Monday, February 20, 2006

Taylor’s On Schroon Lake – Anti-Semitism of Days Gone By

Over at eBay, there is a unique item of Adirondack history for sale. A 24-page advertising pamphlet from 1910 for Taylor’s on Schroon (photo above). And there it is, one simple line: “Gentile trade solicited” – in other words Jews need not apply. In the first decades of the 1900s anti-Semitism and nativism were rampant in the Adirondacks as in the rest of the country. The Ku Klux Klan worked hard from its local base in Schenectady to establish Klan groups in Ticonderoga, Glens Falls, Saranac Lake, and elsewhere – some were quite successful. This tidbit, written by C.F. Taylor Jr., is one of the more rare blatant examples.

A surprising side note: Taylor’s on Schroon (established in 1865) was the birthplace of Ethel Taylor, an illustrator for a number of prominent New York magazines and newspapers including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Town and Country, Scribner’s, Harpers, and the New York Sun and New York Herald Tribune. She was a member of the Artist Guild of New York and a student of Kenneth Hayes Miller (of Oneida, NY).

What irony! Taylor’s (on Spirit Point) was sold sometime shortly after the appearance of this anti-Semitic advertisment to George Gobel, a New York Lawyer. In 1920 Gobel sold Taylor’s to Joseph Frieber who was then the owner, with his brother William, of Dubonnet and La Tosca – two trendy restaurants in NYC. Frieber was a Hungarian who turned the former Taylor’s into the Jewish summer center of the Adirondacks – Scaroon Manor. When Herman Wouk’s best selling novel about post war Jewish American life, Marjorie Morningstar, was made into a movie – a good deal of it was shot at Scaroon Manor. We wonder what happened to C.F. Taylor Jr.

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John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for more than 45 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded Adirondack Atlas in 2015.

John's Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on North Country Public Radio and on WSLP Lake Placid.

He is also on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute and edits The New York History Blog. He is the author of two books of regional history.

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