Since the early 1980s when Charles Herr purchased a camp in Inlet he has been interested in the history of the Fulton Chain region of the Adirondacks. He has been contributing history articles about the times and people of the Fulton Chain, covering transportation, steamboats, hotels and most importantly, the people to the Weekly Adirondack of Old Forge since November 2006.
His ambition is to uncover local and regional Fulton Chain history about people and events prior to 1930 and little covered in the histories of the region. He is the president of the Inlet Historical Society and presents summer programs on Inlet history at the Town Hall in Arrowhead Park in Inlet, NY.
His book, The Fulton Chain-Early Settlement, Roads,
Steamboats, Railroads and Hotels, was published in May 2017. More information is available at www.facebook.com/herrstory .
At the August 2017 Inlet Historical Society’s Annual Membership Meeting at The Woods Inn, I presented a program about The Neodak Lodge. My research was augmented by Kathy Tortorello, Diane Tyrell and Marylou Arps, granddaughters of Roy and Emma Rogers, who generously provided me with Rogers family information and photographs. That program and its supporting content became the foundation for this history. Also, this is an updated version of the article printed afterwards in the Adirondack Express.
What is the origin of the word Neodak? Three authorities use the term. Two indicate it as the first part of a Cayuga (Iroquois Nation) town name, Neodakheat, in western New York. The third considered the name as typical usage of Native American-sounding names in the Adirondacks, giving Nehasane Park and Neodak Lodge as examples.
A 1927 account about the New Neodak Hotel claimed that Native Americans in the distant past routinely landed at the Head of Fourth Lake and named it “Neodak”, meaning “good location” or “head of the lake.” According to a 1941 report, sixteen Rochesterians representing the “Cayuga Tribe” made the “first” of planned annual pilgrimages to the burial ground of Chief Neodakis (?), “famous Adirondack tribal leader of the 18th century.” Following a ceremony and a steak dinner, the group concluded festivities with an evening “indian circle” council fire, featuring stories, songs and “tribal games.”
Later, a traditional Neodak Lodge event would have a “chief Neodakis” meet the steak roast boat at an Eighth Lake location where a ceremony included the taking of a volunteer female guest as an “indian wife.” Participants sang and danced around a large tree and the Neodak staff treated them to a wonderful feast. Then, wearing headdresses and paint on their faces, they returned on the Osprey to Sixth Lake Dam where they were transported to the Neodak.
The Eagle Bay Hotel on Fourth Lake opened in June 1897 and operated until it burned on August 7, 1945. On the former Hotel grounds today is Eagle Bay Village, formerly the Eagle Bay Villas. At its demise, the Hotel was part of a group of large, popular early 20th century hotels that included The Arrowhead, The Wood, Rocky Point Inn, Holls Inn and Neodak Lodge on the shores around the Head of Fourth Lake. Only The Wood, now The Woods Inn, remains.
This history is based not only on my research, but also the files of the Goodsell Museum, and information in books such as God’s Country and Fourth Lake Early Camps and Hotels. Looking at the Hotel’s knoll in Eagle Bay from a boat, it is hard to picture the Hotel’s structures that served Fulton Chain guests for almost fifty years.
In the past year or so, the Inlet Historical Society received donations of artifacts and materials originating from the collections of Inlet residents.
One unique item is the following unidentified newspaper clipping about some notable Fulton Chain guides:
Within a few hundred miles of a complex civilization is found the last vestiges of a fast disappearing frontier. Now high-speed, hard-surfaced roadways carry motorists to within a few miles of the heart of what is still the Empire state wilderness, the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
William Seward Webb’s company began building the Adirondack & St. Lawrence Railroad in the spring of 1891. A year later, the line had not been completed when Webb made a promise to President Benjamin Harrison he was not sure he could fulfill. He promised the President and First Lady, Caroline Scott Harrison, they could ride his train to the Loon Lake House so she could spend the summer there to recover her health.
Near the end of Harrison’s term in 1892, Caroline’s tubercular condition worsened. The Harrisons and her physician considered a stay for her in the North Woods in a desperate move to improve her prospects. They contacted Ferd Chase of the Loon Lake House who offered a cottage for the summer. Learning this, Webb offered his assistance since Caroline’s condition limited her ability to withstand stage travel. He promised a ride by rail for most of the distance but Mrs. Harrison’s condition would determine the timing of the trip. » Continue Reading.
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.
In March, 1889, a group of Jefferson County business men and a Thousand Islands cigarette magnate (Charles G. Emery of Calumet Island Castle) purchased a block of overt 6,000 acres extending from Fourth to Seventh Lakes over to Limekiln Lake. They formed a club, the Fulton Chain Club, and advertised the region to attract wealthy investors, but failed at this venture and began selling lots to anyone. Within the Prospectus for this club is a description of the Fulton Chain region containing a valuable snapshot in time, 1892, of this area’s history.
A copy of the prospectus is held by the Adirondack Museum, from which the excerpts below were taken (my comments are in brackets): » Continue Reading.
I recently discovered an article written by Alexander Byron Lamberton, one of Old Forge’s earliest historical figures, that was published in Forest and Stream in March of 1876.
The article describes the first large-scale stocking of fish on Fulton Chain waters. Lamberton had only recently taken over as owner of the Forge House, and his story reads like an adventure tale: » Continue Reading.
In April 1888, Eunice B. Lamberton sold the Forge House and the Forge Tract, the present site of Old Forge today, to Samuel Garmon and Dr. Alexander Crosby.
Fifteen years earlier, according a note accompanying her poem: “These lines were written on the spur of the moment at the famous pool midway between Martin’s and Bartlett’s on the Saranac River- Adirondacks-as Mr. Lamberton ‘with split bamboo and a fly or two’ whipped the water.” Her husband was Alexander B. Lamberton of Rochester. The poem is frequently seen today on internet sites for fly-casting clubs today across the United States. » Continue Reading.
The village of Brandon, in the town of Santa Clara, Franklin County, was built by a lumber company for its workers. When the company and the lumber industry declined, most of the people left. John D. Rockefeller’s brother, Standard Oil co-founder William Avery Rockefeller Jr., bought the land surrounding the village, fenced it in, and posted it. Woods located on private property that had been open for years to sportsmen and other residents were suddenly closed.
William Rockefeller made offers to the villagers for their houses and in the end just a few residents remained. One was Civil War veteran Oliver Lamora, with whom Rockefeller would battle over access to his new property for years. The full story of Lamora’s battles, financial and legal, against Rockefeller is given in Lawrence Gooley’s excellent 2007 book Oliver’s War (I wrote this article several years before Gooley’s book). » Continue Reading.
Before railroads and automobiles, travelers depended on the quality and skills of North Woods guides to show them the region’s natural beauty, to feed them and provide the best in hunting and fishing. Often, guides were entrusted with taking ladies in the woods.
The guides, especially those not aligned with large hotels, depended on per diem fees for subsistence and quality reputations for honesty, dependability and woodcraft benefited all guides. So when two guides brought dishonor to the profession, guides hoped people realized these two were the exception. » Continue Reading.
According to a deed dated May 2, 1898, Duane Norton purchased sublots 48,49, 50, 51 & 52, lots 49-50 and part of 51 in Great Lot 8 and part of lot 51 and all of 52 in Great Lot 19, all being still then referred to as the “Munn Tract” purchased by James Galvin’s group in 1889.
An additional 5 acres were purchased by Norton to the rear of these lots. Who was Duane Norton? » Continue Reading.
Until Robert Maloney’s 1989 history, A Backward Look at 6th and 7th Lakes, local histories of the Fulton Chain region had mostly concentrated on the growth and development of the more populated First through Fourth Lakes of the chain.
Though my primary subject here is the popular hotel that existed on the north shore of Seventh Lake, I wanted to also supplement Mr. Maloney’s information with additional early history about Seventh Lake itself. » Continue Reading.
In 1896, Charles O’Hara had come from Glenfield and built Inlet Inn along the channel from Fifth Lake on land purchased from David Frank Sperry in 1897, operating it as a boarding house.
In November 1907, O’Hara purchased the Arrowhead from Albert C. Boshart and operated both hotels. But on the morning of September 23, 1913, the hotel originally established in 1893 on the shores at the head of Fourth Lake by Fred Hess, renamed in 1898 the Arrowhead by William Moshier, burned to the ground. While determining whether to rebuild, O’Hara leased the Eagle Bay Hotel for the 1914 and 1915 seasons. » Continue Reading.
On the south shore of Fourth Lake near the Herkimer – Hamilton County boundary is Holl’s Inn. According to a real estate ad in the Adirondack Express, the three story hotel on the six-acre parcel closed in 2006. However, Holl’s Inn continued to advertise rooms and meals as late as 2008 and housekeeping cottages until 2009 in the local summer guides. The hotel sold in 2013.
Operating as Holl’s Inn since 1935, the hotel and its property has had a long history beginning with the first travelers to the head of Fourth Lake. One of those travelers was Charles Pratt of Brooklyn, NY. » Continue Reading.
For many property owners in Inlet, the abstract of title invariably lists James and Jennie Galvin as early, if not the first, owners. But until I began researching this narrative, I believed, as have other Inlet landowners and early 20th century newspapers, that the Galvins were sole owners of the 6,000 acres surrounding the Head of Fourth Lake. I learned that Galvin was an agent for the Fulton Chain Club and it was through his efforts that the land was sold for hotels and camps, and ultimately to the first residents of Inlet.
James Galvin, the son of an Irish immigrant, was born in 1835 in Wilna, Jefferson County. His father Edward was a successful farmer and also managed a prosperous charcoal production trade. James was listed as a farmhand and a farmer on the 1850 and 1860 censuses, respectively, but from the age of fifteen, he dealt in horses and cattle and became successful in buying stock both in New York and Canada. He commanded large credit with banks in both regions. » Continue Reading.
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