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Yesterday we drove up to Big Moose Lake, about an hour away from our home. Had a fantastic dinner at the Big Moose Inn and then drove home. This is the gazebo next to the Inn. The trees are getting their new leaves, the orange is from the maples, an interesting pale imitation of their color in Autumn. The day was cloudy.
It is a historic spot, many years ago Chester Gillette murdered his pregnant girlfriend, Grace Brown, on the lake, so he could marry a rich man's daughter. Author Theodore Dreiser wrote a classic book, "An American Tragedy" about the event, and in 1951 a film "A Place In The Sun" was made based on the book. The film starring Montgomery Clift as Chester Gillette, Shelley Winters as Grace Brown, and Elizabeth Taylor as the rich man's daughter, earned several Academy Awards.
It is said if you are quiet and watchful in the evening, you may see Grace Brown's ghost hovering over the water.
- Lida Rose, Rochester, NY

Big Moose Inn History

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One of the last remaining lodges with access to Big Moose Lake


The Big Moose Inn and Restaurant, on the shores of Big Moose Lake, has a fascinating history. One of the last remaining Adirondack wilderness lodges with access to Big Moose Lake, it was built in 1902 for George Burdick at the cost of $1100 by E.J. Martin, the owner of the Waldheim, which is still owned and operated by the Martin Family. Burdick, a colorful but ornery character renown for his eccentricity, was a popular guide in those times. His success allowed the addition of a new wing to the Inn in 1915 Following his death, the Inn, originally known as Burdick's Camp, was purchased by Leonard Waterman, and became known as Waterman's Camp.

In 1946 Waterman sold the camp to Dorothy and William Ebel who renamed it the Big Moose Inn. From 1954 to 1957, the Inn was owned and operated by Ralph E. Hutchins. The chef at the Inn was Hank Herschy, who returned on a nostalgia trip to the Big Moose Inn in 2007 for the first time since he left 52 years ago. He provided a menu and brochure from 1955 which boasted, "All of our buildings are equipped with modern conveniences such as running hot and cold water, baths, electricity, and steam heat." The menu featured Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches for $ .20, Hamburgers for $ .35, and beers for $ .30 and $ .35.

Falling on hard times, as was the fate of nearly all of the old Adirondack Inns and Hotels, the Inn was sold at auction on August 10, 1957 to Frank Newman of Stag's Leap on Big Moose Lake. The Inn was first managed for Newman by Barney and Betty Barnum, who had been operating the Lake View Lodge. Barney and Betty are longtime and well known residents of the Big Moose community. They eventually purchased the Inn from Newman and ran it for 11 years, until they sold it to the Bennett family in the late 60's. The Bennetts successfully operated the Inn for more than 35 years. Under their management it acquired a reputation for fine dining and comfortable lodging on one of the most popular natural lakes in the central Adirondacks. The current dining room, which seats over 100, was expanded by the Bennetts in the early 90s in response to the Inn's growing popularity.

In 2005 the Inn was purchased by Robert Hankey, a long-time homeowner on Big Moose Lake. He has worked diligently to continue this tradition of excellence. As evidenced by entries in last season's visitor record, guests continue to enjoy the excellent food and wines, the competent staff, the beauty of the natural setting, and the musical entertainment offered by local talented Adirondack musicians.

In the spring of 2010 the Inn was purchased by the Mayers who will be putting their 30 + years of hospitality experience to good use by continuing in the long traditions of warm hospitality and excellent dining experiences the Big Moose Inn has become known for.

Although the Inn has undergone many additions and renovations over the years, there are still only 16 guest rooms and to this day the inn retains its rustic small country inn charm.

Big Moose Lake is popular because of its scenic beauty and its remoteness. It has also gained notoriety over the years as the setting of the infamous murder of Grace Brown by Chester Gillette in 1906, which Theodore Dreiser used as the basis for his critically acclaimed novel "An American Tragedy." Originally published in 1925, it is still in print today. This notorious murder was the basis for several additional books and movies. The diary of the executed killer Chester Gillette was recently discovered and donated to Hamilton College, It provided the source of inspiration for yet one more book on the subject. For more information see Author Craig Brandon's Website.

Old postcards of the lake can be found here: Images of America: Big Moose Lake

Slide show of several of the first Adirondack "great camps", in nearby Raquette Lake.

bed and breakfast Inn on Big Moose Lake for Adirondack Lodging
Worth the Trip From Anywhere!
The Big Moose Inn and Restaurant
on historic Big Moose Lake

1510 Big Moose Road, Eagle Bay, New York 13331
(315) 357-2042  ·  (888) 924-4666  ·

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