The famed Crist Crape Central Hotel at Sand Lake [SE corner of the intersection of the current routes 43 and 66], believed to be more than 150 years old and once a favorite stage coach stop, is being torn down to make way for a gas station.
There are still Trojans who can remember traveling by horse and buggy or by sleigh to Crape's Hotel for Sunday dinner. And what dinners they were! The Crapes had their own gardens, poultry house where they raised chickens and turkeys, berry patch and dairy. They also raised lambs, pigs and beef cattle.
The Crapes smoked their own hams and bacon, made their own jellies, jams, pickles and delicious chili sauce, canned fruits for pies, made their own butter, cream and cheese and froze their own ice cream.
Sometimes, on a good Sunday in the spring or fall, more than 100 persons enjoyed dinner at Crape's Hotel. They sat at long dining tables and were served, family style, with heaping platters of stewed chicken and golden buttermilk biscuits, chicken pie baked in milk pans with only the best parts of the chicken reposing in golden gravy, smoky hams baked in maple sugar, every kind of vegetable the garden could produce, hot muffins, corn bread and pitchers of rich milk. The table was laden with bowls of cottage cheese, wild strawberry jam, pickled peaches, ginger pears, conserves thick with fruit and nuts and a half dozen varieties of pickles.
This was followed by homemade ice cream, plates of several kinds of cake and three or four different kinds of pie. The member of the family who baked the pastry, made the best pies in Rensselaer County.
All guests were urged to eat until they were at the bursting point.
The hotel was probably built about 1800. A history of Rensselaer County published in 1880 says that the hotel at that time was "more than 60 years old."
It was built as a stage coach stop by Clement Sliter. The community around it then was called Sliter's Corners. The tavern later was conducted by William Finch, Nicholas Fellows, Calvin Sliter and then George Sliter before it was purchased by the late Crist Crape. During the days that the Sliters owned the tavern, the glass works were in existence at Glass Lake and Franklin Averill ran the principal store.
Crape's Hotel had a wonderful old bar, still there within the memory of residents of the village, and an upstairs ballroom with a spring floor. Some residents who were young a half century ago can remember dancing there.
Another view of Crist Crape's Central Hotel, early 1900s. [Collection of the Sand Lake Historical Society]
Several years ago the Crape family sold the hotel. It has been occupied as a residence since then by Oswald Biittig. The Biittig family moved a few weeks ago.
About 35 years ago the old hotel, at a point where Route 66, the Miller Hill road and the Taborton road meet, was somewhat shielded from the main highway by elms and a triangle of lawn in front of the white structure. At this time there was a long porch across the front of the hotel and a small, colorful flower garden at one side.
The elms were cut down several years ago when the new highway was built. The porch disappeared a few years ago and the old white structure was encased in a protective masonry-like covering.
John Warren remembers: There was a large tree to the right of Crape's that was cut down by my father in the 1960s or 70s. His chainsaw hit an old horseshoe that had been left in the crook of the tree. The building next door (now The Towne Tavern) was my great-grandfather's [Bart Warren] blacksmith shop. -- From Historical
Highlights, Vol. 43, No. 3, Spring 2017