First 100 Years
In the early days Warrensburgh was known as "The Bridge" because it had the only bridge in the county crossing the Schroon River. In the mid 1800's another bridge was built on the site and was called the "Plank Road Bridge" because of the plank road between Lake George and Warrensburg, which was an important improvement to travel by stage coach. In the early 1900's a trolley bridge was built adjacent, and the trolley operated between Glens Falls and Warrensburg. The first trolley crossed the bridge in 1902. The trolley was called the "Yellow Kid" and the trip took approximately one hour.
Beginning in 1873, the area north and west of Hudson Street was known as Ashland Park. Each summer an agricultural fair along with horse and stock car races, stage shows, various contests, a parade and spectacular fireworks were held. Various organizations in town sponsored the annual festivities. Horse racing continued to be popular.
Burhans Tannery The first sole leather tannery in Warren County was the Warren Tannery in Warrensburg. It was built in 1831 by H.S. Osborn and Company. The original owners did not succeed and the tannery was taken over by H.J. Quakenbush in 1834. It went through various joint ownerships of “Quakenbush & (Thomas) Gray." In 1836 Colonel Benjamin Peck Burhans moved to Warrensburg from Ulster County where he was in the manufacturing of sole leather. At that time the firm of "Burhans & Gray" was established. And although the name changed to "Burhans, Gray & Co." it continued for the next 25 years. In 1860 Col. Burhans bought out Gray, whereby the company changed to "B.P. Burhans and Son." Although Colonel Burhans died in July of 1875, his heirs continued to run the tannery for ten years until it closed in 1885. The tannery had a capacity of about 3,500 hides per year.
The first Glen Bridge was built in 1816 and was at the boundary line for the towns of Warrensburg, Johnsburg, Chester, and Thurman. As a result of melting ice and snow, the bridge was swept away in 1843 and again in January of 1903. Chester took over Warrensburg’s share of the bridge when the boundary lines were changed in 1860. The covered bridge swept away in 1903 was replaced with an iron bridge with a cost of $9,000. The current steel bridge was constructed in 1958-59.
The Grandmother Tree In 1813, as Warrensburgh and Warren County were being established, this great white pine was already 139 years old. Today the huge pine stands over 165 feet tall and is greater than four feet in diameter and holds more than 4,000 board feet of lumber. The tree is in what later became Pack Forest. There are many stories about how it was saved, but the one that is repeated over and over is that in 1870 Mrs. Margaret Woodward, whose husband’s family had moved into the area in 1796, was promised a set of pewter ware by her husband. Times were hard, and money was scarce, so he decided to fell the tree and raise money for the gift. Mrs. Woodward found out and said that she would do without the gift rather than have the tree cut. Some tell about china, silverware, etc., but the story always ends up the same, the tree remained, a monument to the woman who decided that continued life was more important than worldly goods.
The Grist Mill, located on River Street overlooking the Schroon River, was built in 1824 by Dudley Farlin. He sold it the next year to Nelson J. Warren. After running it for a number of years, he sold it to William B. Farlin in 1845. In 1846 it was sold to Burhans and Son. In 1886 the heirs of B. P. Burhans sold the business to Thomas J. Smith. Upon his death, it was sold to D. E. Pasco and sons. In 1976 it was purchased by Nancy Fitler, who turned into a restaurant. The structure and much of the machinery was kept intact. Following several successive owners Shane Newell added a visual history of the milling process.
Schroon River Pulp Co. This company was started in 1892 along the Schroon River. At that time they made ground spruce wood pulp. The dam was 175 feet wide and 24 feet high. The flume was 230 feet long and produced 2,000 horsepower. It later became the Warrensburg Wood & Paper Corp.
The Warrensburg Academy was built in 1854 at a cost of $4500. This was a two story structure built of stone by stonemason Peter Buell. In order to finance the school a stock company was organized which became incorporated about 1857. The enrollment was from 75 to 160 pupils. However the District schools continued in session as only those who were able pay tuition could afford the Academy. The first principal was Rev. Robert Clapp of Chestertown. In 1888 through the encouragement of Albert Emerson the Warrensburg Union Free School and Academy was established, providing free education thru high school for Warrensburg children.
On December 7, 1897 Warrensburg Free School became a high school under the New York State Board of Regents. About this time the old Free School and the Academy building proved too small to care for the ever increasing number of students. After much heated debate and voting it was finally decided to build a new structure.
Empire Shirt Factory In 1879 Louis Weinman and Louis W. Emerson built and established the Empire Shirt Factory. In 1882 James A. Emerson, at the age of 19, became the sole owner. At that time the company employed about 100 hands and manufactured about 25,000 dozen shirts per year. In 1891 J. P. Baumann & Son bought into the company, enlarged the building and started producing ladies shirt waists. By 1896 they were producing 500 dozen shirt waists and 200 dozen robes daily, employing over 800 people.
The High Rock, a glacial erratic, from the last Ice Age approximately 10,000 years ago, was located on Route 9 at the site of the current National Grid facility. It has been said that Native Americans used to meet there and used it as their council rock. This massive boulder was a tourist attraction, until the State of New York dynamited the rock to widen Route 9 in the 1930’s.
The Warren County Home was located on the west bank of the Schroon River in the town of Warrensburg. A total of 200 acres were purchased, 70 acres in Warrensburg and the remainder in the Town of Bolton. Originally a wooden building, a stone addition was added. By 1884 there were about 64 residents at a cost of about $1.54 per week per person. The farm, which was located in the Bolton section, was manned by the residents, supplying most of their needs.
Second 100 Years
Pack Demonstration Forest was established in 1927 when Charles Lathrop Pack, son of a Michigan lumber baron, George Willis “Clearcut” Pack, donated 2500 acres of forest land to the college of Forestry at Syracuse. It would be used for forestry education, research, a summer camp and as a demonstration area. Cliff Foster was the first manager and was followed later by Shelley Potter. The property was originally purchased around 1796 by the Josiah Woodward family, who were some of the earliest settlers to the area. The 250 acres that the Woodwards owned contained some of the finest old growth stands of pine and hemlock in the area with trees ranging up to 400 years old. This virgin stand has been left in its natural state
Camp Echo Lake was founded as a children’s camp in 1946 by Bill and Edith Medine and Archie and Bea Kaplan, all of Brooklyn, NY. The Kaplan’s had long been associated with Echo Lake Lodge, and an adult camp on the same site, since the 1920’s. They continued the partnership for 19 years, during which the camp population went from 90 to 140 boys and girls. The cabins were improved and in 1955 a large recreation hall and theatre along were other facilities were built. In 1964 the camp was purchased by Amy and Morry Stein. In 1969 it became the first private camp in NYS to sponsor a post season scholarship program for underprivileged children.
Warrensburgh Fish Hatchery Early in 1912, Senator James Emerson introduced a bill “for the establishment of a fish hatchery in the county of Warren.” On April 14 of that year the law was passed, directing the NYS Conservation Commission to select and purchase a parcel of land in Warrensburg for the rearing and hatching of black bass, trout and other fish for distribution to the public streams of the state.
On November 5, 1914, “after a long struggle against many obstacles” the state took title to lands owned by Mrs. Addie Glynn and John H. Lockwood. Mrs. Glynn received $4,000 for 89 acres located on the Hudson River and Mr. Lockwood received $1,000 for a lot that contained the springs which will supply water for the hatchery. Both properties were once part of the Lockwood farm. The proposed hatchery was to be the largest in the state and would hatch 10 million fish each year.
In 1915 the hatchery was constructed under contract by George E. Farrar of Warrensburg. Superintendent Sumner Cowden put the first hatch, consisting of 450,000 brook trout, in the troughs.
The New York State Department of Conservation Regional Headquarters Office (DEC) was dedicated on May 19, 1963. Located on Hudson Street Extension, it houses the divisions of Lands and Forest, Fish and Wildlife, Operations, Law Enforcement and Environmental Quality. The current office building was expanded and refurbished in 2004. Region 6 as it was determined then represented Warren, Hamilton, Fulton, Saratoga and Washington Counties. The staff was responsible for overseeing over 2 million acres of state land,21 fire towers, 20 public campsites, 4 fish hatcheries,60 miles of public fishing rights, 200 miles of recreational trails ,one forest tree nursery along with many other services.
The Osborne Bridge crosses the Schroon River, connecting Main Street to River Street. It was named for a member of a prominent family who operated a store near the river. The bridge was near the center of the industrial area, being near the gristmill, sawmill and shirt factory. When the town's wastewater treatment plant was built, a pipe was added to the bridge to enable the effluent to cross the Schroon
The Troy Company purchased the Emerson Shirt Co. and continued manufacturing through the 1940's and into the early part of the 1970's. It became "The Outlet Barn" and sold clothing at discounted rates and also housed a variety of different shops. In recent years, the Grace family purchased the building and renovated it. It now houses a restaurant, Lizzie Keays; an athletic club; a beauty parlor; office space and a dog grooming business.