Posts Tagged ‘Raquette Lake’

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mitchell Sabattis, Abenaki Guide and Boatbuilder

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 9.17.23 PMWhen I walk the land around Matthew Beach’s original hut and William Wood’s shanty on Raquette Lake’s Indian Point, I imagine the Abenaki guide Mitchell Sabattis pulling into their landings in a canoe or guideboat made by his own hand. Indian Point was a waypoint for many a traveler boating through the Central Adirondacks.

While it is impossible to know how often Sabattis visited those acres, we have written record of at least three occasions: his trips with Joel Tyler Headley in 1844-46, accompanying C. W. Webber in 1849, and an expedition of women who explored the region in 1873 (beautifully told in Barbara McMartin’s book To the Lake of the Skies).

Sabattis guided for my great-great-grandfather George Hornell Thacher in 1862 as he explored the region from a base camp Sabattis had on Blue Mountain Lake’s Crane Point. Even if Thacher and his guide traveled to Raquette Lake however, it’s unlikely they spent a night on Indian Point.  Sabattis maintained a campsite from 1852 to 1877 on Watch Point according to Ken Hawks, who now owns the property. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Joel Headley:
Among The First To Popularize The Adirondacks

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 2.45.55 PMAnd how solemn it is to move all day through a majestic colonnade of trees and feel that you are in a boundless cathedral whose organ notes swell and die away with the passing wind like some grand requiem. Still more exciting is it to lie at midnight by your camp fire and watch the moon sailing up amid the trees or listen to the cry of the loon, wild and lonely, on the wild and lonely lake, or the hoot of the owl in the deep recesses of the forest. - Joel Tyler Headley

Many have probably heard of “Adirondack Murray”, the Reverend William H. H. Murray who wrote Adventures in the Wilderness in 1869.  His book is credited with driving throngs of tourists to escape the cities for the Adirondacks in the latter quarter of the nineteenth century. However, it was Joel Tyler Headley two decades earlier who wrote the seminal book The Adirondack or Life in the Woods in 1849 that brought the first wave of wealthy sports to explore the region. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Fulton Chain and Raquette Lake Steamboat Company

photo 4During the summer of 2014, on the lawn at the Goodsell Museum in Old Forge, Kyle Kristiansen, using a metal detector, discovered a metal object. Digging it up, he uncovered a buried metal luggage tag containing the intials “F.C & R.L.S.B.CO.”

These letters stand for the Fulton Chain and Raquette Lake Steamboat Company, a short-lived and relatively unknown concern established for carrying passengers and cargo from Fourth Lake to Raquette Lake in the days before automobiles connected the region.

This is a history of that company and its successors to that trade.  We will probably never discover how that item arrived on the lawn in the Town of Webb. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Case of the Indian Arrow Etched in Stone

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 9.50.31 PMMy cousin Stephen Fitzpatrick showed me a mark that is chiseled into a rock just outside the front door of our family’s little red one-room cabin on Indian Point. The mark vaguely appears like an arrow but with a crosshair at the top instead of a point. Stephen applied an ink dye to the mark so it is more visible in this photo.

Stephen remembers asking his mother about the mark, and she said that her father claimed it was there when he first came to the Point in 1910.

The mark itself is intriguing, but the mystery deepened when Stephen explained that the crosshair is actually a compass rose.   The large line runs almost perfectly north-south, and the smaller line is nearly east-west.

Curiosity piqued, I firmly slapped on my amateur sleuth’s cap. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Technology Today: A Letter from Thacher Camp

Letter from Thacher Camp Alas, the best laid plans… I am finally here at Thacher Camp on Indian Point of Raquette Lake for two weeks.  I had grand ideas of endless writing and to prepare, I had copied a treasure trove of my research files onto a 32 gigabyte flash drive and borrowed an old laptop from a friend.  Then I discovered on my arrival that the flash drive is dead.

What to do?  I began to think back to the precious few letters that I have which were written by George Hornell Thacher while sitting in the 1878 cabin, somewhere not far from this cabin in which I sit today.  He probably wrote on paper with pen or pencil under the soft glow of an oil lamp, whereas I am here with pen and paper under the pulsating glow of the Humphrey three-mantel gas chandelier that hangs above our dining table. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Diane Chase: Introducing Adirondack Architecture

IMG_5418My family has spent the last month showing off the Adirondacks to a young friend visiting from Holland. In a week he’ll be off to study architecture in Prague. We’ve hiked, canoed and camped as well visited Olympic sites, outdoor concerts and museums.

He has been fascinated by the amount of green space we have, off-grid living and sustainable landscapes. The last segment of his whirlwind Adirondack tour will be White Pine Camp in Paul Smiths and Great Camp Sagamore in Raquette Lake. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, August 10, 2014

Searching For An 1878 Cabin On Raquette Lake

William H Hill Parcel arialThrough my research on the mysterious Thacher Cabin, I learned that numerous newspaper articles and books referenced the cabin’s existence, none however, clarified where the cabin was located. Maps of Raquette Lake have given no indication of the location, and no photos or drawings of the cabin have been found.

I chose to begin my search by focusing on the one visitor to the cabin for whom historical records might exist.   In Aber and King’s History of Hamilton County, it is written that the Henry Gabriels, later the Bishop of Ogdensburg, performed Catholic Mass at the Thacher Camp, July 11th to the 14th, 1878. In the hope that this early mass in the Adirondacks might be of historical significance, I contacted the archivist of the Diocese of Ogdensburg looking for any original documents or photos of Gabriels’ visit. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Era For Collaborative Mapping In The Adirondacks

ADKmashupMap

In a recent blog post about Washington County’s new interactive webmap, I alluded to the new and exciting opportunities maps like this present for collaborative mapping in the Adirondacks.  To illustrate these opportunities, I’ve created a ‘mashup’ map that brings together data from several sources, including Washington County, Long Lake / Raquette Lake, and Newcomb, along with some data collected at a more regional level as part of an Adirondack Partnership project I was peripherally involved with.  The mashup map can be viewed by clicking here.

I had to do some custom coding to bring the data together and add features like the type-ahead search box in the upper-right and the quick zooms, but the actual information is being pulled ‘live’ from online databases maintained by each of these entities.   So when Washington County, Newcomb or Long Lake adds a new restaurant, modifies the route of a hiking trail or changes the contact info for a hotel, it is immediately reflected not only on their map, but also on my mashup and any other sites pulling from their database.  » Continue Reading.



Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Roots Of A Classic Adirondack Guide Joke

GHT portraitDid you hear the one about the guide who took his wealthy client out trolling for lake trout? His customer paid more attention to his bottle of whiskey than his fishing line, finishing off the quart while sharing not a drop with the guide. Looking at his empty bottle, the gentleman remarked to his guide, “I am sorry not to have offered you any, but I never let my guide drink on a trip.” To which the guide retorted, “You are quite right sir; one drunk in a boat is enough.”

It is rare that one can trace a joke back to its origins, but in this case, my family is the butt of the joke. » Continue Reading.



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.



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