Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Camp Edgewater, Lake Titus

Editor's Note:  Steven Bryan, son of Eleanor Hale Bryan (dau. of Robert Hale, son of G.H. Hale) noted our reference to the extensive collection of O'Neil and Hale Insurance materials at the Franklin County Historical and Museum Society in previous posts and brought by a small sample of his Hale Family materials.  We are indebted to him for sharing these materials with us.

The Hale-French camp on Lake Titus, "Edgewater," was established in 1891 by Hiram F. and Hannah E. French, who purchased the property from the esate of A.B. Parmelee.  Ownership passed to their children, Gertrude French Hale and Calvin A. French, in 1903 and then in 1941 to Robert F. and Dorothy Stephenson Hale and Eleanor French.  In 1951 Robert and Dorothy Hale took full ownership, and the camp was sold out of the family in 1979.  [L.M. House, et al. (2005) Our Lake Titus. Potsdam, NY:  Parkhurst Brook Publishers.  P. 280]

The Hale and French families, and their many guests, logged their days at Camp Edgewater in a series of "camp books" that include photos, poems, sketches and narrative entries describing the weather, visitors and daily activities at camp.  The set of camp books spans nearly the entire time Edgewater was in the family, from 1891-1979.  The entries paint a colorful picture of life on Lake Titus, from trails hiked to fishing holes plumbed, to games played.

Robert Hale, Libe Washburn, Calvin French, J. Stewart Gibson at "Community Flag Pole" at Lake Titus, ca 1933
(click image to enlarge)

This entry from August 1, 1924 reads:
Although I have known Lake Titus for many years yet my present visit has impressed me more vividly than ever before with its many charms.  Instead of losing its wilderness characteristics by the passage of the years and the increasing occupation of its shores by people the lake has developed a still greater appearance of unspoiled seclusion.  The lovely forests clothing its shores and the embracing hills continue to grow and extend a sheltering fellowship to the homes set in their midst and to welcome the people to one of nature's delectable places.  To the wayfarer like myself Camp Edgewater with its dear and friendly habitants adds the human touch that makes a sojourn here an added joy and departure a gloom.  
-  EW Nelson  August 1/24
Another entry, this one from September 3, 1923:

It reads:
"Labor Day, Sept 3rd, 1923.
The Day we leave.  "The best summer yet" was the unanimous vote at the breakfast table on this the last morning of the vacation of 1923.  Good health, good eats, good funs, much gaming (mostly Mah Jongg) and dancing have all helped to make glad the days that have passed all too swiftly.  A pleasnat time was had by all on two grand picnics; one on Brown's Mountain, the other on Owl's head Pinnacle; not to forget the most enjoyable expedition to Skerry and Coat Hill.  Many fine hikes have been particiapted in by various members of the camp - some along familiar trails and some over new territory.  "Yes, we have no bananas to-day," "Beale Street Momma," "Barney Google" and other classical melodies have enlivened our spirits and our feet at early morn and late at night.  Only ten months till we come again.  Hasten the glad day."
The Mah Jongg set mentioned in this entry is still owned by Nancy Hale:

The temperatures and barometer readings recorded daily during the summer of 1923:

This 1934 poem by Dorothy S. Hale indicates that recording the weather thus was routine at Edgewater:
One panel in the living room is lined
With weater charts full ten years old and more.
And all the years my memory serves there's been
Beside the wet thermometer upon the wall,
A paper neatly lined and numbered off
Showing the days both passed by and to come:
And those passed by all neatly written in: -
What wind- what sun and what precipitation.
Other Resources:
- June 11, 1885 Malone Palladium article by A.B. Parmelee recalling an 1842 excursion to Lake Titus
- "History of Lake Titus" by Robert F. Hale in Franklin Historical Review, vol. 6, 1970.
-  L.M. House, et al. (2005) Our Lake Titus. Potsdam, NY:  Parkhurst Brook Publishers.
- Lake Titus Potpourri by Frances Willson Daily

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
    The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.