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CLICK & GO! (On this page.) History of the 1829 Stone House. A Fourpeaks Story: Buying the Devlin Place. Photo Captions Learn More About Jay & The Covered Bridge. Your Fourpeaks Host helps navigate his webpage.
The house remained in the Southmayd family until recently, doing service in modern times as a Maternity Hospital and a Nursing Home. Except for the removal of the ground floor kitchen and bakery, was subjected to no destructive renovations since it was built. (Superficial additions were removed by the present owner.) For information, the 1830 house interior was recently destroyed by fire.
For a time around the turn of the century the 1829 Stone House was owned by the Lake Placid Club and was operated as a vegetable farm for member tables. For years, until he passed away recently, Mr. Williams tended a bountiful one-acre patch right by the river. The neighboring Stone House is studio/workshop/home for a well known Adirondack artist/photographer.
The Story. The Devlin Place.
The land purchases that rounded out the Fourpeaks property, roughly 700 acres bordered by Wainright, Basset, Ebenezer and Rattlesnake Knob, were completed in '72. But we still dabbled with the idea of acquiring more adjacent property and I would hear from Dan Deighan, the land broker, from time to time. So it was no surprise when there was a call from him at the office one day in March '73.
But this was not another woodlot or side of a mountain that could be bought at a price. Gene and Theresa had closed the Nursing Home business at the Stone House years ago, and now they wanted to sell it and move out.
Weekenders who treasured our quiet camp visits, Louise and I had no need for the place. But the idea that the property could be bought and developed (ugh!), spoiling our pretty camp entrance-way was reason enough to buy.
The first year we had it was the year of the printing paper crunch. And so the Storage Building got built in a big hurry. But that's another story--the dirt moving that cleaned up the side of the lot, the big granite wall and a new approach to the house--deemphasizing the relation to the highway in favor of Stonehouse Road.
The first stage of renovations to house itself removed the Nursing Home features--the steel fire exit from the second floor, the dumbwaiter connecting the basement with the first and second floor and the trapdoor in the stairwell Finding the antique railing preserved and complete in the attic was a wonderful surprise! And we removed the modern bathroom fixtures from the first floor, replacing them with a found pedestal sink and tub. No counter either!
Outside the covered entrance in front was torn down and Pat Alexander of the Lake Placid Granite Company--who owned the neighboring property at the time--cut new front steps. The beauty parlor, a recent addition on the side was taken down, and we planned a garden there. (See 1930 photo top of page.)
Life in the Chelsea Hotel and years of brownstone living on 20th Street left us with a warm feeling for old houses. The Stone House deserved to be better preserved and in '77 we found a pair of talented builders to do it-- Popeye Coolidge and Ed Bedard of AuSable Forks. The circa 1930 cellulose wallboard was removed from the walls in the entire house, exposing plaster surfaces that were carefully repaired. The wood molding was in excellent condition and the few missing pieces were custom made to match.
Fireplaces on the the southerly chimney were uncovered, the flue relined and a second one was built to match the northerly one (removed in the '30's). We had earlier installed a forest of cedar poles to support the floors which the missing chimney had supported. Two fireplace mantles were copied from the last remaining one in the front study.
(CLICK HERE to hear The Whole Fourpeaks Story--1967-2003, 7 camps, 3 barns, 1 Stone House, 700 acres and 40 years.)
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