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Historical Highlights

History of The Methodist Sunday School Association of Troy and Vicinity, Inc.

 

The Association was formed in 1911. Arthur Pettitt George F. Sieger - First President- Purpose of Organization was to increase the efficiency of our schools through an exchange of ideas, through departmental gatherings and by bringing great Sunday School workers for consultation. Pastors - Superintendants - Officers and Teachers gave splendid co-operation in planning institutes which were largely attended - such men as Dr. Edgar Blake - the secretary of Methodist Board of Education and later Bishop - Dr. Davis Downey-Marion Lawrence, Frank Brown-Carpenter, Supt of Brazil Ind. school the largest in the world - Dr. Clark N.Y.S. S.S. Supt. and heads of departments of both Methodist Board of Education located at Chicago and members of N.Y. State S.S. Association - Fred Winslow Adams afterward transferred to the Boston Theological School - were brought here at different times to consult with us.

Some splendid banquets for departmental gatherings were held at different churches. On June 28 - 1911 the Association ventured a union picnic at Warren - Tibbits grove Beman Park - It was a beautiful day - crowds began to gather early. Dorings full band furnished music - A fine song service was held - and several speakers participated and there was a fine program of sports and of course big eats - More than 6000 people were on the grounds and everybody very enthusiastic over the success of this first venture - so much so that a picnic on the same grounds in 1913 was also very successful - not quite so fine a day but there were present about 5500.

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Refreshment privileges were granted to the Green Island Methodist Church - they took in receipts of $339.06 but the Association received 35% or $118.67 as its share less $15.00 for feeding Dorings Band. Henry Crawmer had charge (of) sports and he organized a S.S. basketball league - played Cohoes 4 and Troy R.R.Y. - Success

In 1912 the Association spent much time arranging an Institute held at State Street Methodist. Edgar Blake headed this with S. Lewis - Mrs. Barnes Mrs. A.A. Lemoreaux departmental experts - Dr. Downey and Frank Brown two great Sunday School workers. The attendance was very large - workers from country districts also participating - Officers and Teachers received much help and inspiration.
July 15 1914 was date set for river excursion on steamer Trojan - It was a grand day - large (numbers of) members came early and the big boat was crowded to capacity - nearly 2000 on board. The Association had planned a fine program - Dorings Band - a large orchestra - Miss Jessie Ross and Fred Hancox elocutionists - Harold Dow and Thomas McGinnis vocal soloists kept things lively on each deck.

Morse, the head of the Hudson River Navigation Co. said he did not realize there were so many protestants in Troy much less so many Methodists. He was told to his surprise that it was estimated at that time Troy with Lansingburgh was 55% Methodist protestant. The boat dining room was kept very busy as well as those selling ice cream, candy and of course gum. Mrs. Chatfield the treasurer reported up to a certain date receipts of $960.90 - Ass. profit $214.14

Also in Dec 1914 the Association sponsored efficiency meetings held 3 days - 1st Church Lansingburgh - 2nd at State St 3d Trinity - Preachers meeting - Elementary workers with 7P.M. supper - Large Attendance - Harry Wilson of Methodist Board of Education was the leader -

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1915 - The Association sponsored a big district Sunday School institute Nov. 8 and 9 at State St. Large [numbers of?] members were present - Members of Methodist Board of Education and State S.S. Association together with local Pastors and Supts participated.

Also this year the Corbin lectures on archeology were sponsored.

Committees had for a year or more looking about for a camp site. The need for more social and recreational work had been very strongly recommended by Edgar Blake then head of Methodist S.S. Board at Chicago. - He recited some wonderful results of such work elsewhere and that the church must either provide for good times under proper environment or else it will be sought elsewhere.
One of our members who had an option on 52 acres at Crooked Lake with the possibility of making thousands of dollars from sale of lots on lake shore gladly turned this over provided the Sunday School would get behind it and make it successful.

He provided a chicken dinner at the Farm which was greatly enjoyed by pastors - superintendants and some other [unreadable word] who looked over the possibilities of the place - met in the grove by the lake and unanimously endorsed the prospect and on Oct 18, 1915 a meeting was held in Troy where Rev. R. Zieham [?] representing the minister offered a resolution authorizing its purchase and this was seconded by Wallace Bruce representing the superintendants and officers. unanimously passed. This action had been thoroughly approved by the then District Supt - Rev. C.W.Rowley. who also contributed to the necessary down payment

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The owners were immediately contacted and the deed received in 1916 - As we were not incorporated the deed was taken in the name of J. Wesley Wood, Trustee who turned it over to the Methodist Sunday School Association of Troy and Vicinity, Inc. as soon as it was incorporated.

Thus this wonderful property along Crooked Lake came into the hands of the Association.

The buildings consisted of House - barn - 2 chicken houses - a granary - Sheep house and pig pen.

The Association took a questionable chance to hold a Union picnic in 1916 - about 1000 persons attended - the morning was pleasant - Dorings band enlivened the occasion - Mr. Tripp had arranged a fine pageant - platform and equipment was placed at foot of hill and spectators sat on the side hill during same - after that came what some of us were fearful with little shelter a pouring rain fell and many were soaked but took it good naturedly and rendered the picnic a success. Also a splendid Institute was held - Rev. Thomas Bishop ,dean - with pastors assisting - used house - tent + barn - Speakers on hay wagon - Students on hay mow. Splendid results - Some great church workers including Frank Hines (?)

There came a time of grounds preparation -

We permitted the Troy YMCA to use the grounds for 2 or 3 years and when they were given a Memorial Fund they wished to buy our Farm and willing to pay probably double cost to us but of course this was not accepted.

Boy Scouts and others were given privileges, and the grounds became popular picnic grouns - so we began to equip - Repairs [end of page 4] here made - House new roof - painted inside and out - New roofs and paint on other buildings - fences repaired - brush and trees cut - interior of barn torn out and cement floor and dormitory added - small (?) (?) charge, making it our recreation center - the beach was cleared of rocks and stones - steps added - Memorial Sunday School built - a men's bath house from sheds torn down back of their church - The men of the church did the work and John (?) paid he paid about $35 for extra material - this was greatly appreciated by the Association. Then came the construction of toilet facilities - now 9 buildings. Then our first pavilion to protect picnics from sun or rain. Numerous fire places were built - the building of many tables - horses and benches had many campers assistance.

During these earlier days a considerable number of our church members camped in tents - that was so much work carting to and fro that they were given permission to build shacks under certain rules + conditions.

The Association built a large women's bathhouse and has bought 5 boats but as some are broken it needs new ones.

Floats were built and sufficient barrels provided and anchors. It requires considerable care to keep these in condition.

There was pressing need for more drinking water. A drive (sic) well was planned and voted. It proved a big job - The drillers went down 132 feet and struck the side of a rock so had to abandon it and start over as the drill glanced off the rock

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in order to get a sufficient supply it was necessary to go down 411 ft costing us $3150. which cost was apportioned to our schools on a per capita basis of membership reported to Troy Conference. Most of the schools paid in full but some little and some none.

We have an abundance of water but as it is necessary to have pipe 125ft down it makes hard pumping - We need an electric pump - Now it is necessary to pump out 125 ft of water each spring and that means it is necessary to have about 8 men working in relays to do the trick. We now need a cement platform too. A few years ago we built another pavilion costing over $800 Some of our schools paid but others not.

We have done [the] best we could to provide playground facilities - A lady from 1st Church Cohoes gave us a slide and a teeter with 4 planks - We purchased another slide and equipment for 4 swings - Mr. Lance had charge of this - We laid out a ball ground with back stop - Also have a Zell Ball-Volleyball and net - Basket ball basket and basket ball - Tennis ring set and quoits. About everything needs repairs or replacement as thousands of visitors have made use of them and surely not always carefully.

Electricity has been installed but we need to extend it. A few years ago we bought two cabins and brought them to the Farm One is used as a refreshment stand, the other for rental - [end of page 6]
We added a kitchen to this.

We have sold by court permission and the permission of the schools 7 lots by lakeside - these have helped finance upkeep and improvements. The schools have been fortunate in having free supervision and program and building plans for more than 30 years - without doubt-this would have cost the schools $15,000 to $20,000.

As a necessity we have been obliged to hire a caretaker to keep the grounds in order and buildings. Also men for special work grass cutting, road building, gravel, etc. A life guard always in attendance at swimming beach.

Of course wartime conditions created a great problem and while many resorts were forced to close, due to free supervisors - reduced help and the loyalty of regular campers and school ticket sales kept [us] out of the red and have some money to help with the coming year. But there is much to be done to make ready for the coming season which [with] weather favorable will be an attendance breaker. Due to the fact that Mr. Wood can no longer take full charge it will be necessary to employ an assistant manager and leader. A caretaker doing much work keeping [the] place in shape - Two life guards - if [the] beach is to used all day and probably someone to look after [the] refreshment stands - also some extra help for [the] gate on rush days - Probably not more than 4 large schools will be allowed on one day.

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We ask your cooperation - We probably will need a carpenter for a month's work etc. We shall need a big group to burn grass in the spring. WE have been asking each school to sell at least 10 tickets - not a very big task when undertaken in earnest and businesslike fashion. A few schools sell all - others none or a part.

We ask full support that we may do things essential.

Let's get behind this organization not only to make this Farm camp a great asset but also reinstate the Association to work for improvements to our schools. Possibly group gatherings at Farm would greatly help.

It is your property - the Trustees have tried to handle it to your advantage - There will be picnics and thousands of visitors - Nice people from surrounding cities - In fact we have had those from the North - South and West - greatly interested. We have organized it under ideals of Methodism. Lets boost it - With your select 4 live wires to represent your interests - 1 official board - 1 Sunday School - 1 Women's Society - 1 Youth Group - These with those from

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The above was transcribed by Charles Walker from a handwritten document

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The official logo of the Sand Lake Historical Society8/1/17; last revised August 13, 2017 -- asm © 2018 Sand Lake Historical Society; all rights reserved.