Chazy Lake Road 1900

If you were to drive from Dannemora to Lyon Mountain on a sunny day in 1900 you would have passed just a few houses clinging to a wooded and rocky hillside overlooking a lake so shockingly blue that it would be hard to look at anything else, except for the massive mountain at it’s western end, rising nearly 2000 feet from the lake shore.

Trains came here daily to drop off tourists and tuberculosis sufferers seeking to breath freely in the crisp air.  There were two large tourist houses and others took tourists in on a more informal basis, much like the bed and breakfasts of today. 

The community was almostly exclusively French speaking, with recent roots and strong ties to the relatives of the Canadian expatriots who had made their way south to an untamed wilderness in the Adirondacks.  It’s easy to paint them in the romantic glow of the turn of the 20th century because they lived the life that Currier and Ives painted… big powerful horses pulling carts and carriages, sleigh rides, huge family dinners at tables that simply groaned under food in kitchens smelling sweetly of cookies, cakes, fresh pickles and roasting pork or chicken.  A life in which music and dancing, swearing and chawing were as important as hunting, fishing and farming. 

They were, mostly, French Canadians and nearly everyone, perhaps everyone who lived along the road was related in some way to everyone else.  For  over 70 years this group of people dominated the scene and created the unique culture of Chazy Lake. 

Join us on our exploration of their roots deep in Canadian history and their progeny’s journey into the American presence on both sides of that now gated border.