to the generosity of Ed Van Put, Greg Furness has sent in some more
information on the early days of what we know today as Onteora. Anyone who
has ever complained about a long drive to Onteora should especially enjoy
the first article.
FOREST AND STREAM MAGAZINE
May 3, 1913 page 567
The Orchard Lake Club
Within a six hours' journey of New York City, by railroad, wagon route,
and up-grade all the way, there is a sixty-acre lake which is just coming
into its own as a reserve for enviable trout fishing. It is Orchard Lake,
Sullivan County, in the foothills of the Catskills, owned and controlled
by the Orchard Lake Club, of New York. Large, gamy brook trout, from all
reports, rise there throughout the season with encouraging rapidity,
if only the angler is fortunate enough to select the proper fly.
Orchard Lake was known to many New Yorkers as an exclusive fishing
preserve as long ago as fifteen years. Two years ago the property, including 500 acres of timber land, was taken
over by the Orchard Lake Club, composed of about fifty well-known business and professional men and have
a board of governors selected from New York City.
Click on the picture for a larger view of the fish hatchery
Aside from its resourcefulness for fly-fishing, Orchard Lake is one of the
successful trout propagating preserves. The lake is filled with native brook trout and the stock is replenished
annually from a hatchery situated a short distance above the lake on a
little mountain stream.
Orchard Lake is reached by New York, Ontario & Western
from the West Shore Terminal to Livingston Manor, a four-hours' trip, thence eight miles over hill and dale in a
wagon. The elevation is 2,100 feet above sea level. From
the departure outside of the city environs, at the
juncture with the scenic Hudson to the approach of the wagon trail's end at the club house on a hillock
overlooking the beautiful lake, the atmosphere is that which the tired-out business man hails as one of rural
sublimity. A winding macadam road follows the Willowemoc River and leads to the old wagon road at the mouth of
Sprague Brook. From that point on, more ox-teams than
automobiles are met. The road climbs through the woods
beside the brawling brook to the club property. In the spring and summer rabbits bob from the roadside, and in
winter both deer and bear frequent the trails to the ponds and streams in the forest.
There are few preserves in the Catskills where the natural characteristics have not been marred
by commercializing in one form or another. This is not true of Orchard Lake. The forests verge the lake directly
on three sides and the old woodmen trails serve as the only short cuts through the dense undergrowth. On the
fourth side a grassy approach leads to the club house and other buildings over the brook, [wagon road on
West side of the lake] which feeds the lake. A boat
house stands on this end of the lake and looms up on the approach to the club's reservation, as the first
sign of the encroachment on nature. The wagon trail leads directly alongside this boat house.
Of unusual interest is the club's provision for the entertainment of the members' wives and families as
well as their guests. In addition to the main club house, a cottage arranged on the apartment plan, has recently
been fitted up for extended house parties. An important adjunct to the club is its clay pigeon traps, and among
the members are many upper register aerosaucer
exterminators, who while away many pleasant hours
cracking the elusive clay discs. Bathing in the
summertime is delightful.
Beyond the club house and surrounding buildings, the
forest again stretches for miles. From the lake, therefore, the angler can see the forest in all directions, rising
gradually to the peaks of a range which conforms in almost every detail to the outline of the irregularly
shaped trout lake. On one of the highest points, a quarter of a mile from the club house, is a spring of
clear, sparkling water, which supplies all the club buildings by gravity.
The preserve and club house is open to members of the club and their guests from May 1 to Oct. 1.
Officers of the club are: William W. Harrison, President; Milton H. Yale, Vice-President; Chas. S. Kneeland, Secretary and Treasurer. Board of trustees: Term ending
1914 - Louis Stearns, Adolpf
Vietor, Frank S. Smith; term ending 1915 - Robeson I. Low, George Hodgman, Milton H. Yale; term ending
1916 - William W. Harrison, C. Eustace Kneeland.
THE WALTON REPORTER
14 July 1894
The fish hatchery of S.[toddard] Hammond at Orchard Lake, will be three times as large, and have three times
the capacity, of the one [State Hatchery] at Rockland. The State Hatchery is to cost complete about $5,000.
Hammond's buildings alone cost $18,000. Orchard Lake
is five miles from Livingston Manor and an elegant
road will be constructed.
10 March 1896
Sullivan County Trout
The raising of trout will soon be an important industry
of Sullivan County. Several large ponds and lakes have been purchased during the past year or two by persons
for that business. The largest single industry in the fish line is without doubt that of Stoddard Hammond at
Emmonsville, in the town of Rockland. He has a large lake and last year erected a private fish hatchery
there. It is estimated that in his lake he has six or eight tons of the speckled beauties at the present
Mr. [June] Smith of Liberty will soon have a large trout pond of forty acres in operation, the buildings
and dam will soon be commenced.
NEW YORK TIMES
9 Feb 1916
Orchard Lake Anglers Meet
The Orchard Lake Club, which controls a remarkably fine
trout preserve near Livingston Manor in Sullivan County, held its fifth annual dinner last night at the Union
League Club. About fifty members were present.
E. S. Casselman of Dorset, Vt., a Federal fish culturist, was the principal speaker. A silver loving cup, offered
by Forest and Stream for the largest trout caught on a fly during the season was presented to the President of
the club, Louis Stearns.
Mr. Stearns was re-elected president at last night's dinner. The following trustees were chosen:
W. M. Harrison, Richmond Weed and William H. Parsons.
LIVINGSTON MANOR TIMES
2 May 1935 page 3
Over a hundred native trout were taken over the weekend
from the waters of Orchard lake, near Livingston Manor, the largest of which was an 18 inch beauty weighing over
two pounds. This fish was caught by a Mr. Gillette of New York.
Records from the
Sullivan County Clerk's Office on the transfer of deeds for Orchard Lake
Sept. 17, 1907 - Carrie K. Hammond to Orchard Lake Trout Preserve, Stoddard Hammond, Pres.
March 24, 1911 - Carrie K. Hammond to The Orchard Lake Club
Feb. 21, 1933 - Orchard Lake Club to Orchard Lake
Development (1,957 Acres)
Nov. 3, 1943 - Orchard L. Development
to Trout and
Skeet Club, Inc., commonly known as the Trout & Skeet
Club of New York &/or the Orchard Lake Club
June 6, 1955 - Trout & Skeet Club to Tropical
Oct 11, 1955 - Tropical to Nassau County Council,
That's the end of this history lesson, so, when you're
ready, please head back to the main Onteora page.