The Stoner Lakes

The Adirondacks 

 

HISTORY OF THE STONER LAKES 

One area that I have attempted to research is historical information about the Stoner Lakes. I attempted to obtain old census information and other historical data from the Caroga Lake Museum, the Town Historian, and even Barbara McMartin.  What I have found out is that there is little information available about the Stoner Lakes. It has proven difficult to find who first built on and inhabited the lakes and I have not been able to find many pictures either.  The Town Historian informed me that all old census information pertaining to the Stoner Lakes burned in a fire in 1940.  Barbara McMartin knew little either, but did cite her findings in her book, Caroga, An Adirondack Town Recalls its Past. The information included on this page of the website comes mostly from Barbara McMartin's text.  I am very interested in adding additional information to this page.  If anyone has any information and/or pictures to share, please let me know.

Various books have indicated that Nick Stoner and another trapper were hunting in the area and found hundreds of dead fish behind a beaver dam.  The fish had rotted in a recession of the water which resulted in the lakes initially being named the Stink Lakes. Early surveyors initially named the lakes after themselves and some early records refer to the lakes as Vrooman Lake and Deline Lake. One early map even indicates that the lakes were called Beaver Lakes, as this was one of Nick Stoner's favorite hunting grounds. Indian relics found in the area indicate there may have been an Indian camp there at one time.  The lakes were visited regularly by trappers and hunters but they were the last of the town's lakes to be settled.

Margaret Waterman and her husband Emmeron Baker, the forest ranger, first went to Stoner Lake in 1924 and at that time, there was only a small shack on the lake owned by Henry Gunsel.  This gives us a rough idea when East Stoner Lake started to become inhabited. I did not find any information about Henry Gunsel and do not know where his shack was located. The Bakers moved into a house on East Stoner Lake in 1925 and ran a store there until 1936. I believe this store was located on Route 10 somewhat near Larry Smith's camp but I'm not sure of the exact location. If anyone knows, please let me know and I'll update this page accordingly. Barbara McMartin references that there was another store located at Stoner Lake but she does not indicate where or when. Right is a picture of Emmeron Baker's store and home  and it is believed this picture was taken in 1926.

Emmeron Bake built two camps on the north shore of East Stoner Lake near the sand beach.  Barbara McMartin's book indicates that they were owned by Leland Graves and George Lessor.  Before the camp road was constructed, access to these camps was by a footbridge over the outlet of Little Stoner. As the road around East Stoner was extended, camps filled up the entire shore.  Below is a picture of an early camp but I'm not sure which one.  Does anyone know?

Cyrus Durey (below) was a former U.S. Congressman, Johnstown Postmaster, presidential appointee as the Internal Revenue Collector under the Taft and Harding administrations, and the owner of Durey Land and Lumber Company near Canada Lake. He initially owned the land around West Stoner Lake and after he logged it in 1927, split it into lots and sold them. Durey's vision was to sell off lots around many lakes in the area and harvest the timber from the surrounding mountains. He had a large lumber mill on Canada Lake and split his time between Albany and his house on Pine Lake.  He died in 1933 at the age of 68. I plan to research and add a page including much more information about Cyrus Durey, as he was instrumental in developing Caroga Lake and surrounding areas. The first camp on West Stoner Lake belonged to Walt LaGrange, a very wealthy man who lost all of his money in the 1930's.  He became a recluse, living in a shack on Spectacle Lake and eventually traded his camp and five acres to a paper company.  Two more cottages were built before 1943 and more were added as the road extended around the shore.


                           

                                        Early Stoner Lake Camp                                                           Cyrus Durey


                                   HISTORIC STONER LAKE VIDEO
                                           Courtesy of Terry Olmsted

                                                 STONER LAKE VIDEO 1949!