Address: 65 Rockledge Lane

Old Address: 16 Rockledge Road

Other names: Rock Ledge, Wyndwood

Year built: 1910

16 Rockledge Road was built for Walter H. Cluett of the Cluett Peabody Co., makers of Arrow Shirts, who came to Saranac Lake to "cure."  The Cluetts were recorded as in residence from July 29, 1913 to December 6, 1915, but almost certainly lived there longer than that.

The Cluett house was the first house built in Rockledge; it was  located across the road from the Stanley cottage, the second house built in Rockledge.  The Cluett house burned in 1970.  The house was sold to Gerald Jackson and his wife, Pauline;  Jackson died, and Pauline married Elmer Newton.  It was the last home of poet Joan Vincent Murray, who was staying with the Newtons at the time of her death at age 24 in 1942.

Lake Placid News, June 1, 1923


Rockledge, on the side of Mt. Baker just outside Saranac Lake, the home for some years of Walter H. Cluett has been sold to Gerald Jackson of New York. Mr. Cluett is a member of the firm of Cluett, Peabodv & Co, of Troy.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 17, 1970 Three - Apartment House Total Loss


Late this morning it was still burning. Esthetically it was a beautiful sight to look from the rear at what little was left of the once magnificent old landmark house at the far end of Rockledge with the sun shining brilliantly against the profile of the burning house covered with a blanket of thick smoke.

At the front the flames were still eating at the framework of the threshold as the utility truck of the Saranac Lake Fire Department, with Lt. John Law and Volunteer Rod Daunais, left the scene at 8:53 a. m. after an all-night vigil which had begun for the firemen at 4 p. m. yesterday afternoon.

And the house, now belonging to Mrs.William T. (Kathleen Hammond) Thorne at 16 Rockledge ave., was a total loss. Its value? Who can tell? Mrs. Thorne had left Saturday to attend the funeral of her father, Thomas W. Hammond, in Washington, D. C. She was reached this morning by Harold Wilkins of the Fire Department and she said she might be back in Saranac Lake next Saturday.

Fortunately there was only one casualty, one of three small Pekinese dogs (and the only female) left by Mrs. Thorne in the third floor apartment which she occupied (and which was once occupied by Peter Cox when he was acting publisher of The Enterprise).

It all started after 3:30 yesterday afternoon when Mrs. Ernest Clark, smelled smoke. The Clarks, with their family, occupy the small house which belonged to the "big house" next door. Mrs. Clark immediately called the Fire Department which came instantly. Mrs. Clark could tell that the smoke came from the top floor and she went up. She brought out the father Pekinese (about a year and a half old) and the 6-month-old male puppy, but the mother was lost. In fact, one possible cause of the fire, according to Mrs. Clark, is that one of the dogs might have chewed a wire or turned on the gas in reaching for its food. Tenants said that Mrs. Thorne often left her dogs there for several days at a time while she was away.

No one was in any of the three apartments at the time of the fire, although it was first feared that Suzanne Snyder, 16, daughter of the first floor occupants, was there, Her brother, Jim, aged 19, frantically went in after her but she had not been at home. Mrs. Clark rescued the Snyder collie puppy named Georgia, since the Snyders came to Saranac Lake from Athens, Georgia where Roy James Snyder, now an associate professor in mathematics at North Country Community College, taught at the University of Georgia and where the oldest Snyder daughter, Janeann, 21, is now a senior.

By the time the fire department arrived on the scene it was fairly obvious that there was no chance of saving much from the building. The winds were taking their toll. At first, the water was taken from a hydrant down the road on Rockledge ave. since the hydrant just at the driveway of the Thorne house was buried under the snow and only discovered an hour later.

Under the direction of Fire Chief Ed Duso, 46 men answered yesterday's call, with the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire men on standby duty at the Fire House on Broadway.

Just about every available piece of equipment was thrown into the effort: five trucks, 1,800 feet of 2 1/2 inch hose, 1,000 feet of 1 1/2 inch hose, 60 feet of ladder, the snorkel, etc.

The flames were shootings into the air, fanned by the wind, and the fire moved from the top floor, where it obviously started, to the second floor and then the first.

Nothing was saved from the top floor except the two dogs. The second floor apartment was occupied by Victor Schwartz and his wife, Dorothy. Mr. Schwartz works for Don Moreau and Texaco, Mrs. Schwartz is head of production in the American Management Association operation. Mr. Schwartz' gun collection and his clothing were saved, but Mrs. Schwartz' clothing was consumed by the fire.

A great deal of professor Snyder's family belongings were saved since the bottom floor was the last to be affected by the fire. When he arrived on the scene about 4:30 he rushed into the building and brought out several boxes of mathematical papers which constituted five years of research on "fluid intelligence testing" for colleges. But he did lose the material for his doctoral dissertation which he considered less valuable.

Later Jim Snyder and the firemen were able to recover much of what the Snyders had, although it was not sure how much later this morning. Mrs. Snyder works in the office of John Yurish, director of the Management Internship Program at the A. M. A. Jim is a freshman at NCCC and his sister Suzanne in the 10th grade at the Saranac Lake Central High School.

Professor Snyder was concerned about such matters as bills he still had to pay and his income tax return which he had almost completed. He did not know who his creditors were or the figures he had compiled for the Internal Revenue Service.

History of "Cluett House" Which Survived 60 Years


The house which was destroyed by fire yesterday was built in 1910 for Walter H. Cluett of the Cluett Peabody Co., makers of Arrow Shirts, who came to Saranac Lake to "cure." It was the first building built here by J. J. O'Connell, founder of J. J. O'Connell and Sons, Inc. which is still doing business in Saranac Lake.

The house also was the first erected in the 70-acre tract, known as Rockledge Park, which Cluett, Arthur Chalmers — a manufacturer from Amstredam and New York City — George Duryee and Eddy Whitby real estate men from Montclair, N. J. had acquired and set about developing. They formed the Rockledge Co. and engaged the Olmsted brothers of Brookline, Mass., well known landscape architects of that day, to plan for sub-division of the property. The company sold three acres late that year to Alexis W. Stanley, founder of the Stanley Tool Co., who was the second person to build a home on the site. J. J. O'Connell was his builder also. This house still stands just across the street. In the years that followed, other prominent and wealthy families built homes in the development which they maintained as a private park. They included the Gadsons (He was a vice president of Swift and Co. ) the Kaufmans of the New York City banking family; and Hal Humpstone, vice president of Standard Oil in South America. Cluetts occupied the house until the 1930s. In the intervening years [he] became interested in curling and built the first curling club here and later, a larger curling club building which is now the Madden Warehouse. The O'Connell company were the builders for both clubhouses.

After Cluett's death, his son George who had his own property in Harrietstown, sold the house to Elmer Newton who was connected with the U.S. State Department. Following her husband's death, Mrs. Newton converted the house to apartments. Miss Kathleen Hammond, now Mrs. Walter Thorne, the present owner, acquired the house from Mrs. Newton.

By 1941, most of the outstanding shares of the Rockledge Park Co. stock were owned by Mrs. Newton and her son, Edwin, In 1963 her shares were purchased by Francis Casier and Emerson Wertz and, in 1965, Casier became the sole owner.

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