The Forge House:Its Owners, Proprietors and Managers
If any image represents early Fulton Chain history, it is the Forge House atop the elevation overlooking the pond as a king viewing his realm.
When the hotel burned in 1924, prominent citizens planned to quickly rebuild it but the era of the big summer hotel had ended, replaced by smaller, shorter stay motoring hotels.
Today, we see a bank, motel, restaurant and a flat grassy knoll instead.
But while the Forge House existed, the traveler was given the name of an individual there who would not fail to provide necessary comforts.
This narrative is about the hotel’s owners, and about the proprietors and managers who usually were not the owners.
Regional histories list these individuals, some with dates and some with different spellings.
A partial list is handwritten on the reverse of P4, a photo in the Town of Webb Historical Association files dated 1888.
Here I try to tell what I have learned of these hotel pioneers, though often I found too little.
I also found names not on previous lists.
In 1868, the only lodge for travelers to the Fulton Chain was Arnold’s Manor, an enlarged home originally built by Charles Herreshoff around 1812 as part of his failed attempt to establish a settlement.
It was inhabited briefly by Nat Foster around 1834 until his killing of Drid at Indian Point and homesteaded since 1837 by the Arnold family.
But the 1868 suicide at Nick’s Lake by patriarch Otis Arnold after his shooting of James Short over a dog collar, and bad press from the death that year by exposure of popular Charles Grant after meeting Otis’s son Ed a short distance from Arnold’s, resulted in Ed leaving the place in the hands of Cyrus Sanford and his wife Jane Sperry.
Ed’s mother died in 1869.
The Manor’s location was on a hill replaced today by the highway materials storage yard across Route 28 from the Thendara Station, then called “Arnold’s Clearing.”
Two miles from Arnold’s was the Old Forge pond and remnants of Herreshoff’s forge.
On April 1, 1871, John Milton Buell and Dr. George Desbrough bought a tract of land from the executors of Lyman R. Lyon’s Estate.
But it was not the Forge Tract.
This 250 acre tract, the “Grant Lot,” and another 160 acre tract owned later by the deCamps were the only portions of Township 8 shoreline not owned by the Adirondack Railroad Company and were listed exclusions to Dr. Webb’s purchase of Township 8 in 1891.
Lyman Lyon had acquired the two tracts from the Adirondack Railroad Company in 1867.
According to Joseph Grady, the Grant Clearing at the head of Third Lake was a popular camp for the Northwoods Walton Club in the 1850s and was maintained by Charles Grant in the 1860s.
On April 16, 1876, Albert G. Buell of Rochester purchased the tract from the Buell (I could find no relation) family.
According to an 1884 ad, A. G Buell leased the Buell Camp in 1880 to Robert Perrie who established the Third Lake House.
Nessmuk lodged with Buell in September 1880 and debated with Robert Perrie over the best fishing flies.
In May 1890, Buell listed the property and Perrie soon acquired it. In June 1893, Perrie sold the Third Lake House and 125 plus acres to Charles Barrett who soon built the famous Bald Mountain House.