Historical Dates

December 29, 1798 - John Brown of Providence, RI became the owner of what was later called John Brown's Tract. He had the land surveyed and divided it into eight townships. 

1812 - The Albany Road chartered by the NYS legislature. The course of this road can be seen on John Richard's map of 1821. This short-lived woods road is sometimes referred to as the "Military Road." Ruins of the road bridge over Albany Lake could still be seen in 1850. 

1822 - The Number 4 Road built from Lowville to the edge of Brown's Tract Township Number 4 at a wide spot on the Beaver River called Beaver Lake. Orrin Fenton built his hotel there. 

1820s - A hermit named David Smith set up a camp at the junction of the Beaver River and Twitchell Creek. By 1835 he had moved his camp to the lake at the headwaters of the Beaver River. This lake came to be called Smith Lake. 

1841 - Nelson Beach began his survey of the Carthage to Lake Champlain Road. This road was cut out beginning at the Carthage end in 1844 and completed to Crown Point about 1850. The total length of the road was 134 miles. This road connected to the north end of the Number 4 Road at the Fenton House. 

1844 - Bridge across Twitchell Creek built for the Carthage to Lake Champlain Road. A small log cabin was built on the west side of Twitchell Creek near this bridge for temporary shelter. James O'Kane took up residence in this cabin and lived there until he died in 1858. He was buried "on the high bank" of Twitchell Creek probably in the vicinity of today's Hotel Island. 

1850 - In the spring, John Brown's heirs, John Brown Francis and John Brown Herreshoff, sold all their remaining interest in John Brown's Tract to Lyman Rasselas Lyon who began logging. 

1851 - A State study commission concluded that a reservoir was needed to maintain a constant flow of water throughout the prime travel route of the Black River Canal system

1853 - Black and Beaver Rivers are opened to log rafting, and designated a public highway.

1865 - State Dam erected at the outlet of Nehasane (aka Albany) Lake, up river from the current reservoir.

1870 - (Approximately) William Wardwell built a log cabin by the bridge on the west bank of Twitchell Creek. Wardwell gradually developed a wilderness outpost used extensively by guides. 

October 27, 1879 - William Wardwell sold to Joseph C. Dunbar, who built a backwoods hotel at the location by the bridge on the west bank of Twitchell Creek. He also built six tourist cabins. 

1881 - The State Legislature passed a law authorizing the Stillwater Reservoir impoundment "To restore the Black River its natural supply of water"

1885 - The Adirondack Forest Preserve established by legislature and signed into law. 

July 1885 -1887 - The 1st permanent dam built on the Beaver River above the rapids at Stillwater. This wood and earth dam rose 9.5 feet above natural low water. 

1887 - Completion of the first wooden crib dam by the Autumn season.

1888 - Spring melt and runoff creates first version of Stillwater Reservoir, flooding 1,594 acres of Mary L. Fisher's private lands

1888 - On September 26th, Mary L. Fisher brings suit against the state of New York, seeking retribution for lost land.  The case would continue through at least 1906.

1890 - Adirondack League Club was founded near Old Forge encompassing 104,000 acres. 

1891 - The Report of the Forest Commission for 1891 noted that the Carthage to Lake Champlain Road between Munsey's (Little Rapids) and Fenton's (Number Four) was still in use, "though well-nigh impassable for lack of proper care; but east of Munsey's the bridges are gone, and the road has been abandoned between there and Long Lake."

1892 - A piece of legislation authorized the raising of the reservoir five feet

1892 - Adirondack Park created by legislature and signed into law by Gov. Roswell P. Flower. 

1892 -1893 The 2nd dam project at Stillwater increases the height of the reservoir by 5 feet, to a depth of 14.5 feet. It is likely that this wooden dam was built on top of the existing wooden dam, but it is possible they were two separate structures. This finished project is what we know today as the wooden crib dam, and we have pictures of from 2001.  The State legislature authorized new bridges for the Carthage to Lake Champlain Road connecting the Dunbar Hotel to the mainland. Maps of the time called his property "Dunbar Island" or just Dunbar's. 

Oct. 1892 - Dr. Webb's railroad company completed the Mohawk & Malone railroad across the Adirondacks and regular rail service to the Beaver River country began. A depot was constructed at Beaver River Station mostly to serve sportsmen. 

1893 - Dr. Webb built his great camp "Forest Lodge" on Smith Lake, which he renamed Lake Lila. He renamed Albany Lake, Lake Nehasane. He posted his land, hired gamekeepers and closed the sportsmen's hotels at Smith Lake and Little Rapids. 
February 10, 1893 - _The Beaver River Club established. It purchased the Dunbar Hotel and 200 acres on Dunbar Island. Monroe "Pop" Bullock hired as manager. 

1893 - W.S. Webb files a lawsuit claiming that the impoundment had isolated some 66,000 acres of land making it unavailable for timber harvest. The suit eventually resulted in the largest acquisition and addition to the Forest Preserve ever made in 1894.

1893 - The State of New York passed an Act to restore the road from Stillwater to Beaver River along the old Carthage to Champlain Road (now the 6 Mile Road).

1894 - NYS bought 75,000 acres of forest around the Beaver River Flow from Dr. Webb to settle the lawsuit he brought for damage caused to his logging business by the Stillwater dam. The State also bought another 1600 acres from Mary Lyons Fisher. This remained the largest single purchase by the state for the Adirondack Forest Preserve until recent times. (75,377 or 74,585 acres? - conflicting numbers from several documents) for $600,000 as a result of the W.S. Webb case

1895 - NYS Constitution amended to provide Adirondack Forest Preserve stays "Forever Wild." 

Spring 1896- Rap-Shaw Club informally organized. 

February 1897 -A road completed from Big Moose to Eagle Bay. 

1899 - A road completed from Old Forge to Eagle Bay. 

March 4, 1901 - Rap-Shaw Fishing Club incorporated. 

1902 - A new concrete dam is constructed downstream from the wooden dam, in the existing location of the current dam.  The water level was not raised, however an additional 105 acres was submerged between the two dams and towards the kettle hole.

June 1902 - The Beaver River Club built a new Clubhouse to replace the former Dunbar Hotel. Henry Charles Churchill hired as manager to replace Pop Bullock. Beaver River Club steamer "Alice" put into service on the Beaver River Flow. 

October 1905- Harlow Young hired as manager of Beaver River Club replacing H.C. Churchill. 

May 1906 - H.C. Churchill opened his own hotel called "The Old Homestead" near the west end of the first bridge to Dunbar Island. 

April 22, 1908 - Beaver River Clubhouse burns; replaced the next year with larger building. 

1907 - Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks secretary E. Hall studies proposed dam sites on Indian, Black, Moose and Beaver Rivers

1909 - Beaver River Club mortgaged all the remaining unsold property to Frederick William Barker, Sr. of Syracuse for $12,000 presumably to rebuild the Clubhouse. 

October 1910- Harlow Young bought the Old Homestead Hotel and renamed it "The Beaver River Inn." Young operated this hotel until November 1924. 

March 1911 - Frank N. Williams hired as manager of Beaver River Club to replace Harlow Young. 

June 11 , 1911 - Lighting struck the Beaver River Club cottages of James M. Belden and William P. Goodelle burning them to the ground. They were never rebuilt. 

May 8, 1914 - Original Norridgewock Hotel at Beaver River Station burns to tlle ground. 

December 18, 1914-The Beaver River Club property sold at a referee's sale to three club members (Chase, Foster and Terry) in a mortgage foreclosure action. 

December 28, 1914 - Stillwater Mountain Club incorporated. Beaver River Club continued to operate but now controlled by the Board of the new Stillwater Mountain Club. 

1919 - The Black River Regulating District was created as a unit under the Superintendent of Public Works, and this unit soon finalized plans to enlarge the Reservoir again. 

1922-1924 - Work began to build the current Stillwater dam. Trees cleared from 4000 acres to be flooded. The state mapped and purchased all private land located below the projected hjgh water line. Buildings to be flooded ordered moved or dismantled.

1924 - Work continues on enlarging Stillwater Dam by Black River Regulating District for power and flood control

1925 - Work is completed on the dam of Stillwater Reservoir, raising it nineteen feet to its present height, flooding an additional 2,958 acres, bringing the total water area to 6,700 acres.

Feb. 11, 1925 - Gates closed at new Stillwater dam. The new dam was 19 feet higher than the previous dam for a total height of 33.5 feet. Almost all of-the land of the Beaver River Club was soon flooded. The only parts of the former Beaver River Club land that remained above water were three small islands now called Hotel Island, Williams Island and Chicken Island. 

1925 - Roger B. Williams, Jr. built a new camp on Williams Island by moving some of his buildings from the Beaver River Club and using parts from others he dismantled. 

May 1925 - Fisher Forestry Co. surveyed and subdivided their property above the new high water line near the Stillwater dam. Sale of these lots marked the beginning of the settlement of the current Stillwater hamlet. 

1932 - Lands basic to formation of the Pepperbox Wilderness Area, NW of Stillwater Reservoir, are added to the Forest Preserve

1934 - Air temperature at Stillwater Reservoir, NY, falls to record breaking minus 52 F

Early Spring 1939 - Rap-Shaw clubhouse at Beaver Dam Pond burned down. 

1939 - 1940 - Rap-Shaw Club purchased Williams Island property (land, buildings and all furnishings) for $6,135.00. Insurance proceeds provided $3000 and club members lent the rest. 

September 2-3, 1946 - The Chase Camps on Williams Island burn to the ground. Rap-Shaw Club built Owl's Nest Camp to replace them. 

1950 - On November 25th, a strong storm (microburst or hurricane?) causes excessive damage to the Adirondack area.  Known as the "Blowdown of 1950".

1955- Road from Big Moose to Stillwater completed. 

1963 - Passenger service on Adirondack division of New York Central Railroad discontinued. 

1959 - NY State legislature combines Black River Regulating District and Hudson River Regulating District to form the HRBRRD (Jan)

1972 - Freight service on Adirondack division ends. 

1985 - Department of Environmental Conservation publishes the "Unit Management Plan" for the Pepperbox Wilderness Area (Mar)

1986 - Department of Environmental Conservation publishes the "Unit Management Plan" for the Independence River Wilderness Area (Oct)

1993 - A storm dumps 18.5” of snow on the Stillwater Reservoir area (1 Nov)

1994 - Department of Environmental Conservation publishes the "Unit Management Plan" for the Five Ponds Wilderness Area (Apr)

1995 - A micro-burst occurs on July 15th, causing immense damage in the park, eventually deemed "The Great Adirondack Blowdown of '95"

1996 - Department of Health discourages eating fish caught in Cranberry Lake and Stillwater Reservoir because of mercury levels

2001 - Federal Energy Regulatory Commission oversees repair of the Stillwater Reservoir Dam, the reservoir is drained nearly 30 feet.  This is still locally referred to as "the draw down." Bridge abutments and foundations of Beaver River Club briefly emerge. 

2002 - Rail service to (road-less) hamlet of Beaver River ends



There are now nine water storage reservoirs in the Adirondack Forest Preserve with dams controlling their water levels: 
1.  Lake George
2.  Indian Lake
3.  Stillwater Reservoir
4.  Great Sacandaga Lake
5.  Cranberry Lake
6.  Carry Falls Reservoir (on the Raquette River)
7.  Union Falls Reservoir (north of Whiteface Mountain)
8.  Hinckley Reservoir (above Trenton Falls)
9.  First through Eighth Lakes on the Fulton Chain.



Sources: 












Forest Commission Report (1893) - Volume 1, Volume 2