Almanack Contributor Charles Herr

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 . During 2023, Herr was appointed Inlet Town Historian.


Thursday, February 29, 2024

Rev. Robert Howard Wallace Jr., Fulton Chain Missionary

On August 24, 2023, I presented a program about Inlet’s 1901 Church of the Lakes at the church. Its video is on the Inlet Historical Society’s Facebook page. I included a photograph of its steeple bell inscribed with the motto “Come Let Us Worship” and the name of its first pastor, “Rev. R. Howard Wallace, Jr. “

During my research, I learned that Rev. Wallace directed the founding of other churches in the region, including the precursor to the present Niccolls Memorial Church in Old Forge. Contemporary newspapers reported his efforts and his impact on the communities he served during almost nine years in the area. I now wanted to learn about this little-known former pastor from a small parish in Orange County who came to the Fulton Chain at age 68 and founded religious organizations for two population centers in their infancy.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Historic Signage To Be Installed at Inlet’s Arrowhead Park

arrowhead park sign in lnlet

For the first time in its sixty years as Town of Inlet property, Arrowhead Park this spring will have a sign providing its annual visitors with the history of the popular hotels formerly occupying this location. This article acquaints you with the Park, its history, and describes the efforts resulting in historical signage. It may also be a “lessons learned” example in project management for small nonprofits.

The Head of Fourth Lake

For those unfamiliar with Inlet’s location, the hamlet is at the Head of Fourth Lake of the Fulton Chain of Lakes in the West Central Adirondacks. Its name comes from its location at the mouth of the inlet channel flowing from Fifth to Fourth Lake of that chain. Prior to the Town’s establishment in 1902, the Head of Fourth lake was the destination for Native Americans, then guides and hunters and later vacationers on steamers traveling on the chain’s lower lakes, departing from what is today’s Old Forge location. Presently, each September, Inlet is the first takeout for participants in the annual 90 Miler Adirondack Canoe Classic.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Inlet’s Neodak Lodge 1901-1958

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.

neodak lodge

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.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, January 21, 2022

A look back at the Eagle Bay Hotel, 1897-1945, Fourth Lake

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.

fourth lake

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.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Profiles Of Old Time Adirondack Fulton Chain Guides

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.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Adirondack RR Spur Was Built Overnight To Loon Lake House

dr william webb 1894William 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.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Raquette Lake Railway Creation Myths

forge dock 4a11219uWhile 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.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Traveling To the Fulton Chain In 1892

1892 fulton chain club 1_0In 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.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fish Tales: First Stocking of the Fulton Chain (1876)

1874 buell map - Copy (2)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.


Monday, April 6, 2015

“Trout Fishing” by Eunice Lamberton

Trout StringerIn 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.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mob Rule: The Murder Of Orrando Dexter

William_RockefellerThe 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.


Monday, March 2, 2015

2 Notorious Guides In Adirondack History

P326ABefore 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.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

History Seventh Lake, Inlet and Its Hotel (Part II)

0 0 0 1 1910 a d 1910 seventh lake houseThis is part two of my look at the History of Seventh Lake.

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.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Early History Of Seventh Lake

1909 ffg raquette lake (2000x1551)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.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Holls Inn On Fourth Lake (Part II)

1915a 638k_Pratt charles carolineIn 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.



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