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November 15, 2012

Alma Farm, Town of Bolton

The farmhouse at Alma Farm, looking northwest. The porch on the left is facing Padanarum Road. The carriage shed/barn on the far right is connected to the main house by the one-story kitchen and laundry. Photo courtesy of Dr. George A. and Ruth Lamb).

Among the Town of Bolton’s early settlements was the farming community of Wardboro in the shadow of Tongue Mountain.   In the authors’ description, “….the soil lay rich, the timber stood tall and the deer and rattlesnake roamed.”  Wardboro was established and settled about 1800, and by 1858, large areas of the area had been cleared of trees. The northern half of the valley was developed with houses, sawmills and schoolhouses.

Theodore Meyers, a wealthy businessman from New York City, first visited the area in the 1860s as a young man, and dreamed of establishing a farm in the Wardboro valley  that would provide much “sport and adventure” for he and his friends.

Theodore F. H. Meyer (1844-1903). Meyer first visited Lake George in the 1860s and regular visits prompted him to purchase land for his own family. He was introduced to the Wardboro Valley during a fishing and hunting expedition. He eventually purchased about 1,000 acres of property that would become Alma Farm as an escape for his family from New York City. (Photo from Alma Farm an Adirondack Meeting Place by Boas and Meyer).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helene Krackowizer Meyer married Theodore Meyer on August 24, 1875. They raised six children in Manhattan and the family spent summers at Alma Farm. Alma Farm continued to function as a family summer and meeting place until 1925. (Photo from Alma Farm an Adirondack Meeting Place by Boas and Meyer).

     Helene Krackowizer Meyer married Theodore Meyer on August 24, 1875.  They raised six children in Manhattan and the family spent summers at Alma Farm.  Alma Farm continued to function as a family summer and meeting place until 1925.  (Photo from Alma Farm an Adirondack Meeting Place by Boas and Meyer).

Another view of the farmhouse with a view of the porch that faces Padanarum Road. Photo courtesy of Dr. George A. and Ruth Lamb).

 

 

In 1875, after his marriage to Helene Mary Theresa Krackowizer, the daughter of a prominent surgeon, he purchased about 1000 acres of flats and surrounding hills in Wardboro in the Town of Bolton, and designated it as Alma Farm.  Alma Farm occupied the lower half of Wardboro Valley and for the next 50 years it functioned as a family summer and meeting place, until 1925.

 

 

 

The valley is filled with clay and glacial sediment covered with soil and humus that created  one of the most fertile farming sites in Warren County.  The residents had dairy farms, and produced grains, potatoes, vegetables, lumber, and maple sap for sugar.  As late as 1890, the valley produced 12 tons of maple products.

Alma Farm

Topographical map of the Northwest Bay area of Lake George that shows the location of Alma Farm in the Town of Bolton. (Photo from Alma Farm an Adirondack Meeting Place by Boas and Meyer).

 

Established in 1875, the farm comprised 1050 acres including 120 acres of tillable land, 70 acres of pasture, 40 acres of reclaimable land, 760 acres of woodlands and 60 acres of waste.  It was a “splendid gentleman’s farm” with a 30 room farmhouse.  Barns and outbuildings were  located east of Padanarum Road.  The cow barn was 140 feet long, 40 feet wide and 24 feet high under the eaves.  The horse barn was 70 feet long, 31 feet wide, and 26 feet in height.   Outbuildings included an icehouse, pigpen, corn house, tool house, privy and a “jet” barn.

Looking at the farmhouse from the northwest. The darker section is the kitchen and laundry. Photo courtesy of Dr. George A. and Ruth Lamb).

Between 1880 and 1900, Alma Farm in its heyday was a first class dairy and stock operation with prize winning cattle and handsome horses.  The farm was in decline in 1912, and was purchased in 1925 by the State of New York, and it ceased to exist in 1927.  The barns and the outbuildings were torn down.  After the buildings were razed, the fields and pastures were planted with thousands of white pine trees by the CCC in the 1930s.

The horse barn at Alma Farm. The farm house is to the right. Photo courtesy of Dr. George A. and Ruth Lamb).

Today, a sign erected in 1997 stands on a portion of the Alma Farm Cottage in a small turnout at the left side of Route 9N, about 8 miles north of Bolton Landing.  In this spot is a small picnic area with a cold-water spring.   Other echoes of the farm exist in foundations of some of the former buildings.

 © November 13 2012, Warren County Historical Society.

Source:   Boas, M.D, Norman Francis and Barbara Linton Meyer, Alma Farm: An Adirondack Meeting Place, Bolton Landing, NY, 1999.

Article prepared by Stan Cianfarano for the Warren County Historical Society from a manuscript found in the society’s archives.

 

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