Interviewed by Tom Keating
Huletts Library and Gallery, Huletts Landing, N. Y
July 2, 2010
Tom Keating: How did you discover Huletts Landing?
Audrey Barbera: In 1918, my father met two young women in Jersey City which is where his home was and they were going to the teacher’s college and they lived in Glen’s Falls and they wanted he and a friend of his to come up and visit in the summer. So that was their first exposure to Lake George from Glens Falls. Ah, the next year Dad had a friend who was quite a tennis champ and he was invited to the Hulett House, the hotel, to play tennis in a tournament and he asked my father to accompany him and then dad was about twenty. He came up and they stayed for a couple of days but wanted to stay longer and they found Irene Philips’ inn called the Quanset Hut in Cooks Bay. So they stayed there stayed for the week retuned home and he’s been coming up for the next ninety three years.
Audrey: Well, not, well, its right now it’d be 92 years ago that he came so he came up for the next 80 or 75 years and he married mother in 1925 and it was winter so they decided to delay their honeymoon and that was going to be in the summer so they came up to Huletts Landing and they stayed at the pike cottage which no longer stands and it’s on a promontory in cooks bay in front of John Oler’s house. We have pictures of this little white house and that’s where they honeymooned. I was born the next year and they skipped a year before coming and then they wanted to come back and they stayed with Irene Philips in the place I guess I was about a year and a half old. Then, uh, two more children came and they said ‘why don’t we go camping’ and that started it so they camped for about 10 years on Irene’s property. Uh, there was another family there, the Roadamens from Pennsylvania and they had 2 children about our ages and we camped next to them but there wasn’t a lot of room and the Roadamen’s camp site was near what was the ice house where they stored ice for the cottage, for Irene. She took a shine to my dad and she said ‘why don’t you go up to the sheep meadow’ which was across the street here across from the cemetery. And so for 9 years we camped there and where later years my brother Gary wanted to build a house there and he convinced Irene Philips to sell him the property where we had camped as children in that sheep meadow. And it was marvelous because there was running water from the brook and that brook water is the best we call it mountain dew it’s so good. Great memories. A fabulous camp site we had with a cook tent and a sleep tent and my grandfather stayed with us at times so he built little furniture and it was just a paradise for children.
Tom: How long would you stay at a time?
Audrey: The whole summer.
Tom: In the sheep meadow. Camping in the sheep meadow.
Audrey: The whole summer. Dad would come – he was a commuter to New York we lived in Northern New Jersey, so he would drive up every Friday afternoon – get here before dark. Leave Monday morning. But also in those days there was no Scott’s store which is no longer here. But years ago there was a little grocery store Scotts from Whitehall. Mr. Benjamin, Herman Benjamin had an old school bus and he turned it into a traveling grocery store and he would go around the landing and he had wings that came up the side of the bus and he’d come over with meat and fresh fruit and groceries and he would stop at the foot of the sheep meadow and mother would buy groceries. It was really marvelous.
Tom: What were some of the activities you did as a child when you were camping?
Audrey: Well, we always had bonfires at night and dad would throw potatoes in the fire and he’d leave them and the chipmunks would come out in the morning and they’d get those. We were small but they were all eager for us to learn to swim and once we were safe swimming, we could go down to the beach, Irene’s beach, which is where the Grise’s and Cathy Aiken are now. That was all just a beautiful sandy beach. So we were just free to roam. Went to church got very involved in the little church because it was right across the street. As we got older the big draw was the casino over by the hotel because the first floor had a game room ping pong tables and an ice cream parlor and there were other kids.
Tom: So you’d go there as a kid you mean.
Audrey: As teenagers. We’d go over during the day meet other kids.
Tom: Let me ask you a little bit more about Irene’s place. I assume at the time she had live stock on the grounds?
Audrey: She had flocks of sheep.
Tom: Uh, huh. What was your memory of that?
Audrey: Well, as little children, we were admonished by our father “don’t chase the sheep”. It was a fun thing to do but we were told no, no you mustn’t chase the sheep. And Irene had a cow and she had the old sway back gray mare that was far too old hardly to stand and the old horses name was Bellfinch. And Bellfinch was this meek and mild and just whiling away the hours until the day he went to horse heaven. But he just wandered around free in the field and it was just fun. And the cow had freedom to go down to the beach. But the sheep, once a day she would move them up into the sheep meadow. And even when we were camping there they’d be up there for maybe a couple of hours. She would herd them up, and that was to keep the grass down and there was water for them, but lots of fun I mean you really felt so free. And she had visitors not visitors but clients, customers who came from New York.
Tom: You mean people who stayed in her house?
Audrey: Yes in her inn. She had maybe I’m guessing 10 to12 rooms and she provided 3 meals a day.
Tom: She did!?
Audrey: Yes she did. And she had a school bell that she would ring when it was meal time she didn’t ring it at breakfast because people just came when they wanted. But for lunch and dinner you’d hear that school bell and that was dinner time. Out in front of her house (between the church and the house) she had a horse-shoe pit. And that was a daily occurrence these men would get out there and play horse-shoe. And this one man his name was Mr. King. I don’t think I ever knew his first name. We all called him Kingy. And he was so sweet to the children. We’d be in the water and he’d get us on his shoulders and teach us to dive. Lovely, lovely memories. And she baked the best pies. Everyone knew about Irene’s pies and if you went into her kitchen there could be a sheep or two or a chicken on the counter. That’s what you lived with. You didn’t think of sanitation. You just prayed a lot or didn’t even think about it.
Tom: Did she run the lace by herself
Audrey: Yes she did
Tom: She didn’t have any help?
Audrey: Well yes, she did. She had a few neighborhood girls she would call and they would help serve and for a while her daughter, Callista. Callista Philips became Callista McGowen. Did you know Art and Callista?
Audrey: Well that was the daughter. And she would help her mother. And it was a couple of local girls probably from Whitehall who would help serve.
Tom: Did you ever help out with the farm chores or things like that?
Audrey: No. No. She did that herself. She’d go out and feed the animals and in later years, her legs were giving her trouble but she was still out there taking food and feeding the animals. Remarkable woman. Lived here all her life.
Tom: Yeah, I remember her.
Audrey: Do you? You don’t forget Irene Philips.
Tom: She still had her sign out. But I don’t think she was taking anyone in at the time. She named it the Quanset inn?
Audrey: Yes. Quanset. Q-u-a-n-s-e-t. It was just an Indian name. She had a sign out. But she was very fond of my father. I’m not sure she would let us camp on her property if she hadn’t been so fond of my father and she was crazy about my brother. And as he grew and became a man, he was an airline pilot and had money so he begged her and she sold him a piece of property. That was the first piece she ever let go.
Tom: And what building is that?
Audrey: That’s the Tudor house. Across from the graveyard. That was the sheep meadow. But Gary bought that property and she sold it to him. And an interesting story. This must go back 25 years. One of the little children – I’m not sure if it was one of the Borden boys – happened to be there when the surveyors came through and asked this little fellow if he knew who lived up that road. And he said ‘oh, there’s a big house up there’. Then he said ‘this is the Goldey’s and the Goldey’s stay up at the other house. Yup this is Goldey Road’ and now it’s on the map. Goldey Road.
Tom: So which is the house that your father fist built?
Audrey: Well, now, when we were camping, one of the years, it would probably be 1936. We came up. There were 5 children at the time and mother had had a new baby. The baby was born in May and we came up here at the end of June. Can you imagine being up here with a six/seven week old? My mother was courageous. And about a month into July the baby got sick and there was old Dr. White who we all used in Whitehall. He was there forever, sweetest man, and we all used him. He was the only Doctor around and mother took the baby over and he said ‘this baby is on the verge of pneumonia. You’ve got to get out of the tent. You can not go back and camp’. What were we going to do? Well Beulah and Dave Cooper were here and had become very friendly with mother and dad. And mother went to Beulah and said what the doctor told her. Beulah said, ‘give me 24 hours’ and she gathered furniture from all over and she said ‘Grant Foster’s house is empty’ and my father had met Zeek because he would come over and hunt. And Beulah said ‘that house is empty, I’m calling Allison Foster and you’re going to move into that house’. Lock stock and barrel.
Tom: And where is that house.
Audrey: That is up on the way to Bruce Young’s house. The big old farmhouse up there. Probably a quarter of a mile up. Road bends and gets steep and there’s a big old farmhouse. And in the 20’s they had a speakeasy in there. There’s a big barn adjacent to the house and the second floor is all paneled and lovely. We used it as a play room and it was beautiful but it had been a speakeasy. Well, 1936, we moved in that house and it had been owned by Zeek and Alice Foster and so Dad came up and said ‘well, this is better for the children, we’ll ask Zeek if would rent it to us’. He rented it to my father for 42 years. Now, because he was renting it to my father, my father never bothered to look around to buy anything which, In later years as we grew, we thought what a shame that was, you know that was too bad. But, anyway, we had marvelous times and Zeek kept saying: It’s never used; I’m happy that you’re there; treat it like your own. We remodeled the kitchen. We painted. We furnished. We painted the porch when it needed it. We just treated it like our own for 42 years. And then somewhere in that period because Zeek came over – you know he was the supervisor of the county? He and some men would come over to hunt. And he built a little cabin up there not far from the big house across and up a bit so the men would have a place to stay when they would come to hunt. After a while his family were all grown and they live on the corner of North road and 22. A big white house. Alice turned the house over to one of her sons and she moved up there. So in the summer, she and mother had company which was nice. But it was a paradise and the family would come to visit, aunts and uncles because with six bedrooms you were never without space.
Tom: What do you remember about the Speakeasy?
Audrey: Nothing. That was in the 20’s. I wasn’t even born.
Tom: Did you hear stories bout it?
Audrey: Ah, yeah, Zeek would talk about it but only stories that were told to him. People like Doris Dixon would know things like that and the page family because my father was friends with them here. In those years, we’re talking about the 30’s.
Tom: So when did your family finally by a house?
Audrey: My parents never did. When Gary, my brother, bought the property from Irene and built his big Tudor house, my parents were still renting and staying in that house up there all those years.
Tom: And Gary is your brother?
Audrey: Gary is my brother. Then I remarried 33 years ago and I brought my husband up and we stayed with my folks and then we went to Iran. My husband’s business took us there. We were there for 6 months. The riots began while we were there so we had to leave and when we returned he [my husband] said ‘why don’t you write some of your friends and see if there’s any property for sale at the lake’. So I did and Amy Corbet had a note for me and so did Betty Liason that there were 2 houses for sale. This would be 1979. Billy Beach had inherited the house from Lil Peters and that one was for sale and then there was Agle Philips and George who were in Indian Bay. George was getting too old to handle it and theirs was for sale. So we came, looked at them both, and I wanted Lil Peter’s place because it was so much like the big old place up on the hill. But Charles said ‘Audrey if we buy that house, I will not have a vacation for five years’. There were no walls in it. The studs were open, the kitchen was like 1892. I understood what he was saying. There was no dock. And he said ‘that won’t be any vacation for me’. He loves to do stuff but that was monumental and Agle’s was apple pie perfect. Everything. So we bought that. That was 33 years ago. Been there ever since, but we sold it 4 years ago, because my husband is now 90, very fit and very able but he said ‘that’s a lot of work for me. I don’t want to come up, crawl under the house and fix pipes if something’s frozen’. So I’m back now as a renter. I’m renting now in the same bay but just for a week. She could only let me have it for a week.
Tom: So you don’t stay the whole season anymore?
Audrey: No, not after we sold that house.
Tom: Was it hard for you to sell that house.
Audrey: It was the biggest wrench I’d been through in a long time. I mourned for a year. And I didn’t say anything because he couldn’t understand it. I’d spent a lifetime here and with all these friends and shared so much. And I never said much you know just ‘uh it’s gonna be a real wrench’, but I really mourned for about a year and then the people to whom we sold it to lived in Massachusetts and she said ‘we have children who have to go to school after labor day why don’t you come use it in September’. So for 2 years I did. My old place. Which was fun. But then, my husband didn’t want to come back. He said ‘Audrey I put that behind me’. His attachment wasn’t the same as mine and I understood that. But this trip has been wonderful. My son is with me and my niece and a little great grandson, who’s seven. We’re having the best time because I got to church and saw all my old friends.
Tom: Let’s go back to the early days at the casino. What do you remember about the early days at the casino?
Audrey: Well, the hotel in those days was really elegant. On Saturday night they dressed formal. Black tie. Women in gowns. An orchestra was always hired from New York and they would come up for the summer. So an orchestra would play every night. Then the dinning room would close at 10 o’clock because there would be people who wanted to go to sleep. The orchestra with all their instruments would march down the cement pathway to the casino and go upstairs where there was a ballroom.
Tom: Are you referring to the same place that we now call the casino?
Audrey: No. No, no, no. Down from the hotel was this gorgeous building with arches – there are probably pictures around I’ll have to look to show you. On the second floor was a dance floor, a bar, a place for the orchestra and balconies of windows overlooking the Lake. It was a picture to behold. And so it became a nightclub until one or two in the morning and so people would follow the orchestra down walking down this big cement walkway.
Tom: That’s still there.
Audrey: Yes it is and the 2nd floor had a balcony that sort of went out over the water because underneath there was a ramp where all the canoes were and they rented canoes to anyone who wanted to go. Campers might come in and rent a canoe. Oh that’s another thing I remember about Irene’s as a child. The fence had to be closed one day a year so that that right of way could not be legally claimed by the DeNiro’s or the Gardener’s. That was a little legal thing.
Tom: What does that mean now?
Audrey: Well, where the road is where that corner house is which was Irene’s old house that’s been renovated. That road came in like this and headed due west right down to the water and then it turned north, went along the waterside and up over the rock because there were two houses. The DeNiros and Gardeners. Now once a year she had to lock that gate because otherwise she would never have been able to claim that property. I don’t know what the legality was. This is what she told us.
Tom: So then the rest of the time she just granted them access to get to their houses.
Audrey: Absolutely. But she kept the gate closed because of the animals so you always had to open the gate to get the cars through and close it again. But to the right of the gate was the barn and she rented out car space to campers. There were signs there that said ‘three dollars a week’. Campers could come in park their car and then because the water and the beach and the sand was so marvelous and the road went right down, to the left of this road was a small barn well more like a grandiose garage painted red and campers in time began to leave their camping gear there and she would store it there over the winter. But they would launch their boats there. They would all park and there might be six or seven boats and people would island camp.
Tom: And there was a small barn-like building down by the waters edge. Is that a boat-house?
Audrey: Yes. It had been a boat house but no longer used as one. She used it for storage for camping equipment primarily.
Tom: And there’s also a small gray house behind the big house. Was that there at the time when you were camping?
Audrey: Yes it was.
Tom: And what was that used for? Was it also rented out?
Audrey: Well, she had a caretaker, his name was jack. Don’t know that I ever knew his last name and that was his cottage. It’s quite fancy now. There was nothing where the Petersen’s house is near the church. That was not there. There was an ice house. If you were looking toward the road behind Irene’s house to the left there was an ice house and those were the only buildings.
Tom: What about that small white house on the road next to Irene’s house in front of Bob Quick’s big house.
Audrey: That was there and that, in the 20’s and 30’s before we were there, that had been a little store. Yeah, I don’t recall much about it. That goes back way, way back in the 20s.
Tom: Were there two stores there at the same time?
Tom: Because Benjamin had a store there at one point too.
Audrey: Down by the post office. It was mostly meat. It wasn’t as much a grocery store. The only grocery store was right here when the Scotts had one. There was an old house that finally wasn’t torn down it just fell down and they had opened a grocery store here that was very successful and helped educate their daughters and put them through college.
Tom: What years do you remember Benjamin store was open?
Audrey: Oh probably into the 50s.
Tom: And there was also a bakery down there too wasn’t there?
Audrey: Bakery. The baker would come in and we could go down there at six in the morning and you’d smell the fresh bread. Or if you were at the casino at night or wandering around you could go to the bakery at eleven o’clock at night and buy some baked goods. The smell would tantalize you.
Tom: They would open every day and make baked goods?
Audrey: Yup, because they were baking for the hotel and the casino.
Tom: So they went out of business when the hotel went out of business.
Audrey: Yeah. Uh, huh. It belonged to the hotel. That was part of the operation. It was where the caddy shack is. That’s where the bakery was. Matter of fact that caddy shack might be part of the old bakery building.
Tom: Now you said when you were a kid you also went to the casino. So what would you do there as a kid if you went to the casino?
Audrey: Well, there was a game room on the first floor. There was ping pong and an ice cream bar.
Tom: So the casino even though it was part of the hotel, it was open to people who just lived around here?
Audrey: Yeah. And it was two-story so the children were not allowed upstairs. There was a bar and that was for adults. But do you know about the story when the Mohican hit Gull Rock?
Tom: Well tell us.
Audrey: It was a very warm night and it was a Sunday night and we were young adults at the time. I don’t even remember the year. Must have been in the 50s. And it was so warm. You know we’ll get a spell of 104 degrees, not too often but we decided about quarter of eleven (there were about eight of us with mother and dad) we said we’re going to go down to the water and we’re gonna skinny dip. So, I think eight or nine of us went down. We’d take towels and our night clothes. Well, we’re skinny dipping and cooling down. It must have been quarter after eleven and we see the Mohican come up. Blazing lights and all of a sudden the whistle starts and we can’t understand what is happening it just never stops. And we see it coming, you know, it just kind of stopped. It hit gull rock. Later I think they found that the captain was inebriated or something. I don’t recall that part. Well, what could they do? They didn’t know whether they would sink or not. They had, I don’t know how many, but hundreds of black people on board for a moonlight cruise. Somewhere out of Albany they’d come up for this moonlight cruise and they were petrified. So the ship came in and at that time we still had the big docTom: the pier where the Mohican used to stop and pick up passengers in the days of the hotel. So it docked and everybody is in their life jackets and their all getting off and their petrified. So we grab our clothes and we go over to see what’s going on. Well, in no time police came and, to make a long story short, we’d gather two or three of these people and say sit down you’re all right, you’re safe trying to quiet them and comfort them. Then they had to get busses to try to get the people out of there. The busses could not come over the hill. Because when they are occupied they would not have made the hill. So all the residents got their cars and we relayed people over to Route 22.
Tom: This is late at night?
Audrey: Two thirty in the morning.
Tom: And what happened to the ship?
Audrey: The ship stayed there for a couple of days. And then they found it would have safely been taken some place. That was Sunday night and on Tuesday morning it made the front page of the New York Times. And we thought we’d made it. Huletts Landing made the front page.
Tom: Did the ship actually spring a leak or just hit the rock or what?
Audrey: Well, they didn’t know the damage and it stayed there for about a week so either they found some way to repair it or found it could be moved.
Tom: And did this happen because there were not lighted buoys at the time?
Audrey: Maybe. But getting back to the time with Irene. She was a character. She really was, but very caring. Callista and Arthur moved into that little house across from Irene’s and lived in it for a while. The church was an important part of the community and an important part for us. We had been raised Episcopalian. The church fairs were wonderful. Helena Goldsmith and a lot of the ladies who had been here forever we’d have a fair on the grounds and my dad was a great sport. He’d bring up a top hat and a cane and he would take a scale and he would guess weights. That was his contribution to the fair. Well, the children loved it. That was a real highlight for the children.
Tom: Did the church ever have a regular minister or was it a guest every week?
Audrey: Yes, Bob Condit. Bob Condit. His father had been in residence before that. Bob took over and was just a joy to have him here. He was a marvelous speaker. Very histrionic. Cute story – I think it was one of the Starr children. They were sitting in one of the pews and Bob is in the pulpit and his has his vestments on and he’s waving his arms and little Ben out loud says ‘mommy is that God?’ and you have to know Bob Condit. He stood there with his arms out and his white robe and he says ‘not quite Benjy’. We’ve never forgotten that.
Tom: So when the hotel and the casino were in operation, I assume you went there as an adult.
Audrey: No, no, just as a kid because in 1942 gas rationing went on. We had entered the Second World War and we were no longer able to get gasoline to come to Lake George. And my father sat us down as a family and said ‘we can not go to Lake George. There’s not enough gasoline to get us there so we’ll have to find something else’, he said to my mother, ‘for the children for the summer’. So we went down to the Jersey Shore and found a place and bought it. And that’s were we spent those war years. So when gas rationing went off in like forty six or forty seven, Dad sat us down and he said ‘are we going to go to the Jersey Shore or are we going to go to Lake George?’ and we all said no we want to go back to Lake George.
Tom: Did you ever come here in the way people did in the past which was to come to Lake George Village then take the ship up?
Audrey: My father did. My father talks about those early years. He talks about a day boat from New York to Albany and a train from Albany to Glenn’s Falls then coming up by boat. He had done that a few times but that sort of passé when we were growing up.
Tom: But the ship still stopped at the dock each day. So you could get on or off here?
Audrey: Yes you could.
Tom: Did you ever do that?
Audrey: No, we drove here. But he talks about in the 20s maybe 1928 how when Mother and he came up with another couple, the automobile (I don’t know what kind it was) was a gravity feed so they had to back up over the hill.
Tom: How did they do that?
Audrey: They backed the car up in reverse and came over the hill. In those days the cars as gravity feed, when you’re on a hill the gas doesn’t get to the engine. So dad said the only way to do it was to drive backward over the hill.
Tom: That must have been a little awkward.
Audrey: Well dangerous too and that road was a lot different then than it is now.
Tom: So each day when the ship stopped here it would also stop on the way back down?
Audrey: Yes it would. And the post office was at the dock. A Little shed so that’s where you went to get your mail and if there weren’t any passengers for a boat ride that day they didn’t put out a flag. If there were people waiting for the boat, they’d put this flag out and the boat would see it and they’d come in.
Tom: But the mail didn’t come on the ship did it?
Audrey: I think it did. I don’t recall that but I know that’s where we went.
Tom: How long was the post office at the dock? Do you recall that?
Audrey: Maybe somewhere after the war probably late forties. Probably 1948 or so.
Tom: Because when I was first there it was across the street in that little house.
Audrey: Yup, Ed was the post master. Tom: And when he stopped being the post master, it moved down to where it is now.
Audrey: The US postal service rents that house out from Capazinski and that’s were it is now.
Tom: As you look back over the years what is the biggest change that you notice?
Audrey: Some new houses but not enough to have you feel as though the landing is changing. I come back every year and the dirt roads down to certain cottages are the same. There’s so few place left that you can say that – where things haven’t changed – where you’re still walking over the same old stumps and the same old rocks. Sure there are a lot of new houses but it hasn’t spoiled anything. Matter of fact, in some areas, it has improved it. For instance the area in Pickeral Bay. Some of those houses were looking so shabby and the septic system was so bad. They finally have tied in to the sewage which was so necesary and so that’s improved it.
Tom: When the hotel closed, was there a drop off in the number of people around?
Audrey: Oh yeah. Yeah. It was noticeable and for a long time, the dormitory was so shabby. It was like that up until maybe five years ago. Things began to look shabby. When Mr. Ickler died – Margo Capazinski had died, his daughter, and the boys had inherited it and the tennis court was in disrepair and the beaches looked awful. Well I’m seeing some improvements and some real changes.
Tom: Do you know why the hotel had closed?
Audrey: I think it burned. I think part of it burned. Maybe the casino burned. I think it was condemned I think.
Tom: But it was still in business?
Audrey: Until fifty four. About fifty four.
Tom: And is that when it burned or…
Audrey: I think the Casino burned and then they closed the hotel. And it was so shabby.
Tom: But it was an ongoing business right up until that time.
Audrey: Yes. And in my early years as a teen, it was elegant.
Tom: So when it closed up was it mourned or was it good riddance?
Audrey: Well, yeah, it was mourned because it was a landmark. And everyone had such fond memories of it. Every Wednesday they had an amateur night. And so anybody who wanted to could participate in the amateur night. And it was fun. They’d have guests who were talented and it was just a fun thing. And then one night a week – it might have been Tuesday – they had movies in their dinning room. They showed movies. Anybody could go. I think it was a quarter. Or maybe it was free I don’t recall. We’d go to the movies. It was a paradise being here in the summer.
Tom: Yes it still is.
Audrey: How long have you been coming Tom?
Tom: Forty two years. So I remember Irene because she was still alive at the time and she still had the sheep meadow. The sheep were still around.
Audrey: Yes. The church was very important.
Tom: Did you play a role in the church?
Audrey: When I was up at my mother’s I went down one Sunday and said this cemetery looks shabby so I took it upon myself for the next five years to weed and trim and – they mowed the grass – but I went in to weed and trim and take care if the cemetery because I though I needed it. Things like that. A lot of people did nice things like that. Then we became involved in the guild and we had a nice very active guild. Then, it was exciting when Zeek Foster was supervisor in the county. There was no place at Huletts for Whitehall people to come with access to the lake. They used to come down to Bluff Head where the road is so close to the water and they’d park along the road and they’d jump in the lake and it became a nuisance because they’d leave papers and things. They didn’t care about it. And the Bluff head people didn’t like it and I don’t fault them for that either. Being rowdy and lousy at picking up. There were gorgeous bays down there. Zeek petitioned to buy that piece of property where the park is. The county bought it and established a park. There’s a bronze plaque on a stone there in memory of Zeek because he was instrumental in getting the park for people. And it’s used by everyone. It’s a lovely place. Then they build the pavilion and now we use that for church and community activities. It’s a very handsome addition.
Tom: And does your brother still live in the same house over here?
Audrey: My brother sold the same year we did. Unfortunately, when he went home in October he wasn’t feeling well and went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a type of Leukemia and he died about 15 months later. He was 72 and it broke our hearts and everybody remembers him here. He was very active in the fire department. They had drills and he ran the fire truck.
Tom: So then no members of you family currently own property here?
Tom: But you’re going to keep coming until they carry you out?
Audrey: Well, as long as I am able, yeah.
Tom: Well, it was very nice talking with you. Do you have anything else you’d like to say in conclusion about Huletts?
Audrey: Not that I can think of. I think what they are doing in the historical society, in this room and what they have accomplished with the exhibits is fantastic. They all did a wonderful job. I started the library here.
Tom: You did? Well, congratulations because it has expanded – books all over the place.
Audrey: About fifteen maybe twenty years ago. Many of us were avid readers here and it was one August and I ran into a woman and she said ‘I have read everything there is on this landing’. I said ‘I know, I’m out too’ and to go over the hill to Whitehall to go get books was just too much of a chore if you weren’t going shopping. I said to this gal, ‘I’ll tell you what, I’ll start a library next year and let’s tell everybody that I’m gonna do it, so they can collect books and when we all come back up next June, everybody who has paperbacks bring me books and If I’m not here, put them next to the fire truck downstairs’. When I came back next year, there must have been 300 paperbacks. I was thrilled.
Tom: What year was that? Do you remember?
Audrey: That would have been…eighty five? Eighty six maybe? And I said to my husband, ‘I have these wonderful books and I have no place to put them, I need shelves’. He’s very clever with wood and handy. He loves doing it so he said ‘okay I’ll go buy wood. What do you want’? I said ‘come with me and I’ll show you’. We used that little room there and I call it the book nook. So he made shelves. They are still there all around and painted them. Then he made me a sandwich board that we put out that said library open. I would open on Tuesdays and Thursday from ten to twelve and then I would get other people help staff it for me so I didn’t have to be there all the time.
Tom: How did it come to be at the fire house?
Audrey: Well, there was no other place and they had that room.
Tom: So they were very willing.
Audrey: Oh yeah, I was part of the fire company too. You know the women would come when they had fire meetings and we’d bring desserts, you know refreshments for the meetings and things so I was part of the community. And I said ‘I would like to start a library can I have that room’ and there was nothing in there and they all said good idea, go for it.
Tom: Good use of empty space.
Audrey: Yeah. So until this year when I came and saw what Jim has done with free standing bookcases it is outstanding. And now with the historical society, Anne Goldsmith told me they’re opening longer and now it is three days a week. Thursday, Tuesday and Saturday and they’re doing it from ten to two and they have people staffing. It pleases me that it’s still there.
Tom: To be your legacy.
Audrey: Well, yes I suppose so.
Tom: We should put a sign out. Call it Audrey Barbara library.
Audrey: No I don’t need a sign. My name was, um…I was divorced after 25 years so many people knew me as Brady. Audrey Goldey-Brady. And then I remarried for 30 years. And my folks are in the cemetery. We have in the memorial garden so this is where I’ll be. But it’s a love affair with Lake George and you’re aware of that.
Transcription by Emily Lyons