•100 years ago — April 1914•
Sagamore Hotel destroyed by fire
The palatial Sagamore Hotel at Bolton, the largest summer hotel on Lake George and one of the largest in the Adirondacks, was destroyed by fire the morning of April 12, 1914 with a loss estimated at approximately $350,000 and the impression prevails in Bolton that incendiarism is the cause.
It is said that the fire started from the outside and near the dining room on the southeast side of the building, although this could not be definitely learned immediately after the fire.
The fire was discovered about 2:40 o’clock a.m. by J. Wilson Ward and the building was practically destroyed within 40 minutes. Mr. Ward notified the telephone operator who aroused all the men in the village. A bucket brigade was formed, but the flames had gained such a great start that it was impossible to save the building or any of the contents. The fire spread rapidly from the middle of the structure and at 4 o’clock, all that was left of the once famous hostelry were the smouldering embers. The laundry and the boiler room were saved, as were the stables and the six cottages on the property.
S.G. Finkle, the caretaker, was in Schenectady when the tragedy occurred and could offer no explanation as to the probably cause of the conflagration. The fire was a spectacular one, throwing a reflection into the sky which could plainly be seen in Glens Falls.
The Sagamore was a three-story wooden building and contained 350 rooms. Many improvements had been made during the winter. About $800 was spent to repaint the structure and about $2,000 was expended on the dock. Fire escapes and other improvements were also made.
The hotel, which was built 21 years ago (1893) to replace the old Sagamore Hotel, was one of the most popular on the “Queen of American Lakes” and was generally filled to capacity during the season. The hotel was owned by the Green Island Improvement Co.. John Boulton Simpson of New York is the heaviest stockholder. The hotel was managed by T. Edmund Krumbholz who had not yet arrived from New Jersey to prepare for the opening season that was to occur June 1, 1914. The loss is covered by insurance to the extent of $150,000. The furniture destroyed in the hotel included furniture owned by persons who passed the summer in the hotel. The general impression at this time is that the building will not be rebuilt and has passed out of existence for all time. (Note: The first Sagamore Hotel was opened in 1883 close to the Lake George shore on Green Island and was an immediate success, attracting the wealthy and famous from all over the world. Investors built their own cottages on the island. Ten years later, June 27, 1893, the hotel burned leaving all the luxury and beauty in a smoking ruins. Work on Sagamore II began immediately and it emerged bigger and better. This hotel survived until the great fire of 1914, described herein, with a staggering loss of over $350,000. Some believed that the cause was arson and others believed that the cause was careless smoking. The investors were adamant and after a long quest for money to rebuild, Sagamore III finally opened its doors to the public on July 1, 1930. It survives today, alive and well, on Green Island in Bolton, with mirrored walls and sparkling chandeliers, the gleaming white massive pillars shining in the sun and the building glowing with innumerable lights in the night, a breathtaking sight to behold.)
Hotelman adjudged insane
Michael Cronin, proprietor of Aiden Lair Lodge in Essex County and famed for the famous trip he made across the mountains to North Creek in 1901 with former President Teddy Roosevelt, who had been camping at Aiden Lair, the morning after President McKinley’s assassination, is insane. He was taken Saturday morning to the St. Lawrence Insane Asylum in Ogdensburg after receiving treatment for several weeks in the Saratoga Cure and Infirmary. “Mike,” as he is familiarly known throughout the Adirondacks, enjoyed a wide acquaintance of many men of note. He is a former resident of Glens Falls, being a son of James Cronin, who lived on William Street there.
He first leaped to fame after the famous Roosevelt ride and nearly everyone knows the story of that wild trip from Minerva to the North Creek railroad station over the rugged mountains with the Colonel. After the trip of one hour and 43 minutes, one of Cronin’s horses died soon after and its mate also later succumbed from over-exertion.
Several years ago Cronin tried to force his way through a crowd to greet Roosevelt when the chief “Bull Moose” was president but was intercepted by Secret Service men. Roosevelt immediately ordered his men to release Cronin and a minute later they were shaking hands and talking about old times.
Cronin first showed signs of mental disorder about six years after some trouble over land near Aiden Lair. (Note: Hotelman Mike Cronin, 50, a legend in his own time, died June 10, 1914 of heart trouble at the St. Lawrence State Hospital in Ogdensburgh, where he had been taken for treatment after a long period of melancholia. He left a widow, one son, Arthur Cronin and eight daughters. Around the time of his death, Aiden Lair was destroyed by fire.)
Death’s double strike
Harvey Kenyon, 72, a lifelong resident of the town of Thurman, died at his home in Athol on April 4, 1914 after a week’s illness of pneumonia. He leaves one daughter, Mrs. Nora Dow and a son, Allie Kenyon, with whom he made his home. Burial was in the Baker Cemetery.
Mrs. Nora Dow, 45, died at Athol the morning of April 13, 1914, at the home of her brother, Allie Kenyon, where she had been staying since the death of their father, Harvey Kenyon who had died there nine days previously. Death was caused by pleuro-pneumonia after an illness of only one week’s duration.
Mrs. Dow was the widow of Duncan Dow and she is survived by two sons and three daughters. Burial was in the Cameron Cemetery. The bearers were T.H. Smith, Charles H. Baker, Charles Smith and Rolland Combs. “She is not dead, she is only sleeping. I shall see her again, I know, when Jesus comes with his angels.”
Aged resident dies
Succumbing to the infirmities of old age, Mrs. Sarah Wallace, 85, one of Warrensburgh’s oldest residents, died April 2, 1914 at her home on Horicon Avenue and passed to the life beyond. The greater part of her existence was spent here and she was esteemed by all who knew her. Of a large family of children, only five survive: three daughters and two sons, Charles H. and Edward Wallace. She was buried in St. Cecilia’s Cemetery, Warrensburgh.
Winter refuses to release its grip
Spring has come, but theoretically it seems feeble. The first incoming automobile of the season, passed through Chestertown westbound the morning of April 6, 1914. Just when the snow in Warrensburgh was nearly gone and the sidewalks were becoming dry, along comes another snowstorm April 15, 1914 which thrust upon us another three inches of snow to make mud and slush. Spring is lingering in the lap of winter. There is still plenty of snow in the fields and woods but it is beginning to settle rapidly. People are finally beginning to run their wagons although the roads locally are in bad condition as the result of rain and several days of thaw.
Nearly all the farmers in Bakers Mills who have sugar maples have tapped their camps and are having good runs of the sweet fluid. Ashley T. Kellogg of Glens Falls arrived in Warrensburgh April 15, 1914 to start the Hudson River log drive of which he has been in charge for eight seasons. About 30 men will be employed at present and the drive is expected to start April 16, 1914 from a point near the Glynn place unless a storm prevents. (Note: The Ben Glynn place on the Hudson River is today the Warrensburg Fish Hatchery.)
Sweet and sour notes
Hannibal A. Williams, a noted Shakespearean reader and elocutionist, died recently at Battle Creek, Michigan. He leaves a widow. He appeared in Warrensburgh on several occasions but has not been here for a number of years.
General Daniel E. Sickles brands as “a damn lie” a report in the New York newspapers that he is at the point of death from a stroke of paralysis. The general is 94 years old and is a native of Glens Falls and was a prominent figure in the Warren County Centennial last summer. (Note: General Sickles died May 3, 1914 after a colorful life and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.)
Automobile registration license plates for 1914, sent through the parcel post, average about 12 cents per set.
Mrs. William Hitchcock, of Bakers Mills, who has been ill about a week with an abscess on her foot, now has inflammation of the brain and is considered to be in a critical condition.
A daughter was born Monday, April 6, 1914 to Mrs. Austin P. Jones of Glens Falls and has been named Ruth Evelyn. Mrs. Jones was formerly Miss Clara Bennett of Warrensburgh, daughter of John C. Bennett, now of Glens Falls. A son was born April 12, 1914 to Rev. and Mrs. William Bills of Athol.
In Chestertown, William H. Tennyson’s store is locally called, “The Bull Moose Pasture.” Joseph Drake has purchased “Old Coon Foot,” the favorite horse of the late Joseph Whipple of Friends Lake.
Clarence Dunkley of Igerna, has 13 sheep and 24 lambs this spring.
Ernest LaFlure of Chestertown, states that 601 eggs were laid by his flock of 30 hens during March. He sells the eggs for 16 cents per dozen.
Royal Tanner, of Warrensburgh, sustained a loss of about $200 by the death of his horse while he was spending the night in North Thurman. Mr. Tanner was at the home of Fred Moses and took care of his horse for the night at 11 o’clock. The animal was then all right and whinnied for more grain. In the morning he was found dead in the stall. The cause of death is unknown.
Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-2210.