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22 Comments

  1. Andis Cernoks says:

    Dear Gene:
    Thank you for shedding some light on an area that has been part of my own family’s history. Some of these lands were purchased to establish a disabled war veteran’s vacation /rest home as well as a children’s camp. My parents met here, my sister and I went to camp here, and we spent every summer growing up here. Despite a great deal of more recent construction on these lands, there were certain vestiges of an older time that always piqued my curiosity. For example, next to the dirt road leading from the stone gate next to the Elka Park Post Office, there are remnants of stone stairs which I was told were part of a bridle path. (Is this the dashed line between the Casino and the Poggenburg lawn?) The web of forest paths and roads also seemed to predate the current owners.

    Here are three of my pictures:

    Cook Brook, just upstream from Grill Lake.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/andis/48588569/

    Pond behind lake house, at an elevation about 20 feet above that of the lake.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/andis/46048194/

    Path leading to the highest elevation on the property, leading to a wellhouse and an open grassy area.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/andis/49609011/

    Also on the web:
    http://www.catskillarchive.com/gazetteer/Elka_Park/index.htm

    All the best,
    Andis

    • dherrenbruck says:

      Hello Andis,
      Thanks for your message and beautiful photos! I am Gene’s daughter, Denise, and I am responding for my Dad because he is getting older and can no longer type. Gene is excited that you found the website and are interested in the history. He has met people at the camp during visits back to Elka Park. It seems like it has continued to be a special place for others who have grown up spending summers there too.

      The property that was purchased for the disabled war veterans was owned by Gene’s mother, Anita Grill Landriau, and was the house that Gene lived in during his childhood summers at the estate. It was the original site of the Natatorium (swimming pool and pool house).

      The remnants of the stone stairs that you described may be the path/steps that lead between the main estate house and the casino, indicated by the dotted line on the topo map. (The casino later went by different names: The Forest Inn and The Fernwood Inn, I believe. The main estate house burned down but the property is now owned by Carver Blanchard at 81 Green Hill Rd. Carver has hosted summer theatre in the original estate stables.)

      We are in the process of updating and adding photos to the website, but in the meantime here are some historical photos you may be interested in seeing: http://gallery.me.com/deniseherrenbruck#100059&bgcolor=black&view=grid

      Photo #1 is the original pool and pool house. It was fed by the estate water system in which water was pumped from the lake through underground pipes. The pump house still stands on the property today (photo #4) Photo #2 is the pool house during Gene’s childhood. Photo #3 is when my Dad visited last summer.

      Photo #5 is the stone steps between the estate’s main house and the Casino looking up from in front of the casino towards the main house. Photo #6 is looking down from the estate house towards the casino (Today you can see remnants of these steps crossing Rota Road, now covered by forest.) Photo #7 is looking down at the Casino from an estate road up on the hill. (The estate roads were originally used by horse and carriage. As a teenager, my Dad brought gravel from Cook Brook by horse drawn carriage up to lay on the roads to maintain them.

      Stay in touch — we’ll be updating the website soon with an interactive map and another story about building the estate.

  2. Jo Baer says:

    Hi Gene,
    Small world. Peter and I will be moving to Carolina Meadows as soon as our new villa is completed. Looks like it might be a year since the current storage she has to be torn down from the lot we chose-lot #1!
    Since I sold Baer & McIntosh we have lived in a rental in Apex. Our daughter and only granson, 17, live in Cary. We are anxious to join the Carolina Meadows community.
    Let me know if you would like company. We get over to CM often.
    Great to find you in the Journal!
    Jo Baer

  3. Tricia Sullivan-Rothberg says:

    Thank you for the latest installment. When I saw the story posted, I immediately wanted to read it! And see where Gene would take us now. Gene has such wonderful details about his family history, it’s wonderful to hear about New York and all the immigrants that passed through. Please send Gene my love and warmest hugs for a speedy recovery. I have so many wonderful memories of him and his family growing up in Rockland, to hear about his past is truly wonderful and like reading a great book. Keep the stories coming! Love, Tricia

  4. jamie says:

    Hi Gene,
    I’m thoroughly enjoying, inspired and learning so much from your website. As someone who has sustained many injuries related to their passion – horses, including a broken back 3 years ago, I know you will be fine and back to the piano and computer. I strongly recommend Physical Therapy.

    Sending all my love,
    Jamie and Lucca, my newly adopted son. Lucca is one of my favorite places in the world, a small city in Italy.

    Hmmm, not able to include a photo of Lucca.

  5. Jeff Grill says:

    Gene,

    Sorry to learn about your mishap. Here’s wishing you a quick recovery so you may walk along Cook Brook like you have for so many summers.

    J. John Grill

  6. Viv Jacobson says:

    Gene and Elaine…Thanks for telling us about your web site..it is great!

  7. trish sullivan-rothberg says:

    What a great story, I want to read more! I love all the early childhood in NYC stuff and I am stealing the “Bank Day” idea and taking it to our current PTA! What a great idea and wow have we gotten away from instilling “thrifty” in our students. Please tell Gene this installment has been my favorite and let him know that the year his family moved to NYC, 1934, was the same year my Dad was born the South Bronx (in the apartment), so interesting to think of our Dads as young boys coming of age in a very different city – with your permission I am sending this story to my folks, in the hopes they will begin to take pen to paper as well, there is so much we get from oral history, BRAVO Gene!!!! Keep writing, I love reading it!!
    Tricia Sullivan-Rothberg

    • Gene Landriau says:

      Hi Trish,
      Thank you for your comments. It is so nice to hear from you. Sure — send your Dad the link! Ask him if he remembers going to an outdoor concert at the Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown with us.
      Gene

  8. lucie johnson says:

    Gene, so glad I learned about your web address….thank your daughter for me for getting this web set up. Your description of the “fiddle” player brings back happy memories of when I used to visit Sunshine Valley out from Knoxville and watch the fiddlers gather for Saturday night music. Loved learning about stride also. Keep up the good work…I will look forward to more writings.

  9. I LOVE this story! Your writing and observations are so perfect, Mr. Landriau.
    I especially loved how you described Ora’s uncomfortable state when you asked her about herself and her talent. Beautifully put.
    Betsy

    • Gene Landriau says:

      Betsy,
      What moves and excites me in this little excursion into the emotional territory of others, is the frequency of getting symbiosis. Thanks for your letters – gene

  10. Bill Delanty says:

    Gene -Your writing ability equals your musical prowess. Many thanks for taking the time to bring them both to us.

    Terry and Bill

  11. Betty Sher says:

    Dear Gene and Elaine:

    I am ADORING this website (and the two of you)! Thanks for letting me know about it. Gene: Keep your good work coming to us all. L. Betty

  12. Loved your latest post about Art! I’m so glad you’re writing about all this history. Thanks so much for keeping the memories alive!
    Love,
    Betsy
    p.s.
    I just sang a note for you.

  13. Terri Martinez says:

    Hi Gene,

    I am Denise’s friend and I met you in Portland in April when we all met for dinner and to listen to some jazz. When I taught with Denise in the Bay Area over 20 years ago, she shared with me the stories of the coop and how her family home was built. It has always interested me and I have throughly appreciated your stories and especially got a few chuckles from “Art”. I am listening to “Night and Day”, right now as I write, and just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your stories!

    Sincerely,

    Terri Martinez
    Walnut Creek, California

  14. Gene Landriau says:

    Dear Friends,
    I am grateful and encouraged by your comments. Keep them coming. I really enjoy recounting how our lives have touched in the past.
    Gene

  15. Colette says:

    Dear Gene,

    I hope you remember me. Fred and I were part of your movie group for a while. Bob Goetz sent me a link to this website, and we loved hearing your rendition of “Sweet Georgia Brown” and reading the two pieces you posted. I look forward to reading some more.

    Please give my best regards to Elaine.

    A bientot,

    Colette

  16. Nora G Kramer says:

    Hello Mr. Landriau,
    This is Nora Guttman, thanking you for your wonderful recounting of the beginnings of Indian Hill Lane and the warm memories you have of my father. Yuri E-Mailed me this and I have sent it to my family. I hope all is well with you and your wonderful Landriau family. Reading this makes my heart glad.
    Thanks Again,
    Nora

  17. Hi Mr. Landriau!
    I love your website and loved hearing you play “Sweet Georgia Brown”! You sound fabulous! I also loved reading the history of your beginnings at Indian Hill Lane and Camp Shanks. I’m looking forward to your future posts. Please give my love to Mrs. Landriau!
    All the best,
    Betsy

  18. Kate Herrenbruck says:

    Grandpa,
    The website looks great! Looking forward to new posts!
    Love, Kate

  19. Janice Boegel says:

    Dear Uncle Gene (and Aunt Elaine),
    Wow, as we near Thanksgiving what a nice way to remember all of the past Thanksgivings we shared together by hearing your piano playing. I love it and always have!! Thank you for posting.
    Love Janice