This is the story of how an unambitious, unsociable man who could barely support himself, much less his family, and had no experience whatsoever in running a hotel, came to build and run the first hotel on Raquette Lake. That such a person who, according to one of his relatives, “was neither suited to the country, nor the people” and “made enemies through the country” could be capable of this feat seems to defy all we know about other proprietors of pioneer hotels.
Wilber, the man who built the hotel, came into the Adirondacks from the West around 1855, a time when all the inhabitants of Raquette Lake could fit into a present-day family’s SUV. He named his establishment the Raquette Lake Hotel, but contemporaries called it Wilbur’s or Wilber’s. But very little was known about this pioneer hotel owner, why he came here, why he built the place. Even his proper name remained something of a mystery. » Continue Reading.