TBT: Two Schroon Legends

 Ondawa House

Ondawa House

 The Leland House

The Leland House

Here’s a little history on two of the former grand hotels, that once attracted thousands of visitors each year, when Schroon was in its “Resort Town” prime.

Where the Ondawa Hotel once proudly stood, is where you will find Stewarts today. Before it was The Ondawa  it was called the Schroon Lake House. was built by Josiah Rawson.

From the Historical Overview of Schroon:

“Hiram Blanchard bought it and sold it to Paris Russell who expanded it into a large Hotel.  Mr. Russell had a partner John Conley. They named it the Ondawa. hey later sold it to John Burwell who was unable to keep up on his payments and it went back to Mr. Russell He later rented it to Charles Burnell and then later sold it to Mike and Morris O' Conners. It was later sold to Frank and Charlotte Bailey who became very successful with the Hotel on a year round basis.  It caught fire in August of 1919 on Sunday evening. This fire resulted in the formation of the first volunteer fire department for the Town of Schroon. Mr. Cheney help purchase the departments first fire truck".

And fire plays a very large role in Schroon’s history. Its impact was drastic on the Leland House, which once stood atop the grassy knoll looking out over what is now the town beach.

More from the Historical Overview of Schroon:

"The first Leland House was built in 1872 on a 6 acre parcel by Thomas Leland.  It accommodated nearly 300 quests. It was three stories high, 175 guest rooms located where the present hockey rink is today in town. In 1898 the Emersons purchased the Leland House and they bought the Adirondack Inn and the Windsor Hotel which as annexes to the 2nd Leland House greatly increased the room capacity of the Leland Hose to three hundred bedrooms and three hundred bathrooms.Trout and Venison were highlights on the dinner menu.  After the main meal Sherbet Ice Cream was served as a favorite desert. The price for a week's stay was between $12 to $17 dollars. 

"On October 31, 1914 , Halloween night, pranksters were running in an out of the churches on main street and ringing the church bells.One prankster threw a cigar in the leaves and the Leland House became engulfed in flames. Many worked delinquently to put the fire out.  They were unable to extinguish the fire because the water system have been turned off for the approaching winter months. This the memorable hotel on Schroon Lake burned to the ground. It was not long after the fire that Mr. Emerson decided to build another Leland House on the same site".