Other names: Lake Kushaqua Lodge
Year built: c. 1892
The Lake Kushaqua Hotel was built by Arthur G. Leonard and Frank G. Smith of New York, shortly after the Adirondack Division of the New York Central Railroad reached Lake Kushaqua. The owners also built themselves two cottages near the hotel. Arthur Leonard was the personal secretary of H. Walter Webb, third vice-president of the New York Central, and Frank Smith was personal secretary to W. Seward Webb.
By 1896, the hotel had electric lighting, a boat house, a bowling alley, tennis courts and a naptha-powered launch on the lake, which they advised was useful to carry guests and their bicycles across the lake to the "excellent country road leading through a picturesque country to Loon Lake... Loon Lake is but five miles away, and there are picturesque drives to Paul Smith's and Saranac Lake Village." 1
New York Times, September 3, 1893
"BEAUTIFUL RESTING PLACE"
SUCH IS LAKE KUSHAQUA IN THE ADIRONDACKS.
Appropriate Indian Name Bestowed Upon a Picturesque and Health-Giving Locality—What the Enterprise of Two Young New-Yorkers Has Produced in the "Wilderness — A Homelike Hotel Amid Balsamic Odors — Fishermen's Luck.
LAKE KUSHAQUA, Franklin County, N. Y., Sept. 2.—Many years ago, long before "the hand of man ever set foot" in this region, wild deer made a pathway through the thick pine forest down to a beautiful lake.
Like a basin of clear, cool water this lake nestled among the mountains, 2,000 feet above the level of the sea. The wild deer are not plentiful in this Immediate locality now, but the beautiful lake still nestles. It Is a little more than a mile long and from half a mile to a mile wide. Surrounding it are gently sloping banks of verdure and steep, rocky declivities, luxuriant with mosses and ferns. Tall pines and beech trees cast their shadows upon the placid water, and birds of quaint plumage fill the air with weird noises.
Here, too, the nimble squirrel plies his nut-gathering vocation, the shrieking loon darts from point to point, and the gamy trout bite (occasionally) as they used to in the days of yore when coaxed by the native Indians. Tradition has it that the untrammeled red men regarded this charming and secluded spot as " the beautiful resting-place," and gave it that name, which in Indian nomenclature is Kushaqua.
Whether this tradition be true or false, the present "lords of the manor," Arthur G. Leonard and Frank C. Smith, applied the Indian name to the lake because they deemed it appropriate. It is but a little more than a year ago that the two gentlemen named conceived the idea of converting this wild locality into a place of resort, with modern conveniences. The construction of Dr. Webb's Adirondack and St. Lawrence Railroad through this section of the Adirondack region was in a great measure responsible for the Messrs. Leonard and Smith's conception. Both gentlemen are ardent lovers of woodland sports. With rod and gun they have explored the Adirondack forests for, lo! these many years. One day they chanced to find the old dear path that led down to the beautiful lake, and they were charmed.
Certain prosaic formalities of a commercial nature ensued, and within a few months 6,000 acres of picturesque woodland, with Lake Kushaqua in the middle, became the property of the two Adirondack enthusiasts. Fortunately they were in excellent positions to develop their new possessions to advantage. Mr. Leonard is the valued private secretary of Third Vice President H. Walter Webb of the New-York Central Road, and Mr. Smith holds the same responsible position with Dr. W. Seward Webb. One year ago last month work was begun opening a roadway from the railroad truck lo the lake, a distance of about one-eighth of a mile. Trees had to be felled, stumps removed, and a thick growth of underbrush cut away. A wedge-shaped promontory commanding a full view of the lake was selected as a site for a building. The first plan of the owners contemplated the erection of a frame structure sufficiently large to accommodate a small club of congenial sportsmen. As the manifold advantages of the place for a popular Summer resort grew upon the Messrs. Leonard and Smith, they determined to convert the clubhouse into a small hotel, and a two-story building having the homelike appearance of a commodious New-England farm house was the result. The roof and sides of the hotel are covered with shingles, and a massive stone chimney rises from the ground to an altitude about equal with the ridge of the gable roof. Broad verandas stretch along the two sides of the building, which overlook the lake. The accompanying picture gives a view of the place from a point near the deer's pathway. To obtain a satisfying idea of the appearance of the house it would be necessary for the observer to get into one of Mr. Leonard's slick little row-boats and take a few pulls out into the lake.
The difficulties of constructing and fitting up the Lake Kusbaqua Hotel were many. Competent house builders are not plentiful in the wilds of the Adirondacks. The workingman out here is not only high priced, but he is excessively fond of rest. Through, the Winter and Spring the work progressed slowly and the proprietors of the scheme, although energetic young men, encountered many perplexities. At last the house was completed and furnished. It is solidly built and presents an attractive interior. The main assembly room or "parlor" extends clear across the building and has for its chief attraction a broad open fireplace, which frequently, on cool midsummer nights, emits a warm and fragrant breath from blazing birch boughs.
This new hotel was thrown open to the public early in July, and it had been open but a short time when its facilities were taxed to the utmost. For the past few weeks it has had its full complement of thirty-five or forty guests. Families from various parts of this State are here. Many persons who came to stay a few days have remained week after week. The natural scenic beauties hereabouts are unsurpassed and the air, impregnated with the pungent odor of the pines, is as refreshing to the lungs as a draught of cool spring water is to the parched throat of an exhausted wanderer. Boating and fishing on the lake and rambles through the clean and snakeless groves are, of course, the chief pastimes of the guests, but those who desire to extend their trips find plenty of attractive objective points. Loon Lake is but five miles away, and there are picturesque drives to Paul Smith's and Saranac Village.
Kushaqua lies between Loon Lake and Paul Smith's. The station, which is an attractive frame structure, is on the Adirondack and St. Lawrence Division of the New York Central Railroad, midway between Loon Lake and Rainbow stations. All trains now stop at this station. The St. Regis and Saranac Rivers have their head waters in Lake Kushuqua, and Mountain Pond, which is half a mile back of the hotel, is a noted deer pond. The streams and lakes connected with Lake Kushaqua have been annually well stocked with young fry. Two enthusiastic amateur fishermen from New York went out from here in search of trout on a rainy Sunday recently. They remained away all day in a pelting rain, which in any other climate than this would have given each of them a full assortment of bronchial and pulmonary complaints. When they returned to the hotel they were soaked to the bone, but they had caught eight fair-sized trout and were happy. A change of clothing was effected in a few moments, and the heroic fishermen reappeared among the guests without a shiver or a sneeze.
A series of Saturday night hops was organized here early in the season. The gentlemen agreed to furnish the music and the ladles graciously supplied decorations for the ballroom and the dancing programmes.
The latter are unique and clever. They are made from thin pieces of birch bark stripped from neighboring trees, the names of the dances being printed on the velvety surface by the ladies who are expert with the pen. Occasionally the gentlemen in the hotel find it difficult to get musicians. The musical outfit of the establishment consists of a piano, which stood out in the rain for two days at Kushaqua station last Spring and contracted a painful hoarseness, a tuneful violin, a flute, and an accordion. Native fiddlers and wandering gypsies are usually employed to play these instruments and to "call off." An incalculable amount of enjoyment is extracted from these "hops," however.
A party of seven New-Yorkers—men and women—spent a day at this restful resort a week or two ago as the guests of Mr. Leonard. They departed with deep-seated feelings of regret. Their host treated them, among other things, to a ride on the lake in the peculiar craft known as "the merry-go-round." This craft was built for duck shooting and is warranted to be non-cap-sizable. Its peculiar and amusing characteristic is its propensity to whirl around when not under control of the oars. The instant that it is left to its own resources when afloat it revolves as though set on a pivot. Mr. Leonard had some idea of sending this boat to the World's Fair to be placed among the curiosities in the Transportation Building, but the guests of the hotel could not spare it.
Next Spring the Lake Kushaqua Hotel is to be enlarged to more than double its present size. Fifty new rooms are to be added. The house will remain in charge of the present competent manager, Mr. George M. Potter, who, assisted by his worthy wife, has thus far made things very homelike and pleasant for the guests.
AN ADIRONDACK RESORT
ELECTRIC LIGHTS TO ILLUMINATE LAKE KUSHAQUA
The First Electric Lighting Plant in That Region— Kushaqua the Algonquin's "Beautiful Resting Place" — The Opening; Season in the Adirondacks Gives Promise of Surpassing All Previous Ones in Gayety.
LAKE KUSHAQUA, in the Adirondacks, June 20.— The unique and popular Kushaqua Lodge was opened for the Summer season to-day. Besides retaining all of its attractive features of the last two seasons, it presents some new elements of convenience and comfort. An extensive electric lighting plant has been established here, making this the only hotel in the Adirondacks lighted by electricity. Each room in the commodious Lodge wilt have its electric light and its electric call bell, and a large number of electric lights will be distributed around the picturesque grounds. The bowling alley and the large boathouse that sits so invitingly at the edge of the beautiful Lake Kushaqua will also be lighted by electricity. Many generations ago, when the light-hearted Algonquins alone hunted deer in the Adirondack wilderness, they found this place in all of its picturesque wildness, and called it Kushaqua, which, translated into English, means "beautiful resting place." The appropriateness of the name is as manifest now us it was in the days of the Algonquin. Although a well-equipped railroad cuts through here and a modern inn overlooks the tranquil waters, care has been taken to disturb as little as possible the primitive wildness and beauty of the surrounding forest. There are within the boundaries of the kushaqua territory large sections of forest that apparently have never been penetrated by either the Summer or the Winter visitors.
In Lake Kushaqua and adjacent waters are trout, bass, and other fish in abundance, and the true sportsman who comes here in the proper season has no trouble in finding deer and game birds in great variety. The Lodge is situated on a high bluff which commands an unobstructed view of the entire lake, and also of four of five tall mountains not too far away for the satisfaction of such mountain-climbing tendencies as the guests of Kushaqua Lodge may develop. The station of Kushaqua is on the Adirondack Division of the New-York Central Railroad, about midway between Paul Smith's and Loon Lake. The Lodge is situated but a few rods from the station, and in the immediate neighborhood are the private cottages of Arthur G. Leonard and Frank G. Smith of New-York, the owners of Kushaqua. A short distance from the Lodge also are several charming camping sites. One of the important additions to the Lodge this season is an extension to the kitchen, which will give this inn one of the largest and most thoroughly equipped kitchens in the Adirondacks.
C. A. Wood of Boston and Asheville, N. C., and J. W. Davis of New-York will be associated in the management of Kushaqua Lodge this season. Both gentlemen are well and favorably known to last year's patrons of this resort. A new naphtha launch will ply the lake this Summer, and will agreeably supplement the large fleet of St. Lawrence River fishing boats. Bicyclists will find this new launch of great service also in conveying themselves and their wheels across the lake to a point where they will find an excellent country road leading through a picturesque country to Loon Lake. Wheeling has not heretofore been much in vogue in this section of the mountains.
Not the least inviting of the comforts of Kushaqua Lodge is the tennis court, which is laid out less than 100 feet from the house.
Extensive improvements have been in progress at Paul Smith's and at Loon 'Lake since early in the Spring, and the prospects are that this season in the Adirondacks will surpass all previous ones in point of attendance and gayety.
New York Times, June 27, 1897 (A pdf of the full article is here)
ON MOUNTAINS AND LAKES
The Numerous Adirondack Resorts Now Ready to Receive the Summer Visitor.
...Four miles from Loon Lake is the picturesque Lake Kushaqua, " beautiful resting place." Several important improvements have been made there this Spring, and the place will be under the management of George W. Pearce, who will act for the lessee, F. E. Schenck of Old Forge. Kushaqua was the first place in the mountains to be lighted by electricity, and this year electric annunciators will extend to every room in the hotel. Lake Kushaqua is a noted fishing ground, the largest lake trout ever reported to The Forest and Stream having been caught there. . It weighed fifty-three pounds....
- 1New York Times, September 3, 1983