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Warren County Bicentennial

Middle of Bakers Mills, around 1900 - 1910

Settlers: Farmers and Loggers

Lake Luzerne, the southernmost town in Warren County, lies on the east bank of the Hudson River opposite the junction of the Sacandaga River with the Hudson. Located in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Luzerne has been called the "Gateway to the Adirondacks"

On route 9N a traveler will pass several lakes Lake Luzerne has been described as a "gem of pearl in a setting of emerald and bearing on its tremulous bosom a solitary island, Ivy Isle, so small it seems to float. Next are three lakes Second, Third and Fourth Lakes all flowing into Lake Luzerne and then to the Hudson River Four miles up the highway there are three man -made lakes Lakes: Vanare, Forest and Allure.

The town was first settled shortly after the French and Indian War on August 14, 1767, a petition was filed on behalf of Edward and Ebenezer Jessep and others, asking for a grant of 4,100 acres of land Jessep's patent on which is now the Town of Lake Luzerne. The Jessep's founded Jessep's Landing and Jessep's Little Falls on the Hudson near the present day site of Lake Luzerne and resided there in a sort of backwoods feudal magnificence until the Revolution.

On April 10, 1792 land was taken from Queensbury (then Washington County) and it was called Fairfield. It was not until April 6, 1808 the name was changed to Luzerne in honor of Chevalier de la Luzerne, a French nobleman sent by France to aid the Americans. The last change of name was by an act of the legislature changing Luzerne to Lake Luzerne.

When first settled the area was an immense forest of virgin white pine, and lumbering became the first industry. In 1815 there were not more than five or six houses on both sides of the Hudson River. In 1835 there were thirty houses, grist mills, saw mills and a distillery served the town. The Garnar Leather Works was the biggest industry in Lake Luzerne in the last part of the 19th century. A tannery had been operated by Raymond and Ely in 1867 In 1868 it was bought by Thomas Garnar and Co. of New York City Thomas had his brother Edward who had returned from the gold rush in Austrialia Was made manager. The tannery was a block long and at the foot of Wells Creek with buildings two and three stories high on both sides of the road. It made leather bindings for books. Fifty to seventy men were hired for the plant. The tannery operated successfully until the 1920's when there was a shortage of hemlock bark. It closed and remained vacant for several years and was demolished in 1922.

Ketchum Tag Factory originated in Ottawa Canada by two brothers Zebulon and Henry Ketchum. When Zeblulon Ketchum devised a metal tag for marking beef ham and poultry for export. It was successful and brother Henry started a business in Troy but lived in Lake Luzerne. He found a place on Wall Street, Lake Luzerne and started the business in 1922. He operated the business and sold it to two of his employees Otis Howe and Rex Cotherman. It has continued adding products is still in the Howe family Otis great grandchilren. Gary Powers and Lisa Podwerny

On a visit to Lake Luzerne Albrecht Pagenstacher observed the natural water power at the outlet of Lake Luzerne and started a small pulp mill on the site. Power was obtained from Wells Creek by means of a long conduit bound with steel hoopes about three feet in diameter and ran from the stone dam (still in existence) to a huge overshot water wheel. The Watergate was controlled by a hand operated the Watergate. The machinery in the mill is a replica of the first American made grinder made in Watertown, NY. Pagenstacher had two men from the Curtisville Plant come and operate. they were Frederic Roider and Felix Gruetzner. It was not long before Mr. Pagenstacher saw greater power at Palmer Falls and he moved the mill to Corinth. It remained in Corinth as the International Paper Company until 2000.


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