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GROWING UP IN LAKE PLACID: There’s history on that drummer’s new lakefront property

November 25, 2016
By BARBARA KELLY , Lake Placid News

I gave up my weekly column in the Lake Placid News six years ago in order to finish and publish my book of the same name, "Growing Up in Lake Placid." I have been living in Virginia since April with my son Doug Kelly and his wife Deb Chaison at an amazing family compound called Camp Kelly Chaison.

I get the Lake Placid News each week and read the article about the sale of property on Lake Placid lake to the drummer in Bruce Springsteen's band - Max Weinberg - and felt that I should share the interesting history of that site with the News. The bottom line of this story is that my mother Grace Tyrell originally owned this piece of waterfront in the 1930s when she was the only occupant of property on the bay. She sold it to Fred Schwartz in 1948 for $600 in order to pay my senior year tuition at Russell Sage College in Troy.

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Article Photos

Timberdoodle group
(Photo provided)

Tyrells and Schwartzes

My mother first met Fred Schwartz when his father Abe Schwartz hired my mother and father, Grace and Len Tyrell as guides for hunting and fishing trips for himself, his wife Minna "Minkie" and their three sons Fred, Leslie and Milton. While hiking with the Schwartz family in the Whitney Mountain area, the Tyrells introduced Abe Schwartz to the great piece of property up the Whitney Road that was owned by Martin Brewster. Abe Schwartz fell in love with this piece of the Adirondacks and wanted to buy it.

Martin Brewster's property that Abe wanted to buy contained a small house heated by a wood cooking stove, a large lean-to with outdoor fireplace and a large vat for boiling up maple sap into syrup and sugar. For several fall and winter seasons, Grace and Len had resided in Brewster's small house and ran their own maple syrup industry. I was then in grade school, so they boarded me in town at the Goodsell Cottage just behind the Roland's "Homestead" with my grandmother and grandfather Goodsell.

Abraham H. Schwartz had emigrated from Russia in 1903 and opened an ice cream parlor in which pictures were shown as an added attraction. In 1928, he built the Linden movie theater in Brooklyn and then with Clay Miner of Theatrical Enterprises a whole group of theaters in New York City under the business name of Century Circuit Inc. His oldest son Fred was made vice president. After acquiring the Brewster property, Abe hired Grace and Len to manage it and supervise the building of his new lodge which he then named Timberdoodle.

Grace loved living at Timberdoodle because she could walk all the way down the Whitney Road to her property on the bay on Lake Placid lake where for years she kept her fishing boat and tackle, always ready to take her and sometimes guests out to her favorite spot to fish for lake trout.

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Abe dies, Fred takes over

Abraham Schwartz became ill while at Timberdoodle in the 1930s and remained there with Grace in attendance until he died. Son Frederick J. Schwartz inherited the business, Century Circuit Inc., and the Timberdoodle property.

Fred added a new building to the property and named it "Uncle Harrys" after Abe's brother Harry Schwartz. This building provided the extra bedrooms and recreational space and equipment needed to service the many weekend guests at Timberdoodle.

Fred then put in a swimming pool and had Len build a small skating rink on the lawn-bowling green between the old Brewster house and the main lodge. (They figured I could teach guests how to skate.) Fred happened to be very good skier, but did not wish to climb up Mount Whitney from his property. He solved the problem by clearing a steep area next to the main lodge and installed a rope tow. The top of the run was expert and the bottom good for teaching beginner guests to ski. On college vacations, I was hired at Timberdoodle to help out on busy weekends. Since they still needed more help, I suggested that my friend Corrine O'Hare from Keene would be a good employee. A few months later, Fred and his first wife Shirley (they had one son Robert) were divorced and he married Corrine "Queenie" O'Hare. They later had two daughters, Terry and Abby, and spent part of their time at their apartment in New York City.

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The scene changes

In 1948, my father died suddenly at Timberdoodle while I was completing my junior year at Russell Sage. Timberdoodle had lost its base. Grace was left trying to manage the property alone and wondering how she could manage the $600 tuition for my senior year of college. Fred wanted a place on Lake Placid lake where he could build a boathouse with a living space above for his new family. If she sold the property to Fred, Grace would have the tuition money for me to finish college and Fred would acquire the secluded property he desired. They agreed on a price of $600, and the deed was done.

 
 

 

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