Warren County Historical Society Presents …
The Digital Version * * * “REWIND”
September 15, 2013
In preparation for Warren County’s bicentennial celebration in 2013, town historians, historical societies and others were asked to write short histories of their respective towns with a focus on people, buildings and events that were important over the past 200 years. A souvenir magazine was created with the material but, unfortunately, there wasn’t room for it all. The Warren County Historical Society has decided to print some of the information that was omitted from the magazine in this Rewind column. Thank you to all the people who contributed information and photographs.
The following information was submitted by Queensbury Town Historian Dr. Marilyn Van Dyke.
PEOPLE IMPORTANT IN QUEENSBURY HISTORY
Dr. Asa Stower – was born in 1769 in a border town in Massachusetts. His childhood was passed at or near New Lebanon, N.Y. His father embraced the Shaker faith and died of small pox after which his mother, a Presbyterian, moved the family back to their farm . Here the boys helped pay for the home. Asa and his brother attended the district school where Asa became interested in botany. At age 18, he commenced the study of medicine. At age 21 he finished his studies and with a horse, saddle and bridle and a pair of saddle bags filled with medicine he started out to seek his fortune. He came to Queensbury in 1790 as the town’s first physician treating many people over many miles. He operated a medical school for young interns from his Federal/Greek style home on Ridge Road. He remained a bachelor and was seen as a little odd. He became a citizen of means and purchased several farms on the Ridge. His last place was the Staples Farm, which passed down to Ned Crislip who placed the residence on the National Historic Register. As a community member Dr. Stower served as a Town Supervisor over many years (1798-1835) , a Justice of the Peace in 1817,18, a Pathmaster in 1805, a Commissioner of Common Schools from 1812-1842, and an Inspector of Common Schools in 1817, 20, 22,2 6,27 . Dr. Stower died in 1848. He is buried in the Sunnyside Cemetery. After his death, his sizeable estate of twenty thousand dollars did not have enough left after the greed of his heirs at law to pay for a gravestone. His neighbors took up a subscription to pay for a plain marble slab that reads: “DR. ASA STOWER, Died May 25, 1848, Aged 79 years. He lived respected in society.”
James and Amanda Sisson – lived in a house at Glen and Bay Streets that was built at the close of the Revolutionary War by Edward Wing and later occupied by his son, Joseph. The house (later on next to the Church of the Messiah) was sold by Wing to Abram Ranger. Two years later Royal Leavens acquired the property, expanded it to two stories, and removed the big chimney. By 1834 James Sisson had married Gulielma Wing the daughter of Joseph Wing. Against advise of friends he purchased the house for $3,000 and his wife enjoyed being in the home of her ancestors and the scene of her childhood until she died in 1858. James became a merchant retiring in early middle age after he had what he considered a competency of $20,000. James married second Amanda Ferris. In 1867, the two of them deeded a piece of land at Glen and Bay to the Town of Queensbury for the Queensbury Soldiers Monument to be a tribute to those who served in the Civil War. When James died in 1879 the house was sold to William Spier with 1/2 of the land sold to make room for the Glens Falls Insurance Company. The Sisson homestead was then demolished.
Quartus Curtiss – came to Queensbury in 1844 and established a large business in sheep farming and woolen manufacturing. The Curtis Woolen Mill was built at the foot of Factory Hill just north of Ridge and Sunnyside Roads on Halfway Brook that was a good source of water power. He employed 4 men with 3 boys and 4 girls under 18 yrs. of age. The average wage for men was $26 per month and for women $14 per month. By 1855, Curtiss’s sheep produced 80,000 pounds of wool valued at $9600. Curtiss was born in 1816 in Massachusetts. He married Sarah Elvira ——— who died in 1856. With his second wife, Martha he raised five children. He served as postmaster, proprietor of a sawmill, speculator and farmer. In 1863, he served as President of the Warren County Agricultural Society. The sheep population eventually dropped and the woolen mill went out of existence.
Roger Haviland, Samuel Miller, and Stephen Goodspeed – Early settlers acquired significant parcels of valuable land which became the site of settlements as they sold off parcels to those who came later. By 1805, the Havilands owned the largest real estate parcels in Queensbury. As family members married, the lands were divided and passed on making the lands in and around Haviland Road the home to many Havilands. Samuel Miller was born in Ireland and moved to Queensbury in 1830. He and his wife settled in a tavern at the crest of what is now called Miller Hill. The land was gradually sold off for building lots, farms and Pineview Cemetery. Stephen Goodspeed was born in Warrensburg in 1810 and later learned the trade of blacksmithing, which he pursued in Glens Falls until 1845. Upon retiring he purchased a farm in lot 95 of the Queensbury Patent and began subdividing the land into lots which formed a community which he called West Glens Falls and the residents called it Goodspeedville.
Dr. Annie Hull – was one of the first women doctors in Queensbury and Glens Falls. The Hull family came from England in 1629. Daniel Hull came with Abraham Wing to Queensbury. His son Joseph and Polly Burnham settled on the 150 acre farm at West Mountain Rd. called Oak Forest. They became the parents of Leonard, Annie’s father, who married Melissa Sweet. Their children were Eber, Annie and Orville. Annie was born February 25, 1875. She attended a one room school followed by the Glens Falls Academy. Here she boarded with a family on Union Street and graduated in 1899 at age22. T he following fall she enrolled in NY Medical College for Women at West 101 Street, NY City where she boarded with the parents of a fellow student for $5 per week. The trip to NY City took 24 hours going by horse and buggy, trolley car, train, boat and bicycle. Annie interned at Middletown State Hospital and stayed downstate until 1909. She bought the house with a white picket fence at the corner of Pine and Elm Street in Glens Falls which remains today. The garage in back held her horse and buggy until she got a Buick roadster in 1914. Her practice centered around all kinds of patients for which she gave medical care along with produce to feed those in need, laundry for dirty clothes, layettes for new babies and Christmas dolls. Out of wedlock children were her “darling babies”. She never sent bills and accepted payment in kind as necessary. Along with gardening and care of the elderly, Annie had little time for music which she loved and reading medical journals. Personal appearance was of little concern as she wore a starched cotton dress topped with a veteran pork pie hat, a balding fur coat and carried her black bag. She was a member of the Warren County Medical Association, the NY State Board of Medical Examiners, the Health officer for the Town of Queensbury and acted as truant office when needed. Practising 27 years before women had the right to vote, she was an intelligent, resolute and committed doctor. Two days before Thanksgiving she died in her sleep on November 22, 1948. She is buried with her family at Mount Hermon/Van Dusen Cemetery at the corner of Luzerne and West Mountain Roads.
H Russell Harris, Bill Barton – Education in Queensbury moved from one room schoolhouses to a major campus complex when H. Russell Harris , Town Supervisor, led the fight for an independent school district. Local residents wanted their own school and voted 581 to 456 for consolidation. H. Russell Harris along with Erling Odell and Dorrance Branch selected the campus site where the old airport was located. The first elementary wing with room with space for a future high school was opened in the fall of 1950 with 609 students from kindergarten to grade 9. Bill Barton served as the first superintendent of the district from 1948 to 1973. Bill graduated from SUNY New Paltz and New York University. In 1938 he was the principal of Abraham Wing school in Glens Falls at which time he was the youngest principal in New York State. After his retirement as superintendent in Queensbury he served at a County Supervisor from Queensbury from 1977 to 1993. He died September 15, 1994.
Small one room school.
Twenty-six neighborhood one-room schoolhouses once dotted the town of Queensbury.
Gurney Lane School l;ate 1800s.
Hammond Robertson, Jr. played a large role in both town and county politics. He was born on September 7, 1925 the son of Hammond and Evelyn Bovee Robertson. Growing up in Slingerlands, he joined the Boy Scouts and became an Eagle Scout . He joined the Navy in WWII and served on the aircraft carrier Bougainvillea in the South Pacific and was discharged in 1945. He resumed college life and earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytech. He went on to pursue an engineering career and married Joan Ahr. He served in the Slingerlands Fire Department for many years. The Robertsons moved to Queensbury where Hammond served as a member and past president of the North Queensbury Fire Department. Three children were born to the couple – Hammond (Skip), Beth Amy, and Douglas. At Harrisena he became scout master of Troop 15 as his two sons and others became Eagle Scouts and his daughter achieved Curved Bar, the highest Girl Scout award. Hammond entered town government and became a charter member of the Planning Board in 1962 following which he was elected to the Town Board as a councilman. He was involved in the transfer of Queensbury to a first class town. In 1982 he became a member of the Warren County Board of Supervisors and served as budget officer for some years. He completed his political career as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. He said his main focus over the years was “to preserve the beauty of Lake George.” Retiring in the early 1990s he spent time on his hobbies of growing orchids and reading. Hammond died at age 81 on December 6, 2006.
Poodles and Gracie Hanneford – Edwin “Poodles” Hanneford was born June 14, 1891 in Barnsley, England where his parents worked with the Lord John Sanger Circus. His aunt Kate gave him his longtime nickname when she remarked that at age three days “he looks more to me like a big happy poodle” From a long line of circus performers going back to 1690, Poodles came to be considered among the greatest trick riders in history. He was the first to do a back somersault from one running horse to another. He created the “stepoff” in which the rider stepped off the side, not the back of the horse, straight legged as it gallops, then calmly strolls off. This has never been duplicated. He developed his clown act introducing an infusion of comedy into his routines. He held the Guiness Record for performing a running jump onto a horse and stepping off 26 times in a row. Poodles made more than forty short films beginning in 1922. One of his roles was with Shirley Temple. He retired in 1954 from Barnum and Bailey but worked at Frontier Town with his daughter where he played the part of the Old Prospector as well as clowning. He died December 9, 1967. The following year he was enshrined in the National Circus Hall of Fame in 1968. His wife of 48 years died in 1984.
Illustration by Bruce “Charlie” Johnson
Gracie, the daughter of Poodles and Grace Norma White Hanneford was born October 9, 1930 in New York City. She made a career as a circus performer like her family for generations. She moved to Lake George in the 1950s residing on Hanneford Road off Warner Bay in Queensbury. She later worked at Frontier Town with a trained dog act. She died in 2006, creating a scholarship legacy for the Lake George Scholarship Association in excess of $900,000 in honor of her father. The Hannefords are buried in Pineview Cemetery, Queensbury.
Richard Schermerhorn, Jr. – By 2008, Rich Schermerhorn became the largest major local developer in Queensbury. A native of Queensbury, he was graduated from Queensbury school in 1985. He began working with contractors and soon joined the Woodburys in their Hidden Hills development. On his own, he began building storage units, apartments, townhouses, senior housing, and professional offices in keeping with the town’s master plan for development. His organization grew and he now owns and manages more than 1000 residential units in the town while continuing ongoing development projects.
Michal Brandt and his brother Claude founded the West Mtn. Ski development in 1961. It was opened with two rope tows. A chair lift followed in 1963. In the late 60s snowmakers aided the slopes. Today the slope has 22 trails, 2 double chairlifts, 1 triple chairlift, 2 rope tows, and 2 tubing tows. A main lodge renovated in 1988 has a cafeteria on the first floor and the West Side Grille on the second floor. Backcountry skiing is available on the mountain through June due to artificial snowmaking. West Mountain also offers night skiing which is visible from the east side of town. Mr. Brandt, a native of France, became active in politics and served two separate terms as town supervisor. The ski development was sold in 2007 to Mr. Brandt’s long time manager Mike Barbone. Mr. Brandt continues to pursue a large scale residential/recreational community on the mountain.
West Mountain Ski Center.
HISTORIC PLACES IN QUEENSBURY
Blind Rock– Blind Rock is a large gneiss boulder left by the receding Ice Age thousands of years ago. It is deeply embedded beneath the soil. While four feet of rock was exposed at one time, gradual wash from the hill has left a small portion visible today. The rock is located a yard or two from the route of the Old Military Road and about twenty five rods to the east of the present Route 9 on a farm originally owned by William Miller and now on private property owned by the Kapoor family. The rock has a large cleft or cracks which some believe to have been caused either by freezing and thawing or by fires made by Native Americans. The rock was considered the dividing marker between lands held by Britain and France at the time of the French and Indian War (1754-63). Folk tales tell of fearful travelers being captured and tortured near the site. Plans to develop a mini park to preserve this historic site are underway. An historic marker has been placed on Route 9 near the rock.
Johnson’s Old Military Road-Plank Road-Route 9 –roads in Queensbury ran north to south as they were carved out in the early days of the settlement of the town. The Military Road was a strategic part of the Great Warpath, a Hudson River-Lake George-Lake Champlain water route linkin the Atlantic Ocean to interior Canada. Travelers to this area had to portage the 16 miles between the Hudson River and Lake George. Whoever controlled this portage that bisected Queensbury controlled the warpath. At the onset of the French and Indian War (1754-63), Major General William Johnson and his troops built the Military Road in three days to ensure passage for advancing troops and artillery. Thousands of troops passed on the road on their way from Fort Edward to Fort William Henry to mount campaigns against the French. Following the war the road went into disuse with some evidence of its being soon lost. When the Plank Road was built from Glens Falls to Lake George (1847) signs of the road were found. Later Route 9 was constructed becoming a modern macadam road. This north-south road remains today with the Northway running parallel to it.
The Military Road, connecting Fort Edward and Lake George was a portage between the Hudson River and Lake George. It roughly follows Route 9 between Glens Falls and Lake George. On this map, The Carrying Place is Fort Edward and Johnson’s Road is the Old Military Road.
Old Quaker Burying ground – The Old Quaker Burying ground at the corner of Bay and Quaker Roads is the site of the first cemetery in Queensbury. It houses the graves of the pioneer settlers of Queensbury. In accordance with Quaker tradition at that time, graves were not marked. Today the Wing family marker, the Bicentennial marker and the historic site marker clearly delineate the area which also housed the Quaker Meeting house and school. Overtime the 80 burials were forgotten and property deeds dropped the notation of the burial site. An archeological study in accordance with planning for a small mall at the site in 2002 located the eighty gravesites and their subsequent deeding of the property in perpetuity to the Town of Queensbury. This significant preservation effort has saved one of the most important historic landmarks in the town. The town’s founder, Abraham Wing, is buried here.
The Wing Monument on the Old Quaker Burying Ground at the corner of Bay and Quaker Roads in Queensbury.
Hamlets – Jenkins Mills and Assembly Point (a lake hamlet) – As a largely agrarian community in the 19th century, small hamlets developed in parts of the town. These settlements were usually marked by a crossroads with a store, blacksmith, or post office where nearby neighbors gathered to purchase supplies and to socialize. Some twelve identified hamlets and neighborhoods emerged in Queensbury, each taking on an identity of its own. Palmer Jenkins moved with his family to Queensbury in 1795 from Dutchess County. In 1814, he bought land on both sides of Long Pond Outlet (Glen Lake) and built a dam north of his home. Here he started a sawmill, gristmill and cider mill. He also built houses for his sons and daughter. This hamlet was called Jenkins Mills. The mill operated until 1915 when the dam was broken. DeWitt Clinton Jenkins, Palmer’s son, was a teacher in the town and a builder of many barns still found in the town. Solomon King Stuart, a Civil War soldier, made his home in Jenkinsville. Gwinup’s Store, originally operated by Dorrance Branch, was located at the edge of the hamlet at Ridge and Jenkinsville Road. Other hamlets include The Oneida, Harrisena, Brayton, Top O’ The World, French Mountain, West Mountain, West Glens Falls, and South Queensbury.
The Church in Harrisena.
Assembly Point Post Card.
Assembly Point late 1800s.
Cleverdale, Ca 1910.
Assembly Point was named for nearly all the area separated from the mainland by Dunham’s Bay Creek. About 1765, the land was included in a grant from the King of England. The name Assembly Point may have originated with Dr. Drury Sanford who purchased Long Island in 1871. By the 1880 camp meetings and assemblies became popular. On June 30, 1890, the Lake George Assembly was incorporated and 40 acres deeded to it by the four owners. An air auditorium was constructed and noted speakers and preachers came to the area to speak. A steamboat dock also built in 1890 to accommodate the Horicon and Ticonderoga enabled people to reach the point. The grounds contained promenades in front of cottages which sprang up. Horses and vehicles were not allowed without special permission. The Assembly declined in the early decades of the 20th century. From 1915 onward the point was divided further. By 1940, the last original lot was sold and owners established a new association called “Otyokwa” to control the inland lots and preserve them for common recreation or to keep them forever wild. Today, the Assembly Point Association keeps the original spirit of the Assembly. Other lake hamlets include Cleverdale, Kattskill Bay, and Pilot Knob.
Feeder Canal – the Feeder Canal flows through the Town of Queensbury, the city of Glens Falls, and the village of Hudson Falls and past the Town of Moreau. In 1817, the New York State canal system between Waterford and the Great Lakes near Niagara F alls was begun. The Champlain Canal was begun the same year opening in 1823, two years before the Erie Canal. Problems with water in the summit level of the canal from Fort Edward and Fort Ann led to the feeders being built. Wooden locks later replaced by hammer-dressed stone made for a sound system. Eleven locks including the Five Combines mark the last surviving artifact of the original Erie Canal period system. The Feeder Canal carried logs, lumber, limestone, cement, coal and paper products in a thriving economy in Queensbury and Glens Falls. After 1930, the canal was no longer commercially viable. Today as part of the NYS Barge Canal System, the feeder is used for recreation with Feeder Dam Park and Havilands Cove Park on the canal trail.
Boat plying the Feeder Canal 1800s.
Old lock on the Feeder Canal.
Imperial, Hercules, Ciba-Geigy- In 1903 George Tait came to Imperial Wallpaper Company to direct the manufacture of wallpaper made from purchased paper stock using pigment from an outside source. In 1907, Karl R. McBride a chemist from Pittsburgh Wallpaper Co joined the firm to look into the manufacture of organic pigments. McBride remained with the company over 50 years guiding its research. He became President and Board Chair over time. New colors were introduced and Mill # 1 was built to produce red and yellow pigment for paints, printing ink, leather, textiles, surface coatings, and paper trades. In 1929, Tait Paper and Color Industries reorganized to become Imperial Paint and Color. During World War II, pigments for anti-corrosive coatings and green for camouflage were made. By 1955 the company was into inorganic pigments. KR McBride died in 1957, a tremendous loss to the firm. In 1960 the company became a department of Hercules Powder, the 14th largest chemical manufacturer in the United States. By 1962 Imperial Wallcoverings was sold to H. Block and Co of Ohio and then to Collins and Aikman. In 1979 Hercules Pigment became an arm of Ciba-Geigy, a 200 year old color firm from Ardsley, New York with its parent company in Basel, Switzerland, the 7th largest chemical company in the world. With new research breakthroughs and competitive products along with unfavorable monetary exchanges the company was finally willing to sell what was a $15 million payroll in 1986. Ciba-Geigy closed in 1987 putting 500 workers out of jobs. Workers retooled, retired or set up their own businesses. The Ciba-Geigy buildings were demolished and today the 45 acre plant site is closed. Stained or potentially contaminated debris was transported offsite for disposal as hazardous waste. Hercules and Ciba-Geigy have a cooperative agreement whereby Hercules is managing the corrective measures at the site and Ciba retains ownership of the site. A master development study plan for the site is underway in 2012-2013.
Imperial Color, Chemical Ca 19-teens – 1930s.
Building No. 10, 1910
Photos: Imperial Hercules Ciba-Geigy, ca. 1980.
Seeley Cemetery (Edward Eggleston) – is located at Dunham’s Bay on Route 9L on the Joshua’s Rock Estate. A family cemetery, it contains burials for the Seelye and Eggleston families. The site contains ten stones many of them being slate slabs over the graves resting on four low cement blocks. Over two graves are two arches with dates in Roman numerals. Dr. Edward Eggleston, a nineteenth author wrote “The Hoosier Schoolmaster” along with histories for school children. His nearby home, the Owl’s Nest, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Eggleston died in 1902 and is buried in the cemetery along with many members of both families.
“Hoosier Schoolmaster” author Edward Eggleston.
Edward Eggleston’s actual Hammond Typewriter still exists.
Cottage Hill was the site of one of the first housing developments in Queensbury following World War II. Veterans returning from service were starting families and the need for housing was great. National Homes development featured small houses on 100 x 100 foot lot built on a slab and constructed in three days. Each came with a stove, refrigerator, three bedrooms, a utility room and bath. The house sold for $8000 with a 4% mortgage and a payment of $67 per month. In 1950 the Cottage Hill development produced 10 homes in a year and a half on the pine plains of Queensbury. Families had good housing close to schools and shops. While people thought that Cottage H ill would not last over the years, today most of the early homes are still there.
Aerial view of Cottage Hill between Aviation Road and Dixon Road.
Storytown/Great Escape- Charles R Wood parlayed his business know-how into tourist and amusement centers in Warren County. In so doing he became the Father of the American Theme Park. Born in Lockport, NY in 1914 he became an entrepreneur at age 13 buying a stately home for his parents and converting the carriage house into a rental property at the same time restoring his own Model T. In 1954 , Wood purchased 5 acres of swampland on the east side of Route 9 for $75,000. Here Storytown USA was built and opened a year before Disneyworld. Art Monaco of Upper jay designed many of the houses and attractions on the site. Later Jungleland, International Village, and Ghost Town were added. Gradually taking on a family atmosphere the facility was rechristened The Great Escape in 1982. In 1989, The Great Escape was sold for $36 million to International Broadcasting Corporation. The company later filed for bankruptcy and Wood repurchased the facility and sold it again in 1996 to Six Flags, the current owner.
Storytown, USA, located on Route 9 near Rush Pond. Ca late 1950s.
Aerial View of Storytown – Great Escape, showing Western edge of Glen Lake, its Fen as well as the Great Escape Park.
Great Escape, the Comet Roller-Coaster.
Camp Meadowbrook – Girl Scouts is one of the camp properties owned and operated by Girls Scouts of Northeastern New York. The 17 acre site located on Meadowbrook Road in Queensbury was opened in ——–. The camp offers summer day camp experiences for a wide range of scouts and girls. Activities include———–. (will send info from the Scout council as soon as I have it)
SUNY Adirondack- was formed in 1961 as a community college serving Warren, Washington, and northern Saratoga counties. Originally called Adirondack Community College it took on its present name in 2010. The college serves nearly 3500 undergraduate students with a staff of 250. In 1983, the Adirondack Community College Foundation was formed to provide student scholarships. Two year associate degrees are granted along with four year degrees and master degrees through SUNY Plattsburgh. The Bay Road campus had 141 acres with Warren, Eisenhart, Washington, and Dearlove Halls, along with the Student Center,the Scoville Building , and the Science and Humanities Building. The J. Buckley Bryan, Jr. Regional Higher Education Center houses extension centers for SUNY Plattsburgh, Empire State College and Paul Smith’s College. There is an active student life along with athletics. Dr. Kristine Duffy currently serves as President.
SUNY Adirondack, Bay Road. Early aerial view.
Aviation Mall/Million Dollar Mall – The shopping mall became the modern adaptation of the historic marketplace. A collection of independent retail stores, service, and a parking area designed, developed and maintained by a separate management firm marked the shopping innovations that sprung up in the post war era in Queensbury. Aviation Mall was planned on a 72 acre plot owned by Mrs.CV Peters. Just off Aviation Road it offered 35 stores with an added 5 acres for a motel, restaurant and family residences. Parking for 130 automobiles was also included in the plan. The Plaza eventually became the property of the Pyramid Corporation of Syracuse, NY. which today leases a variety of stores. Today there are several other malls in Queensbury including Queensbury Plaza and Queensbury Northway Plaza.
Queensbury’s first Mall, Aviation Mall.
In 2008, the Million Dollar Mile on both sides of Route 9 north of the Warren County Municipal Center offers a host of big name merchandise at discount prices in outlet stores. Because of its location in the northern part of the town and its easy access to the Northway, this complex caters to tourists year round.
Hovey Pond Park–This 12 acre town park is ideal for nature study and recreation. The Robert L. Eddy Botanical Gardens maintained by the Friends of Hovey Pond, an interpretive nature trail, a picnic area and children’s play area , an historic interpretive kiosk and a Veteran’s Memorial offer mark a central public park for citizens and visitors to enjoy. Originally called the Brick Pond, the park was the site of Queensbury’s earlier industries: grist mill, ice harvesting, and the manufacture of bricks.
Veterans Memorial, Hovey Pond Park, between LaFayette Street, Glen Street, Quaker Road and Glenwood Avenue. A beautiful garnet-laden boulder polished to a mirror finish.
Warren County Memorial Airport- was opened in 1942. A federally funded airport it replaced the original airport located at the site of the Queensbury school campus. The 5000 acre site has an instrument landing system and two asphalt runways which accommodate modern aircraft.
Planes at Warren County Airport, Ca 1960.
HISTORIC BUILDINGS IN QUEENSBURY
Bay Road Presbyterian Church- A group of Scots emigrated from Lochmaben, Scotland to Queensbury in the 1840s and settled the area of French Mountain known as the Top O’The World. The Bay Road Presbyterian Church was organized September 12, 1850 by Rev. David W. French. The deed to the property was issued on 28th of April 1853 and signed between James Hanna and Reuben Seelye and three trustees, David Lauder, Alexander Orr, and Robert Lang. The church was built at the bottom of the mountain. A wooden Scotch thistle adorns the steeple. The first pastor was Rev. Chauncy Webster who served 20 years until his health declined. The church was closed until 1868 when Rev. James Lamb of Lake George came to hold services. The church celebrated its centennial in 1953 and is now over 150 years old.
North/Fish Church– In the summer of 1866 a group of summer and year round residents organized the North Church at Kattskill Bay. Services were previously held at Rockhurst and in a nearby schoolhouse on Ridge Road. The East Lake George Union Sabbath School Society was formed on September 18, 1867 with Rev. Wesley Lee and Curtis North both of Brooklyn. The land was donated by Job and Miranda Mattison with lumber pledged by Sidney Irish. The cornerstone was laid in November 5, 1867 with the first annual meeting held on August 27, 1868. A large parsonage and horse barn and academy were also built on site. The bell in the tower was donated by Mr. North and the chandeliers imported from England were donated by Rev. Jacob Fehrman. No record exists of the origin of the 36 inch bronze and copper codfish mounted on the steeple looking like a weather vane – a religious symbol used by early Christians who settled this country. The fish which gave the church its name was stolen and returned several time and is now the property of the Lake George Historical Association. The church closed in 1981 and was put on the market for sale. Artist Scott Johnson bought the building and restored it. The rectory next door was beyond repair so the stone was used to construct a mammoth fireplace in the center of the church sanctuary. Johnson who was confined to a wheelchair due to a 1990 diving accident, died in the church in 2002. The current owners who reside there are Justin Talarski and Melissa Klebes. The church is believed to be haunted and has appeared on Sci Fi Channel’s “Ghost Hunters.”
he North or “Fish” Church at Katskill Bay had a weather vane shaped like a fish is believed by some to be haunted and appeared on a segment of “Ghost Hunters” on the SyFy channel.
Harrisena Community Church – John J. Harris built the Harrisena Community Church as a gift for his wife who had taught Sunday School classes in the schoolhouse at Pickle Hill Road. The church was patterned after a Gothic style structure Harris saw in Canada. He hired the builder and brought limestone from Canada which was hauled overland in sledges by oxen. The first service held in the church was the funeral of John J. Harrisena in 1869. After the death of Mrs. Harris, the church was closed for 35 years. In 1903, the Church of the Messiah in Glens Falls gave their charge to Henry Crandall and the church became part of the Crandall Trust. In 1918 a ladies group reopened the church with summer services. Mrs. Louis Hyde in 1930 gave funds for electricity and refurbishing and the church was reopened as part of the larger parish of the Glens Falls Presbytery. In 1947, the congregation voted to incorporate as Harrisena Community Church. In 1952 the church withdrew from the greater parish and the church hired Rev. Gilbert Hellwig as a fulltime pastor in 1958. He was followed in 1964 by Rev. Calvin Wilson and in 1969 by Rev. Lamont Robinson who serves as pastor today. In 1962, the Education Building was built at the rear of the church to serve a large active membership. In 1974, the Crandall Trust relinquished its interest in the church, giving the deed to the trustees, and providing monies for refurbishing the building and an endowment fund. Church leaders were charged to look after the graveyard adjacent and to keep the church as a memorial to John J. Harris “in perpetuity”.
Friends Meeting – Oneida Community Church – The first Quaker Meetinghouse (church) was located at the corner of Bay and Quaker Roads. This building was a 20x 20 log structure and had separate sections for men and women to sit. It also doubled as a schoolhouse. Later, the second meetinghouse was built at the corner of Ridge and Cronin Road next to the Friends Cemetery. This church was moved overland to Sunnyside Road where it later became the Oneida Community Church which functions today. The Quakers had a large meetinghouse in Glens Falls for many years and finally joined the South Glens Falls Meeting as Adirondack Friends which is the last remaining meetinghouse in this area today.
GWB Barn– One of over 200 barns in the town of Queensbury which were part of the agricultural era of the community. This large barn next to the home of Bill Richards on Ridge Road has the large initials GWB on its roof. The initials may stand for George W. Brayton or God Will Bless. The barn is a gable barn with post and truss construction. It was originally buff yellow with green trim. The farm property originally consisted of five barns, a blacksmith shop, corn crib and hen house plus a cattle barn located in the middle of the present Queensbury Golf Course. All of these structures were torn down or burned in 1960-62. George Brayton owned the property on Ridge Road for 14 years from 1866-1881.
District 10 Schoolhouse – The Upper Bay Road schoolhouse is also known as the White School stands at the northeast corner of Bay Road and Route 149. It remains intact as one of the original 26 neighborhood one room schoolhouses in Queensbury from 1805-1948. The district number remained until consolidation. In 1855, the wooden building was in good condition, valued at $500. Some forty teachers taught at the school over time. The schoolhouse is now red with an historic marker in front of the building and is privately owned.
Mountainside Free Library– at Dunham’s Bay on Route 9N was the idea of Edward Eggleston, a noted 19th century writer and historian, in 1894. Edward’s son –in-law, Elwyn Seelye donated a parcel of land measuring 40 X 40 feet for the library. The Mountainside Free Library was built in 1904 from private donors and funds from Andrew Carnegie, the industrialist who established 2500 public libraries around the world between 1883 and 1929. The Chapman Historical Museum presented an historic preservation award to the library in 1998. Adirondack Architectural Heritage recognized the library in 2008 for its “simple style and respectable collection.” The town of Queensbury erected an historic marker at the site in 2009. Today the library is maintained by the Friends of Mountainside Library , a nonprofit organization and is open to the public on an honor checkout system. Local residents and visitors enjoy the collection year round.
Mountainside Library on Route 9N is open to the public on an honor checkout system.
Mohican Grange 1330 was begun in 1913 by Truman R. Temple, Deputy State Master of the National Patrons of Husbandry, a fraternal and ritualistic organization which grew as one of the great rural organizations in the United State following the Civil War in 1867. In its heyday the local group grew to over 200 members. They gathered for twice monthly meetings every Thursday at first and then on Friday. The original northwest corner at The Oneida on the corner of Bay and Sunnyside roads contained a large framed house where dances and oyster suppers were popular. In 1921, a bond for $4000 enabled volunteer workmen to excavate and install the foundation of a new Grange home and community center on the site. Lumber came from nearby Hogtown in Fort Ann. In the rural neighborhood the new building served as a crossroads between Glens Falls and East Lake George. Social life here centered around dances, dinners, chicken barbeques, pumpkin and strawberry festivals and craft and flea markets. The Grangers also undertook service activities that helped people. Many of their members were active politically, being elected to town and county posts and judgeships. The Grange Hall was finished in 1923 and remained a symbol of rural residential life for eighty more years. As agrarian life dwindled, the membership also dwindled and today the building is for sale. An earlier Grange organization Mountainside 1328 housed at Dunham’s Bay no longer exists.
The Mohican Grange located at The Oneida, where Ridge Road and Sunnyside Roads meet, was a center for social life of the area. The building was recently purchased and converted to a dance studio.
Queensbury Town Hall–is located at the corner of Bay and Haviland Roads. The building was constructed after George Webster’s election as town supervisor in 1959. Prior to this time there were no government offices in the town with each officer holding the town’s records in his or her home. Prime land on route 9 north of Quaker Road, owned by the town, was sold to Cale Development for a major new mall. Monies from the sale were used to purchase land north of Haviland Road on the Elmer Fowler Farm on Bay Road for the new town site that was built on two levels. This was accomplished without any bonded indebtedness. The Senior Center and the Highway Building were later added to the complex. All of the town’s records are now housed in the facility.
Queensbury Town Hall at the corner of Bay and Haviland Roads.
One Room schools/Queensbury Union Free District Campus- Twenty six one room schools dotted Queensbury from the beginning of public schools in NY State in the early 1800s. Following World War II the growth of the town led to a desire to consolidate the schools into a union free district. This effort was led by H. Russell Harris. The first district school was opened in 1950 with 609 students. The Floyd Bennett Airport on Aviation Road was selected as the school site which grew into a large campus for 4000 students in K-12.
Sanford House – was the home of David and Amy Sanford, early settlers in Queensbury. They came from Connecticut and brought the Palladium window which may be seen on the front of the house today. Following the early death of David from spotted fever contracted from the troops stationed here during the War of 1812 , his widow married Aaron Folger and the house was subsequently occupied by George Sanford, the McDonalds and the Havilands. Today the Sanford House is on the National Register of Historic Places and is owned by Carolyn and Robert Rudolph.
The Sanford House on Ridge Road in Queensbury is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was home to one of the earliest settlers in the area.
Bay Ridge Volunteer Firehouse – is a modern up to date $1.75 million firehouse constructed on Bay Road north of Sunnyside Road in 2001. The fire company was founded in 1949 and eventually operated two stations, one at 195 Sunnyside Road and the other on Glen Lake Road. Both were replaced with the new building. Today, five fire companies operate in Queensbury with over 200 members.
Bay Ridge Firehouse on Bay Road – 2013
Warren County Historical Society Office in the former Bay Ridge Firehouse at 195 Sunnyside Road.
Warren County Municipal Center is the seat of Warren County government located on Route 9 in Queensbury. Warren County was formed in 1813 and named in honor of the Revolutionary War patriot, General Joseph Warren. The county offices were originally located in Lake George Village. The present municipal center was built in 1961. The center houses the county’s administration, sheriff’s department, county jail, county and state courts, and the new social services center.
The Warren County Municipal Center Route 9 and Exit 20 of Northway.
Mountainside Free Library/Owl’s Nest – is located on Route 9L at Dunham’s Bay . The library was constructed in 1904 on property donated by Elwyn Eggleston, the son–in-law of Edward Eggleston and with funds from private donors and from Andrew Carnegie, the industrialist who established public libraries around the world. Edward Eggleston a 19th century writer and historian lived nearby at his summer home, Owl’s Nest where he wrote “The Hoosier Schoolmaster” and other histories. This summer home is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Owl’s Nest at Joshua’s Rock on Lake George. Photo from Davies – Davies realty web site.
Queensbury Bicentennial 1962 – Queensbury became 200 years old in 1962. A celebration of the signing of the Queensbury Patent took place on September 30 at the Old Quaker Burying ground at the corner of Bay and Quaker Roads. Attorney Frederick Bascom presided. During the ceremony Miss Dorothy Wing of Fort Edward, a direct descendant of Abraham Wing, formally presented to the Town of Queensbury the heavy parchment document on which the patent is inscribed. The patent had been preserved through the years in a specially built wooden case along with other Wing papers. Supervisor George Webster received the gift on behalf of the town. A bronze plaque was unveiled by Howard Mason, honorary chairman of the anniversary committee. State Historian, Dr. Albert Corey, gave the commemorative address, “Early Life in Queensbury”.
Adirondack Hot Air Balloon Festival, near end of each September.
© September 15 2013, Warren County Historical Society