2022

Trails Added at Mt. Sabattis

CLICK THE PHOTO TO LINK DIRECTLY TO TRAIL FORKS!

The Town of Long Lake has opened Phase 2 of the Mt. Sabattis Mountain Bike Trail system, adding another 2+ kilometers of trails to the existing 2 kilometers of trails. The two new trails are an intermediate “climbing” trail from the base parking lot up to the Pavilion parking lot, as well as an expert trail that begins off Black & Blue and crisscrosses the Town property before reaching the Mt Sabattis Overlook. 

In keeping with the Rolling Stones theme, the climbing trail is named Start Me Up, and the expert trail is named Paint It Black. 

Start Me Up is considered a “climbing” trail because it accesses the trail system without riding up the Pavilion Road. Start Me Up is equally as fun descending as ascending, featuring a flowy pump section that allows the rider to carry speed without pedaling. This trail is the perfect way to get the blood pumping and the legs moving while climbing through gravel and dirt with switchback turns and burmed corners, before accessing the rest of the trail system from the Pavilion parking lot.

The expert trail, Paint It Black, showcases the best of Mt. Sabattis all in one trail. Beginning off of Black & Blue the trail winds its way through the woods with short punchy climbs, a few sharp turns, and a narrow bridge crossing before traversing the field portion of Mt. Sabattis and entering the woods again. Here the climb gets slightly more technical with another bridge and switchback turns, finally topping out at the Mt Sabattis Overlook.  From here the trail becomes a directional down trail with a built jump line featuring a rock drop, a step-up tabletop, another step-up jump, as well as a few “kicker” style jumps. This jump line is a one of a kind for the Central Adirondack region and is sure to draw novices and experts alike from surrounding areas to test their skills. The rock drop in particular is a showcase feature riders will be talking about long after they finish their ride.

Phase 2 of this build was completed by Steve Ovitt and his team at Wilderness Property Management, who have done an amazing job utilizing the Mt. Sabattis Recreation Area to the fullest and blending natural land features with built single-track riding.


These trails are open to bikers, hikers, dog walkers and any other non-motorized users, and can be found on the Trailforks app under the Mt. Sabattis Recreation Area.

Blog Post by Tim Helms.  

 

Tim has been the Long Lake Events Coordinator since 2019. Tim enjoys hiking, biking, climbing, skiing and so much more. When Tim isn’t out exploring the Adirondacks he be found planning and staging events for the Town of Long Lake, NY.

Raquette Lake Fire Department Celebrates 75 Years

75 years of Raquette

After the disastrous fire in February 1927, residents of Raquette Lake decided it was time to establish their own fire protection. In March of 1936 a petition and hearing was held to create the Raquette Lake Fire District #2. In order to cover a larger area and to get the fire company going, the Fire District #2 was dissolved, and the Raquette Lake Fire District #3 was formed in 1947.

 

In November 1947 the Raquette Lake Fire Department was organized. The first fire engine was built by “Bing” Aldous from used and donated parts. Until the fire house was built in 1950 it was stored in Bing’s Garaage.

 

In 1948 the fire district purchased its first official fire truck and it is currently being refurbished.

The Raquette Lake Ladies Auxiliary was organized in 1953 and holds fundraisers to support the on-going efforts to fund the new building which is being constructed across route 28 from the location of the current fire house. Over one million dollars has been raised to fund the new Fire Department building with the new construction slated to be completed in 2023.

DAY OF FESTIVITIES SET FOR SEPT. 5
By Lorraine Esposito

For the Adirondack Express

This year, the Raquette Lake Fire Department is celebrating 75 years of service.

The members of the Raquette Lake Fire Department would like to honor those who came before them, recognize all who are currently serving, and express appreciation for those who will carry on the legacy into the future. We would like to give thanks to the countless volunteers and the support of our community. All residents are invited to celebrate 75 years of volunteer fire fighting with the Raquette Lake Fire Department on September 5, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the Village Green.

The day will be filled with fun for the whole family. We will begin the day at 8 a.m. with music by Ryan Leddick and free coffee and donuts sponsored by Stewart’s Shops. At 11:30 a.m. there will be a parade which will showcase equipment used in firefighting including various engines and tankers. The parade route will begin at the Raquette Lake School and conclude at the Village Green where the day’s events will be taking place.

Admission is free. There will be food, games and races, a bounce house, family activities, raffle baskets, costumed characters, antique firefighting equipment and historical displays and more.  The Fire Department will be serving hot dogs, hamburgers, deep fried turkey sandwiches and Steamship Round beef sandwiches. At 1 p.m., Mitch Frasier will be performing on the green. At 6 p.m., Michelle Howland and Tyler Peter will be performing and the long awaited boat raffle winner will be drawn. Be sure to get your last minute tickets at the event for a Qwest 18 foot triple tube pontoon boat with Suzuki 115 HP 4 stroke outboard engine with a genesis trailer.

All proceeds will go to continuing the mission of the Raquette Lake Fire Department as we begin the move into our new firehouse.

Special pictorial postmark cancellation on September 2

The past and present officers and members of the Raquette Lake Fire Department would like to extend our appreciation for all the help and support we have received in the past 75 years. We would like to commemorate this special event with a pictorial postmark cancellation. This will take place on Friday, September 2 at the Raquette Lake Post Office from 1-3 p.m. Anyone wishing to join, donate, or wish additional information are asked to call (315) 354-4644.

A bit of history

The Raquette Lake Fire Department was organized in November of 1947.

The first fire engine was built by “Bing” Aldous from used and/or donated parts. The fire truck was stored in Bing’s garage.

A fire house was built around 1950 with land donated by Laurine and Bert Gardner. Materials were gathered from donations, and volunteers donated their time to build the fire house on its present location on Rt. 28.

Today’s squad

Currently, the Raquette Lake Fire Department is made up of 67 Members, two fire trucks, a fire boat, a rescue snowmobile, and an ambulance. The department provides fire protection, including emergency medical service calls, fire calls, hazardous condition calls, technical rescue calls, and other calls such as assisting the public or false alarms.  Be it on shore, on the lake, across the lake, in the woods, or on a mountain, the RLFD is available for any and all emergencies.

Over the past years they have responded to medical and trauma emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, boating accidents, water and ice rescues, search and rescues, as well as the more common structure, chimney, car and forest fires.  They are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  

Raquette Lake Ambulance Squad is a part of the all-volunteer Raquette Lake Fire Department. Its 76-mile ambulance transport to Utica is the longest in NY State. The fire department and ambulance squad participate in mutual aid and 911 Dispatch by Herkimer County. We would not be able to do the job without mutual aid from crews along our hospital route. Advanced life support providers from Inlet, Old Forge and Woodgate regularly hop on our “rig” to assist. We sincerely appreciate the efforts of the EMS squads in our neighboring communities.

The Auxiliary

Supported by the RLFD Ladies Auxiliary (organized in 1953) The Ladies Auxiliary holds numerous fund raising functions to support the ongoing maintenance on the fire house, apparatus, and equipment. Some of these fundraisers include the Strawberry festival, pancake breakfast, hunters dinner and spaghetti and meatball dinner. The Ladies Auxiliary currently has 17 members.

The Big Auction is one of the events that pull in hundreds of supporters. This year’s auction raised $38,042 with two anonymous matching donors to support the fire department.

Bibliography

Esposito, Lorraine, (2022.08.26). Day of Festivities Set for September 5th, Adirondack Express, accessed 8/29/2 https://www.adirondackexpress.com/raquette-lake-fire-department-to-celebrate-75-years/ accessed 8/29/22

From Oars to Props: The Transportation Evolution in Long Lake

by Hallie Bond, Town of Long Lake Historian

The Adirondack Canoe Classic, known to many of us as The 90-Miler, is coming up! On September 10, we can stand on the bridge over Long Lake and cheer on those brave souls who are paddling or rowing all the way from Old Forge to Saranac Lake. They will be traveling an ancient route, one that has seen the full range of propulsion options, from human to the gasoline engine. The death this summer of Tom Helms, proprietor for nearly half a century of Helms Aero Service, reminds us that in one Long Lake family we can see most of this evolution happening on this lake over the past 160 years.

Fig. 1 Caption: This sketch of Bill Helms was published in 1858 as part of an article about an Adirondack trip that included a stop at the Helms place on Forked Lake; the quotes are from that article.

By 1858, Tom’s great-great-grandfather William (1824-1908) and “his good natured wife” Rachel (1833-1902) were living a typical Adirondack settler’s life for the time, farming, taking in boarders, and guiding from their “tidy log shanty” near the south shore of Forked Lake. That “shanty” consisted of two rooms and a loft, in which lived the Helmses, their six children (all under the age of eleven), two regular boarders, one hired helper, and any tourists who happened by. Bill farmed (hay for his sheep, horses, and oxen, and buckwheat, oats, and potatoes) and took “sports” out for fishing or hunting, assisted by his four deerhounds. Rachel looked after the children, cooked for everyone, and probably tended the kitchen garden. Like so many settlers moving into the central Adirondacks at mid-century, he had been born in Vermont, and earned his cash income primarily by looking after the tourists.

            Helms’s place was situated well to catch those tourists, since it was at the carry between Raquette Lake and Forked Lake, part of the “great central valley” of the Adirondacks, a water route with just a few short carries from from Old Forge to Saranac Lake and the route of the modern 90-Miler (now with some shortcuts). It was also handy for Little Forked Lake, Cary, Sutton, Bottle, and all the delicious little ponds to the north. This territory has been off-limits to hunters and fishermen since not long after Bill’s time, when William C. Whitney began assembling Whitney Park.

            Like participants in “The 90,” Bill Helms and his fellow guides travelled by water. Unlike most of the modern paddlers, the guides of the last century traveled by guideboat, rather than canoe or kayak. Guideboats are rowing craft which evolved among the Yankee settlers of the region, rather than canoes and kayaks, boats propelled by paddle that were traditional among the indigenous inhabitants. They are distinguished by their special, lightweight construction which makes them easy to carry between waterways.

 

 

Fig 2 Caption: David Helms carrying a guideboat at his Grove House ca. 1885

William’s second son David (1853-1934) continued the family tradition of hospitality and guiding. About 1883, at what is now Deerland on Long Lake, he established Grove House where he guided and, with the help of his wife Eunice (1856-1918), took in boarders. Their guests included serious hunters and fishermen and whole families. The artist A.F. Tait was a great friend of the family, and in the Town Archives is a cabinet photograph of Mrs. Polly Tait,  inscribed to Mrs. Helms, who had helped deliver the Taits’ two sons in town. Dave was a public-spirited man, donating land for the Deerland School in 1890. He served as postmaster for the Grove Post Office for fifteen years, and as soon as he moved to Grove (as the settlement was then known), Dave got behind the project of improving the track from his place, where the road from town ended, to Blue Mountain Lake. In 1899, he sold his hotel to A.D. Brown of New Jersey and built a house across the road.

 

Fig. 3 Caption:  Oakman Helms’s launch equipped for firefighting (right).

 

            While Bill and Dave Helms took their hunters and fishermen around the central Adirondacks in guideboats, a new means of transportation was available by the time David’s son Oakman (1884-1956) went out on his own. Oakman adopted the gasoline engine. By 1908, Oakman had a gasoline-powered launch which was used in fighting the great 1908 fire that destroyed Long Lake West and probably, in quieter times, ferried people up and down the lake. By the 1930s, he was living in the house across the road from the Grove House, and had built a commercial garage adjacent. The house, now empty, and the concrete foundations of the garage, still sit at the corner. From there, Oakman ran a car service, taking people from the train station at Sabattis or Raquette Lake to one of the town’s hotels, boarding houses, or their own camps. He would go farther afield, as well. In 1938, he drove to New York to fetch the Browns, owners of Grove House (which they had renamed Deerland Lodge). Like the hotel, the post office had changed names, and Oakman was postmaster of the Deerland Post Office. And like his father and later Helmses, Oakman worked for the community in matters such as seeing to the arrangements for a ball at the Forester’s Hall in the first decade of the twentieth century. The Hall, which is now an antique store, was quite the venue for balls in those years, with LaPelle’s Orchestra often providing the music.

Oakman’s son Herbert (1916-1998) worked in the garage until World War II began, when he and his brother Gilbert enlisted in the Army Air Force and furthered their involvement with gasoline engines. Oakman held a farewell banquet for them at the Hedges in Blue Mountain Lake. Gib became a pilot in a B-24, and was shot down in 1944, spending the rest of the war in a German prison camp. Herb served as a B-24 navigator. He was wounded and received a Purple Heart, but flew thirty successful missions in his time overseas. The brothers both came home as first lieutenants.

 

Fig. 4 caption:  This poor reproduction of a snapshot nevertheless captures the optimism of Gib (left) and Herb Helms with their new business and new children (daughter Linda and son Tom) about 1947.

Herb had learned to love flying during his time in the service, and along with Gib and their younger brother Edward, started Helms Aero Service in 1947. Ed put their first plane in the trees and decided flying wasn’t for him; Gib left the business a few years later, leaving Herb as sole owner. He leased town land alongside the beach for his base, establishing Long Lake’s identity as “the town with the planes on the beach.”

            Within a few years, Helms Aero Service had two regular pilots and four planes, each suitable for a different purpose. They flew for both government programs and private citizens,  stocking fingerlings in remote ponds, flying regular fire-spotting runs, assisting researchers tracking radio-collared deer and surveying beaver ponds, transported summer residents to and from their estates and hunters and fishers to remote ponds, and flew lumber to backcountry locations for camps and outhouses. They searched for lost hikers and planes, landing once on Lake Colden to evacuate a man complaining of chest pains. One of Herb’s early customers was the fabled hermit Noah John Rondeau, who, when he needed a dose of “civilization,” would stay at the Adirondack Hotel. Before returning to the woods, Rondeau would pick out his groceries and leave them with Herb, who would fly them up the Cold River and drop them at Rondeau’s hut. And, of course, he took sightseers on short runs to see the Adirondacks from a new perspective.

            Just as Herb’s grandfather and great-grandfather had had to know the woods intimately to guide their customers to a place to catch a fat trout or shoot a noble buck, so did the early bush pilots need to know the mountains. Norton “Bus” Bird (1908-2000) started a flying service a few years after Herb and used the memorable ad slogan, “Fly With Bird.” Bus remembered that the early pilots “flew contact,” without instruments, and the cardinal rule was never lose sight of the ground. They had to assess the local weather in the little pockets where they landed, as well as the routes in and out. Bus also remembered that Herb Helms “no doubt had more time in the air than any bush pilot in the state.”

Fig 5 Caption:  Herb Helms and Nelson Rockefeller, just one of his high-profile customers.

Herb’s son Tom (1946-2022) followed his father into the military. When he came home, he obtained his commercial pilot’s license, married Julia Sandiford, and joined the business just in time for the State Land Use Master Plan to go into effect with its prohibition on motorized vehicles in wilderness areas. This was a major blow to the Park’s seaplane pilots, reducing the number of lakes they could land on by 700. Herb fought the State in court for years, joined as plaintiffs by Tom and the other two seaplane operators, Payne’s Air Service and Bird’s Seaplane Service, saying, as their lawyer put it, “the airplane is unique in that it has the least environmental impact of any vehicle” in terms of the amount of time it is noisy on a given lake (about 30 seconds according to Helms) and the damage it does to the area surrounding the lake (none). Flying also benefits people who might otherwise not be able to get into the wilderness. The pilots never could prevail against the state and supporting conservation organizations, however. Ironically, after the bans were firmly in place, Tom landed on an otherwise prohibited lake to rescue Anne LaBastille, then a commissioner of the Adirondack Park Agency, and her dog. Latterly, Helms Aero Service lands regularly on only about eight lakes.

Tom took over the business in 1998 when his father died. The work now is different from when his father started flying almost 80 years ago. These days, the main business is taking families up for 15-minutes sightseeing flights and moving fishers and hunters to the backcountry, although they will still aid in rescue operations or report signs of fire—particularly important as the state no longer uses fire towers. For most of the 75-year history of commercial bush pilots in the Adirondacks, there were three operators: Helms, Payne’s, and Bird’s. In the summer of 2022, there are two, Payne’s in Inlet and Bird’s in Raquette Lake.  Helms in Long Lake is slated for re-opening in 2023. 

Fig 6 Caption:  Tom Helms in the office of Helms Aero Service.

When asked by the Adirondack Explorer to name his favorite views in the Adirondacks, Tom Helms remembered “climbing out on a gray day just after a hard rain shower that gives rise to wisps of fog; the wet woods are gleaming, and the fog looks like white yarn tying to a green patchwork quilt. Flying late in the day near the mines at Tahawus below broken clouds, and when the sky clears in the west, the low, strong sun finds a hole next to Santanoni and shines on a dense shower just past Mount Adams. We can see two complete circle rainbows, brillant and compact…. But then a sight of yellow tamarack in a swamp in late fall is special, too. Pretty much every view is.” We thank him, and the four generations of Helmses before him, for sharing their special views with us.

Written by Long Lake Historian, Hallie Bond

Bears are Active in the Adirondacks Long Lake

If you have a bear conflict and need immediate attention
In Long Lake NYS Forest Ranger Melissa Milano 518-312-3982
Or call ECO Jared Newell (518) 257-9690

Bear encounters that include any break ins or property damage should be reported to Ray Brook NYS DEC Region 5 by calling NYS DEC Region 5 Dispatch to report 518-897-1326 and press 5.

Bears have been very active in Long Lake, NY and in our surrounding Adirondack communities.

To minimize the risk of a bear encounter the NYSDEC recommends taking your garbage to the dump daily.

Do not store garbage in cans outside of your homes.
Remove Bird Feeders
Secure Garbage to Prevent Human-Bear Conflicts.
Clean all outdoor grills, do not leave any residue behind
Do not store or leave pet food outdoors
Bears are opportunistic feeders and will remember where they find easy food, then return to that location frequently
Intentionally feeding black bears is illegal.
Anything with an odor can attract a bear.
Mask garbage odors with ammonia soaked rags
Remove grease cans and filters after each use
Do not operate fridges outside or on outdoor porches -bears can smell what is inside

While camping:
Keep your campsite as clean as possible
Do not leave coolers or food out at any time.
Do not keep food or scented items in your tent
Treat toiletries as food items.
Clean up after meals immediately.
Keep pans/pots/utensils clean when not in use
Do not put grease, diapers, cans bottles or other refuse into a campfire

In Backcountry
Use Bear Resistant Canisters – Hoss’s has some available to rent or purchase
Pack and eat a minimal amount of food
Cook and eat before dark
Cook away from your campsite
Be neat and clean while cooking, avoid spills
Avoid leftovers
Never leave food unattended

If you have a human/bear conflict
Some situations call for DEC Wildlife staff to go afield to assess or resolve the problem. These situations include bears causing serious property damage, entering homes or buildings.

If you have a bear conflict and need immediate attention
In Long Lake NYS Forest Ranger Melissa Milano 518-312-3982
Or call ECO Jared Newell (518) 257-9690

Bear encounters that include any break ins or property damage should be reported to Ray Brook NYS DEC Region 5 by calling NYS DEC Region 5 Dispatch to report 518-897-1326 and press 5.

To immediately deter a bear that may be approaching your home

Add noise from a radio, a barking dog or lights and noise activated by a motion detector such as a Critter Gitter may assist in deterring bears. 

Bears are often attracted to the proximity of homes by the odors and availability of foods, garbage, compost, bird feeders, pet food, gardens or barbecue grills. Once accustomed to being near homes, some bears are attracted into the homes by the same odors.

Black bears are extremely adept climbers and readily seek refuge in a tree. Whether frightened by humans, dogs, noise or any other unnatural activity, treeing is a normal escape/danger reflex, especially for younger bears. Bears do not get stuck in trees, and can (and will) come down when they determine that the danger or threat no longer exists. The presence of curiosity seekers is perceived as a threat to the bear, and accordingly, the bear will remain in the tree until such time as they believe that the threat has passed.

Normally shy and secretive, black bears will often go to great measures to avoid contact with humans. However, there are instances where bears do not or cannot avoid coming into proximity with humans.

Whenever it is possible, remove any food attractions, followed by a thorough sanitizing of the area with ammonia or other disinfectant. The landowner should be prepared to follow up with indirect negative conditioning (noise devices of duration such as hand held air horns, banging pots together or electronic motion detectors with audible noise making attachments).

One of the most common bear-related problems is that of a bear getting into garbage at a family residence. This is one of the most common problems because every family residence has waste food in various amounts and types, nearly all of which are very attractive to bears in the area. People normally store garbage in garbage bags and/or garbage cans, but this alone is not adequate to prevent problems with bears.

Always recommend double-bagging garbage and placing in a clean garbage can with an air freshener or an ammonia-soaked rag. Remember, garbage cans by themselves are not secure enough to deter a bear. Suggest storing garbage cans inside a building away from windows and doors. A screen porch is not adequate.

Frequently remove garbage from the premise. Advise the homeowner to take all garbage to the normal final disposal area as frequently as possible, especially during warm weather. Bears are most likely to seek garbage from April through November.

Bears quickly learn to look for garbage in any plastic bag or garbage can.

Grills: 

When dealing with portable gas or charcoal grills, the attraction is easily reduced by cleaning and relocating the grill to a secure location.

If a bear approaches or is observed in the area of a barbeque grill when people are present they should make noise from a safe distance to scare the bear away. There are usually pots, pans, metal cooking utensils and a variety of other devices present to make loud noises of duration.

Sometimes bears merely mark wooden structures by scratching, biting and rubbing against the building. A mixture of ground cayenne pepper and egg whites painted onto the surface or hot pepper wax insect repellent sprayed onto the surface has been known to stop marking by bears.

Sometimes a bear will break into a structure that contains no attractant and no attracting odors. If this is actually the case, the bear probably has an extensive history of finding food in similar structures. Such bears seldom return to structures where they obtained no food, but will continue to explore other structures. This is a community problem.

 

Information collected from, “NEW YORK STATE BLACK BEAR RESPONSE MANUAL” Third Edition, Produced March 2000. Access 7/12/2022

For complete guide link here:  

https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/bearsopm.pdf

 

MORE INFORMATION FROM THE NYS DEC WEBSITE

Link Here:  https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6995.html

July 4th Schedule Long Lake and Raquette Lake 2022

Annual Fourth of July Festivities Return to Long Lake, NY and Raquette Lake NY


Join the Town of Long Lake in celebrating the Fourth of July festivities all happening on Monday, July 4th.  The day is full of family friendly activities starting with the Fourth of July games in the morning, swimming and fun in the afternoon and a free concert with Grit n Grace.  End the night with the best fireworks in the Adirondacks with friends and family.


Starting at 10 a.m., join us at the Long Lake Town Ball Field for games for people of all ages.  Classic favorites include a relay for the youngest, as well as balloon races, sack races, egg toss and a three-legged race.  Children will have a great time competing for prizes and, with over 1,000 prizes to choose from, children will want to join in the activities again and again. 

The Long Lake Fire Department returns in 2022 with a BBQ featuring their July 4th favorite,  Sausage and Peppers, Hot Dogs and drinks at the Long Lake Town Beach from 3 p.m. until they run out. Please note: There will not be Strawberry Shortcake in 2022.

Finish out the evening dancing until dark with live music from country band Grit n Grace, from central NY, starting at 6:30 p.m. Their blend of modern country, rock, hits and dance music will have everyone celebrating. The evening concludes with the best fireworks in the Adirondacks at dusk.  Fireworks can be seen from the beach, boat, or the Mt. Sabattis Pavilion. 

In Raquette Lake there will be Fireworks From “The Barge” at Dusk. Enjoy the lights and echoes from your own boat, or from the shores of Raquette Lake. A special time on a lake in the Adirondacks boasting over 100 miles of shoreline, so there is plenty of room to catch this special show.

Fireworks showcases and finales in both Long Lake and Raquette Lake are funded with support from Whitney Industries, Eastern Star Abenaque Chapter #745, Britton Enterprises, Russell E. Rider, the Long Lake Diner, George Carruthers, Raquette Lake Navigation, Wide River Antiques, Hamdan’s Enterprises, Long Lake Fire Department, Adams Plumbing & Heating, Hoss’s Country Corner, Roalsvig Law, Stewart’s Shops, Journey’s End Cottages, Adirondack Hotel, Burnt Mountain Lodge, Donnelly’s Sunset Point, Long Lake Camp and the Town of Long Lake.

A Tale of Swedish Butlers: Cedarlands in the Walker Years

Written by:  Hallie Bond, Town of Long Lake Historian 

Fig 1  Walker gatehouse ca. 1920. Photo courtesy Long Lake Archives

 

If you drive far enough on Kickerville Road, you will notice a charming little stone house. From the stone archway attached to it, you will guess that it was once a gatehouse, although the road now goes around it. Gate to what? Not so long ago, Kickerville Road was named “Walker Road” because through this gate you could drive to the estate of Thomas Walker on Rock Pond.

            For over a century, Rock Pond (known to old Boy Scouts as Lake McRorie) and the woods and hills around it have been officially off-limits to the general public. Now, thanks to a conservation easement, we all can paddle and hike this beautiful area at the end of Kickerville Road. Except for this gatehouse and a stone chimney on the shore at the south end of the lake, most of what Thomas Walker built on the pond is now gone. From the memories of people in town, photos, and other tools of the historian’s trade, however, we can get a picture of what life was like there for the Walkers and the community that grew up around them.

            Like so many wealthy New York city folks in the late nineteenth century, real estate broker Thomas Walker wanted to get out of the city to the Adirondacks and so he purchased a large tract of land and built up an estate. Like his neighbors R.C. Pruyn (Santanoni), and William Seward Webb (Nehasane), he logged the land to create some income. He eventually acquired almost 35,000 acres which he began to log in the late 1880s. He also purchased Round Island and Little Round Island in Long Lake. By 1892 he was building his camp on Rock Pond.

 

 

Fig.2    The Cole Farm with Long Lake at the top of the picture and Big Brook top right. Courtesy B.J. Rehm

 

People were already living in the neighborhood when Walker began buying; the relatively flat land was good for farming and had been settled in the 1840s. Walker bought out landowners like Lyman Russell, Fred Gokey, Elliot Henderson, Simeon and Almina Keller Cole, Ike Sabattis, Elmer Plumley, Walter Hamner, and Alba Cole. Most of these farmers seem to have continued to live and work there. Were they tenants or wage earners?

 

 

Fig. 3 Thomas Walker’s camp from the water. The chimney is all that remains today. Courtesy Long Lake Archives.

 

For a home on the lake, Walker hired architect G.H. Rogers of North Creek. Merlin Austin, who lived on a farm near the present gatehouse, built the camp with his son Harold, Senior, father of Long Laker “Bunny” Austin. (Merlin also built guideboats, and one wonders if the guideboat in the picture above is his.) No doubt other local men worked on the building, as well. Rogers conceived of the building as “Swiss in character.” It was a three story, T-shaped structure built to look like a log building but in fact of ordinary plank walls covered with half-round polished logs inside, and half-rounds with the bark left on outside. A screened-in octagonal porch sat on the corner overlooking the lake. It contained sleeping quarters, a kitchen, and a dining room. Austin and his crew built other structures in the main camp complex, including a rustic gazebo, a stone-faced root cellar, a boathouse for small craft, and servant’s quarters.

 

 

Fig. 4  Summer visitors on the Cedarlands porch were relaxed but formally dressed. Courtesy B.J. Rehm

 

            Walker’s woodland estate depended on Adirondackers. In the early decades of the twentieth century, sixty people worked at Camp Cedarland. A number of families lived there in houses Walker provided (complete with wood for heating). They also had use of a horse and wagon, a cow, and the ice house. They were teamsters working in the lumber woods; farmers growing food and looking after the horses, sheep, and cattle; maintenance men and servants in the house. After the gatehouse was built in 1905, the gatekeeper who lived there was not only responsible for letting people in and out, but for raking smooth the gravel of the drive after every passage. Walker had a coachman until he got his first cars in 1923 (a 1918 Pierce Arrow and a 1922 Locomobile after which he employed Bob Allen as chauffeur. The children of the estate attended a school on the property.

 

Fig. 5  Staff in what looks like a flower garden at Cedarlands. Judging from their clothing, the man on the right may be the Swedish butler, and the woman on the left one of the waitresses. Courtesy B.J. Rehm

 

An ethnically diverse group of people, most of whom probably moved between New York City and the Adirondacks with the Walkers, lived at Rock Pond. When the Walkers first moved to Long Lake, they brought with them a Black coachman named Colthrop S. Slow and his wife Frances, Irish women Nora Charles (cook) and Beatrice Paliam (waitress). A Swedish family, John Danielson, his wife Huldah, and children Reginald and Marion, lived in the service complex at Rock Pond; he was the superintendent. Danielson was succeeded by another Swede, Albert Magnusson. The Walkers must have like Swedish help, for after Thomas died in 1929, Amandus Napoleon Engelbert Watz and his wife Selma Kristina joined the household, he as butler, she as maid. They had immigrated in 1927, and were to play a large part in Cedarlands history under the Americanized name of Watts.

 

 

Fig 6  Thomas Walker on one of his riding horses. He once rode all the way from New York City to camp. Courtesy Town Archives

 

            Thomas Walker never married. He lived with his parents, Stewart and Eliza, and his sister, Mary Louise, in New York, where he was a real estate broker, as was his father. His parents had immigrated from Ireland in the 1850s. It was after his father’s death in 1892 that Thomas began spending more and more time in the Adirondacks, where he, Mary Louise, and Eliza lived for much of the rest of their lives. The women slept in the big camp, and Thomas had his own, smaller camp nearby. Mary Louise remained single all her life, like her brother. She was an educated philantropist, channelling her energies primarily through the Methodist Church. She had graduated from Rutgers Female College in New York City, and was involved in the real estate business herself. At her death, she was vice-president of the Harlem Philharmonic Society, a member of Sorosis, the city’s oldest women’s club, a trustee of the Calvary Methodist Church in the Bronx, and vice president of the Methodist Church Home for the aged in NYC. She and her brother were active in, and generous to, the Long Lake Methodist Church, where Thomas Walker’s funeral was held after he died at Cedarlands in 1929.

 

Fig 7  Mary Louise Walker at Cedarlands. Courtesy Town Archives

 

            A bit removed from the camp and the lake was a service complex with a large barn for Walker’s horses. He was a fancier of fine horseflesh, and would send his favorite driving team ahead of him on the night boat to Albany when he came from town. Presumably, the team was then loaded onto the railroad to North Creek, where it was driven through Blue Mountain Lake to Long Lake. Long Laker and bachelor Bill Cole was Walker’s teamster, and he apparently loved horses, as well. The working team, Charley and Molly, sported braided tails and fancy harness, as they filled the icehouse, drew wood, and plowed the road to the gatehouse. Walker didn’t acquire an automobile until 1923, preferring to ride in his surrey on his weekly trips into town.

Fig. 8   Thomas Walker is in the boater on the right. Is he supervising the men with the scythes, or just watching? Courtesy of B.J. Rehm

 

            These trips were social, to attend services at the Methodist Church or meetings at the Masonic Lodge. The Walkers didn’t have to shop; Lahey’s and Freeman’s stores in town, and sometimes Baroudi’s in North Creek, delivered groceries and other necessaries. But like other great camps, Cedarlands produced much of its own food. There were at least two farms on the property, as well as herds of purebred dairy cattle and sheep. Walker was one of the few sheepmen in town in the early twentieth century. Workers processed and stored the farm products in a smokehouse, an icehouse, and a root cellar.   

Fig. 9 Amandus Watts at the grill on the sundeck at Cedarlands, Main Camp in the background, ca. 1960. Courtesy B.J. Rehm

 

Thomas Walker left the estate to his sister Mary Louise when he died, and she spent her summers here until she passed away in 1946. “Because of his kind and faithful services to me,” she gave Amandus Watts the Cedarlands estate, the townhouse on W. 105th in New York City, the Packard, and “a gold snake bracelet.” He was directed to log the property and give the proceeds to the Methodist Church Home for the Aged in New York City with the stipulation that they purchase a car to take the inmates on outings. It was at this time that he re-routed the road to its present position  around the gatehouse so that logging trucks could pass. Selma died in 1954. In the 1960s, Amandus began selling off parcels and renting hunting and fishing cabins on the property. He sold most of the estate to the Oneida Council of the Boy Scouts of America for $10 in 1962, and later gave the main house to the Scouts with the stipulation that it be known as Watts Loj. He died in 1966.

Fig 10.    The cedar man on the hearth in the Main Lodge, Cedarlands before 1954. Courtesy B.J. Rehm

The big camp burned in 1980. Remains of the Walker era are difficult to find today. A few artifacts were rescued from the fire. The Adirondack Experience (aka The Adirondack Museum) owns a root-base rustic table and a rustic figure of a woodsman that came from the camp. The figure has natural crook elbows and is covered in cedar and may have been made by Watts. Amandus and Selma Watts are buried in the town cemetery. You can admire the gatehouse as you drive by (be respectful; it is now a private residence) and, of course, you can enjoy the beautiful woods and waters around Rock Pond that have been inaccessible for more than a century.

 

If you would like to enjoy Cedarlands: note that much of the property is closed to the public from June 24-August 22. Please see LINK https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/108144.html for complete information and directions.

 

Fig 11. The Cedar Man from Cedarlands, now in the Logging Exhibit at the Adirondack Experience (formerly the Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake). Courtesy Adirondack Experience.

Hallie Bond is Long Lake’s Town Historian. She was curator at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake for nearly thirty years and was responsible for the world-renowned boat collection.She is the author of Boats and Boating in the Adirondacks and co-author of A Paradise for Boys and Girls: Children’s Camps in the Adirondacks, and The Adirondack Cookbook. She and her husband Mason Smith, a writer and boatbuilder, raised two children in town. Hallie has a B.A. in History from the University of Colorado, an M.A. in Medieval Studies from the University of York (England) and an M.A. in American History & Certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Delaware. 

Raquette Lake Conserve Water Order

2022 Great Adk Garage Sale Listings

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Bike Long Lake Huge Success

The Town of Long Lake Parks and Recreation Department successfully partnered with Bike Long Lake to launch a community service program for local children to work for credit towards a brand-new mountain bike.

Bike Long Lake was created after 2K of mountain bike trails opened on Mt. Sabattis in Long Lake, NY in 2021. Bike Long Lake’s mission is to ensure every child in Long Lake and Raquette Lake has an opportunity to earn a bike to enjoy the new recreation trails with more trails slated to be built out this fall.

This program was open to children in both Long Lake and Raquette Lake from 3rd grade to 12th grade. Twenty children from Long Lake participated and completed 23 community service projects in March, April and May.

Projects included tapping trees for a local maple syrup operation, raking yards, stacking wood, moving furniture, gardening, recycling, and helping with a home renovation. This unique program put kids from elementary and high school together which worked out successfully as the older students mentored the younger ones.

Parents participated in an information session in February with program coordinator Kate Connolly who worked as the liaison for the Bike Long Lake organization. Kate worked with Long Lake Parks and Recreation Director, Alexandra Roalsvig, to identify community service projects, schedule dates and assign groups of children to each location. Parents, grandparents, and friends helped transport children to the individual sites and stayed while the work was being completed. 

On Saturday, May 21st 18 mountain bikes arrived at the Mt. Sabattis Recreation area, home to 2K of mountain bike/shared use recreation trails in Long Lake, NY. In addition to bikes, children also received Cannondale helmets and a Bike Long Lake sticker.  

The Town of Long Lake, located in Hamilton County, is a year-round Adirondack family destination, bursting with activities and nature for all. The town encompasses two well-known lakes, Long Lake and Raquette Lake, and waterways including the Raquette River, the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, the 90 Miler Route, hiking trails and the Mt. Sabattis Recreation Area with 2K of shared use biking/walking trails, basketball and tennis courts and a beginner skateboard recreation park. 

Men’s Rowing Race Returns to Long Lake, NY

On Sunday, May 8, 2022 the Men’s rowing teams from St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY and Union College, Schenectady, NY will vie for the Great Adirondack Cup at the Long Lake Town Beach located at 1258 Main Street, NYS Route 30 in Long Lake, NY.
 
This will be the 5th matchup between these two crew teams in Long Lake, NY, having taken off one year in 2020 due to Covid-19. The Annual Great Adirondack Boat Race is tentatively slated to kick off from the Long Lake Town Beach between 9am and 10am weather dependent. The race could start earlier if needed due to weather and wind. The start time of the race is subject to change without notice.  
 
The area between Helms Aero Service and the Town Beach Restrooms will be reserved for parking for team trailers and shells starting Saturday, May 7th through Sunday, May 8th.
 
The event is free.  Parking for spectators will be along the NYS Route 30, Main Street on the Jennings Park Pond side of the road with additional spectator parking available at Long Lake Central School. 
 
For more information call the Long Lake Parks, Recreation and Tourism department at 518-624-3077 or check mylonglake.com

Long Lake