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August 1, 2014

Crosbyside Hotel

Photo courtesy of Betty Ahearn Buckell for information taken from "Old Lake George Hotels." Caption: The Crosbyside Hotel from a Seneca Ray Stoddard photograph.

Photo courtesy of Betty Ahearn Buckell for information taken from “Old Lake George Hotels.”
Caption: The Crosbyside Hotel from a Seneca Ray Stoddard photograph.

 

Two New York City entrepreneurs, Darimus and Dixon, built the United State Hotel on the east shore of Lake George in 1853.  The hotel was noted for its remarkable view and the modern style. An 1853 guide to Lake George stated the hotel was new, had bells, baths, and a better view than the Lake House, a hotel across the lake.

Facing financial difficulties in 1855, the property was leased to Mrs. Lydia Brayton and Julia Smalley to conduct the Lake George Young Ladies Institute.  This exclusive school closed after one year because of a lack of pupils.

Francis G. Crosby purchased the property, and after making some improvements and enlarging the structure, he changed the name to the Crosbyside Hotel.  In addition to the main building, there were cottages and various out buildings on the property that could accommodate up to 200 guests.  A boat ran regularly (hourly on most days) to Caldwell (Lake George) and all clients took the boat over to Caldwell for Sunday church service.

American Canoe Association at Crosbyside Lake George 1882. Courtesy NYS Museum

American Canoe Association at Crosbyside Lake George 1882. Courtesy NYS Museum.

 

Eugene L. Seelye came to the Crosbyside as manager after losing his own hotel (Fort George Hotel) in a fire in the fall of 1888.  Seelye increased the hotel’s capacity to 250.  In addition to the main building that burned in 1905, there were four Victorian cottages for guest accommodations.  These four buildings survive today.

Birches at Croisbyside.

Birches at Crosbyside.

1876 Beers Atlas image of Crosbyside.

1876 Beers Atlas image of Crosbyside.

Lakeside gazebo at Crosbyside.

Lakeside gazebo at Crosbyside.

Spencer Trask from Saratoga Springs purchased the property in 1902, and then his wife, Katrina Trask leased and later gave the property to the Girls Friendly Society, an Episcopal group from Troy, NY.

In 1903 Mary Wiltsie Fuller, who established Wiawaka at Crosbyside, managed the property.  Wiawaka means ‘Great Spirit in Women,’ and it provided a get-away place for the young women working at the shirt factories in Troy, NY.

The original Crosbyside Hotel at Wiawaka burned on November 13, 1905.  Despite the loss of the major building on the property, the retreat continued to operate and does so to this day.

Docks at the Crosbyside, Lake George.

Docks at the Crosbyside, Lake George.

Steamer Horican at Crosbyside docks.

Steamer Horicon at Crosbyside docks.

Shore at Crosbyside.

Shore at Crosbyside.

Article prepared by Stan Cianfarano for the Warren County Historical Society.

© August 1 2014, Warren County Historical Society.

 

 

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