The town of Schroon is located in Essex County which is 4 hours north of NYC. Schroon Lake has a total area of 141.2 square miles of which, 133.2 square miles is land and 8.0 square miles is water (Schroon lake and Paradox Lake, connected by Schroon River). The population was 1,654 (2010 census) but the summer visitor count can go up to about 40-60K visitors. Historically, there is a claim that the town was occupied during the Colonial Period as a French colony. The origination of the name "Schroon" was believe it to named from a Native American word for large lake.
Schroon Lake was settled in 1797 by pioneers cultivating the land and hunting.
Schroon was formally named and formed in 1804 from portions of Crown Point, and in 1817 portions of Minerva. However in 1840, parts of the territory were returned to Crown Point. The origin of the name is not exactly known, but some believe it derived from the natives meaning ‘large lake.’ Others believed in honor of the widow Scarron (Françoise d'Aubigne) who was the wife of noted French author and playwright Paul Scarron. She was later Madame de Maintenon and second wife of Louix XIV of France.
Affordable land, fishing lakes, timber and game attracted the early settlers. Construction of the old State road ran from Sandy Hill to the Canada line and passed through Schroon Lake which attracted more settlers. Lumber became its earliest economy and the logs sent down the river to Glens Falls. Attempts were made for iron forging, but weren’t found to be profitable. With lumbering, the tannery business developed.
Between 1875 and 1920, Schroon Lake flourished as a resort
town. Some describe it as the “Gilded Age of the Adirondacks”
and famous hotel were built during this era. One such, was the
Leland House. It was built in 1872 by Thomas Leland and was one
of the largest and grandest hotels on the lake serving 300
guests. In the late 1800’s there were about 200 tourist
accommodations from elegant inns to large hotels. The Leland
suffered two fires, but continued on until 1952. Schroon also
saw the world class “Scaroon Manor Resort” that opened in 1920
and was the site for the movie “Marjorie Morningstar” which
started Gene Kelly, Natalie Wood and Ed Winn. The resort had
over 300 acres of gardens, an amphitheater, and white sandy
beaches. Prior to the construction of the Northway, the main
route was Route 9, and Schroon was a convenient pit stop.
Steamboats offered tours for the tourist in the summer and pull
log booms in the winter.
The depression took its toll on the tourism industry; but also the spread of the polio epidemic took the final toll. The famous Scaroon Manor closed in 1962, and sold to the state in 1967. The State now has a day campground on the grounds; but very little remains except the sandy beaches. One success ran through the recession. The Hague summer music program’s director, Oscar Seagle, purchased a large farm on Charley Hill in 1922 and established Seagle Music Colony, a training school for vocalist. Seagle is national recognized and is still providing wonderful music today.
Today, Schroon is still a charming tourist town, yet smaller than the Gilded Age, and is home to about 1650 full-time resident, thousand of second home owners and visitors. Schroon Lake offers a cornucopia of activities.