While 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.
Posts Tagged ‘Town of Webb’
In 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.
Dr. Crosby was born in Martinsburg in 1836. He began his medical practice in 1862 and moved to Lowville in 1867. He rapidly built up a large practice and was for many years considered one of the most skilled physicians and surgeons in the state, often called in to testify at criminal cases. In 1875, Crosby was elected to the State Assembly, was later a Democratic Party state chairman and was on both the State Board of Charities and Lewis County pensioners’ board. Crosby died in 1911. » Continue Reading.
If any image represents early Fulton Chain history, it is the Forge House atop the elevation overlooking the pond as a king viewing his realm. When the hotel burned in 1924, prominent citizens planned to quickly rebuild it but the era of the big summer hotel had ended, replaced by smaller, shorter stay motoring hotels to cater to the automobile tourist.
Today, its location is a grassy knoll across from the Old Forge Fire Department building, down the street from the Old Forge Hardware store and behind the Forge Hotel sign. But while the Forge House existed, the traveler was given the name of an individual there who would not fail to provide necessary comforts. This narrative is about the hotel’s owners, and about the proprietors and managers who usually were not the owners. » Continue Reading.
During 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.
At 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.
A 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.
One was George B. Conant who would be the hotel proprietor. Conant’s hotel manager would be his brother-in law, Philo Clark Wood. For Philo, this began a career of almost fifty years of hotel management, town development and civil service to the Towns of Webb and Inlet.
Philo’s ancestors, originally from Chatham, Middlesex County, CT, moved to the Town of Turin in Lewis County, NY sometime after the 1810 Census. Philo’s grandparents (Nathaniel and Electa Caswell Wood) and great-grandparents (Joel and Mercy Clark Wood) are buried in the Constableville Rural Cemetery (West Turin). » Continue Reading.
On 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.
In 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.