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Old 01-23-2007, 11:54 PM   #1
harvey
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History of Lake Pleasant/Speculator are

Hope this is the right place to start a new thread (first time member). Here goes.

I am doing a history of the Speculator/Lake Pleasant area and they have next to nothing at the ADK museum on this area (mostly on Raquette Lake area). Trying to get bios on old time locals like Ranger Halsey Page, blacksmith Gerald Buyce, flyer Clyde Elliott, storekeeper Charlie John, auto stations Charlie Downey and Gene Green, photographer Arthur Teftt, info on logging of the area, pics of ice cutting and lumbermen/guides like the Sturges, Pages, Slacks, Wilbers. Also not many know about the boxing era (Osborne's outdoor ring where Gene Tunney, Max Behr, Max Schmelling, Joe Louis, etc trained and showcase boxed to 5,000 to 10,000 fans, brought up in trucks from Gloversville and Fonda RR stations.

Also need info on the 1932 Olympics held here (then moved to Placid for longer snow season), and the nationally recognized Hershey Bears hockey team of Speculator (sponsored by Hershey Choclate who used to fill the team members cars with candy to give out to the kids at games). Lots more interesting history of this area---seems like mostly forgotten (I'm an old-timer!).

Need help on sources, pictures and somebody else old enough to remember and still alive enough to reminisce! HELP! ---and thanks. If we kick the bucket without recording this stuff it will be gone forever.

Harvey (you can email me if you wish at harveykunz@hotmail.com)

Last edited by harvey; 01-23-2007 at 11:57 PM.. Reason: Speculator AREA!
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Old 01-24-2007, 01:07 AM   #2
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Try asking the historical societies, chamber of commerce's (they know history pretty well), librarians, and even elderly residents who have lived there a long time.

If you're located in that area, the human element would be the best bet. If ya don't, I'd recommend going to your county library and using their inventory computers to see what books are available on the topics up there, and have the book transfered down (almost all libraries run by the gov't participate in book transportation, it just takes 5-7 days). Articles of specific historical detail for the level you're looking are hard to find online.
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Old 01-24-2007, 07:59 AM   #3
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Hi Harvey. Welcome to the forum. This is the perfect place to post your question! I'm sure you've checked already, but here are a few sites that might be of interest/help, more for the people contacts than content itself.

http://www.lakepleasantny.org/
http://www.hungrybearpublishing.com/adkattic.html
http://www.google.com/archivesearch?...chive&ct=title
http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyhamilt/resources/index.html
http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyhamilt/bios/Sturges.html
http://www.masterpieces.com/trivia.htm
http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ny/state/his/bk4/ch1.html
http://www.sthubertsisle.com/page3.html (see bibliography)
http://editorialmatters.lee.net/arti...es/efea108.txt

There are locals and near-locals on this forum, who will likely chime in. Good luck!

Dick
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Old 01-24-2007, 09:04 AM   #4
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Don Williams, the author of the "Inside the Blue Line" newspaper column for the Hamilton County News (and maybe some other papers), and several books of the same title is the best authority on History in Hamilton County, especially Speculator, Lake Pleasant and Wells. He is familiar with most of the "old timers" in the area.

You might be able to find out how to contact him through the Hamilton County News (I think he lives in Gloversville).

Hawk
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Old 01-24-2007, 02:58 PM   #5
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My 87 yr. old mom’s interested & I think, she can help you out, quite a lot. She knew most of the people on your list, personally. She owned the ice cream shop, across from Graham’s Hotel, during the late 1940s & her sister was Marion Graham. Dad was an IPC “boss” & lived with his brother, Ken (DEC surveyor) near Duck Bay @ that time. Another sister: Helen married a Wilbur & lives in Mayfield, so she may be a source of input, too.

Sampler from mom: Charlie Downey married Dorothy Goldman, whom was daughter of the president of Chase Manhattan Bank. Her first husband “was a notorious NYC outlaw, whom got killed”. So, Charlie “inherited” two step-children: Bob (Robert) & Pat, whom married Gerald Buyce. Son- Bob was wealthy logger & married Nancy *****? , but he became depressed over “intimacy problems” (even though he fathered two boys) and deteriorated into a hardcore alcoholic. Our family brought him, here to Croghan, to live in one of our hotel camps & serve as caretaker/handyman for free room & board. Sadly, he never got to know his children, but his ex-wife always sent him a huge box of fine cloths, every Christmas. Clyde Kelly, superintendent for logger, Johnny Johnson- lived upstairs in mom’s shop. Mom occasionally, tells the story of how my father walked into one of Johnson’s logging camps, just in time to stop disgruntled loggers from hanging camp cook: Bill Fazette (sp?) “for always boiling the beef”. Mom has some interesting pics from the area and somehow, she has some from her niece & nephew: Joan & Lawrence Aird, showing the old camp @ Whitaker Lake & Dewitt Graham etc.

Etc….I send our phone #, if you’re interested (mom does better in person IMO).

Ps- sometimes I wonder, if Jim Vodron’s still kicking around. Even as a child, I recognized the fact he had a lot of BS, but it had a likeable quality & I enjoyed it. Too bad, about “his son “ &my friend Jamie.
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Last edited by pondhopper; 01-24-2007 at 03:09 PM.. Reason: johnny
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Old 01-24-2007, 05:42 PM   #6
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The History of Hamilton County is a good resource for some information. I believe that John F. Buyce was the blacksmith and builder of the Buyce Guide Boat. His shop used to be where the current Speculator Dept. Store is. Gerald Buyce, who passed away June 06 was a number of things. He ran Oak Mountain and Gore at one point (If I recall). I spend some time with the Buyce clan as my camp is in their "compound" at Northwoods Lodge, off Route 8 just before the inlet from Sacandaga Lake to Lake Pleasant. You could also check with Vicki Buyce who resides in Northwoods and also works for The Town of Lake Pleasant in the Assessors office. The Hamilton County News (paper) has a section each week that details events of 50 years ago. I believe that a town historian puts that stuff together, and I would guess that the papers could give you that contact info. The Parslow family (don't know them), as well as the Call and Page families (who have been there over 100 years) could probably give you some direction as well. Good luck. Lance
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Old 01-24-2007, 11:36 PM   #7
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Speculator/ Lake Pleasant history

WOW---YOU GUYS ARE GREAT! I really appreciate your response. I did photocopy about 50 pages of the Ted Aber History of Hamilton County while at the Blue Mountain ADK museum. Can't afford the book as it is going for about $150.00 on ebay!!! Any printers out there? It is in demand obviously.

To SLAMDOG: I remember as a child watching John Buyce making horseshoes!!! Vicki sent me a nice picture of the shop. Clyde Elliott's adopted daughter Leddy loaned me a great shot of him and his seaplane on Lake Pleasant (he was a great guy). Many others have helped too. I hope this will be a booklet of interest to all locals in the area, when and if it ever gets done!

This is not for money---I love and grew up in the area. If I ever get anything together I will forward it free on this site, or for cost of paper for print copy. It started out as history of Camp of the Woods and Deerfoot Lodge (my father was the founder in 1930), but I've gotten so much local interest that it's becoming more a history of local families and their interesting stories. Lots of work but lots of fun!

To PONDHOPPER: Would LOVE to talk to your 87 yr old mom. My dad started Deerfoot Lodge at Cal Wilbur's Camp Oregon on the Kunjamuk in 1930, as a Christian boys camp. (Yes I knew it was Wilbur, not Wilber as on tombstone). Dad had served as Chaplain in WWI with the YMCA, to departing 17-20 year old young men, many of whom would never return. The indelible mark this left made him want to give younger boys the opportunity to learn cooperative teamwork, respect and responsibility in a strong spiritual atmosphere---long before they had to go to war. Deerfoot Lodge moved to Whitaker Lake in 1932. Dad turned everything over to Christian Camps, Inc. before he died and the camp is still flourishing! So Whitaker Lake is sacred to me!!! Is your picture of Ernie Brooks camp there? Do you know about the Eula Davis (the caretaker) murder there? Fasacinating story.

Would like your phone # or email. Mine is 201-664-5005, or email me at harveykunz@hotmail.com

TO DICK: Thanks for the website list, and all you other guys---this website is great!

Harv
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Old 01-25-2007, 10:34 AM   #8
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Harvey,Two of my brothers and I attended Deerfoot back in the 70s! My family also used to rent a cabin from Charlie Johns on Lake Pleasant for two weeks every summer.Then my father bought our own camp in Inlet NY so we spent our summers in that area.
Deerfoot Lodge had a major impact on all of our lives.My love for the outdoors and especially for the Adirondacks started right there on Whitaker Lake in the shadow of the Dougs. Thinking back on some of the activities we did at Deerfoot Im sure a lot has changed but its good to hear its doing well!
The current director was on this site and must have saw my introduction post (where I mentioned attending Deerfoot) and he dropped my a email.
Sorry to get off topic here but just wanted to say Hello and welcome to the forum! Dont forget to include the Robert Garrow story in your history of the area. I will never forget how he stole smilin Sams car from Deerfoot and all the troopers scouring the woods for him.
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Old 01-25-2007, 11:56 AM   #9
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To TROUTHUNTER: This is incredible. Didn't think I'd get this lucky. Have sent out hundreds of snail mail letters to Deerfoot Lodge alumni (with return SASE, no less) with very little response. One day on this forum and I meet a fellow Deerfooter! Do you have any old pictures of Deerfoot and maybe could I get you to write the Robert Garrow story for us. The book I'm working on is called "Deerfoot Lodge---camper tales and local lore" but didn't think anyone would be familiar with Deerfoot so just mentioned Speculator. They already have a camp history (great book) so this is more as mentioned, interesting camper tales and history of the surrounding area, including dear local friends we have made over the years, and stories written by campers themselves.

Ted Aber's Hamilton County book ends about 1920, so this picks up from there. Don't know of anyone else that has studied this era, do you? I look forward to talking with you

To SLAMDOG: Do you by any chance have a picture of one of John Buyce's guide boats? Or his blacksmith shop---the one I have is really too fuzzy to use.

Just visited the Gene Tunney site. Some great shots of him and the fights at Osborne Inn in Speculator. Sleepy old Specualtor certainly had its day in history! Have some great stories about Sturges House, the most popular watering hole in ADK in late 1800's and early 1900's. According to the 1872 'Guide to the Adirondacks', "The Sturges House is most agreeably located. Ladies as well as gentlemen will find a few weeks summer tarry rendered exceedingly enjoyable". Oh for the naive old days!!!

Speculator had a 3200 foot bobsled run for the 1932 Olympics (down Sturges Mountain) and a figure skating arena somewhere, but can't find more info on the Olympics. Can anybody help?

Harvey
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Old 01-25-2007, 12:29 PM   #10
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Maybe these are of some interest:

http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyhamilt/hi...erOutings.html
http://www.protectadks.org/library/a...logy111306.pdf
http://www.orda.org/newsite/togo/museum.php
http://www.amazon.com/Adirondacks-19.../dp/0738511560
http://www.hungrybearpublishing.com/adkattic.html

Dick
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Old 01-29-2007, 03:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Ted Aber's Hamilton County book ends about 1920, so this picks up from there. Don't know of anyone else that has studied this era, do you? I look forward to talking with you

To SLAMDOG: Do you by any chance have a picture of one of John Buyce's guide boats? Or his blacksmith shop---the one I have is really too fuzzy to use.
Harvey
I have a photo of one of Johns guideboats. Vicki refinished it, I caught it next to some adirondack chairs on our beach at Northwoods during a foggy sunrise. (It was selected for the Northwoods Christmas card in 2005!) Somehow, I'll have to get a copy to you. Vicki also keeps that boat (which won 1rst place in the Lake Pleasant Antique Boat show 2005) right in front of Geralds former camp. It's a beauty to say the least. Ward (on this site) Malcolm Cooke is my co-46er and he now lives in Speculator. He has a copy of Ted Aber and Stella Kings, History of Hamilton County. I think (?) that the original book, dated earlier, can be found in the Lake Pleasant Library, but I don't recall. Let me know if you're going to be up in the area and we can get together. I can probably get a bunch of the Pages, Calls, Swifts, etc. together. Intersting project. Lance/Slamdog
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Old 02-05-2007, 03:21 PM   #12
harvey
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Speculator/lake Pleasant history

Hi Slamdog (and others interested in the area)

Thanks for your reply. I look forward to getting together. I will be up there as soon as the weather breaks (a little too cold for camping yet!). Please let me know how I can contact you direct. The guide boat pic will be good for the page on John Buyce. Was Gerald his son? I hear he just died recently.

I am enclosing a query sent to Mary and Annie (Mary replied and gave me Annie's email). They are both into local history. The letter below gives some names I need info on.

Hi Annie and Mary--

Received a note from Mary Slack Maynard (I hope I got your correct email address) to contact Annie but Mary said "I know more about the Pages of the past than present". Well the past is what I'm searching so I will appreciate input from either of you! Being a Slack you must also know the Pages!

Background: I am doing a history that started about Deerfoot Lodge but it has become more of Speculator and surrounding area and local families, because I love the area. I spent every summer there from age one to 18, and often visits since. I worked in a lumbercamp there one year as a kid, and I love the people and the area. I am thinking of moving there soon as I can't afford the taxes in NJ and my heart is in Speculator.

My dad started Deerfoot Lodge boys camp on the Kunjamuk River in 1930 at Cal Wilber's (Wilbur?) Camp Oregon. His wife Amelia was the cook. In those days we couldn't afford steak, but Cal used to bring in some really good meat every so often. We enjoyed it and wondered how he could be so generous, and later found he shot it (venison) on the sly! In 1933 Cal's camp burned down but no one was hurt fortunately, so my dad rented Halsey Page's cabin on Whitaker Lake and Mrs. Halsey Page was the cook (can't find her first name). This was 1933 and 1934. In 1935 Halsey became forest ranger so he sold his cabin to may dad (property was leased from IPC). Halsey became a very good friend and he was a role model to me in my childhood. I really liked him and have never been able to find out what happened to him, where he was buried (to find dates) and his wife's name.


Also trying to find info on Dave Page who had a hunting camp on Whitaker for many years with his woman Irene. When Deerfoot Lodge bought the Whitaker property, he became our caretaker and continued to live on the property, and also became a good friend. He also had a house on Back Street, where unfortunately he and Irene Hogan died in the fire 1960. I was glad to see that he and Irene are now side by side in the Speculator cemetary as they would have wanted. He was faithful to her for many years. Did he have a previous marriage and any children? If so I would love to contact them for any stories about his life.

As a kid we would often see Dan'l (don't call him Daniel!) Page walking along Doug Mtn Road (he was caretaker at the Doug Mtn Ponds cabins for many years). At first we were scared because he was a short cross-eyed, bearded and formidable looking person with his big shot-gun (almost as big as he was!), but after we got to know him, he was very friendly and we realized the gun was just to get some meat for dinner! Don't know his history either. Would love to get pictures of any of these guys (especially Halsey in his ranger uniform and Dave and Irene together) if anyone has them, to put in the history book. This is a labor of love, I don't intend to make anything on it. In fact it might be nice to make it available on your website for those interested.

Also while I'm at it, I'm trying to find stories on John Buyce (blacksmith & guide boats), Charlie Downey, Charlie Johns, Gene Green, The Tefts (Arthur and Lila), Clyde Elliott and Virginia, Stanley Schoonmaker, Frank Gifford, the Sturges or whoever took over the Sturges house after David died (and what year did it burn to the ground?). Any Sturges people left? Pants Lawrence and the boxing era, the Olympic years, the Hershey Bears hockey team (Charlie Wickes was a goalie), etc. etc. I have a lot of info but am trying to fill in the gaps.

I have the 'History of Hamilton County' (a zerox of the local pages---the book now costs $150.00)! It does not get into recent history other that who was mayor and clerk, etc. I do have 'The Quiet Years' by Minnie Stanyon which is good. The ADK museum has nothing on Speculator/Lake Pleasant area (mostly Racquette/Finger/Lake George).

Any thoughts you have will be greatly appreciated and I look forward to hearing from you both.

Best regards,
Harvey

Last edited by harvey; 02-05-2007 at 03:24 PM.. Reason: Add Nathan, Harry and Dexter Slack, Tommy Novosel, Charlie Wight and the Hutchinsons
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Old 02-05-2007, 03:35 PM   #13
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How about the Osbornes, Melody Lodge history, the fish hatchery and the haunted Rhinelander mansion. Any pictures? The name Speculator. Somebody said it was from silver speculators mining on Speculator mountain. Does anybody know of any mines left. I hear there is one back of the Doug Mountains. How do you find the trail to get there? Anything besides silver, and what era was that?
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Old 02-16-2007, 01:55 PM   #14
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I've got a few old Pants Lawrence folklore type stories if you're interested. I compiled a bunch of Adirondack folklore and tall tales for a article I wrote back in the early 1970's.
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Old 02-19-2007, 02:56 AM   #15
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'Pants' Lawrence

Roy---

Just got back to the forum. Yes, would love to hear 'Pants' Lawrence stories. And how did he get the Pants nickname?

I understand he was one-time mayor of Speculator and also a trainer of Gene Tunney, Max Baehr and Max Schmelling at Osborne's Inn, and a colorful character but that's all I know. Was he also a guide? And the years?

Look forward to hearing from you.
Harvey
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Old 02-19-2007, 09:16 AM   #16
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Hi Harvey,

Have you tried the New York Folklore Quarterly? First article in this volume is about Pants Lawrence.

Dick
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:31 AM   #17
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Hi Harvey,

Have you tried the New York Folklore Quarterly? First article in this volume is about Pants Lawrence.

Dick
Nice link Dick, never heard of the society. Ony $20 a year to join. Right up my alley, now if I can mug a little old lady for the $20.00
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:32 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Hi Harvey,

Have you tried the New York Folklore Quarterly? First article in this volume is about Pants Lawrence.

Dick
Nice link Dick, never heard of the society. Only $20 a year to join. Right up my alley, now if I can mug a little old lady for the $20.00

Unfortunately for Harvey the issue is sold out but I see you can order a pdf. Ain't technology grand..... (oop's, that's another thread)
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Old 02-19-2007, 12:07 PM   #19
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Nice link Dick, never heard of the society. Only $20 a year to join. Right up my alley, now if I can mug a little old lady for the $20.00

Unfortunately for Harvey the issue is sold out but I see you can order a pdf. Ain't technology grand..... (oop's, that's another thread)
And libraries and museums may have it.
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Old 02-21-2007, 02:19 AM   #20
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Dick---
Thanks a million. I ordered the PDF.

As mentioned on another part of the forum, does anyone know where Charlie Johns is buried or if he had family? Dean Lane, current owner of the store, doesn't know.

How about Mrs. Amy Slack Earley--anybody remember her? As postmistress for many, many years, she knew everybody in town by first name. No boxes in those days and you didn't have to ask for your mail. When you strolled up to the window (in the south end of Charlie Johns store) she had it ready for you. Everybody knew everybody in those days as we all chatted while waiting for the Northville (and points south) mail truck that arrived at 3pm. We didn't need a newspaper! I loved those people, nothing like it today! Some people called us wood hicks back then. I'd much rather be a wood hick than a self-centered NYC tourist!!!

If anybody needed something everybody would pitch in. After Arthur Tefft, the photographer died, his wife Lila continued the business in their studio over Gene Green's garage. When the garage burned down, the whole town took up a collection and bought Lila a house trailer to live in, and the women would bring over food. They took care of her until she finally passed away.
That was the spirit of Speculator.

Also trying to get info on Halsey Page, guide/forest ranger. To me as a kid he was 'The Lone Ranger'---handsome and daring!
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