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Adirondacks have broken many dreams

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Jorden Virdana
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« on: March 26, 2016, 05:00:50 pm »


Adirondacks have broken many dreams


    Jun 13, 2004 0

The historical landscape of the Adirondack Park is dotted with countless stories of wide-eyed, energetic flatlanders moving to the mountains with romantic visions of fame, fortune and prosperity. There seems to be a tree for every dream, a pond for every broken heart and a mountain for every folk tale about the men and women who came, saw and were conquered by the lonely Adirondack frontier.

Philip Rhinelander Jr., of New York City, was one of those transplants that failed to take root in the Adirondacks. By the late 18th century, the Rhinelanders had become one of the most notable real estate families in the greater New York City region, and the Rhinelander empire reached as far north as the Adirondack Mountains, in what is now the town of Lake Pleasant in Hamilton County.

By the American Revolution, the Rhinelanders owned vast holdings on the former Totten and Crossfield Purchase, holdings that were left untouched for about 30 years, according to "The History of Hamilton County," written by Ted Aber and Stella King. In 1805, the land passed from Frederick Rhinelander to his brothers, Philip Rhinelander and William Rhinelander Jr.

By the summer of 1815, 27-year-old Rhinelander Jr. was ready to settle down and make his own fortune in real estate. Inheriting hundreds of acres surrounding the Adirondack hamlet of Newton's Corners, he moved north to develop the holdings for profit.

Newton's Corners, known today as the village of Speculator, was a tiny community on the north shore of Lake Pleasant. Rhinelander Jr. picked Elm Lake, about 4 miles northeast of the hamlet, to build his mansion. He brought a number of servants and African-American slaves with him to clear 300 acres of woodland, and he hired local residents to construct the buildings. In the meantime, he continued to purchase hundreds of acres of land in the region.

The Rhinelander mansion, on a sloping hillside overlooking Elm Lake, was a fitting home for a land baron living on a self-sustaining estate. In the center hall, there was a dark mahogany staircase that ran the entire length of the building. The master bedrooms were huge. In the kitchen, there was a vast, elevated oven made with clay bricks manufactured on the property.

The land was used to its fullest potential, as supplies were limited in this remote part of New York state. Rhinelander built a sawmill for lumber at the Lake Pleasant outlet (Sacandaga River) and had workers produce nails on the premises to use in the mansion's construction.

"Windows, doors and their casings, and a beautiful mahogany staircase were brought from Amsterdam by ox teams," wrote Minnie Patterson Stanyon in "The Quiet Years," a book by illustrated by Mildred Stanyon Colvin.

The mansion also featured two fireplaces and other chimneys for stoves, a cut-stone terrace in the front and a park to the side, with a massive flower garden sprawling toward the lake.

Behind the mansion, Rhinelander built outhouses, living quarters and a small graveyard for the servants and slaves. Plus there were barns to store animals and hay, a gristmill at the Lake Pleasant outlet, stables, carriage houses, a creamery, a brickyard, workshops, a vineyard, an apple and pear orchard, and pasture for horses, oxen, sheep and cattle. Maple sugar was produced in the spring, and honey was collected from wild bees.

Rhinelander moved to the estate with his wife, Mary Colden Hoffman, and their young son, Philip R. Rhinelander, born in 1815. During this period, "the young Mrs. Rhinelander was supposedly kept virtually a prisoner in her own home," Aber and King wrote. Rhinelander apparently suffered from acute jealousy.

On April 7, 1818, Rhinelander gave birth to a daughter, Mary Colden Rhinelander, but became ill in the summer and died exactly five months after her daughter's birth. Her husband built a vault on the Elm Lake property to keep her body until it was transported to New York City for burial in the spring of 1819.

By this time, Hamilton County had been formed after breaking away from Montgomery County (1816) and Rhinelander Jr. had become active in public affairs as an elected assessor, a commissioner of schools, the inspector of elections, and the overseer of highways for Road District No. 10. In 1821, he was elected the supervisor for the town of Lake Pleasant. In the summer of 1823, he was seized with paralysis and left the estate for New York City shortly after re-election.

A series of caretakers looked over the property through the following decades. Rhinelander never returned, but many locals claimed that his wife and servants did, haunting the mansion until it was mysteriously burned down years later. There were also ghostly sightings throughout the property, which is now privately owned. Some still believe Elm Lake is haunted.

"Only the hard-headed believed otherwise," Aber and King wrote. "The evidence was too wide-spread and too strong."

In addition to the folklore, what remains of the Rhinelander Estate is a set of 12 skeleton keys to the mansion. The keys, artifacts No. 97.26.1-.12 in the Adirondack Museum's collection in Blue Mountain Lake, date to about 1820 and are currently on display in the "Living with Wilderness: Adirondack Stories" exhibit. In 1997, Mildred Stanyon Colvin, of Wells, donated the keys to the collection.

For more information about the Adirondack Museum, visit the museum's Web site at www.adirondackmuseum.org or call 352-7311.

Andy Flynn lives in Saranac Lake and can be reached via e-mail at adkattic@yahoo.com.

http://poststar.com/lifestyles/adirondacks-have-broken-many-dreams/article_3e0768d2-478c-500f-aa6b-2c234ad511ac.html
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Jorden Virdana
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2016, 05:01:23 pm »

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Jorden Virdana
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2016, 05:02:05 pm »

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Jorden Virdana
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2016, 05:02:29 pm »

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Jorden Virdana
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2016, 05:03:00 pm »

There is a little book (green, paperbound about 50 pages by xxx Stanyon, woman author, that talks about the Rhinelander mansion). I HAVE it! As soon as I find it I will report on it (it does mention the ghost of Rhinelander, by the way). Blue Mountain museum has that one (well worth the small price) and Charlie Johns might even have it.

'Tales from an Adirondack County' by Aber & King (authors of the huge Hamilton County history) has some great stories about Pants Lawrence, the Sturges family, French Louie, the Obornes, etc., including a chapter on the Rhinelander Estate called 'Lake Pleasant's Haunted House'. If you can't find it I can copy that chapter for you. The Wells bookstore had it last time I was there. It is one of the best books on Adirondack folklore and nowhere near as expensive as their 'History of Hamilton County'.

I have yet to find a picture of the place. It must have been magnificent by all accounts (and a literal prison for his child wife Mary Colden Hoffman, of whom Philip was insanely jealous). After her death Philip in grief, kept her body at the mansion from her death in Sep of 1818 until the next spring. Rumors from the hired help of her reappearance grew until people were afraid to even visit the place.
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Jorden Virdana
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2016, 05:05:48 pm »

The Historical Facts of Rhinelander's Baronial Estate:
Philip Rhinelander (Born of William & Mary Rhinelander in New York City in the year 1788) arrived at Lake Pleasant from New York City in 1815. He owned some land that his brother, Frederick Rhinelander, had since 1786. The land was passed to him in 1805. He cleared off 300 acres of land along a sloping hillside overlooking Elm Lake for a stock farm of cattle, horses, sheep, extensive gardens, and orchards. A mansion was built with other buildings such as stables, a barn, a creamery, some mills and a servant's house. The bricks that were made for the mansion's oven were done near the shoreline of the lake. His wife Mary Colden Hoffman, servants and a boy slave moved into the mansion soon after. Mary and Philip had a son (who died at the age of 24) and a daughter, who was also named Mary.
Philip became a founding father of Lake Pleasant. He was an assessor, commissioner of schools, overseer of highways, election inspector, supervisor, and a representative of the New York State Constitutional Convention of 1821. He also helped many families settle in Lake Pleasant.
Philip's wife died in the mansion in 1818. How she died is unknown. Philip was last heard of when he left Lake Pleasant in 1823. He left for New York City because he had paralysis. He died on February 21, 1830. Thomas Wayne from England was the caretaker and used the estate until 1828. Another caretaker was Isaac Page (believed to be a local of this area). The mansion was then boarded up because of haunting stories.The mansion burned down in 1875 while it was abandoned. A man was seen leaving the area by some loggers when the building burned. They said he was of ill nature, but nothing was done about it.

What is said about the mansion:
The mansion at the time had a center hall with dark mahogany staircase running the length of it. Off the hallway were large rooms, two of which contained hugh fireplaces with marble table shelves. In the kitchen was a vast elevated oven.
Nails that were used for the mansion were said to be made on the estate. Probably in the barn or stables.
The second floor of the mansion had a centered hall that ran the length of it. Master bedrooms were of significant dimension. The house was lavishly furnished, with mahogany furniture and paintings covering the walls. Before the house burned down the furniture and paintings were auctioned off to pay the taxes and nothing was left inside.
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2016, 05:06:22 pm »

The Legend:
Philip Rhinelander was deeply in love with his very beautiful wife, Mary and equally had intense jealousy for her. He built a lovely mansion out of love for her and kept Mary virtually a prisoner in it. She would always want to go into town and meet people, but Philip just wouldn't let her mingle with the town's folks. She would often write letters to her friends and family in New York City, then hand the letters to her husband to be sent to the post office. Without Mary looking, Philip would tear up the letters into bits and burn them. Soon Mary found out and tried to find other ways to send the letters to her family. She would have letters sent by a peddler she befriended. Soon Philip found out and the peddler was never seen by anyone again. (Some say they found his body on the estate, others say his body was thrown into the well and was never found.) Those who visit the estate and befriended Mary would soon be found dead near the Rhinelander's estate. How they died was always a mystery. Even some of the Rhinelander's servants would be found dead and the cause was always unknown. One day they found the body of the mansion's washwoman along Elm Lake's shore. Mary soon fell ill and died without the aid of a doctor. The towns folks said she was slowly poisoned. Others say she slowly died after giving birth to her daughter. It is siad that Philip built a stone vault for Mary's body until they moved her to New York City. After the departure of Philip Rhinelander, the house was abandoned and soon tales of a ghost were heard throughout town.
Thomas Wayne, a caretaker of the estate, had a visitor sleep in Mary's former bedroom. While trying to sleep, the visitor saw a beautiful woman sobbing in grief as she drifted toward the bed. He had no sleep that night. Another night a workman slept in the same bedroom. He was awakened by the sound of rustling skirts and of a woman brushing her long hair. Other visitors have heard the heels of a man's riding boots storming up the staircase, but no one was seen. One time a cadaverous figure was spotted passing through the hallway - finally disappearing into the boarded-up fireplace.
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Jorden Virdana
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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2016, 05:07:45 pm »

The daughter of another caretaker, Isaac Page, saw candles flying upward into the air. She and her father searched the house with iron pokers in their hands, but found no-one.
Many times the washwoman's ghost was seen wandering across the grounds both day and night.
The mansion was soon boarded up. People still saw a ghost in the second floor window and swore they could hear babies crying. Some who broke into the house, said they saw a floating candle stick going up and down the staircase. They say it was the ghost of Mary Rhinelander, other's say it was one of the victims that Philip murdered, like the peddler. After the house burned to the ground, the ghost stories still grew. People who camped within the foundation's walls said they would hear ghostly sounds and see bricks floating around. Some saw a ghost coming from the direction of the Elm Lake.
Today, ghost stories have died away, but people still say they feel scared when they are within sight of the mansion's foundation and a heavy dark feeling falls upon them. A feeling of loneliness and sadness exists, as if the land is asking you to stay and bring back the glory it once had, or as if the ghost of Mary is asking for people to come and visit. Is the estate still haunted? I do not know, but when I go there, I feal a sense of peace and yet a mystery that doesn't want to be solved hangs in the air.

https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC1G419_rhinelanders-haunt?guid=b2418942-5eef-47c4-abb5-63e3a46f0ca3
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« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2016, 05:08:40 pm »

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