A FREE online visitor's magazine building on 130 years
of news coverage for Lake George and the Adirondacks
Lake To Locks
Subscribe to the Lake George Mirror Barnsider Barnsider
Looking south from Anthony’s Nose. Acquisition of South Mountain creates the potential for interlinked trails along the lake’s east shore. Photo by Veronica Spann

Looking south from Anthony’s Nose. Acquisition of South Mountain creates the potential for interlinked trails along the lake’s east shore. Photo by Veronica Spann

South Mountain: Securing Another Link in Lake Trail Loop

By Anthony F. Hall

Thursday, December 24, 2015

South Mountain, which rises above Black Point on the northeastern shore of Lake George, may provide one of the missing links in a proposed hundred-mile “century trail” that would enable hikers to circle the lake.

The Lake George Land Conservancy intends to purchase a portion of the mountain and acquire easements through adjacent properties to help establish the trail, Board president John Macionis announced at the organization’s annual Land and Water Conservation Celebration, held at the Sagamore of July 29.

The trail would link Mount Defiance with Flat Rock and Anthony’s Nose, Macionis said. Hikers could then proceed south to the Last Great Shoreline, the Gull Bay Preserve and ultimately to Pilot Knob, on the lake’s southeastern shore.

“This one piece is the key to the whole thing,” said Macionis.

According to Jamie Brown, the Conservancy’s executive director, the organization has raised $50,000 to help meet the costs of purchasing the property,

In 2009, towns on Lake George were awarded a $69,000 grant from the state’s Adirondack Park Community Smart Growth Grant Program to create a “Trails Master Plan” for the west shore.
“Creating the plan was a great opportunity to pull together all the information we have about hiking and mountain biking trails as well as bicycle routes,” said Tracey Clothier of the LA Group, who crafted the plan.

On behalf of the Lake George Land Conservancy, Clothier has now submitted an application to the same state program which, if approved, would add east side trails to the master plan.

“Our goal is to inventory all the public hiking, biking, and snowmobile trails on the east side and identify the connections and main gaps between the trail systems, including those between the west and east shores,” said Clothier.

The comprehensive, basin-wide trails plan would chart the 100-mile loop around the lake, said Clothier.

According to the DEC, the Smart Growth grants are designed to help Adirondack communities to develop plans that link sustainable economic development, environmental protection and community livability.

Developing the Lake George region as a destination for bikers and hikers is the perfect example of the kind of economic initiative the grant program seeks to encourage, said Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover, who attended the Conservancy’s Land and Water Conservation Celebration.

Tags: ,


Washington County Fiber Tour Set for Last Weekend in April

By Paul Post

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Fifteen farms from Granville to Cambridge will host open houses during the 23rdAnnual Washington County Fiber Tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, April 25-26.

Visitors may also tour the Battenkill Carding and Spinning Mill in Greenwich, a commercial operation, to see how fiber is processed.

Participating farms have sheep, goats and alpacas, whose fiber products have won major prizes at the Eastern States Exposition, the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, New England Area Cashmere Goat Show, Empire Alpaca Extravaganza and the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival.

“Pick any farm as a starting point and enjoy meeting the farmers and their animals,” said Lubna Dabbagh of Blind Buck Farm in Salem.

A recent study by Helen Trejo of Cornell University found that Washington County has the most fiber-producing farms of any count in the state.

The tour is family-friendly and gives people a chance to see how spinning, knitting, weaving and felting is done. Kids especially like being able to get an up-close look at llamas, alpacas, bunnies, goats, sheep and lambs.

Of course, some farms have retail shops where people can purchase yarn and woolen apparel.

Several farms raise sheep, a diverse species with wool for products ranging from carpets to baby clothes. The tour’s most primitive sheep is the double-coated Icelandic, with its long silky fibers that cover a soft undercoat.

Another rare breed is the Leicester Longwool, which George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both imported. Merino and Cormo sheep have very fine wool for clothing with next-to-the-skin softness.

The long-wooled Romney is the most popular on the tour, with six farms raising flocks of this breed. “They’re easy sheep to raise outdoors on pasture,” said Mary Pratt of Elihu Farm in Easton. “Their rugged constitution and heavy woolen coat helps them to thrive in rain or snow.”

Other farms raise Blue-Faced Leicesters and the Freisian, a dairy breed.

Five farms on the tour focus on alpacas.

“Alpacas are earth-friendly,” said Faith Perkins of Quarry Ridge Alpacas in Salem. “They’re economical to feed and have one of the finest fibers in the world. Besides that, they are fascinating!”

Gentle Angora rabbits are also featured on the tour along with Cashmere and Angora goats.

Farms promote the textile arts with demonstrations and workshops such as hand spinning, dyeing demonstrations, clipping fur from angora rabbits, felt making, and wool carding and blending fibers from different species.

Hand-spinners and farmers can also learn how to choose fleeces and live animals for their fiber quality.

Other activities include goat cart driving, sheep shearing, sheepdog herding and finger puppets for children. Individual farms also offer for sale breeding stock for sale.

For those who plan to spend the entire weekend, Washington County has a number of country inns, bed and breakfasts, and restaurants to choose from.

For information go to washingtoncountyfibertour.org.

Tags: ,


A boat like the one illustrated here, from an 1882 issue of a magazine, capsized in Dunhams Bay in 1884

A boat like the one illustrated here, from an 1882 issue of a magazine, capsized in Dunhams Bay in 1884

Lake George Youth’s “Coolness and Intrepidity” Saved Three Lives

By Mirror Staff

Friday, April 17, 2015

Among the annals of the United States Life Saving Service, a forerunner of the Coast Guard, is a brief reference to a sixteen year old Lake George resident named Charles M. Fraser, who  was awarded a silver medal for rescuing three men from the lake who would otherwise have drowned.

The government document reads: “From the evidence presented to the Department, it appears that on 25 October, 1884, a small sloop-yacht, with three men on board, named Tucker, Hammond and Sexton, while beating out of Dunham’s Bay against a high northerly wind, capsized. All three would have lost their lives but for the youth’s coolness and intrepidity.”

The officials might never have heard of Fraser’s heroic act were it not for the fact that Lake George’s most famous author witnessed it.

That author, Edward Eggleston, was not only responsible for transmitting the information to the US government in Washington, he also told the tale in the pages of the children’s magazine St. Nicholas in 1886.

Reprinted below is Eggleston’s article, which was titled “ A Lake George Capsize.”

Lake George can be the calmest and loveliest sheet of water that ever was shut in by mountain walls, but like all mountain lakes it is very fickle. If you have never seen it “cut up its didos,” you do not yet really know our Lake. In the fall, when the tourists have gone and the hotels and cottages are quiet, Lake George now and then gets into a great rage and becomes quite sublime.

One day in the latter part of October, there came into our bay a trim little sloop-rigged sailboat, with three men aboard. They were after the ducks that always make Dunham’s Bay a resting-place on their long autumn journey to the southward. This little yacht, if I may call it one, had not been long in view when there broke upon the lake a fierce, cold, north wind, driving the whitecaps up into the bay like a frightened flock of sheep.

The sailboat could now stand only the mainsail, and even with that it reeled and tumbled about fearfully in the hands of its unskilled crew, and two or three times it was nearly driven ashore, for the men seemed quite unable to make it beat up into the wind.

While the gale was thus running into the bay, my young friend Charlie Fraser, with a boy’s love for excitement, came and asked permission to go out in my rowboat, to see “what kind of a rough-water boat she might be.” Though I knew him to be both a good oarsman and a good swimmer, and though the boat had always behaved admirably in a sea, I hesitated, until he proposed not to venture beyond Joshua’s Rock, which marks the line between the bay and the “broad lake,” as the people call it at this point.

Novelist and Lake George resident Edward Eggleston

After I had let him go, I reproached myself for trusting a boy of sixteen in a gale that was momently increasing in violence. But Charlie did not care to risk too near an approach to the broad lake; he soon saw that there was danger of swamping even in the bay, and therefore he put about for home.

In passing the sailboat, which was laboring hard among the rushing, roaring whitecaps, he had shouted to the young men to take in a reef; but they kept the whole mainsail flying, though they had to place all the ballast up to windward and then to sit in a row upon the windward gunwale of the boat to keep it from upsetting.

Finding that the gale, which continued to rise, would certainly upset them in spite of all their exertions, one of them eased off the sheet, while the man at the tiller at the same moment brought the boat’s head into the wind.

This left all the weight of the ballast and the men on one side, with no balancing force of wind in the sail, and the light sloop tipped completely over in the direction opposite to the one they had feared.

The sail lay flat upon the water, with one poor fellow under it, while another, encumbered with a big overcoat, was floundering in the waves; the third succeeded in climbing to the upper side of the capsized sloop and sitting astride of it. The wild, frightened cries of the young men rose above the hissing of wind and the roaring of waves, and Charlie brought his boat around and rowed for them. The waves jerked one of his oars from the rowlock, but he soon had it in its place, and was pulling as a strong boy can pull when cries of drowning men are in his ears.

“Help! quick! I’m going! Oh, help! help!” rang in his ears and spurred him to do his utmost, as he headed straight for the sailboat, disregarding the waves that broke now and then into his own boat.

When Charlie got up to the wreck, he presented the bow of his boat first to the man who had emerged from under the sail. This young man took hold, then lost his grip and went down as the water tossed the boat; and Charlie held on to the seat to keep from being pitched after him.

Then the man came up, gurgling, sputtering, and getting a new hold on the boat succeeded in scrambling in. Holding the boat into the teeth of the wind, Charlie then brought the bow to the other man in the water, and so took him aboard. There were now three people and a great deal of water in the boat; and Charlie concluded that it had all it would carry, and that it would be necessary to land his two passengers before taking the stout young man who maintained an uneasy perch on the capsized yacht.

Shouting some words of encouragement to him, Charlie started for the shore; but the young man on the boat, benumbed by his ducking and the icy wind, and perhaps discouraged at seeing the rowboat leave him, fell off the capsized yacht into the water with a cry for help.

Charlie put back just in time to grab him as he again let go his hold, and began to sink. But the rowboat had all it would bear in such a sea, and before taking him aboard, it was necessary to make the others throw overboard their wet coats and overcoats. Then the stout young man was pulled in over the stern, and Charlie soon brought the rowboat, staggering under its load of four persons and a great weight of water, safely to dock. A little while after, the three dripping duck-hunters were drying by the kitchen fire.

“I was under the sail,” said one of them to me, “and if the boat hadn’t come to our help just when it did, it would have been the end of me.”

Eggleston, who had published his most popular novels in the 1870s, began spending half the year on Lake George in 1881. His property, known as Joshua’s Rock,  is still occupied and preserved by his descendants. He died in September, 1902. Here is the Lake George Mirror’s account of his funeral:

-The funeral of the late Edward Eggleston, author and scholar, held last Friday afternoon at his late home at Joshua’s Rock, Lake George, was a peculiarly beautiful and fitting close of so marked a life. The services were characterized by the simplicity which was a distinguishing feature of the dead man’s tastes and creed, and was held amid the scenes in which his last years were spent.

Dr. Eggleston’s body, in a black casket, lay in his library among the books which he loved. Every feature of the plain, tasteful room and its surrounding bookshelves, its pictures and curios, spoke of the man of whose taste it was the outgrowth. Boughs of pine and hemlock and of bright autumn leaves filled the corners of the room and contrasted with the roses which lay on the coffin.

All of the members of Dr. Eggelston’s family and a few personal friends, together with a number of summer residents at Lake George, were present. Rev. Charles W. Blake of the Presbyterian church, Caldwell, officiated. The services were very simple, consisting only of prayers, a brief Scripture selection, a part of Bryant’s “Thanatopsis,” selected by Dr. Eggleston himself for his funeral, and a short poem, “An Interview with Death.”

After the service the funeral party followed the casket across the lawn and the brook to the little family burial plot, situated on a knoll in the woods, and there Dr. Eggleston’s remains were laid beside the graves of his first wife and his granddaughter, Allegra Eggleston Seelye.

Tags: , ,


More than 40 people attended a meeting at the North Queensbury Firehouse in January to discuss the Cleverdale Greenway project.

More than 40 people attended a meeting at the North Queensbury Firehouse in January to discuss the Cleverdale Greenway project.

Change and Continuity in Cleverdale

By Anthony F. Hall

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stewardship Group Presents Greenway Proposal

Not that long ago, or at least within living memory, Cleverdale was home to fewer than five year-round families; the children attended a one-room school house on Ridge Road. A common footpath followed the shore, allowing residents to walk to church in summer.

Modern times, however, came quickly enough. Lakefront residents appropriated the sections of footpath that crossed their lawns. New York State acquired 28 acres on Sandy Bay and planned to build a public beach and picnic area there, a prospect so alarming to local residents, they sought to purchase the tract themselves. Eventually, the state reconsidered, perhaps as a result of pressure applied by some politically well-connected locals, and the land is still undeveloped. Many of the cottages that were typical of Cleverdale in the 1960s and 70s have been razed, replaced by mini McMansions.  One long time resident recently remarked that she liked the new houses, but that on occasion, she and her husband felt as though they were living in someone’s servants’ quarters. The year-round population has grown from five to at least 100 families.  And the road that residents use to reach the Cleverdale Country Store, the Post Office and the firehouse is now so busy during the summer months that it’s considered unsafe by some for joggers, walkers and bicyclists.

One indication that Cleverdale is not the remote place it once was is the fact that more than forty people, attended a meeting at the North Queensbury firehouse to discuss a new, one-mile pedestrian and biking path along Cleverdale Road – in January.

According to Ron Miller, one of the residents who organized the meeting, the path’s design would also incorporate a storm water management system.

The idea for “the Greenway,” as it’s called, emerged from the meetings of the local Lake Stewardship Group, formerly the Cleverdale-Rockhurst Water Quality Awareness Committee, Miller said.

Archival photo of the footpath along Cleverdale's shore.

“Our meetings were a natural forum for discussion,” said Miller. “Although our focus is lake issues, it came up that a lot of frustration had built up for both the pedestrians and drivers who use the road. We saw a chance to do something that would be good for the lake and good for the neighborhood. What began as a casual conversation grew into something more productive.”

Last fall, the group applied for a $1,500 grant from The Fund for Lake George to retain Linday Zeftig of Alta Planning and Design an Aaron Vera of L. Sipperly & Associates, an engineering firm, to make preliminary studies for a pedestrian and bicycle path and stormwater management system for the road.

They presented their findings to the residents on January 25, a Sunday afternoon.

According to Zefting, the right of way is wide enough to accommodate “active modes of transportation,” including snowshoeing or cross country skiing, without infringing upon landowners’ rights.

Aaron Vera said there were “lots of options for infiltrating and capturing storm water along the road.”

“It was a good first step,” former Queensbury Town Councilman Bill Mason said of the meeting. “I think the public supports the project, but it will require authorization from the Town Board, which won’t act unless there’s a consensus.”

Harrison Freer, a cyclists’ advocate who lives at the edge of Rockhurst, sought to gauge the depth of that consensus, or the lack thereof,  stating,  “People appear to be in favor of this, but in my experience, if there are neighbors, landowners, taxpayers who oppose a project like this, it goes into cold storage.”

Freer asked, “Is there a consensus here that everyone can live with?”

Apparently not. “This is in the interest of only a few. The property owners are against it. It would be a frivolous use of the taxpayers money,” said Wendy Kraft, whose family owns land on both sides of the road.

According to Ron Miller, that was a minority position.

“Most of the kibitzing was about how it should be done, not whether it should be done. Most people agree we should do something,” he said.

At some point, it was suggested, a foot path through the state’s wooded 28-acre tract at Sandy Bay might be constructed, creating more opportunities for recreation.

That led Judy Wetherbee to wonder if such a proposal would rouse the state to dust off its plans for a public beach and picnic area.

After Linday Alta reassured her that this was an unlikely scenario, Bill Mason remarked that the project was an opportunity to rid the road of the No Parking signs that had lined it for decades.

“No one has parked on that road for fifty years,” he said, noting later that they were probably erected in the first place to discourage any non-residents from taking advantage of the proposed public beach.

What William Faulkner said of the south is also true of a hamlet in upstate New York: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

Tags: , , , ,


Owl

Owl's Nest, the cottage attached to Eggleston's library

Joshua’s Rock, Home of the Seelye-Eggleston Family

By Patricia and Robert Foulke

Saturday, November 1, 2014

For over 40 years we have lived just down the road from an historic site that still houses descendants of the original owner, who arrived here in the late 1700s. Before that, both the Seelye and Eggleston families were involved in the early settlements of the 1630s in Massachusetts and Virginia.

On July 31 the Mountainside Library, located on the Joshua’s Rock property at 3090 Route 9L, hosted a group from AARCH (Adirondack Architectural Heritage.) Lito Allegra Abrams, the daughter of our friend Allegra Ireland, spoke to the group about the history of her family.

Earlier Lito had taken us on a tour of the property. In years past Allegra had invited her friends for lunch in her cottage on Dunham’s Bay. She had told us that her Seelye/Eggleston ancestors owned miles of lakeshore there but we didn’t know much more.

We didn’t know all of the secrets hidden in the woods at Joshua’s Rock. What a fascinating family it was, walking the paths and enjoying our beautiful lake years ago. And the family still returns to the old homestead, sharing vacations with each other.

Now many of them lie in the cemetery, together for all time. The cemetery is in a clearing enclosed by towering pines. A stone mausoleum marks the entrance to the cemetery. A plaque on it dedicated to Edward Eggleston reminds us that he was born in 1837 in Vevay, Indiana and died September 3, 1902 here at Joshua’s Rock. The other mausoleum next to it is that of his wife, Elizabeth Eggleston, who predeceased him.

Our friend, Blanche Allegra Law Ireland, “Laughing Allegra,” was born April 10, 1915 and died March 18, 2009. Her cousin Jane Seelye West, born the same year, lies nearby.

Edward Eggleston Seelye was born in 1924 and died in 1999. His gravestone reads: “Flie fro the presse and dwell with soothfastnesse” Flee from the press (of public life) and dwell with your own spirit steadfastly.

Older gravestones, pockmarked with age, include that of Allegra Eggleston, born
1860 and died in 1933. She was unmarried, an artist who lived at The Owl’s Nest and was known as Tante. She illustrated some of Edward Eggleston’s books. Tante also painted a portrait of her niece, Allegra Seelye, which hung in the Edward Eggleston Library and is now in the Cambridge, Massachusetts home of Katharine Q. Seelye, the New England Bureau Chief and writer for the New York Times.

The gravestone of Allegra Eggleston Seelye indicates that she was born in 1878, graduated from Cornell in 1900 and died tragically in 1901. Apparently Allegra had been entertaining her Kappa Kappa Gamma sisters in the Seelye home at 212 University Avenue in Ithaca. After her guests left, she walked along a favorite path near Fall Creek Gorge. When a thunderstorm came up, she must have taken refuge under a tree. It was then struck by lightning and Allegra fell backwards down into the gorge.

The Ithaca Daily News reported on August 9, 1901 that her parents, at Joshua’s Rock, were notified by telegram: “Allegra Seelye struck by lightning this evening, death instantaneous and without pain.” The report continues:“Allegra was one of four daughters of Mr. And Mrs. Elwyn E. Seelye. She was a granddaughter of the popular historian, Edward Eggleston. She came to Cornell five years ago after preparing for college at the Pension Onderet, Villers-le-Bel, France. Throughout her college course she was known as a student of ability and one possessed of an unusual earnestness in her college work. By all who had had any association with her she was greatly loved and admired.”

The Glens Falls Weekly Star wrote on Friday, August 16, 1901: “Miss Seelye possesses in a rare degree the gift of her family. Her mental and especially her imaginative powers were of the very highest order. . .She was a beautiful and precocious child. Her brief life was a singularly happy and varied one. She went twice to Europe, remaining a year each time, and studying there. At home she attended the best schools, including the Glens Falls Academy, and spent four happy years at Cornell. . . One of the group of noble modern young women to be seen in colleges, women who combine all the most womanly qualities with a firm determination to seek an independent career in life, she taught during the last year at Berkeley Institute Brooklyn.”

FAMILY HISTORY

The Seelye and Eggleston families became joined with the marriage of Elizabeth Eggleston (daughter of author and historian Edward Eggleston) to Elwyn Seelye.

Captain Robert Seelye sailed on the ship Arabella with Governor Winthrop’s fleet in 1630 or 1631. He settled and was a founder of a number of towns in Massachusetts and Connecticut. His son, Nathaniel, was born in 1629 and killed in the Narragansett Swamp Fight in King Phillip’s War on December 19, 1676.

David Seelye, born in 1750, fought in the Revolution, served in the garrison of Fort Stanwix and moved to Queensbury in about 1790. He is believed to have had a home lot at Butternut Hill. Reuben Seelye, born in 1775, had a home on Sunnyside Road. He also built the oldest (still existing) building in Lake George Village next to the Post Office. He bought Lot Number 10 of the French Mountain Tract from the State of New York in 1812 as a wood-lot.

Elwyn Seelye, born in 1848, married Elizabeth Eggleston. Their children included Allegra 1878, Blanche 1882, Elwyn 1884, Edward 1888, Cynthia 1888 and Elizabeth 1893. Blanche Seelye married Lito Law and their children included Grace 1913, Blanche Allegra 1915 (our Allegra) and Benedict 1917.

Blanche Allegra Law married Harry Lotz, and later Paul Elrod and Irving Ireland. Her children by the first marriage include Russell 1939, Lito 1942, Connie1945, Karen & Gretchen 1948. This carries the history down to Lito Lotz Abrams, Allegra’s daughter. Other branches of the family still in the area include Seelye, Strempel, Branson and Law. Many of them come for family reunions and meetings.

The Eggleston family story goes back to Richard Eggleston, who sailed from the Port of London in 1631 and landed in Virginia. He lived in a mansion known as Powhattan from about 1643 to 1735. A later Richard Eggleston fought in a battle at Richmond. Joseph Eggleston was a member of the House of Burgesses in the early 1700s.

The Egglestons owned several plantations, including Locust Grove and also Egglesteton, both in Virginia. Joseph Eggleston moved to Vevay, Indiana, married and their first child was Edward Eggleston, the author and historian.

Edward Eggleston had tuberculosis as a child, toughened his body by frontier work in Minnesota, took a long walking trip to Kansas, traveled on a Methodist circuit in Indiana and preached to Indians in Minnesota. Later he worked as an editor of magazines, including the Independent, and became an historian. He wrote many books about life in the United States, beginning with The Hoosier Schoolmaster (1871), a novel that established his reputation. In the next three decades he was remarkably prolific, writing seven more novels, eight books for young readers, five major works on American history, including The Beginning of a Nation (1896) and countless articles.

Allegra Eggleston (Tante) was Edward and Elizabeth’s youngest daughter. As an artist she contributed pen and ink illustrations for some of her father’s history books. She painted Morgan horses and portraits of her father and her niece, Allegra Seelye. She lived in The Owl’s Nest with her friend Mabel Cook.

Today, Lito Allegra Abrams (Lee) is following in Tante’s artistic footsteps. She has painted portraits of her mother and also of Allegra Seelye; both hang in Allegra’s cottage, called Camp Allegra. She has art shows of her work in various locations that include landscapes and portraits of hens and roosters. Lito, like Tante, also paints horses and formerly owned and rode Morgan horses.

JOSHUA’S ROCK

Although the property is not open to the public, occasional tours are given by local historians or historical organizations. Armchair travelers can enjoy the family story, an important part of local history, at any time.

Many people wonder about the source of the name. One article in the Lake George Mirror of July 2, 1904 traces it to a tall tale in which the hero, Josh, fights a bear in the water and finally succeeds in crawling up on the rock, leaving the exhausted bear to drown.

Allegra's gravestone

The path to Joshua’s Rock meanders up and down over rock escarpments with a number of large boulders to climb. Tall pines shade the area and pine needles crunch underfoot. In fact, the tail of French Mountain runs through the peninsula. But the climb is worth it! Those who sit on the rock enjoy a long view looking north toward Assembly Point, the west shore and on up to the Narrows.

CAMP ALLEGRA

Lito and her sister have renovated Camp Allegra and it is very attractive. One of us remembers the front porch from lunches there with Allegra. The kitchen is brand new with all conveniences. Windows and light colors have brightened the entire house. The living room is large and comfortable. There’s a nook for a computer and bedrooms are beyond.

THE HOMESTEAD

The Homestead is bluish gray with white trim. Lito wrote: “It was built a few years before Eggleston built his home and library. Allegra and the other Seelye children would have been living in the Homestead when in residence during the summers at the lake. Edward Eggleston and his daughter, Tante, would have been living in Owl’s Nest.

“My Mother told me that Grandfather Seelye (my great grandfather) had moved the entire family to Ithaca to a home that they bought there. They did this to put the children one by one through Cornell, and four of the six went through Cornell. I assume that in the summers they would go back to the Homestead. Allegra graduated from Cornell in 1900, my grandmother later, along with two brothers.”

EGGLESTON LIBRARY AND OWL’S NEST

As it was in the old days, Edward Eggleston’s Library remains connected to the Owl’s Nest by a walkway. Lito sent us an 1880s photo looking up at the houses without trees nearby. You can see the walkway in between the two houses. The stone is mellow and welcoming. Brown woodwork leads the eye up to a sunburst under the peaks.

We approached the library first on its south end. The three-section window had been removed and doors leading to a terrace added. In our photo tarps are along the terrace wall. Tante did her art work on the north side.

In 1972 the Owl’s Nest was designated a Registered National Historic Landmark and a plaque mounted on the wall.

Tags: , ,


‘Love Is On Lake George’ Takes to the Water

By Mirror Staff

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

When people purchase Kathy Miller’s ‘Love is on Lake George’ products, they’re reminded of when they fell in love on Lake George, or are, perhaps, simply commemorating their love of the lake.

Now Kathy’s husband Ron is offering a service that enables people to fall in love with Lake George for the first time.

He’s launched a charter and water taxi service named Love on Lake George Cruises that allows people to experience the same pleasures that wood boat owners on Lake George have enjoyed for generations, pleasures which refresh their love of the lake every day.

The boat is a 26-foot, teak-topped, lapstrake Lyman utility from the early 1970s that Miller purchased from neighbors across the bay from his family’s home in Rockhurst.

So now, rather than piloting airplanes – Miller is a former Navy pilot and test pilot for a defense contractor – he’s piloting a pleasure boat.

“For people who want private cruises instead of rides on the big tour boats, the options were limited, but the demand is there,” said Miller.

His passengers have included Sagamore guests wishing to go to dinner by boat, people revisiting the lake after a long absence, people who simply want to take a dip in Paradise Bay or watch fireworks from the water and, appropriately enough for a boat named ‘Love is on Lake George,’ wedding parties.

“There’s no question there’s a synergy between the cruises and Kathy’s business, whose ‘Love is on Lake George’ wedding favors are very popular, and taking a couple by boat to their wedding on the lake is a perfect example of that,” said Miller.

Miller has also piloted cruises where he felt he’d accomplished his mission: getting people to fall in love with Lake George.

“At the end of one cruise, when a passenger who had never been on the lake said, ‘I’ll be back,’ I felt completely gratified,” said Miller.

For information on prices and schedules, call Ron Miller at 518- 656-7058.

Tags: , ,


Pilot Knob Lighthouse “Back on Duty”

By Mirror Staff

Monday, September 23, 2013

A beacon that has guided east side boaters through the dark for decades has been restored.

The miniature lighthouse, which stands at the tip of Pitch Pine Point at the mouth of Isom Bay, was first erected more than eighty years ago, possibly by Dr. Royal LaGrange, the doctor at Comstock Prison, who owned the Point at the time.

According to Brian Rooney, who now owns the property, the base of the original lighthouse was made from cobblestone, with a gremlin door in one side.  Approximately forty years ago, ice swept it into the lake, where it has remained.

“I remember a couple of men replacing it with fireplace block and a little concrete lighthouse on top. The light was just a blinking bulb,” said Rooney, a California journalist who has spent every summer of his life at Pilot Knob.

This past winter, that lighthouse was also lost, pulled into the lake by receding shelves of ice.

“My sisters spend more time at the lake than I do and they said a lot of people told them we have to get the lighthouse fixed,” said Rooney. “And a few times earlier this summer, when I was standing by the shore, fishermen shouted to me that they wanted the lighthouse to come back.” Rooney said he had no idea how many people depended on the lighthouse until it was gone.

He said he always wanted to bring back the cobblestone light so this was his chance. With the help of Pilot Knob neighbor Jack Davis and a group of old friends, he did.

“We winched the cobblestone lighthouse back onto shore. And over a couple of days in July, a crew of my friends helped build a concrete base, then stand up the old light for rebuilding. We had to replace stones at the top and bottom and re-point the old concrete,” said Rooney.

Once the cobblestone lighthouse was back in place, all that was required to bring it back to life was a new light.

“I managed to find a revolving light made for miniature lighthouses and a glass top made for that purpose,” said Rooney. “And just last weekend, Jack Davis wired it up. It works great. The Pilot Knob Lighthouse is now back on duty.”

Tags: ,


Out on the Lake, Down on the Farm: Add Farming to Camp Chingachgook’s List of Outdoor Activities

By James H. Miller

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Within the last five years, the farm at Camp Chingachgook has expanded considerably into a sustainable producer and educator. The camp has taken in more animals, sown more plants and  vegetables than ever, becoming a well-maintained, wholesome setting where hundreds of campers, from the youngest to the oldest, can experience functional farming, in some cases for the first time.

Needless to say, the campers are learning all that comes with that experience.

“It’s neat, the kids are getting a sense of where their food comes from,” says Jessie Gardner, the primary caretaker of the Chingachgook farm. “It comes from a farm, it doesn’t come from a grocery store.”

Rhode Island Hens

Not only Gardner’s name makes her the ideal person for the primary caretaker position (meaning she spends every morning and evening there). She’s lived on a family farm in Hudson her whole life, one that dates back to the early 1700s, where she devotes the better part of her time and energy.

Camp Chingachgook offers, among other skill classes, a farm tutorial, which began three years ago, and teaches campers the basic skills of plant and animal care and maintanience. Home on the farm are pigs, rabbits, goats, and a horse, many of which were acquired within the last three years. Campers learn about animal behavior, how to detect an animal health emergency, biology, how wildlife and weather affect farming, sustainability, and plenty more constructive knowledge.

The most recent additions to the Chingachgook farm are five Rhode Island Hens, whose eggs the campers have been helping to collect. “They’ve been excellent with the kids,” Gardner says. “Not too skittish.”

Gardner hopes the farm class will provide kids with a better understanding of the day-to-day reality of farmers, of food production, and the process that typically gets obscured by supermarket aisles. “I want them to have appreciation of local farmers, and how hard farmers have to work to put that food on the table and put that food in the grocery stores,” she says.

But that’s not all she hopes for. By the time the campers leave at summer’s end, she wants them to have the skills and knowledge, and perhaps the drive, to build a farm back home. “They’re given the knowledge of how to take care of an animal and a garden, and if they want to go home and say ‘hey mom and dad can I start a garden?’” their parents will likely be confident enough of their skills to give them their approval, says Gardner.

The Chingachgook garden

Lately, with the recent wave of brutally hot weather, the campers have been learning how to keep the animals cool and comfortable. For the rabbits, bowls of water are frozen and sets insider their pens, while a lot of mud is made for the pigs to loll in at their pleasure.

At the beginning of each tutorial, the campers adopt either a garden plot or an animal, which provides them with a personal connection to the farmland. Often times, they have never had such a connection. “It’s funny see the kids do something for the very first time,” Gardner says. “Some have never held a chicken or never interacted with a pig before.”

Beside a bridge where rows of small campers saunter, is the tidy garden, which has doubled in size this year. It consists of blueberries, raspberries, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, one eggplant, carrots, beets, and corn; while additions this year include cauliflower, morning glories, sunflowers, and broccoli. “Everyone does a taste test, unless they don’t like it, then we give it to the animals,” says Gardner.

“The kids love being down here and getting their hands in everything,” she adds.

Gardener says she tries to keep up with what’s going on in other local farms, and support them at farmer’s markets. She knows that local farms are connected, and that what’s happening at one may be happening at Chingachgook. “I like to know what’s going on in the area in terms of particular insects and see how that might affect our farm here,” she says.

The gate to the garden remains open much of the day, allowing different clusters of kids to come pick, taste, and learn.

“We try to make the garden as welcoming as possible,” Gardner says.

Tags: , , , ,


Shelving Rock Falls

Shelving Rock Falls

Day Trip Tips: Shelving Rock Falls

By Sam Gabriels

Friday, August 10, 2012

If you’re searching for a day hike, it would be difficult to find one that exemplifies the varied topography and sheer beauty of the area more than a climb along the 50-foot Shelving Rock Falls.

Located on the east side of the lake, it’s easily accessible by boat or by car.

Usually, the falls are reached by the roadway, but to get the full Lake George experience, you should begin the hike in Log Bay.

A short, 2.5-mile canoe or kayak paddle from the Lake George Kayak Company on Green Island makes the trip just long enough to enjoy the splendor of the water.

Log Bay is directly across the lake from the Sagamore.  At the north end of the bay, you’ll find picnic tables where you can enjoy a nice lunch and store your boats. From there, you’ll embark upon a 1.5-mile hike to the falls.

Following the old carriage road, you’ll proceed south along the lake and come to a wooden bridge. After crossing the bridge, there are several footpaths meandering up the incline away from the lake.

Keeping to the stream crossed by the bridge, follow any of the footpaths up to the falls.

If you’re feeling adventurous, walk up the stream, where there are a few spots where you can stop and swim. But be forewarned: the rocks are slippery.

Once you’ve walked for about ten or fifteen minutes, the woods open up and you’re at the base of these splendid falls.

The water here is usually chillier than in the lake, so it’s the perfect place to cool off after the hike.

Trails lead to the top, but if you climb up the waterfall, you’ll find a naturally formed mountain pool called the Giant’s Bowl. Sitting in the bowl, you can enjoy a shower-like sensation as the waters cascade from the falls.

Although this trip does not yield spectacular views, the paddle across the lake and the hike up to the falls can be enjoyed by practically everyone, no matter what the level of their skills, and is a perfect introduction to the beauties of Lake George.

Tags: , , ,


Wakonda Lodge

Wakonda Lodge

With help from LA Group’s Pro Bono Design Program, Wiawaka Plans for its Future

By Anthony F. Hall

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fuller House

That good communities can be made better communities through good design is a principle with planning firms, one which they put into practice through the One Percent Pro Bono Design Program.

The LA Group, a Saratoga-based firm that has worked extensively with Lake George communities, has used the One Percent Pro Bono Design Program

to assist The Hyde, YMCA centers, Yaddo and several local churches with planning and design projects which they might not otherwise be able to afford.

This past year, Wiawaka was chosen to be the program’s beneficiary.

“We’ve donated approximately 300 hours to the project since February,” said Mike Ingersoll, a founder of the LA Group. “Wiawaka’s mission, history and grounds deserve support, and the organization needed some guidance. Moreover, a project like this one is a good exercise for our staff; they truly buy into the One Percent Program when it’s for a good cause. So this felt right.”

Ingersoll and his staff helped Wiawaka’s Board and its director, Christine Dixon, develop a Master Plan that will help the century-old retreat for women preserve its past while accommodating change as it adapts to future needs.

“This is the first comprehensive look the campus has received in 100 years,” said Ingersoll. “The plan doesn’t have to be perfect; it can change as new priorities arise. But Wiawaka needed a basic tool for planning and fund raising, and this will help.

“It’s very exciting,” said Christine Dixon. “Once we had the drawings, the goals and improvements we had discussed seemed more real and attainable.”

Among the first goals, said Ingersoll, is to preserve the natural landscape.

“The goal isn’t to make it a Sagamore or a luxury resort. In today’s environment, this is a very distinct place; it’s very romantic in many ways. We want to preserve the landscape by enhancing it, by opening up vistas and making certain that facilities do not detract from the landscape,” said Ingersoll.

Over the years, parking lots and driveways have intruded upon the landscape.

Parking lots can be shifted to the road and driveways re-oriented to preserve open space, said Ingersoll.

Administrative offices could also be placed near the road, allowing Fuller House, the main building, to gain more space for lodging and events.

Fuller House also contains the kitchen, which should be moved to a new, modern facility, said Ingersoll.

“In Fuller House, the kitchen blocks view of the lake. If that were moved, there would be even more space for guests, groups, weddings and meetings,” said Ingersoll.

Since Wiawaka sees partnerships with programs for cancer survivors and women veterans, among others, as part of its path to sustainability, the facilities must accommodate group functions, said Christine Dixon.

The resort’s 1,500 feet of waterfront could also be better utilized, not only to provide more space for swimming but to dock a water jitney for transportation to Lake George Village, said Ingersoll.

Wakonda Lodge, built shortly after the resort opened in 1903 and which has been closed since 2002 is expected to be renovated and re-opened by 2013, said Dixon.

“We’re especially excited by the prospect of constructing an outdoor amphitheater at the site,” said Dixon.

According to Dixon, members of Wiawaka’s Board were scheduled to walk the grounds, plan in hand, earlier this week.

Among the topics still to be discussed include the future of undeveloped property across the road from the campus and accommodating off-season events, said Dixon.

“There has been some talk about winter activities and an expanded presence in the community, but no discussion about becoming a year-round facility, although that possibility exists,” said Dixon.

“This plan gives us a base-line,” said Dixon. “It’s fluid, and it can change, but in a generation from now, when there’s a new team in place, they’ll know where we were coming from.”

Tags: , , , , , ,