Born: c. 1904

Died: c. 1975



Charles Vosburgh was a farm auctioneer and land speculator.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, January 3, 1979

Charles Vosburgh

SARANAC LAKE — Funeral services are being conducted at 3 p.m. today for Charles Vosburgh of Saranac Inn at the Wright-Beard Funeral Home in Cortland.

Mr. Vosburgh, 75, a prominent land speculator in the Adirondacks, lived in a house on Green Pond, near the once-flourishing Saranac Inn, which he purchased in 1961. The purchase included 3,500 acres of land with thousands of feet of frontage on upper Saranac Lake, Church Pond, Hoel Pond and Green Pond.

Over the years, Mr. Vosburgh sold much of the land by sub-dividing the parcels. County records show that he held close to 900 mortgages on the land he sold for camps and permanent residences.

He continued to back land purchases even in the later years of his life.

Mr. Vosburgh purchased land and property in other Adirondack hotels and large camps, including the Lake Placid Club farm, Lake Clear Inn, Sekon Lodge and the Signal Hill Colony in Lake Placid.

His subdivisions were made before the Adirondack Park Agency law was put into effect and were virtually untouched by its restrictions on lot size.

Mr. Vosburgh was known as a colorful auctioneer and people were always entertained during his auctions.

He was a farm auctioneer in Cortland before he began land speculation in the Adirondacks.

Local arrangements were handled by the Fortune Funeral Home, and burial will be in Cortland Rural Cemetery.

Friends wishing to remember Mr. Vosburgh may make donations to their favorite charity.

Thursday, July 2, 1964


By Bill McLaughlin

The Barnum of Auctioneering Charlie Vosburgh, who is selling the Adirondacks piecemeal, has so endeared himself to the national news services that he has gained some wire space for his upcoming Sekon Lodge extravaganza on July 11.

Being his personal press agent it comes as no surprise to me that Charlie has put the hex on the United Press finally for a paragraph or two on this sprawling lakeside encampment on the shores of Upper Saranac.

If you haven't gotten into Sekon it is worth the time and effort to case the joint before the auction begins... that is on a day when the buildings are open for perusal.

It holds a near and dear spot in the rawhide heart of this insidious scribbler. I stopped every day there to drop the New York newspapers and screen gems in magazine form to the main office for several summers during and after the war as a roadrunner for the Saranac Lake News Company.

It was always worth a trip in to any of these places which adjoin each other "Wenonah Lodge ... Sekon... Fish Rock (same thing) as the sun worshippers were generally stretched out on lawn and dock catching the morning rays and giving the ventricles a sharp rise in heartbeat ratio.

Today after suffering the ravages of time it would only result in a coronary of sorts and they would not be needing to send to know for whom the bell tolls. ... anyway getting to Sekon and the point. This rustic treasure house is so filled with memorabilia of the Adirondacks that you need half day to make the journey through the cottages and main buildings of the beautifully situated oasis.

Where are the craftsmen who used birchbark for wallpaper, who twisted the horns of stags to form chairs and umbrella holders ... who made gun racks from the flotsam and jetsam of the forest ... who made beauty from the raw materials of nature. It is impossible to Iook upon these antiquated heirlooms in their natural habitat without wondering if America has not lost something of value. Charlie walks amid the clutter and haphazard order of the upcoming auction. He is a counterpart of PT Barnum. You would think that he would be storing certain items in his own treasure house. Not, so... he cried. Everything goes and price is no concern. Charlie loves the auctioneering game and he and I may get together on a book of reminiscences of the going, going, gone business over a half-century span!

The Albany Times Union Sunday recently referred to Charlie's activities up here as something on the sensational side. God made the world but Charlie broke it up into real estate plots and is selling it off in small bundles so the man on the street can rope off a section to call his own and tell the rest of the world where to go.

Actually Charlie doesn't have to do much "selling" as the things sell themselves. It gets almost like a religious revival sometimes says Charlie and people get the bidding fever and you can hardly control them. "Things that we should give away are drawing bigger sums than articles that have intrinsic value ... there is just no accounting for taste when you get four or five hundred people gathered. together and they all get to throwing up their hands and outbidding one another... but its great for business!"

Every time Charlie had held an auction up here he has had to bring in food catering devices or rolling hot dog stands or something to keep the inner man fortified among the bidding populace. They like to make a field day of it and this set up at Sekon is built just right for a day's outing. Big rolling lawn ... cool breeze off the lake... a long jetty poking out into Upper Saranac, honeymoon cottages for sale, the bric-a-brac of another era in history to be ogled and ahed at... it should be great.

Charlie and I are very good friends... but friendship ceases when the bidding starts with this enigma of the auction game. I could see something I wanted so badly I could taste it... but Charley would not sell it beforehand ... he would say, get in the audience and make me an offer!