Posts Tagged ‘Raquette Lake’

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lt. Gov. Woodruff and the Raquette Lake Railroad

adirondack news ad 1900Just when I think I have learned all of the origins and instigators for the building of the Raquette Lake Railroad during 1899, I find a new participant.

I have read of Collis Huntington’s impatience with the inefficiencies of the Fulton Chain steamers and stages from Old Forge’s transportation monopoly’s companies, his sitting on a keg of nails during a long wait.  Also,  that his wife refused to visit him at Pine Knot until this builder of the transcontinental railroad built a railroad to their camp.  Dr. William Seward Webb did plan in 1892 on a road from Clearwater to Raquette Lake.  Later, the Raquette Lake Railroad would use the two mile lumber railroad built in 1897-1898 by John Dix to Rondaxe Lake as the beginning of this road’s route.

In the Harold Hochschild private history Township 34 excerpt published by the Adirondack Museum, we learn that William West Durant determined that the Delaware & Hudson Company would not be extending his father’s line past North Creek.  This meant that Dr. Webb’s line built in 1892 would be the only railroad available to connect Raquette and Blue Mountain Lakes to major population centers.  Hochschild wrote that it was Durant who thought a railroad should be built connecting with the New York Central and that, lacking the funds to do so, Durant interested Collis Huntington in the project. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Forked Laked: The Capture And Death of Charles Parker

GHTLetterOur family has two large metal boxes filled with George Hornell Thacher’s handwritten letters.   We are fortunate to have three letters written from the Thacher “Camp” on Indian Point on Raquette Lake.

George Hornell Thacher’s correspondence to his son George Jr. dated August 7, 1881 is a unique piece of history.  He references a tragic affair which became the talk of the major NY newspapers

Camp, Aug. 7th, 1881
Dear George,

My health is about as usual. Nothing new here of importance except the recapture of Parker yesterday, the desperado, the man who outraged a lady on the carry between Forked and Long Lakes.  He was arrested at Lowville while fleeing to Canada and taken back to Long Lake where he got away from the constable.  Yesterday the same officer overhauled him on Forked Lake near the outlet, shot and broke his arm and recaptured him.  The lady was a sister of the wife of U.S. Senator Platt of Connecticut.  Parker was a newcomer here and took up the business of guiding.  He was guiding her to Long Lake and perpetrated the deed near Butter Milk Falls.

Father

P.S. Parker was shot through the arm and breast.  The Doctor says he will die probably before night.  The way of the transgressor is hard. 10 A.M.

The Troy Press said, “Probably no event occurring in the Adirondack region has caused as much comment and excitement as the crime that is attributed to Charles Parker.” » 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.



Saturday, June 28, 2014

Raquette Lake: Why ‘Indian’ Point?

Stoddard from CragsWriting  in The Adirondack; or Life in the Woods (1849) Joel Tyler Headley remarked that Indian Point on Raquette Lake was so-named “because there was once an Indian settlement upon it”.  But until recently, the idea of large, permanent Native American settlements within the Adirondacks has been discounted by scholars. Ongoing research however, suggests that may not be the case.

On thing we do know for sure is that Adirondack interior was a seasonal hunting ground for the Iroquoian and Algonquin-speaking communities and there is considerable evidence that the Raquette Lake area was used extensively by the Mohawk.  » Continue Reading.



Sunday, June 8, 2014

Raquette Lake in 1878

Screen Shot 2014-06-07 at 7.01.30 AMThe mysterious original cabin of the Thachers on Indian Point received numerous mentions in the newspapers of the day.  However, the earliest evidence of its existence comes from a single sentence in the text of Aber & King’s The History of Hamilton County.

Bishop Gabriels, then a priest, celebrated Mass at the Thatcher Camp on July 11, 12, 13, and 14, 1878.

It refers to Rev. Henry Gabriels who at the time was President of the St. Joseph Seminary in Troy, NY and who later became the Bishop of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, which encompasses all of the Adirondacks.   Can we simply assume that the original cabin was built in 1878, or might it have existed prior to this first reference?  After all, the family purchased the land in 1876. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, June 1, 2014

Raquette Lake’s First Settlers:
Matthew Beach and William Wood

1849-Birch-Pt-sketch“Yonder comes the boat of Woods and Beach, the two solitary dwellers of this region. It is rather a singular coincidence that the only two inhabitants of this wilderness should be named Woods and Beach. I should not wonder if the next comers should be called ‘Hemlock’ and ‘Pine’.” 

- Joel Tyler Headley, The Adirondack or Life in the Woods

Indian Point was the focal point of Raquette Lake because Beach and Wood were the center of hospitality for the earliest adventurers in the region: Ebenezer Emmons in 1840, Jon Todd in 1843, Joel Tyler Headley in 1844-1846.  Our knowledge of Beach and Wood comes from the writings of these and later visitors. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, May 18, 2014

Nessmuk Visits Indian Point, Raquette Lake

Nessmuk photoWhenever and wherever the original Thacher cabin was built on Indian Point is my research holy grail.  Delving into the details of the few literary mentions of the cabin might yield clues.

The famous wilderness writer George Washington Sears, pen name Nessmuk, wrote of meeting my great great grandfather George Hornell Thacher at his cabin on Indian Point.

“There are enthusiastic anglers, however, whose specialty is trolling for lake trout. A gentleman by the name of Thatcher (sic), who has a fine residence on Raquette Lake – which he calls a camp – makes this his leading sport, and keeps a log of his fishing, putting nothing on record of less than ten pounds weight.”

This visit by Nessmuk was published in his 1884 book titled Woodcraft; however, it makes no mention of when the encounter actually occurred.  » Continue Reading.



Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Cabin on Raquette Lake’s Indian Point: A New Mystery

SONY DSCMy cousin Stephen FitzPatrick’s curiosity was peeked by my writings.  A piece of the puzzle had always been in his hands but he did not know it.  Prompted by my last article, Stephen searched through boxes of his mother’s memorabilia and found the photo at left.

It’s dated 1910, the year of construction according to our family’s oral history.  Could this be the first photo of the little red cabin?  Our previous research had narrowed the window in time to between 1905 and 1918.  This would appear to squeeze the date of construction to a mere five year period between 1905 and 1910. It was time to see what evidence I could find of the Thachers on Indian Point between the pages of books, newspaper articles and letters. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dating The Cabin on Raquette Lake’s Indian Point

red cabin_croppedAfter my father’s sister Ellen married Michael FitzPatrick, both our families enjoyed summers together sharing the cabin on Raquette Lake’s Indian Point and two nearby lean-tos. That was until 1981, when our family built a new place on the north shore of the peninsula.  Each summer, a growing brood of FitzPatrick cousins continues to inhabit the little, red one-room cabin at the point’s tip.

As a child I would fall asleep in the lean-to that sits just to the right of this cabin, being driven to sleep by the flames dancing in the stone fireplace and the hypnotic pulsing of the green and red lights which adorned the channel buoys in the Needles.  » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Charlie Herr: A History of the Uncas Roads

1896 8th lake eugene scrafford camp 2_0 aIn the off year election of 1918, New York voters elected a new governor (Al Smith) who later became the first Roman Catholic and Irish-American to run for President.  In that same election, voters also approved a constitutional amendment to the “forever wild” Article VII (rewritten as Article XIV in 1938) permitting the construction of a state highway on forest preserve lands from Saranac Lake to Old Forge by way of Blue Mountain and Raquette Lakes.  Until this highway was built, the road from Inlet to the north ended at Seventh Lake.

When the segment from Seventh Lake to Raquette Lake was completed in 1929, it became the route of choice to Raquette Lake from Eagle Bay, replacing what today begins at that place as Uncas Road and ends as Browns Tract Road ending at Antlers Road at Raquette Lake.  Its name changes at Browns Tract Ponds. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lucy Carnegie’s Great Camp On Raquette Lake

Lucy CarnegieMy family began vacationing at Raquette Lake sometime in the mid-1970s, attracted by what is arguably the most beautiful lake in the Adirondacks. As the family grew, I began to look for a larger home and contacted a realtor who sent me a write up on North Point, considered one of the Great Camps and the former summer home of Lucy Carnegie.

I had seen the home while boating and, my curiosity piqued, looked it up in Harvey Kaiser’s book Great Camps of the Adirondacks (2003). I was interested to see who had designed this Swiss chalet style home, so unusual in design compared to the other camps in the area. Kaiser stated that, “The building plans and execution of interior details suggest influences beyond the techniques of local craftsmen, although no record of the architect exists.” » Continue Reading.



Saturday, April 5, 2014

Farrand Benedict’s Trans-Adirondack Water Route

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 5.44.44 AMOn Route 28 between Indian Lake and Blue Mountain Lake there is a sign about a half mile south of  the junction with Route 28N in Blue Mountain Lake that marks the divide between the St. Lawrence River and Hudson River watersheds.  The waters of Blue Mountain Lake flow through the Eckford Chain into Raquette Lake, north through Long Lake and the Raquette River eventually reaching the St. Lawrence Seaway.  The waters of Durant Lake, only a half-mile from Blue, eventually flow into the Hudson River.

If Farrand Benedict had been successful with his grand plans for the Adirondacks from Lake Champlain to Lake Ontario, the waters of Blue, Raquette and Long lakes would today also flow to the Hudson River.  » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Township 40 Settlement Moves Forward

Township 40 (Totten and Crossfield, 1900)More than 200 property owners in the Town of Long Lake, Hamilton County, will receive letters asking if they want to resolve title issues to their properties as part of the Township 40 settlement, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced yesterday. The letters include a notarized statement form that must be returned to DEC within 90 days by any landowner who wants to be included in the settlement.

New York State voters approved a constitutional amendment last November that allows owners of the disputed properties to notify DEC whether they want their land parcel to be included in the Township 40 settlement. The State will release claims on properties whose owners “opt in” to the settlement. Those owners will have to sign a notarized statement, included with the letter, and will then be required to make a payment to the Town of Long Lake within one year. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Floatplane Adventure:
Buster Bird And Raquette Lake History

Buster Bird in 1997. Courtesy of Carol Bird Mitchell“Thunk-Ping” “Thunk-Ping” echoed through the woods as the head of the sledge came down upon the maul.  Rhythmically the forged steel struck the maul, driving the blade into the round section of the old oak deadfall’s trunk.  My hands tried valiantly to not retreat, but hold fast to the maul handle as my father sent the sledge’s head crashing down.

Each summer we would split a deadfall and stack the wood in our shed for future fires in the Vermont Castings stove.  Beautiful sunlight barely broke through the thick canopy of white pine and spruce as we sweated within a few hundred feet of our cabin.   The sledge hit the maul over and over, sounding like the chimes of a slow clock that strikes its bell every ten seconds. » 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.



Sunday, March 9, 2014

Getting to Blue Mountain Lake in the 19th Century

1922 Marion River RRMy trip to the Adirondacks from our home in Western Massachusetts ends when I see the water of Raquette Lake’s South Bay – a three-and-a-half hour drive.  OK, my wife insists the trip is not over until we unload the car, pack the boat, traverse the lake, unload the boat and schlep everything into the cabin.  A five-hour ordeal in her mind, but serenity fills me the minute I see the water.

Be it three-and-a-half hours or five, our trip is nothing compared to the arduous travels my great-great-grandfather took to reach these shores. He had been among the very first to summer on Blue Mountain Lake, building the first private summer home on Thacher Island in 1867.

In 1862, George Hornell Thacher first traveled to the region guided by Mitchell Sabattis.  At that time, the railroad to North Creek and the stage road from North Creek to Blue Mountain Lake did not exist.  Access to Blue Mountain Lake was only from the north, down from Long Lake.  The trip from Albany took three or four days. » 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.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Great Camp Sagamore to Hosting Guided Snowshoe Tours

Great Camp Sagamore in WinterGreat Camp Sagamore will host two guided snowshoe hikes of the grounds February 15 and 16 as part of Raquette Lake’s Annual Winter Carnival. This is a rare opportunity for visitors to see the National Historic Landmark in the winter, a season when the former Vanderbilt family owners traditionally visited.

The free, guided hikes depart from the camp’s barn parking lot at 10 a.m. both days and conclude two hours later with hot cider in the Reading Room of the Conference Building. Guides will lead groups through the camp grounds to see building exteriors, then trek to different portions of the newly designated Great Camps Historic District that includes Sagamore.  » 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.



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Open Letter:
From Adk Council, ADK and League of Conservation Voters

Entering-Adirondack-ParkWhat follows is an open letter issued today to Adirondack Almanack readers.

Dear Adirondack Almanack Readers:

Voters reaffirmed that the Adirondack Park belongs to all New Yorkers. Proposition 4 (Township 40) was approved by a wide margin. Voters also approved Proposition 5 that expands the Jay Mountain Wilderness as part of a land swap with the NYCO mineral company. The approval of this constitutional amendment expands access to all sides of the Jay Mountain Wilderness and adds important new resources to the Forest Preserve.

Election results show that New Yorkers care deeply about the Adirondack Park.  Clearly the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, and the New York League of Conservation Voters’ collaboration with local governments, unions, and property owners can produce victories and results that benefit the Forest Preserve and communities. » Continue Reading.



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