A new history covering the Fulton Chain of Lakes region from Moose River Settlement to its boundary west of Raquette Lake is now available from North Country Books and selected regional bookstores.
Regular contributor to the Weekly Adirondack of Old Forge Charles E. Herr’s new book, The Fulton Chain: Early Settlement, Roads, Steamboats, Railroads and Hotels, documents the story of the stalwart folk whose lives shaped the Fulton Chain.
The book represents the first general history of the Fulton Chain region in almost seventy years. Herr says he hopes his work engenders new interest in the notable earlier works cited in his introduction to The Fulton Chain. » Continue Reading.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, three generations of the Crego family worked as wilderness guides in the Western Adirondacks. Along the way, they raised families, worked for prominent employers, adapted to new forms of transportation, and helped lay the groundwork for the conservation movement in New York State. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy has purchased 753 acres with a two-mile stretch of the Main Branch of the Moose River on the western edge of the Adirondack Park.
The conservancy bought the property for $880,000 and intends to sell it to a buyer who will protect it.
The two miles of river are part of a 13-mile stretch of whitewater that is rafted in the spring. “It’s nice to know that this section of the Moose River will be preserved in its wild state,” said Garry Staab, a rafting guide and owner of Adirondack River Outfitters.
During his years as a senior advisor to many younger Adirondack conservationists, Paul Schaefer told some interesting stories. He witnessed the following incident in the New York State Legislature in 1953, when he was about 45-years-old, at the height of his effectiveness as a conservation organizer. The following story is about passage of what was called the Ostrander Amendment, an amendment to Article 14, Section 1 – the “forever wild clause” – of the New York State Constitution.
In 1953, the Ostrander Amendment had been twice passed by the State Assembly and the bill was on the floor of the State Senate, then being chaired by Lieutenant Governor Frank Moore. The Clerk of the Senate began to read the bill when a State Senator came up to the Lt. Governor’s desk, grabbed the bill from the Clerk, and quickly left the Senate Chamber. The Lt. Governor sent one of his aides after him and as the aide rushed out of the Senate chamber, he saw the Senator headed into a washroom. Following him, the aide found the State Senator about to flush the bill down the toilet. The aide, a big man, grabs the Senator by the collar, snatches the bill from his grasp and takes it back to the Senate Chamber and hands it back to the Lt. Governor, who said, according to Paul, “the next man who tries to take this bill I will personally hit with this gavel.” » Continue Reading.
In 1892 the New York State Legislature created the Adirondack Park and in 1894 placed “Forever Wild” forest protection into the State Constitution. Thus began a process of wilderness protection for what today covers thousands of lakes and millions of acres of forests.
During the following sixty years however, there were scores of determined efforts by developers, local governments, and subsequent legislatures to weaken that protection to promote mining, logging, hydroelectric power, roads, commercial recreation and off-road access by jeeps, snowmobiles, floatplanes and motorboats. To repel these threats, America’s first modern grassroots wilderness protection campaigns began. » 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.
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.
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.
On November 27, 1901, the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an act that created a new town from northern Morehouse, with the South Branch of the Moose River dividing the two towns. Afterwards, Inlet held its first town meeting on January 14, 1902. Presently (2009), the Adirondack Park Agency reports that Inlet consists of 42,446 acres of which just under 4,000 acres is not state land.
But this narrative is about the over 6,000 acres in the northerly Part of Township 3 of the Moose River Tract surrounding the “Head of Fourth Lake”, as Inlet was formerly known, and the connections among the speculators who owned it prior to Inlet’s creation. This square tract covers the lands from Fourth Lake to Seventh Lakes down to Limekiln Lake at its southwest corner. » Continue Reading.
Beginning on Thursday, August 28th, artists will be found creating their works at View’s Plein Air Paint Out along the Fulton Chain, the Moose River, at the Farmer’s Market or in Old Forge. Visitors to View during regular hours on Saturday, August 30th can see the Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors, preview the Annual Art Auction items and peruse the consignments works on sale.
At 5:30pm on August 30th, the View will hold its annual art auction. Over eighty original works of art, by the likes of Judy Soprano, Martha Deming, Catherine O’Neill, Stephen Fletcher and more, will be available. In addition to the auction there will be a raffle of a basket filled with over $1,400 worth of prizes, including an original painting by Joyce Hanson. » Continue Reading.
The historical publications Old Forge: Gateway to the Adirondacks and The Story of a Wilderness inform us that George Deis & Son operated a large lumber mill near the Old Forge dam until 1900 when they relocated to Thendara.
Adirondack Lakes by Thomas Gates shows a picture of the Ben and Ira Parsons’ boat shop at its second location on the knoll now occupied by Water’s Edge Motel. Their dad Riley, along with John Sprague and Theodore Seeber, built Fulton Chain steamers and guideboats at a location next to the Deis sawmill during the 1890s, then they relocated in 1902. In 1901, the Fulton Navigation Company sued to prevent competitors’ steamers from soliciting customers and landing at their dock and train depot area in front of the Forge House.
This series of events seemed unrelated until I found articles dating from midsummer 1900 when V. K. Kellogg, the attorney for the state’s Forest, Fish & Game Commission, and Herkimer County Sheriff Daniel Strobel served notice on the owners of businesses occupying state lands adjacent to the Old Forge dam. » Continue Reading.
Much of what we know of Fred Hess is from the books by Joseph Grady (The Story of aWilderness) and David Beetle (Up Old Forge Way): that he was born in 1840, came to the Fulton Chain in the 1870s with his family and built three lodges, one at Cedar Island and two on the shores of Fourth Lake. Successful as a builder and guide but a failure financially, Fred left Inlet and died years later in Augusta, Maine.
Using census data, the newspapers of his era and contemporary travel journals, I have constructed a life history of Fred Hess and his family which corrects some of the above. The biggest surprise for me was discovering his connection by marriage to three notable pioneering families of Boonville and the Fulton Chain region: Grant, Lawrence and Meeker. » Continue Reading.
Photographs of the Herreshoff Manor that stood in today’s Thendara depict what could easily pass for a haunted house. It seems that the building, which stood on an elevation of land not present today, overlooking then (1892) newly built Fulton Chain Station, would collapse with the next stiff breeze.
The story of this structure cannot be told without telling of the trials of its occupants: Herreshoff, Foster, Waters, Grant, Arnold, Short and Sperry. Tragedy would be the common thread among those connected with this building. » Continue Reading.
Early Brown’s Tract settlers Albert Jones and his son Eri had gotten into trouble with the law in 1877 for mistreating Eri’s wife, leaving her in a critical condition to be cared for by a neighbor. Around the same time, like many early Brown’s Tract pioneers, they were squatters south of Thendara on the Moose River middle branch called Stillwater.
Albert had become sick and weak, presumably from a hard life as a businessman, lumber mill owner, rancher and breaker of horses for their Spanish owners in Mexico. He claimed that if he was going to die, he wanted to die in the woods. Temporarily, Adirondack weather was the cure and Albert and Eri set up Jones’s Camp as a boarding camp with boats for campers. It was a stopover twelve miles from the Forge along the Brown’s Tract Road. » Continue Reading.