Warren County Historical Society Presents …
The Digital Version “REWIND”
February 1, 2016
The First Hotel in Warren County was
Abraham Wing’s House
In October of 1963, Warren County celebrated 150 years of existence – their sesquicentennial. At that same celebration, the county celebrated the opening of the new municipal center on Route 9. At the time, The Post Star put out a special sesquicentennial edition. The following is the basic article taken from that newspaper with some current notes and some editing. The author of the original article is not given. The original newspaper can be found at the Society’s office at 195 Sunnyside Road. The original article can be found in Section 5, page 7 of that issue. Keep in mind that the date is 1963, and if there is a reference to a tavern or hotel, it may no longer be in operation.
FIRST HOTEL IN COUNTY WAS WING’S LOG CABIN
Any history of the hotels and taverns of Warren County must of necessity start with the log cabin Abraham Wing built at “The Four Corners” in the settlement known variously as Pearl Village, Wing’s Falls and Glens Falls.
Here (in Wing’s cabin) Benjamin Franklin passed a night in 1776; here Wing traded to John Glen at a wine supper the right to change the name of the hamlet; here in 1810 John Derby became proprietor and the name was changed to John Derby’s Hotel; here in 1830, the hotel gone, a store was built.
In 1794 another hotel was built on the present site (1963) of the W. T. Grant store by John Atkins Ferris. (Today this is where Hudson Avenue meets Centennial Circle).
The Rockwell House Hotel in Glens Falls. the Rockwell family had three hotels: Lake Luzerne, Glens Falls, and New York City. Photo from post card in the WCHS collection.
The site of the Hotel Rockwell was used almost continuously after 1882 when John A. Ferris built the first building on the site. Later it was operated by Peter D. Treehouse, a Frenchman, who was known for the excellence of his table.
The W.T. Grant store occupied the site of the Rockwell Hotel until the mid-1970s. Photo from “Bridging the Years,” courtesy of the Chapman Museum.
Others acquired it until it was purchased by Wait S. Carpenter, who razed the old building and built a four-story brick structure in 1852-53. It was rechristened the Glens Falls Hotel. The Great Fire in 1864, which swept the village, started in it’s kitchen.
In the spring of 1871, George H. Rockwell and Hiram J. Rockwell of Luzerne erected a new building on the site. It was formally opened for business Feb. 22, 1872. John F. Downey, who afterward was managing director of the Hotel Plymouth in New York City, started in the old Rockwell House. It was renamed the Hotel Towers and burned Feb. 22, 1950. (78 years to the day after it opened). It was the last hotel to use the site.
The Towers Hotel in downtown Glens Falls burned down on February 22, 1950. Photo from “Bridging the Years,” courtesy of the Chapman Museum
Other early hotels of note in Glens Falls were The New Hall House, built by George Sands in 1861 at the corner of Glens Street and Oakland Avenue (at the foot of Glen Street hill), Pease Tavern, built in 1811 further up Glen Street Hill, and the series of public houses that stood on the site of J. E. Sawyer and Company. Among them were Browns’ Tavern of 1812, a Hiram Pease tavern that burned in 1864, the Glen House, run by Henry Spencer, and one owned by Russell Barber, which burned in 1867.
On the southwest corner of Glen and Park was the Central House. Built in 1866, it was first known as “McNulty House.” John McNulty, one of the Central House proprietors, later had a hotel on the site of the old Park Theater.
Daniel L. Fitzgerald had acquired a site on the east side of Glen Street, and in 1910 he and his son, Postmaster D. J. Fitzgerald, built a new building next to the old one and operated Fitzgerald’s Hotel and Restaurant. It burned in 1946.
The big fire of 1864 destroyed the Farmer’s Hotel. McFerson’s Hotel has been moved from Glens Street to Oakland Avenue, and the former hotel building was this year (1963) torn down to widen the approach to the Hudson River Bridge.
The first Mansion House stood on the northwest corner of Park Street. A two-story building, it was enlarged in 1850 and had a ballroom called one of the finest in the state. It burned in the Great Fire of 1864 and never was rebuilt.
On the east side of Glen Street, on the site of the present City Park, stood the Union Hotel. This, too, was a victim of fire in 1842. It bore a sign, “Coffee House” and was reputed to have been built in 1812 by Dr. D. McNeil.
Still A Question
Where was Allen’s Tavern? Historians have always speculated about this. Many think that the place run as Skinner’s, afterwards The Union Hotel, was also known at one time as Allen’s. It existed in 1839 and stood somewhere in the vicinity of Monument Square.
About 1869, the second Mansion House was erected on South Street. This house had many proprietors, until it was acquired in 1905 by John H. Madden, and the name was changed to the Hotel Madden.
The Madden Hotel on South Street, just before it was torn down to make way for office space for the Glens Falls National Bank. Photo courtesy of Stan Cianfarano.
The Madden Hotel on South Street in a 1955 photograph. Photo from “Bridging the Years,” courtesy of the Chapman Museum.
On Bay Street stood the well-known Nelson House, also called the Hamilton House.
The Hotel Rialto was entered through the lobby of the Rialto Theatre.
The Elmwood Seminary on Elm Street in Glens Falls served as a hotel for a short time. Photo from “Bridging the Years,” courtesy of the Chapman Museum.
The Hotel Elmwood was in the former Elmwood Seminary Building at Park and Elm Streets. It burned in 1885. Mallory’s Hotel was at Glen and Sanford Streets. It was later called the Glen Park Hotel. Moved to the site of the Sanford Street School, it was destroyed by fire in 1913. After it was moved, it was called the Club House.
The American Hotel on Monument Square at the Corner of South and Glen Streets. Photo from “Bridging the Years,” courtesy of the Chapman Museum
Stagecoaches thronged about the American House from the time it was built in the early 19th century. It was burned by fire in 1879. Subsequent hotels on the spot were the Hotel Ruliff, Plaza Hotel, and the present Hotel Bennett (on the north west corner where South Street meets Glen Street at Monument Square).
The Ruliff, and later the Plaza Hotel on the corner of South and Glens Street. Photo from “Bridging the Years,” courtesy of the Chapman Museum.
Many other hotels about the city are half-remembered names.
The Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls, once known as the Queensbury Inn. Photo courtesy of WCHS.
In 1926 the Queensbury Hotel was built and soon became a sort of community center. It was sold to the Schine Hotels, Inc. in 1956 and greatly renovated. It is now (1963) called the Queensbury Inn.
In the towns about the county, Bolton’s Lyman’s Inn was the first. The one most people think of when Bolton is mentioned is the Hotel Sagamore. Galea’s Ye Old Village Inn is in the village.
The Rising House. Photo courtesy of Donna Lagoy, town of Chester historian.
Chester had many taverns. The first two log ones stood at The Corners. On North Street was the Temperance Tavern and Landon’s. In the village of Chestertown in later years, hotels continued to occupy the sited of the log structures. Rising House and Chester House are the names most often heard.
The Wells House in Pottersville. Photo courtesy of Stan Cianfarano.
In Pottersville was the Wells House and further up the shore of Schroon Lake, Taylor’s.
Taylor’s on Schroon became the center of Scharoon Manor, where the movie, “Marjorie Morningstar” was filmed. Photo courtesy of the Schroon-North Hudson Historical Society.
As the years of tourism advanced, more hotels sprang up around Friend’s Lake and Loon Lake. Today (1963) there are the Friends Lake Inn and the McAveigh House on these lakes.
The Chester House. Photo courtesy of Donna Lagoy, Town of Chester historian
Hague also had it’s Rising House. A number of other smaller inns also were used over the years.
The Rising House in Hague, NY. Photo courtesy of William P. Gates.
In Horicon, the Central House was built by Jud Smith in 1882.
The first house on Brant Lake was opened in 1883. Ben Hayes constructed this log house. It has been operated under various names since: the Trout house, the Club House, Brant Lake Inn, Armagh Lodge and finally Sunset Mt. Lodge. Other hotels that had their day were the Pebloe and the Palisades. The latter is now a cottage colony. Still operating are the Seminole and Briar Cliff Lodge.
The Pebloe Hotel at Brant Lake. Courtesy photo.
The oldest inn of note in North Creek is the Adirondack House, now called American Tavern. Also in operation there is Farrell’s Hotel.
The Fort William Henry Hotel. Photo courtesy of Betty Buckell.
As with many of the resort towns, Caldwell went through an era of summer hotels. The Fort William Henry, renovated this year (1963) and called the Lake George Inn, was the best known. It burned in 1908 and was rebuilt.
Another hotel of note was the United States Hotel, later called Crosbyside. It burned in 1901.
Crosbyside was on the site of present day Wiawaka on the east side of Lake George. Photo courtesy of Betty Buckell. Photo courtesy of Betty Buckell.
The Rockwells, who built the hotel of that name in Glens Falls, came from Luzerne. They built the Wayside Inn there about 1869 on the site of the Hadley-Luzerne Central School. (Several of the cottages that were part of the Wayside Inn are still on the site). Luzerne now has six resorts which have earned it the label of Dude Ranch Center of the East.
the Wayside inn at Lake Luzerne, stood on the site of the Hadley-Luzerne School. It burned down in 1938. Photo courtesy of Hadley-Luzerne Historical Society.
Early taverns abounded in the outlying parts of the Town of Queensbury. There was an inn at The Oneida, a tavern at Sanford’s Ridge, a Toll House at French Mountain and Miller’s Tavern on the Old Military Road. On the outlying highways of the town today are motels and motor courts. There are many fine places to eat, but in most cases they are not connected with places to sleep as was prevalent in the early days of the county.
The Trout Pavilion on Kattskill Bay is the oldest summer hotel on Lake George.
Trout Pavilion. Photo courtesy of William P. Gates.
Stony Creek has gone to dude ranches after passing through an era of boarding houses and summer inns. There was a hotel there in 1870, but there is none today.
The first to be built in Thurman was Guy Brook’s Tavern in 1820. Today the resort best known is Sun Canyon Ranch.
In Warrensburg, James Pitts built the first tavern in 1789. It accommodated 40 guests. Taken over by James Warren in 1804, it still bears his name, the Warren Inn.
Another hotel that dates back is the Colonial Arms, built in 1825 and first called the Adirondack House. (Today the site of the Rite Aid Drug Store).
The Colonial Arms Hotel on the site of the Rite Aid Drug Store. Photo from “warrensburg, New York: 200 Years People, Places and Events” courtesy of Warrensburg Historical Society.
Chalet Swiss is a newcomer on the main street. On the road leading to the country club are Ashe’s Hotel and the Messenger House.
The Ashes Hotel in Warrensburg. Photo courtesy of Stan Cianfarano and WCHS.
Editor’s Note: Warren County Historical Society recognizes that there are many hotels omitted from this article. Over the past nine years, we have posted over 20 articles on the various hotels – and even that doesn’t cover all the important hotels and taverns.
This article was taken from the special sesquicentennial edition put out by The Post Star, celebrating Warren County’s 150th birthday, in October of 1963. Photographs were added by Stan Cianfarano for the Warren County Historical Society.
©February 1, 2016, Warren County Historical Society.