peg-Leg-Railroad-Leaving-Moose-River-Settlement-enlargedEarly Brown’s Tract settlers Albert Jones and his son Eri had gotten into trouble with the law in 1877 for mistreating Eri’s wife, leaving her in a critical condition to be cared for by a neighbor.  Around the same time, like many early Brown’s Tract pioneers, they were squatters south of Thendara on the Moose River middle branch called Stillwater.

Albert had become sick and weak, presumably from a hard life as a businessman, lumber mill owner, rancher and breaker of horses for their Spanish owners in Mexico.  He claimed that if he was going to die, he wanted to die in the woods.  Temporarily, Adirondack weather was the cure and Albert and Eri set up Jones’s Camp as a boarding camp with boats for campers. It was a stopover twelve miles from the Forge along the Brown’s Tract Road. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Life and Times of the Raquette Lake Railway

1900 raquett lake railway schedule_0After the Raquette Lake Railway opened to the public on July 1, 1900, life on the Fulton Chain changed forever.  For its prime mover, Collis P. Huntington, life ended at Camp Pine Knot in August.  Huntington’s death left W. W. Durant without favorable money sources and his Blue Mountain and Raquette Lake Steamboat Company, as well as the newly built Marion River Carry Railroad and its terminal properties, were sold to Patrick Moynehan in May, 1901, then sold to the Webb interests in 1902.

I would like to tell the Railway’s story by telling the story of its stations.  When introducing the station’s name, I insert  its mile marker in parenthesis ( ) according to Michael Kudish’s Where Did the Tracks Go in the Central Adirondacks?. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, March 6, 2014

Charlie Herr: Building the Raquette Lake Railway

1909RR-Station-DockRPPC-LDriving to Old Forge, I pass the old Eagle Bay station, recalling that I had a tasty barbecue sub sandwich there in the early 1980s.  I continue, watching the hikers and bikers on the level path to my right, also watching for deer.  Passing North Woods Inn, I see a sign referring to a train wreck and, just around Daikers, the path to my right disappears into the woods.

I once biked into the woods there and found a historical marker that told of the Raquette Lake Railway.  I decided to learn more about this railroad that, along with Dr. Webb’s line, provided both the rich and the poor access into the Adirondacks.  Its story starts with the Adirondack railroads that preceded it. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Fulton Chain Fish Hatchery: A Short History

scan0002According to Frank Graham, Jr., the first conservation agency established by New York was the Fisheries Commission.  It was established in 1868 to examine Adirondack water sources used by downstate cities and to study the impact of forest destruction by timber cutting neighboring these waters and on the fish they contained.

By the 1880s, the agency established hatcheries in various areas of the state to bolster fish populations in those water bodies and their tributaries suffering from nearby industrial operations such as mills on the Black River.  Since fishing pools in the Adirondacks were being rapidly depleted by the growing popularity of the region, the agency determined to establish fisheries in that region.  » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Some Of The Best Adirondack Winter Carnivals

2014 Ice Palace (Mark Kurtz Photo)Though my family and I have not attended the entire top ten winter carnival venues touted in National Geographic Traveler, I can say we have attended all the winter carnivals in the Adirondack Park listed below. Each festival holds its own special charm and each celebration is an opportunity to enjoy those unique corners of the Adirondack Park.

Saranac Lake may place second on the National Geographic Traveler’s list, but it tops the list for East Coast winter carnival fun. First held in  1897, the Saranac Lake’s winter carnival has a convoluted history. With over a century of experience to draw from, it has grown into a ten-day festival of sports, races, parades, live performances and fireworks. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Benjamin Harrison’s 1895 Fulton Chain Vacation

P10 Gen Harrison and party at Old Forge dock175 (2)The widower ex-President Benjamin Harrison and part of his extended family came to the Fulton Chain in the summer of 1895.  By the following summer, his summer home Berkeley Lodge would be built on a peninsula between First and Second Lakes for him and for a new wife.  Our story starts with the election of 1888.

At the age of 55, Benjamin Harrison became the 23rd President in the first election where the electoral college vote went contrary to the popular vote.  Besides his wife, Caroline Scott Harrison, the White House family included son Russell Lord, his wife Mary and their daughter Marthena; daughter Mary Scott and husband J. Robert McKee and son Ben (“Baby McKee”); and Caroline’s 90 year old recently widowed father Rev. John Scott.  Later in the term, it included niece Caroline’s widowed 30 year old niece, Mrs. Mary Scott Lord Dimmick.  » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fulton Chain Steamers 101: The Fulton Navigation Years

PC500 Steamers Train at Forge House  165In a letter dated April 19, 1901, Dr. William Seward Webb informed J. Pierpont Morgan in New York City that, on behalf of the Raquette Lake Railway directors, he was accepting the option from the Old Forge Company to purchase the two mile Fulton Chain Railroad and the docks and  boats of the Crosby Transportation Company.

Dr. Webb informed Morgan that the purchase price was $45,000, but additional amounts necessary for repairing the railroad lines and upgrading the docks brought the total costs to $56,000.  Dr. Webb also asked Morgan and the other partners copied in the letter to send him their share of the purchase price.  The other paying partners were Collis P. Huntington, William C. Whitney and Harry Payne Whitney. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fulton Chain Steamers 101: Crosby Transportation Period

Old Forge Station 1050From 1892 to 1895, steamboat managers tried to outdo each other to attract passengers arriving on Dr. Webb’s railroad.  But these efforts suffered from the growing pains of an embryonic village and bad business practices from Fulton Chain to the Old Forge dock.

As the Utica Sunday Tribune reported, “At the depot everyday are ‘pullers in’ and ‘runners’ for the several boats which run to the head of the lakes.  As soon as a traveler alights from the train he is importuned to take this or that boat.  Then, if he consents to go on a certain boat, perhaps the ‘runner’ for the other boat will get the check for his baggage, and passenger and baggage will go up the lakes on separate boats.  The baggage man had no badge and the men who operate two of the boats go daily down to Remsen to ‘drum up’ business on the way between that station and Fulton Chain.”  It was hoped that Dr. Webb’s agent H. D. Carter would take steps to “obliterate the nuisances which are hampering this resort”. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Winter Air Exhibition at View

W001View will bring the magic of winter to life in the January 18 opening of Winter Air, a juried exhibition of 118 works by 58 national and international artists in the Community Gallery.

An opening reception for the event will be from 4 P.M. to 6 P.M. on Saturday, January 18. Wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres will be available and the reception open to the public.

The Winter Air exhibition will be complemented by three other art exhibitions that will also be featured at the opening reception. Paintings by Chris Baker titled “London and France” will be on display in the Atrium and Balcony galleries. Baker’s paintings convey a sense of light reminiscent of the great American painter Edward Hopper. His paintings – in gouache – are vignettes that reveal the underlying and often overlooked magic that can be found in the everyday. » Continue Reading.



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