Wish You Were Here

Welcome to the Town of Brighton, friends! We’re not enough of a place to really have postcards, and we like it that way. However, a friend and I had a super nice drive around the back roads on Saturday, and I hope you enjoy the photos. And who knows? Maybe you’ll pick up a little Adirondack/Franklin County history along the way.

Would you believe that Keese Mills Road was names for Mr. Keese and his mill? What? Is it that obvious? Two Mr. Keeses, in fact. Brothers. They built a saw mill on the St. Regis River, near (my favorite) Black Pond. Local lore and several-generation natives tell me that the wood for all our old houses in the village came from the mill. Water’s still running as of January!

I’m sure this thing has a proper name, but I usually just call it a Tree Eater. It’s able to cut and pick up an entire mature tree, and limb it to boot. I’m supposing this thing belongs to the DEC. It was parked in the DEC parking lot/trailhead just before Black Pond.

Down a little road with a historically-big name is the entrance to White Pine Camp, which served as Calvin Coolidge’s Summer White House during the Summer of 1926. Built by a Mr. Archibald White in the early 1920s, it includes the owners home, a dining hall, boathouses, cabins, an indoor tennis court, bowling alleys, and a teahouse on the water. It was later owned by the heirs to the Sears-Roebuck fortune.

Stony Wold was a tuberculosis sanatorium built in 1900. It closed in 1955 and the property was bought by the local diocese of the Catholic Church in 1958, to serve as a Boys’ Camp. It was operated by the “White Fathers,” a group of medical missionaries originally from France, known for their white robes. In 1962 the Camp was turned over to the Franciscan Friars, who used it a Seminary while the Saranac Lake facility was being built. By the 1970s, most of the buildings had been razed by New York State. Only this chapel remains. Fun Fact – The Tiffany windows now grace a stairwell at the New-York Historical Society at Central Park West and 77th Street in Manhattan … and I’ve seen ’em.

And finally, a favorite road for many reasons. This is Kushqua Mud Pond Road, a far sight from what it looks like during the Summer months – this is just down the road from where my favorite canoe launch place is.

Love Franklin County, Saranac Lake, and Adirondack history? I recommend http://www.hsl.wikispot.org/.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Wish You Were Here

  1. hideawayhill

    Hmmm…..it sounds like you’ve found a couple of my secret places to take the dogs swimming. 🙂

  2. HH – LOVE the trail down to Jones Pond off the tracks too – with the little walk-in camp site at the on on the pond? Awesome.

  3. Gee i feel like i’ve been on a mini vacation~even if it was only in my mind…Beautiful…..

  4. Oh, two of my favorite places,…. White Pine Camp … we had an annual meeting there for The Nature Conservancy,… and White Fathers,.. I enjoyed many a snowmobile ride along the railroad bed in front of that building. What a fantastic pic of it. Is it now privately owned and used for a house?

  5. Local gab says the old chapel and some of the land is owned by a “Harvard Guy,” but I haven’t heard much more. There were LOTS of snowmobilers out the day we were there right on the tracks line.

  6. Thanks for the Saranac Lake history wiki link. What a great website!

  7. hideawayhill

    I’ve been on Jones Pond….and the tracks, but now I have to go look for the trail. With 3 dogs, I need easy access….don’t much like to have to walk with leashes on for too far.
    We try to go out to play during weekdays so that there aren’t many people around, and usually there aren’t. 🙂

  8. hideawayhill

    Many many years ago, I was lucky enough to see White Fathers before all of the buildings were taken down. It was very cool.
    And, btw, hope all you locals were able to read the history of Pt. Au Roche in the PR. Fascinating!

  9. Mud Pond Road sounds like my kinda place.

  10. HH – Drop me an email and I’ll tell you about the trail. Tricky to find, but it goes RIGHT down to a site on Jones Pond! Pretty clear as of Fall too. Neighbor and I walked down with the dogs.

  11. Beautiful pictures. I love winter, if you haven’t guessed already!

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