Count Valois era 1893-1932
Count Arthur E. Valois 1
In 1893, the Hon. Arthur E. Valois, attorney, of Paris and NY, during his service as liaison between the French and United States governments purchased five adjoining farms along the east side of Seneca Lake 2. He and Charles G. Loeb had a law office at 36 Avenue de l'Opera Paris, France 3. He built a large lakeside home as a summer residence which was known as the Valois Castle. Furnishings were said to be "originally used in the royal court of France in the 18th century. Among them were furniture, chandeliers, mantel pieces and tapestries of great value i v [sic] antiques. The castle became a rendezvous for diplomats, authors, artists and musicians. Entertainment was lavish." 4
He was also known as "Count Valois" 5 and was married. His wife, Mrs. Arthur E. Valois of Valois-on-Seneca is listed in the Annual Report of the State Commission in Lunacy 1903/1904 as one of 56 State Charities Aid Association legally appointed visitors to Willard State Hospital 6. Willard housed 2,218 patients on October 1, 1904. In 1900, Arthur E. Valois was one of 19 Commissioners appointed by Congress to the 1900 Paris Exposition 7.
On March 21, 1903, North Hector was renamed Valois in honor of Count Valois as he donated funds for many community improvements.
According to a 1965 article in the Syracuse Post: "Valois Farms Castle which burned in July, 1932 included in its memoirs a disappointment to its owners in 1924, when President Calvin Coolidge vetoed a proposal that he use the castle as a summer White House. Although Coolidge was an ardent fisherman and the castle was on the shore of Seneca Lake, probably the best trout grounds in the nation, the President preferred the more specialized sport of brook trout angling, Valois Castle had, other memories, however, which added luster to its legend. At the outbreak of World War I, Valois sold the property to the Holt family of New York City, who later proposed its use by Coolidge. According to Evan E. L. M. Holt, who still resides near the site, the castle was then opened to the public for dining and dancing for about 10 years before it was consumed by fire. The name still lingers, the community on Route 414 having been named Valois, and many in the area still remember the social events which were a feature of the castle's heyday." 2.
There is a history of the Castle online at https://www.co.seneca.ny.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Valois-Castle_ADA.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0buqDeyP5jMlotNRD-oXhUQxUsmKKe2H4IlJ1PqKqY8mIsEctoLw-kdio.
In 1930, prior to the Castle's burning in July, 1932, Valois Castle "famous for its imposing architecture and historic furniture, has been bid in by Schuyler county authorities for $886.96, the amount of unpaid taxes due on the building" 4
1 New York Tribune, New York State’s Prominent and Progressive Men - An Encyclopaedia of Contemporaneous Biography - Volume II, 1900, Arthur Edouard Valois, page 348
2 Meekel, Steve (May 23, 1965). Syracuse Post-Standard Magazine.
3 Boardman, Irving. Bender's Lawyers' Diary and Directory for the State of New York, Volume 28. Bender's Lawyers' Diary, 1919, page 1149
4 Johnson, Keith R. The Cornell Daily Sun. 1956 Archive
5 Harvey, Steven. It Started with a Steamboat: An American Saga. AuthorHouse, 2007, page 200
6 Mabon, William, M.D., Lockwood, Daniel N., Parkhurst, William L., Commissioners, State of New York, State Commission in Lunacy, October 1, 1903 to September 30, 1904. Annual Report of the State Commission in Lunacy for the Year 1903/1904, Volume 16. Brandow Printing Company, 1905, p 952 and 1003
7 Helmer, Richard Bryan and Sanders, James & Alvin. Livestock Journalists of the Midwest. Dorrance & Company, 1985, page 83