One Hundred Years Ago May, 1914
Historic building in flames
Aiden Lair Lodge, Michael F. Cronin’s famous resort for sportsmen, located near Hewitt Lake, midway between Minerva and Newcomb, was destroyed by fire Saturday afternoon, May 16, 1914. The loss is estimated at $12,000 with an insurance of only $4,000. Nothing was saved from the building and a large quantity of new furniture valued at $1,000 which had just been received and was lying unpacked on the veranda was also destroyed.
Mr. Cronin suffered a nervous breakdown several weeks ago and his mind became so seriously affected that he was committed to the state hospital for the insane at Ogdensburg. He is reported to be in a hopeless condition and is said to be failing so rapidly that his death is expected soon.
After her husband’s departure, Mrs. Cronin assumed the management of the hotel and conducted it successfully with the assistance of her son, Arthur and maiden daughter, Rose. On Saturday, she had ten guests but all were away fishing at the time of the fire, which was discovered about 2 o’clock by the small children of the family who were playing in the yard. They saw smoke issuing from the roof and ran into the house and told their mother. She ran up the stairs and found the second and third floors of the building in flames. Through the suffocating smoke she managed to reach the telephone and summon help from Minerva, seven miles away. An auto truck carrying fifty men started as soon as possible for that place but when they arrived the hotel was doomed and all they could do was protect the nearby buildings. A large ice house had caught fire before their arrival and was also totally destroyed.
The fire is believed to have started from an overheated stove in the barroom. It had gained considerable headway when discovered and the heat quickly became so intense that it was impossible to approach the building to save any of its contents. The trunks and clothing of the guests were destroyed in their rooms.
The hotel was a three story frame building of handsome design, with accommodations for sixty guests. It was built more than 15 years ago in the heart of fishing and hunting country and was well patronized by wealthy sportsmen. Mrs. Cronin states that Aiden Lair will be rebuilt.
(Note – Mike Cronin was married to Lil Butler, daughter of the owners of the Sagamore Hotel in Long Lake and in 1893 the Cronin’s bought the Aiden Lair property. The name is said to mean “Heaven of Rest” in the Scottish dialect and another theory says it means, “A place for Wild Beasts.”
The lodge was rebuilt on the east side of the Minerva – Newcomb Road after the 1914 fire burned the original structure on the opposite side of the road. The intriguing story of Mike Cronin can be found in this column in the April 5, 2014 Adirondack Journal. He won considerable fame by driving Theodore Roosevelt from Aiden Lair to the North Creek railroad station when President McKinley was shot while Teddy Roosevelt was on a hunting trip in the woods. The drive was made in record time, killing two horses. Cronin died June 10, 1914 in an insane asylum in Ogdensburg. Lil Cronin died in 1954 and her son, Arthur died in 1956. Although some sources say Cronin had eight daughters, I can only find a record of Rose, who died in 1960. In 2003 there were plans to tear down the “new”Aiden Lair lodge.)
Maxwell ran down by auto stage
Orson R. Wilsey, while enjoying a spin in his Maxwell touring car on the Glens Falls- Lake George Road, accompanied by his wife, Stella and little son, Charles, was ran into by Miller Brothers’ Glens Falls and Bolton automobile stage. Nobody was hurt and neither machine was seriously damaged, but Orson had the scare of his life.
Mr. Wilsey stated that he was coming toward home and just before he rounded the turn near the intersection of the Luzerne Road, stopped by the roadside for a minute. While his machine was standing still, as far out of the road as a railing would permit, the heavy auto stage, well loaded with passengers, rounded the turn bound in the opposite direction. Being on an upgrade, fortunately, the big machine was going slow. The chauffeur, Mr. Wilsey asserts, was giving his attention to a woman sitting beside him and was not looking at the road, consequently did not see the auto ahead of him. He was completely oblivious to the frantic toots of Mr. Wilsey’s horn and stentorian shouts until he was close upon him. It was then too late to entirely avoid a collision, though a quick turn prevented a head-on contact.
The Wilsey machine was considerably damaged although the owner was able to run it home. The blame was clearly upon the Glens Falls chauffeur but all the satisfaction he gave was the remark, roughly framed, that the touring car should have been out of the road. Mr. Wilsey is justly indignant and there may to more to this story later on. (Note – Orson R. Wilsey was in the grocery and meat business and owned a store on the corner of Main and First streets. He died in 1946.)
Mrs. Electa Holcomb Thompson, 63, died April 9, 1914 at North Creek in the Town of Johnsburgh and she lived most of her life in the home where she died.
For a number of years, since the death of her husband and daughter, she had been tenderly cared for by the family of Frank Randall, who occupied the old homestead. She was called upon to suffer severely during her last illness but she showed great patience and Christian fortitude. She was a faithful member of the Free Baptist Church.
Deputy Sheriff Lewis H. Mosher, of Warren County, was instantly killed Friday night, May 22, 1914 when the automobile he was driving collided with another machine driven by Eugene King, Proprietor of the Arlington Hotel in Hadley.
The accident was caused by errors in judgment on the part of both drivers, neither of them turning out enough when they were to pass each other. The collision occurred near the Ashley Miller residence on the Glens Falls – Lake George road, just outside the city limits.
Mosher, who was returning from a trip to French Mountain, was accompanied by John Sullivan and Miss Sadie Marsette, of Glens Falls and Miss Lyons from Hudson Falls.
The occupants of the other car, besides Eugene King, were Harry Evans, Mrs. George Austin and her daughters, Ruth and Bertha, all of Hadley. They were homebound from Glens Falls.
John Sullivan states that the car he was in was running at a speed of fifteen miles an hour while King says that his machine was making twenty. They came together with great force and all of the occupants were thrown out excepting King and Miss Bertha Austin, who was riding with him in the front seat,
Deputy Sheriff Mosher was thrown over the steering wheel and through the windshield of the car. He never moved after he struck the ground. His skull was fractured and he was probably killed instantly though Sullivan says he heard him groan once. The injuries of the other members of both parties were of a minor nature. Both automobiles were considerably damaged.
Mr. Mosher was forty years old and is survived by his widow, his mother, Mrs. Anna M. Mosher and one sister, Mrs. Gerdon Stanton and a brother, Merritt Mosher, of Rochester.
Lewis H. Mosher’s funeral was held May 26, 1914. He was appointed as one of the deputy sheriffs in Glens Falls on Jan. 1, 1913 by Sheriff Richard J. Bolton. He was a prominent Republican worker in his ward and by trade was a carriage and contracting house painter. He was highly esteemed by all who knew him.
Tragic vision loss
R.J. Brown, proprietor of the Lake View House, one of the oldest and most popular summer hotels at Bolton-on-Lake George, recently lost the sight of his left eye through paralysis.
His right eye has become impaired through the strain caused by his work for years past with the transit and level in his operations as a surveyor. Mr. Brown was at one time Warren County engineer. In spite of his affliction Mr. Brown will carry on his hotel business the current season and has made extensive improvements to his property in anticipation of a record-breaking season.
Lyman W. Mattz, of Stony Creek and Miss Nellie Johnson, of Luzerne, were married recently in Glens Falls by the Rev. C.O. Judkins.
William Cameron and Miss Myra Wescott, both of East Thurman, were married May 14, 1914 by the Rev. T.R. Jones at his boarding house in Wevertown.
Bert Tripp and Miss Zella Raymond, both residing in the northern part of Warrensburgh, were married Saturday afternoon, May 30, 1914 by the Rev. C.S. Agan at the Methodist Episcopal parsonage. John D. Harris and Mrs. Agan were witnesses. The bride is the daughter of James Raymond of Spruce Mountain, Warrensburgh.
There is in operation a motor car for one in every 100 people in the United States.
The past week, since May 21, 1914, it has been dry and smoking. About forty men have been fighting fires which have been burning in the southern part of Johnsburgh. A pall of smoke has hung over this area for several days coming from the forest fires in the towns of Thurman and Johnsburgh and also in Essex County where a force of 300 men fought fires which have finally been brought under control.
A calf with two perfect heads, two necks and two spines nearly three quarters of the length of the body, was recently born on the farm of Philo Smith, at Salem. It weighed about 90 pounds and died a few hours after birth. The body will be mounted.
Lyman Brooks, son of Charles Brooks of West Stony Creek, who has been blind for some time, has nearly entirely recovered his sight. In West Stony Creek, Charles Brooks caught a brook trout weighing one and a half pounds. The parsonage in Johnsburgh has been renovated by receiving plastering, painting and papering.
Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at email@example.com or 623-2210