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Festus 12-03-2018 04:00 PM

useless history - Chapel Pond area
Changes are coming to one of this regions most spectacular areas - the Chapel Pond Pass corridor. Soon there'll be (if current thought holds true) limited or no roadside parking, new parking lots and rerouted trails...Here's a bit of this area's history:
- The original 9 mile road through the pass was built in 1812 and was generally located to the SW of current rt. 73. It can still be followed.
- The second road was built in 1865 and generally followed the current path of rt. 73. The section ascending the hill by Roaring Brook Falls was a very dangerous, sandy, single track lane that often slid and required a great deal of maintenance. Passengers leaned into the hill (and prayed) as their stage, cart or early auto passed through this section.
- Major work was done in 1935 when macadam was laid down and the numerous road-cuts were blasted. The 1865 road remains can be followed above and to the SW of these blasted sections of today's rt. 73.
- Leantos used to exist at The Washbowl, Round Pond (western end) and 2 facing each other on Giant's summit.
- Chiseled dates/names can be found and still deciphered in the bedrock that forms the open summit of Giant Mountain. This was done by the reserves that were called in to fight the fire of 1913 (which came very close to wiping out the Ausable Club).
- An Ausable Club member named Col. Loring built a camp near the cliffs and beach on the southern shore of Chapel Pond. He built it in 1888 and it burnt in the great fire of 1903.
- Lee Garfield built a logging camp in the early 1900s just north of the Round Pond Trailhead on the SW side of rt. 73. Buildings existed there into the 1920s.
- An Ausable Club nanny from Germany was lost and became stuck on the cliffs of Round Mountain above Chapel Pond in 1938. She screamed for help and was eventually heard and rescued (after several failed attempts). A wire from one of those failed attempts leading from Chapel Pond Canyon up through the cliffs still exists, wrapped around (and deeply cut into) several trees.
- A horse on a logging crew fell off a cliff into Dipper Brook - the inlet brook to Chapel Pond that rt. 73 crosses just south of Chapel Pond - (or possibly Putnam Brook depending on the source) in 1916. The crew boss who owned the horse felt it was impossible to retrieve and was ready to leave it when a worker offered him $10 for the horse. The worker and friends spent 4 days (and nights keeping the horse warm and fed) attempting to get him out and finally succeeded using a block and tackle system.
Lots of cool human history here!

Trail Boss 12-03-2018 09:36 PM

Thank you! Fascinating! A whole lot of activity packed into a small area!

TCD 12-03-2018 11:02 PM

Wonderful stuff! Thanks, Festus.

We bought our property here from Adrian Edmonds, who was born in about 1915. He told us he well remembered when the road over Chapel Pond pass was an unpaved carriage road, and carriages would get stuck or flipped over.

tgoodwin 12-17-2018 10:25 AM

Harold Weston's Freedom in the Wilds , as edited and expanded by his granddaughter, Rebecca Foster, in 2008, describes a 1921 incident that was nearly identical to the rescue of the au pair in 1938. Again it was an au pair for an Ausable Club family who went to climb Dix and became lost on the return. Again it was also a chauffeur on his way to Westport who became aware of the girl's plight. Knowing of the 1938 rescue from Peter Bronski's At the Mercy of the Mountains, I questioned Rebecca whether Harold had just mis-remembered the dates years later when he wrote the first edition, published in 1971. She said that this incident was recorded in his diary for 1921 - a source she used for much of the added material.

Since the 1938 incident was independently reported in newspapers of the time, one has to believe that there were indeed two such nearly-identical incidents, but still I wonder .... The 1921 incident is related on pages 83-87 of the Third Edition. This edition also corrects, by removing, passages that referred to "Klondike Notch" being called "Railroad Notch" because was a route on the Underground Railway to get to John Brown's Farm.

Festus 12-17-2018 07:32 PM

I hope she corrected the original books account purporting that General Burgoyne built a road through Chapel Pond Pass for the surprise attack on Fort Ti (pages 35 and 36). That road was built in 1812 by the state of NY and records stating such exist in Albany...

tgoodwin 12-18-2018 09:58 AM

I'm quite sure that was also corrected, although I didn't specifically look for that "corrective omission" in the current edition.

Festus 12-18-2018 10:13 AM

I'm gonna venture a guess that someone got lost on Round Mountain in 1921 (maybe even a Club employee) when sections of the trail were hard to follow after the fires and subsequent logging operations but that Harold then mixed the details of the 2 incidents (1938 rescue and 1921 incident) when he wrote his book in the early 1970s. I wonder how much detail was written in his 1921 journal entry...Like Tony says, how likely is it that a Westport chauffeur was driving through and heard the cries for help in both cases (as well as other similarities...)?

Hear the Footsteps 12-18-2018 09:31 PM

Chapel Pond Pass Picture

I hope this works.
I saw recently a Senaca Ray Stoddard photo taken c1890 in Chapel Pond Pass in a 1989 Adirondack Life Magazine. It shows a walking path. Anybody that has been there will recognize the cliffs in the background.

The photo is copyrighted. However, I was able to find a link to the photo in the collection of Adirondack Experience. If the link (below) doesn't work go to Adirondack Experience Collections Database. Type "Chapel Pond" in quotes into the search box. In fact go there and do the search anyway because this and other images will get listed.

One of the additional pictures I saw refers to Severance Camp. What was that?


Festus 12-19-2018 09:59 AM

That path is actually the road of 1865. Good luck getting a stage through that! It was taken about where the pullout is for viewing Roaring Brook Falls. The older road was above and to the right of that road, up on the plateau...Great Stoddard photo!

Festus 12-19-2018 01:38 PM

Per old newspaper accounts Severence Camp was a girls camp on Paradox Lake from 1924 - 1974...

MTVhike 07-16-2020 12:00 PM

I was up the trail to Round Pond, and imagined I saw topography which could accommodate a "road". I think I remember reading about it, did you post a description of that area? Thanks, I'm curious!

(Nevermind, I found it!)

Festus 07-17-2020 02:59 PM

Well, too late, you asked for it! Here's some history and beta on following this section of the original Chapel Pond Pass Road cut through this area in 1812 by the state of New York. It would make for a scenic bushwacking exercise for an idle fall day (great for avoiding people). Needless to say, a map and compass helps.....Park at the Round Pond Parking Lot and start up the trail to Round Pond (this trail is the old 1812 roadbed and was how the road from Chapel Pond bypassed the boulder-choked Pass ahead). About 50 feet past the sign-in register, notice the piled up boulders on the right. This is where an old (circa 1905) logging road cuts across the trail heading diagonally up from rt. 73, traversing way high above the parking lot... Continuing on, where the hiking trail stops climbing and flattens out 3 minutes from rt. 73, you might be able to discern where the old 1812 Road leaves the hiking trail and parallels it just to the right on the flats. In another 3-5 minutes, at a spot where you scramble up through a bouldery area, the 1812 road can be clearly seen just to the right of the hiking trail. It avoids the bouldery area by passing it on the right and it can be followed 40 feet above the hiking trail for several minutes where it soon descends and rejoins the hiking trail. A few minutes past this, where the new section of hiking trail turns right due to recent beaver activity, the road follows the old hiking trail to a very small creek (usually dry) where it leaves the hiking trail by heading straight at this point. The 1812 road stays to the left of the on again, off again beaver area but it is very grown in here and the road is usually lost for the next 5-10 minutes as it bypasses the beaver area. It becomes obvious again as you crest the small hill and start heading down towards the Bullet Pond plateau as it was cut into the slope as you head fairly steeply down. Bullet Pond supposedly got it's name as in the olden days, locals practiced target practice in that area, away from town where they wouldn't bother anyone (according to the now deceased Adrian Edmonds). The old road parallels the current rt. 73, passing north of the 2000 foot hill that is located on the north shore of Round Pond (called Stoney Mountain in the 1800s) on the flat plateau. The road heads left across this plateau and follows along its edge, northeast of Bullet Pond which is out of site but nearby...The road follows the plateau for about a mile (rockwork can occasionally be seen defining the road) and eventually it passes through a swampy area and joins the Twin Pond outlet brook a little downstream of an old logging camp, about 15 minutes above where it joins the North Fork of the Boquet. At a cleared spot where an old cabin once existed, the road crosses the outlet stream and ascends to a plateau above the stream. The old road parallels the stream as it follows it downstream towards the East Dix Herd trail and the popular swimming hole, Shoebox. The 1812 Road leaves the outlet stream 50 feet above and before the well used East Dix herd trail which is on an old logging road high above Shoebox swimming hole. the old road crosses a plateau just above the herd trail and then angles down joining and following the herd trail for 30 feet or so. It leaves the obvious logging road/herd trail and heads down and joins the Boquet where it follows it upstream for another 60 feet or so. At a spot approximately 100 feet above Shoebox hole, the old 1812 road crosses the North Fork on, what was, a high bridge which used a large streamside boulder on the far bank as a support. It then climbed the hogback following the current trail to Rhododendron Pond and on past beautiful Beaver Ponds, the South Fork of the Boquet, Lindsey Brook and eventually, Sharp bridge where it joined the 1789 state road to Schroon Lake...Following it when the leaves are mostly down (spring or fall) helps tremendously...

Woodly 07-17-2020 03:16 PM

Great description

Dave Bourque 05-10-2021 08:33 AM

If you look closely at the old Chapel Pond Road photo you can see wagon wheel ruts.

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