May 2013
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A warm, low-80’s Monday-before-Memorial-Day awaited the attendees of the May meeting. Among the regulars: Walter & Donna Ingalls, Bette Welter, Evelyn Jennings, Mary Heisinger (now a regular!), Christine Mickelsen, Bob & Marie Shaw, Stephanie Ingalls, Phyllis Beechert, and Don Teator. Add in the almost regulars, the newcomers, the hosts, and we totaled in the 30-35 range—a nice turnout indeed.

The draw of the evening was both the setting and the topic of the evening—Baumann’s Brookside, one of the three long-running original boarding houses that still survive and remain strong in 2013. We used Baumann’s to show the historical cycle of boarding house/resort in Greenville.

So, before I get into the meat of the topic, allow me to thank Carol and Rich Schreiber for not only hosting our group but also providing refreshments. Another treat this evening was the participation of the other families—Roe & Kevin Lewis and sons Tucker and Russell, Courtney Reinhard, and Joan Smith. More about importance of family later.

Upon entering the dining room through the lobby, one found several tables laden with photos of the resort throughout the years. Brochures of past years were shown, as were brochures of other nearby resorts. Also shown was a sketch of the resort by one Fred Becker, of unknown identity to us from the 1930s.

            After my brief introduction, Carol took the reins and ran with the show until the question period. I will write some of the snippets I remember or made notes of.
          Actually, on second thought, I will copy the short history that Con wrote and gave me more than a few years ago, and I will fill in a couple pieces. So, if you want, take time to read that now. (see below)

house (described in Con’s notes) near Place’s Corners (the intersection of Sunny Hill, CR 41, and Drake Hill Rd), if my directions are right, is north of the corners on Rt 41, up and past the first couple houses on the left. The driveway is on the right, washed out after a couple big storms in the past ten years.
          My other sense, as Carol was talking, was three stages of building. One came at the beginning, in the 1920s, when they needed to establish the Johnny Cake Lane venture. The second big stage came around 1940, followed by the third stage in the late 1950s and early-mid-1960s.
          Carol noted that early entertainment was self-made—swimming in the mill pond (yup, the Red Mill dam pond), walking the roads and fields, and so on. Fresh air and getting away from the city was reward enough. Of course, guest expectations of what is entertainment world change constantly.
          And Carol told a story or two of personal nature that is not part of the official history of Baumann’s but is so typical of families working together and dealing with stressful times. (The only clue I will reveal is “Prohibition.”)
          Carol noted the effect of deaths in the family, her own mother passing away and how her step-mother Vivian became and remained a strong force in her (Carol) life.

At some point, Carol asked each of the family members to say something, and to their credit, most did, and presented the human face of a family-owned business.
          And that influence of family is an important element in the three remaining resorts—the succeeding generation picks up to continue the business. Without that, and without that happening at the right time, the decision to withdraw from the resort business is often made (if other factors have not already forced the issue)..

We debated the correct pronunciation: bough-men over bo-men (emphasis on the bough of the tree, not the bo of Little Bo Peep).
          Richard Nestlen, who I had never met before, introduced himself as the delivery man of chlorine products to the area resorts. Anyone associated with the resorts in the 1960s on may remember Spick products (a name that would not do today!) and Richard was still delivering locally into the 1980s.
          Carol talked about some of the challenges of the modern era, the next five or ten years, and this provoked some commentary from the floor about successes, or otherwise, of area businesses that have since become part of PAST history. (Shepard’s was a main topic, and such a visible one today.)
          The meeting closed, we scouted out more photos, and chatted some more before leaving. We had witnessed what I affectionately call real local history, a meeting that measures up to my standard of superb, if you can excuse my enjoyment and pride in local history, knowing that many in the audience this evening share it as strongly as I do.

We had started the meeting with introductory material – GLHG history, sign-up sheet, email newsletter, etc.
          Mary Heisinger updated the audience about the Memorial Day festivities, and about upcoming CWRT events (book discussion on June 12). Contact Mary if you might be interested in the Civil War activities. (The Memorial Day program, despite record low daytime temperatures and a consistent light rain, did Greenville proud. Great job, Mary, in organizing the day!)
          Mary Lou Nahas noted her boarding house efforts. Although she blames/credits me for her start, she and Nick have certainly pulled together a fine collection of pictures of resorts in the Town of Durham. Most of this is on Facebook (type in Boarding House, Hotels, and Resorts in Durham NY) and you will see the public back-and-forth in helping Mary Lou find even more!

Our next meeting, on June 10, should be another worthy meeting. I have employed the services of Chuck D’Imperio to be our guest feature. To quote from my press release;

… Chuck D’Imperio, a lover and story-teller of things Upstate New York. Chuck is a radio broadcaster at WDOS in Oneonta (NYS’ Broadcaster of the Year, 2000), a newspaper columnist, an inductee into the NYS Country Music Hall of Fame, a speaker at over 40 sites a year, and father of four children.

His works include: Monumental New York: A Guide to 30 Iconic Memorials in Upstate New York; Upstate New York in 100 Words or Less; Great Graves of Upstate New York; Upstate New York: History Happened Here; and soon-to-appear 50 Museums in Upstate New York You Have Never Heard Of.

Chuck’s style is to capture the big picture by drawing attention to the lesser known; the out-of-way; the quirky; and to people, places and events that deserve attention. With his engaging speaking style, D’Imperio will inspire you to read more and to look at our surroundings in a different delight. His books will be available this evening to be signed.

I first listened to Chuck at a Gilboa Historical Society, and based on how little, or nothing, I had ever heard about Chuck locally, I thought he would be an interesting and worthwhile reason for a night out, both for people who love local history as well as for people who enjoy listening to stories of the small pieces of history of upstate New York.

A sad note: Dot Blenis, one of our mainstays for stories and notes of longer ago than most of us could tell, passed away this past month. She certainly lived a full and active long life.

Included below are a couple of pictures of Baumann’s.

C’mon out to the June 10 meeting, and bring a friend who wants to be entertained by a versatile story-teller.

Take care,



Baumann's -- early-mid century


view from hill southwest of resort, main house behind trees at center of photo, at junction of Johnny Cake Lane and Red Mill Rd