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Warren County Bicentennial

Glen Street looking south from Monument Square

The Town of Hague

Hague, once known as Rochester, is nestled in the Adirondack Mountains on the west shore of Lake George in Warren County, New York. On April 6, 1807, when it was known as Rochester, it was set off from the Town of Bolton. Effective one year later the name was changed to Hague.

In 1758 General Abercrombie landed at Sabbath Day Point with 15,000 men and the following year, General Amherst landed there with 12,000 men. Both were on their way to battles at Fort Ticonderoga. Major Robert Rogers's famous escape1 from the Indians by sliding down a rock precipice, took place in the northern most corner of the Town of Hague, where Rogers Rock Campsite is now located.

In the early 1800s family names included Balcom, Bevins, Hayes, Holman, Cook and Rising, to name a few, some of which are still present today. The first industries were sawmills, grist mills, tanneries, lumbering, farms, boat building, blacksmith shops plus taverns, stores and "boarding houses"—the tourism of its time. Perhaps tourism began with Sam Adams’s “House of Entertainment” as far back as 1764. This “boarding house” was later expanded to be the Sabbath Day Point House and was run by the Carney family for 57 years.

In the mid l800s, after the steamboat company began transporting passengers on Lake George and docks were built, hotels began springing up along the shores. A hotel built by Garfields’ in 1810, later called the Phoenix Hotel, and now called the Beachside,2 has burned and been rebuilt several times. Besides Sabbath Day Point House and Phoenix Hotel one might stay at Uncas Inn (now Silver Bay Lodge)3, Island Harbor House, the Iroquois, the Trout House, the Rising House or Hillside Hotel. Most of these are gone now, having been torn down or burned.

Six steamboat passengers met an untimely death in 1856 when the John Jay Steamboat lost control due to burning of a rudder rope and crashed into Calamity Rock south of Island Harbor. The skeletal remains of the boat are well preserved and can be seen when the water is calm.

The present Inn at the Silver Bay Association was built by Silas Paine in 1898, occupied in 1899 and run for three years as a private enterprise, before a Mr. Wishard prevailed on Paine to devote the Inn to use by Christian conferences organized by the YMCA. In 1904, Paine sold the Inn and grounds to the YMCA for $70,000 (then a $125,000 value). In 1910 various boys organizations banded together to form the Boy Scouts of America at a Council Ring on the property. A private boy's school was run at the Silver Bay Association4 from 1918-1934, during which time many of the small cottages were constructed. The S.B.A. (as it is called) is a bustling place for summer conferences and recently it added a modern dining hall with hopes of expanding into a four-season center.

In 1887 Sam Ackerman discovered the mineral graphite in the Town of Hague. The mine, an open pit, was active only in the summer, with the graphite hauled to a processing plant in the winter because it was easier for a horse-drawn sleigh to move it over ice and snow. The area of the mines came to be known as Graphite and it had its own church, school, store, three saloons, and a Post Office, which was in service from 1890 to 1921, the year the mines closed.

In 1880 a water sports club was formed. First called the Hague Rowing Club and later called the Lake George Regatta Association, it was organized for rowing races. When motor boats became popular speed boat races were held in Hague Bay from Island Harbor to Arcady. At Friends Point, the Northern Lake George Yacht Club now holds regular sailboat races for various classes plus running a youth waterfront and sailing program.

In 1906, Col. William Mann, quite a prankster, made a 30 lb. wooden fish to tease Harry Watrous about his inability to catch fish. In retaliation, Watrous created a “Lake George monster" (George) from wood and insulators. It was rigged on a rope pulley so Watrous could pull it up to emerge from the lake depths to scare people, especially Col. Mann.

In 1947, the Hague Volunteer Fire Department organized and was chartered the next year. The Department was located where a laundromat5 is located now and it started with a Jeep which towed a 200-gallon tank on a trailer. Robert Hoyt, the first chief, was instrumental in getting the building constructed to house updated equipment in 1954, the same year that an ambulance squad was formed. The Fire Police were organized in 1957. A fire department sub-station at Silver Bay provides quick response to emergencies in that area.

The town of Hague occupies approximately 80 square miles and boasts a population of under 1,000. It is served by four churches: The Wesleyan Methodist (1879), Grace Memorial Chapel (1885), Baptist (1912), and Blessed Sacrament - Catholic (1924).

For more details on the History of the Town of Hague on Lake George, visit The History of Hague compiled by Bruce DeLarm.

Footnotes

  1. The often-told story of how Robert Rogers escaped from the Indians who chased him to the summit of Rogers Rock is part of Hague’s folklore. Rogers is supposed to have slid down the snow-covered rock slide located at Rogers Rock State Park and Campsite. Oddly, Robert Rogers didn’t record his daring feat in his diary. Nor has any mention of it been documented elsewhere to substantiate it. This leader of Rogers’ Rangers did, most likely, slide his supply sack down the bare rock face where today, rock climbers can be seen in the summers hanging on to their ropes to ascend to the top. From the bottom of the Lake’s edge, Robert Rogers did in fact, walk to safety southward on the frozen water towards Fort Edward. The Indians didn’t pursue him further. The story tells that when the Indians saw him walking on the ice uninjured, they thought they had been chasing a devil, and let him go.
  2. The Beachside burned and was razed in 1991 by Hague’s David DeFranco. Only an empty lot marks the place where it stood, first as Garfield’s, then as The Phoenix and then as The Beachside with its famed Burgey’s Cave in the basement and sun porch for breakfast with a view of the beach.
  3. First called Hotel Uncas and then Uncas Inn, Silver Bay Lodge is the Northern Lake George Resort owned and operated by the Martucci Family. First built in 1896, the main lodge resides on the original footprint of 1896. By the early 1900’s, Uncas had the longest steamship dock on Lake George. The underwater cribbing can still be seen.
  4. Silver Bay Association is in 2013 named Silver Bay YMCA of the Adirondacks. It is just north on 9N of the former Silver Bay Lodge now called Martucci’s Northern Lake George Resort. It has become an all season conference center and leadership forum.
  5. The laundromat existed where Alison Craig’s Realty is located today on Graphite Mt. Road aka Route 8. It was owned and operated by Keith and Nancy DeLarm. Before that, it was the DeLarm Dairy.

Next: The First Hundred Years: Important Places

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