Saturday, October 28, 2006

Penwood History 1792-2006

Alexander McComb purchases one of the first series of land patents granted in northern New York State following the American Revolution. The vast two million-acre wilderness was virtually unexplored except by Native Americans and white fur traders.

John Brown, a successful Providence, Rhode Island importer, acquired nearly 210,000 acres of property in McComb's Purchase. Brown hired surveyors who were the first to map the region and divide the Tract into eight townships. A pious man, John Brown gave the following names to the townships: Frugality, Unanimity, Perseverance, Sobriety, Regularity, Enterprise, Economy, and Industry. To encourage settlers to buy land, Brown built a dam on the middle branch of the Moose River, a gristmill, and a sawmill in the township called Economy, the future location of Old Forge. Early maps show Brown's Tract located in what was to become the Town of Wilmurt in northern Herkimer County.

John Brown dies. His son in law, Charles Frederick Herreshoff, tried his hand at settling the Tract. He cleared over 2,000 acres for farming and commissioned a 17-mile bumpy wagon trail southwest of the settlement into Oneida County. The "Brown's Tract Road" became the primary access route into the region for the next seventy years

Robert Fulton, namesake of the Fulton Chain of Lakes surveys the region.

Frustrated by failed attempts at business in the Adirondack region, Charles Herreshoff kills himself. The series of eight lakes within the Middle Branch of the Moose River were named the "Fulton Chain of Lakes" in honor of Robert Fulton who surveyed the region in 1811.

William Bedell Sylvester is born in Black River, New York.

The Adirondack Park is first established as the New York Forest Preserve.

A group of influential men acquire more than 100,000 acres in Townships 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8 in John Brown's Tract and form the Adirondack League Club. William Thistlewaite arrived in the Northwoods in the 1890's to work for Dr. William Seward Webb, as a paymaster for the railroad Dr. Webb was building.

The construction of the Mohawk & Malone Railroad by Dr. William Seward Webb through the heart of the Adirondacks is undertaken and remains an epic achievement in the history of American railroading.

The New York Forest Preserve becomes the Adirondack Park.

Date of David G. Wood surveyor map filed in the office of the Herkimer County Clerk on August 30, 1893 - referred to as Burnt Point. Warranty Deed from Wm Seward Webb and Eliza Osgood Webb of New York City, New York to Arletta E. Ingham of German Flats, New York -- Lots 40 and 41 -- WITH RIGHT OF REVERTER -- under conditions: (1) no intoxicating liquors to be sold, dealt in or given away, on the land by Ingham, her heirs, successors or assigns, without the consent in writing of WS Webb, his heirs, successors or assigns, (2) no forest fires (3) no erection of hotels, drinking places, taverns without consent of Webb or his heirs, successors, assigns. If breach, then title divested and returns to Webb/heirs/successors/assigns. Attachment to deed permits Ingham to serve liquors and erect hotel, saloon, tavern or drinking place on the land. Warranty Deed from Webb to Ingham recorded Lots 40 and 41.

New York State Constitution was amended so that all land in the forest preserve will be kept forever as wild forest lands.

U.S. President Benjamin Harrison rents Camp Dodd. President Harrison made arrangements to purchase property on Second Lake near Old Forge, New York. Harrison contracted with Charles E. Cronk, a Herkimer, New York, architect, to design and build Berkeley Lodge. Berkeley is a twin tower cottage with octagonal towers at either end of the middle living room. It is two stories with the living room oriented from side to side. Stairs at each tower lead to a landing and accessed the bedrooms. The lower two-thirds of Berkeley was sheathed with spruce logs and the top above the eaves was shingles. Attached to Berkeley was a cottage containing a kitchen, dining room and office. The camp also had a house for guides and a boathouse.

Governor Horatio Seymour dies at his sister's house. President Benjamin Harrison's Camp Berkeley Lodge is built on Second Lake part of the Fulton Chain lakes in the Adirondack Mountains. The northern-most township in Herkimer County, the Town of Wilmurt, is divided and renamed Town of Webb in honor of Dr. William Seward Webb.

Large tracts of land are sub-divided into small parcels and purchased primarily by seasonal property owners. William Thistlethwaite's Adirondack Development Corporation sells off hundreds of lots along the north shore of the Fulton Chain, in the Big Moose region, at Rondaxe Lake, and in the hamlet of the Old Forge.

Warranty deed from Arletta E. Ingham of Town of Webb, New York to William Bedell Sylvester of Brockport New York -- LOTS 40 and 41. Warranty deed from Ingham to Sylvester recorded - LOTS 40 and 41.

W. Seward Webb and Eliza Osgood Webb, his wife, of Shelburne, Vermont, sell by WARRANTY DEED to William J. Thistlethwaite of Little Falls, New York Lots 42 and 43 on Fourth Lake of the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Herkimer County, Township Eight, John Brown's Tract, Town of Webb, County of Herkimer, State of New York - with right of reverter to Webb if conditions not kept -- (1) trails and every way of communication of any kind either by land or by water across the lands, shall forever remain free and open to the People of the state of new York free and open to people of the state of new York, (2) land not used for commercial agriculture or manufacturing purposes; but (3) shall be used solely and exclusively for permanent forestry, hotel, camp or cottage purposes. Covenant runs with the land and binds the land whether owned by the party, his heirs successors or assigns, (4) Webb’s successors, heirs and assigns owning property on Fulton chain had right to use for domestic purposes the surplus water from any spring or streams on the property.

Webb to Thistlethwaite Warranty deed is recorded. In 1903, William Thistlethwaite purchases an extensive amount of Dr. Webb's property on the Fulton Chain and in the Village of Old Forge. The ink was hardly dry on the deed, when he began to sub-divide the land into building lots and formed The Adirondack Development Company. The hamlet of Old Forge is incorporated.

Quit Claim Deed is executed by William J. Thistlethwaite and Marie B. Thistlethwaite, his wife, of Herkimer, New York, to The Herkimer National Bank, of Herkimer, New York.

Quitclaim deed from William J. Thistlethwaite to The Herkimer National Bank is recorded. Quitclaim deed from The Herkimer National Bank to James Thistlethwaite of Ilion, New York is recorded. Warranty deed executed from James and Anna Thistlethwaite of Ilion New York to Helen Seymour Sylvester of Brockport, New York. Warranty deed conveying lots 42 and 43 from James and Anna Thistlethwaite to Helen Seymour Sylvester is recorded. Construction on Seymour Point Begins or may already have been underway.

Warranty deed from Helen and Wm Sylvester to Herbert Agate of Norwalk, Ohio - part of lot 43. Warranty deed from Sylvester to Agate for part of lot 43 is recorded.

Warranty deed from Wm Sylvester to Helen Sylvester - Lots 40 and 41. Warranty deed from Wm Sylvester to Helen Sylvester for lots 40 and 41 recorded.

By the 1920's, the Joy Tract, Brooklyn, Riverside and Gray Lake areas of Old Forge had been sold.

Helen Seymour Sylvester dies (Brockport, New York?). Last Will and Testament and Codicils Thereto of Helen Seymour Sylvester is probated in Monroe County, New York. HSS will leaves Seymour Point to her brother James H. Seymour and his heirs forever, with a life estate reserved to her husband William Sylvester.

William J. Thistlethwaite begins his term of service as a New York State Representative in the New York State Assembly, until 1931.

Mr. William Bedell Sylvester, son of John Seymour of New York and Lydia Bedell of New York, dies at age 86 in LaGrange, Illinois. William Bedell Seymour is buried in Brockport, New York.

James Horatio Seymour dies. Last Will and Testament of James Horatio Seymour is probated in Monroe County, New York. Helen Seymour Wiley, of Detroit, Michigan, niece of James H Seymour and Helen Seymour inherits the residual estate of James Seymour, including Seymour Point. Seymour Point property is made available for lease. Seymour Point is rented to Rosenau Family, including Bobbette Rosenau.

Original Boathouse is accidentally set on fire while the Rosenau family, as lessees, are in residence. The boathouse burns down. All other outbuildings and the main lodge are saved.

Executor's Deed of Merlin Wiley as Executor of Estate of James Horatio Seymour, deceased, to Helen Seymour Wiley of 1547 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Executor’s Deed of Wiley to Helen Seymour Wiley is recorded.

Seymour Point is sold by HELEN SEYMOUR WILEY to James M. and Marjorie A. Kennedy, of Rome, New York, who rename it Kenwood. Wiley to Kennedy Full Covenant Deed is recorded.

New Kenwood boathouse is constructed to replace the original Seymour Point boathouse. Illuminating gas system is replaced with electricity in the main lodge.

Alger Island is purchased by the State of New York from Charles J. Engel. Alger Island, formerly owned by Mort and Ollie Alger, father and son, was called Deer Island in the late 1700's. Lean-to's were constructed during the 1960's with the last one finished in 1968.

Albert Gordon and Dorothea R. Gordon of Fayetteville, New York, husband and wife, purchase Kenwood from James M. Kennedy and Marjorie A. Kennedy of 230 Park Avenue, New York, New York and rename the property Penwood after the family business, Penfield Manufacturing Company, of Syracuse, New York. Kennedy to Gordon Warranty Deed is recorded. First telephone system is installed. First washing machine is installed on screened-in porch. Albert Gordon purchases Chris Craft mahogany boat.

Margery Ellin Gordon, of Fayetteville, New York and Alan Stuart Burstein of Detroit, Michigan, son of Dr. Harry Burstein and Florence Rosen Burstein are married in Syracuse, New York, at The Hotel Syracuse.

Albert Gordon dies, Syracuse, New York.

William Thistlethwaite dies and is buried in the cemetery he created by donating the land, Riverside Cemetery, Old Forge, next to the Moose River. His wife, brother and parents are also buried there.

Mark Albert Burstein, first son of Margery and Alan Burstein and first grandchild of Dorothea R. Gordon, is born in Syracuse, New York.

Dorothea R. Gordon conveys Lots 41, 42 and 43 by Warranty deed to Margery G. Burstein and Charles L. Gordon as tenants in common, reserving lot 40 to herself with a right of first refusal to Margery and Charles in the event she decides to sell lot 40, agreeing to sell it for $7,000. Warranty deed from Gordon to Burstein and Gordon recorded.

Florence Beth Burstein is born in Syracuse, New York.

Robert Gordon Burstein is born in Syracuse, New York.

Charles L. Gordon conveys by Warranty Deed his undivided 1/2 interest as tenant in common in Lots 41, 42, 43 to Margery G. Burstein and assigns interest in right of first refusal for Lot 40 to Margery.

Dorothea R. Gordon conveys Lot 40 to Margery G. Burstein retaining a life use of the lot, with right to build residential dwelling on the lot, with title to dwelling to vest in Margery and her heirs and assigns.

Driveway is extended up to the main lodge. Third Penwood boathouse is built. Pump House is demolished.

Dorothea Rosenthal Gordon dies, Syracuse, New York, at Crouse Irving Memorial Hospital, 12:24 a.m. The life estate Mrs. Gordon had reserved to herself expired and her daughter, Margery Gordon Burstein, is thus the sole owner of the property.

Lot 40 site is surveyed, a test pit is dug, and building permit process and nonjurisdiction letter is sought from Adirondack Park Agency in preparation for construction of Nina’s Camp (named after Dorothy R. Gordon’s grandchildren’s nickname for her). Mark Burstein and his partner undertake significant restoration and renovation work on the Penwood grounds, main house and outbuildings, including the restoration of the Wood Shed, which is fitted with a stone floor and retaining walls and is renamed the Chime House; the existing garage is given a concrete floor, expanded electrical capability, is shingled and repainted, and is given electric garage doors. The grounds are extensively pruned and cleaned. The beach is restored and outdoor furniture is added. Seating areas are added throughout the property. The interior boathouse window frames are stained. The old green metal roof of the lean to is replaced with cedar shingles. The old fiberglass waterslide is removed.

Nina’s Camp is completed.

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