He was a pioneer of lake resorts, a visionary who saw the future of theme parks and a man who had an eye for a good investment or two.
Tonight, PBS pays homage to Charles Reeves Wood, who along with his wife Margaret, developed Arrowhead Lodge at Schroon Lake and later the Holiday House (Wikiosco) on the Bolton Road in Lake George in the early 1940s.
The one hour documentary, “Charles R. Wood: A Storied Life,” produced by Working Pictures, for WMHT-TV public television, premieres at 7:30 pm Monday (March 7, 2016) on WMHT-TV and on wmht.org.
In 1954, the Woods purchased five acres of swampland on the east side of Route 9 between Lake George and Glens Falls for $75,000. It was here the fabled Storytown amusement park was built-- opening a year before Disneyworld.
Storytown USA, as it later became known, (now the site of Great Escape) created incredible wealth for Woods, allowing him to purchase a Duesenberg, automobile, one previously owned by actress Greta Garbo.
In 1987, after years of enjoying the car, Wood donated it to The Hyde Collection art museum in Glens Falls, which sold it at auction for $1.4 million to fund the museum’s 1989 Education Wing expansion. That’s just one of the many stories featured in the documentary.
Wood established the Charles R. Wood Foundation in 1987, a charitable foundation to support the arts, children and health care.
The foundation has assisted numerous regional charities, including The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls Hospital, Charles R. Wood Theater and Crandall Public Library, in Glens Falls.
Wood not only gave money, he volunteered his time at the hospital’s cancer center, said Dianne Shugrue, president and chief executive officer of Glens Falls Hospital.
The foundation also has supported projects at Albany Medical Center in Albany, and Double H Hole in the Woods ranch in Lake Luzerne, which Wood partnered with actor Paul Newman to start.
You can read more about this remarkable man in this post by the Warren County Historical Society, by clicking here.
You can read his obit in the New York Times, by clicking here.