Walking the mile path along the shoreline of Raquette is the only way to get back and forth between these camps unless you take a boat ride. Camp Kirby is available to rent for alumni of SUNY Cortland. We have been renting it with fellow alum friends for the past few summers. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Raquette Lake’
“After much toil and labor in rowing, in consequence of a strong head wind, we reached the lake at its eastern extremity. This accomplished, our next business was to find the establishment of Beach and Wood situated on some point on the opposite shore. By fortunate conjecture, our guide struck upon the right course and soon landed on Indian Point at the residence of the above named gentlemen. Here we determined to remain till we had thoroughly explored the region.”
Thus Prof. Ebenezer Emmons described his arrival on my family’s land on Raquette Lake in 1840, captured in this sketch of Beach and Woods’ earlier cabin by John William Hill. » Continue Reading.
“Few fully understand what the Adirondack wilderness really is. It is a mystery even to those who have crossed and recrossed it by boats along it avenues, the lakes; and on foot through its vast and silent recesses…In this remote section, filed with the most rugged mountains, where unnamed waterfalls pour in snowy tresses from the dark overhanging cliffs…the adventurous trapper or explorer must carry upon his back his blankets and heavy stock of food. Yet, though the woodsman may pass his lifetime in some of the wilderness, it is still a mystery to him.”
– Verplanck Colvin, Superintendent of the Adirondack Survey » Continue Reading.
The event will kick off Friday night, February 13th at the Raquette Lake Fire Hall, starting at 5 pm with an all you can eat $10 Pasta Dinner to benefit the Raquette Lake Ladies Softball Team featuring assorted pastas, salad, garlic bread, and dessert (take out available). » Continue Reading.
An article in the June 21, 1915, Syracuse Post-Standard was the first anyone in our family had heard of the role our property on Indian Point played in the evolution of early forestry education in the United States.
The August Forest Camp was a miniature village of 9×9 tents where approximately twelve boys and men lived while participating in morning instruction and afternoon fieldwork. The month long program included elementary forestry, zoology, botany and fungi courses taught by prominent U. S. pioneers of forestry science. An old Adirondack guide also taught a week of Woodcraft “such as a man should know who wishes to spend any length of time in the woods”. » Continue Reading.
“Honest John Plumbley [sic], the prince of guides, patient as a hound, and as faithful, – a man who knows the wilderness as a farmer knows his fields, whose instinct is never at fault, whose temper is never ruffled, whose paddle is silent as falling snow, whose eye is true along the sights, whose pancakes are the wonder of the woods…”
– Rev. William H. H. Murray, Adventures in the Wilderness, 1869.
William H. H. Murray is widely credited with bringing the masses to the Adirondacks. The historian Warder Cadbury said, “Murray quite literally popularized both wilderness and the Adirondacks.” “Murray’s Rush”, the onslaught of tourists who rushed to the mountains in response to his book, gave rise to the claim that the Adirondacks are the birthplace of the American vacation.
John Plumley* is the man who brought the Adirondacks to Murray. » Continue Reading.
The legend of Sir John Johnson’s role in naming Raquette Lake has been written and re-written for more than a century. Below is the earliest source I have found, from the 1891 Annual Report of the New York State Forest Commission.
Its name is founded on a bit of history, hitherto traditional. During the War of the Revolution, a party of Indians and British soldiers, under command of Sir John Johnson… passed through the wilderness on their way from the Mohawk Valley to Canada. It was in the winter time, and, on reaching this lake, the party was overtaken by a sudden thaw, which made further travel on snow-shoes impossible. As the Indians and soldiers did not want to carry their snow-shoes, or raquettes, as they termed them, they piled them up and covered them over, making a large heap that remained there many years. The expedition had reached the South Inlet when the thaw set in, and it was there, on a point of land, that the pile was made… Old Mr. Woods, the pioneer settler of Raquette Lake, heard this story from the Indians themselves, and often pointed out to hunters the decaying fragments of the raquettes.
Believing that “Old Mr. Woods” refers to William Wood, I was intrigued to unravel the mysteries of this folklore. Wood was known to be close friends with local Native Americans, and the passage continues with a reference to Woods “in company with ‘Honest John Plumley’, Murray’s celebrated guide”. Wood sold his land on Indian Point to Plumley in 1859. » Continue Reading.
When I walk the land around Matthew Beach’s original hut and William Wood’s shanty on Raquette Lake’s Indian Point, I imagine the Abenaki guide Mitchell Sabattis pulling into their landings in a canoe or guideboat made by his own hand. Indian Point was a waypoint for many a traveler boating through the Central Adirondacks.
While it is impossible to know how often Sabattis visited those acres, we have written record of at least three occasions: his trips with Joel Tyler Headley in 1844-46, accompanying C. W. Webber in 1849, and an expedition of women who explored the region in 1873 (beautifully told in Barbara McMartin’s book To the Lake of the Skies).
Sabattis guided for my great-great-grandfather George Hornell Thacher in 1862 as he explored the region from a base camp Sabattis had on Blue Mountain Lake’s Crane Point. Even if Thacher and his guide traveled to Raquette Lake however, it’s unlikely they spent a night on Indian Point. Sabattis maintained a campsite from 1852 to 1877 on Watch Point according to Ken Hawks, who now owns the property. » Continue Reading.
And how solemn it is to move all day through a majestic colonnade of trees and feel that you are in a boundless cathedral whose organ notes swell and die away with the passing wind like some grand requiem. Still more exciting is it to lie at midnight by your camp fire and watch the moon sailing up amid the trees or listen to the cry of the loon, wild and lonely, on the wild and lonely lake, or the hoot of the owl in the deep recesses of the forest. – Joel Tyler Headley
Many have probably heard of “Adirondack Murray”, the Reverend William H. H. Murray who wrote Adventures in the Wilderness in 1869. His book is credited with driving throngs of tourists to escape the cities for the Adirondacks in the latter quarter of the nineteenth century. However, it was Joel Tyler Headley two decades earlier who wrote the seminal book The Adirondack or Life in the Woods in 1849 that brought the first wave of wealthy sports to explore the region. » Continue Reading.
During the summer of 2014, on the lawn at the Goodsell Museum in Old Forge, Kyle Kristiansen, using a metal detector, discovered a metal object. Digging it up, he uncovered a buried metal luggage tag containing the intials “F.C & R.L.S.B.CO.”
These letters stand for the Fulton Chain and Raquette Lake Steamboat Company, a short-lived and relatively unknown concern established for carrying passengers and cargo from Fourth Lake to Raquette Lake in the days before automobiles connected the region.
This is a history of that company and its successors to that trade. We will probably never discover how that item arrived on the lawn in the Town of Webb. » Continue Reading.
My cousin Stephen Fitzpatrick showed me a mark that is chiseled into a rock just outside the front door of our family’s little red one-room cabin on Indian Point. The mark vaguely appears like an arrow but with a crosshair at the top instead of a point. Stephen applied an ink dye to the mark so it is more visible in this photo.
Stephen remembers asking his mother about the mark, and she said that her father claimed it was there when he first came to the Point in 1910.
The mark itself is intriguing, but the mystery deepened when Stephen explained that the crosshair is actually a compass rose. The large line runs almost perfectly north-south, and the smaller line is nearly east-west.
Curiosity piqued, I firmly slapped on my amateur sleuth’s cap. » Continue Reading.
Alas, the best laid plans… I am finally here at Thacher Camp on Indian Point of Raquette Lake for two weeks. I had grand ideas of endless writing and to prepare, I had copied a treasure trove of my research files onto a 32 gigabyte flash drive and borrowed an old laptop from a friend. Then I discovered on my arrival that the flash drive is dead.
What to do? I began to think back to the precious few letters that I have which were written by George Hornell Thacher while sitting in the 1878 cabin, somewhere not far from this cabin in which I sit today. He probably wrote on paper with pen or pencil under the soft glow of an oil lamp, whereas I am here with pen and paper under the pulsating glow of the Humphrey three-mantel gas chandelier that hangs above our dining table. » Continue Reading.
My family has spent the last month showing off the Adirondacks to a young friend visiting from Holland. In a week he’ll be off to study architecture in Prague. We’ve hiked, canoed and camped as well visited Olympic sites, outdoor concerts and museums.
He has been fascinated by the amount of green space we have, off-grid living and sustainable landscapes. The last segment of his whirlwind Adirondack tour will be White Pine Camp in Paul Smiths and Great Camp Sagamore in Raquette Lake. » Continue Reading.
Through my research on the mysterious Thacher Cabin, I learned that numerous newspaper articles and books referenced the cabin’s existence, none however, clarified where the cabin was located. Maps of Raquette Lake have given no indication of the location, and no photos or drawings of the cabin have been found.
I chose to begin my search by focusing on the one visitor to the cabin for whom historical records might exist. In Aber and King’s History of Hamilton County, it is written that the Henry Gabriels, later the Bishop of Ogdensburg, performed Catholic Mass at the Thacher Camp, July 11th to the 14th, 1878. In the hope that this early mass in the Adirondacks might be of historical significance, I contacted the archivist of the Diocese of Ogdensburg looking for any original documents or photos of Gabriels’ visit. » Continue Reading.
In a recent blog post about Washington County’s new interactive webmap, I alluded to the new and exciting opportunities maps like this present for collaborative mapping in the Adirondacks. To illustrate these opportunities, I’ve created a ‘mashup’ map that brings together data from several sources, including Washington County, Long Lake / Raquette Lake, and Newcomb, along with some data collected at a more regional level as part of an Adirondack Partnership project I was peripherally involved with. The mashup map can be viewed by clicking here.
I had to do some custom coding to bring the data together and add features like the type-ahead search box in the upper-right and the quick zooms, but the actual information is being pulled ‘live’ from online databases maintained by each of these entities. So when Washington County, Newcomb or Long Lake adds a new restaurant, modifies the route of a hiking trail or changes the contact info for a hotel, it is immediately reflected not only on their map, but also on my mashup and any other sites pulling from their database. » Continue Reading.