Historically, the Adirondacks had been considered a forbidding wilderness. The writings of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson helped transform this image into one of spiritual renewal. Stillwater Hotel's motivation is to keep that concept alive.
Since its inception, Stillwater Hotel has been a haven for hunters, fishermen and locals. Over the years, snowmobilers, campers and those truly looking to get away from it all have discovered this wilderness gem as well. Stillwater Reservoir has many scenic trails, beautiful campsites, boating, fantastic bass fishing, and a wide range of wildlife including bald eagles, hummingbirds, moose, deer, loons and coyotes.
1906 - Henry C. and Anna Churchill from Binghamton, NY built the Old Homestead Hotel just west of the bridge to Dunbar Island. Churchill was the manager of the famous Beaver River Club from 1901 - 1905.
1911 - Harlow and Minnie Young from near Lowville, NY bought the Old Homestead and changed its name to the Beaver River Inn. Harlow Young was a well-known Beaver River outdoor guide.
1924 - When they discovered the hotel would be flooded by the creation of the Stillwater Reservoir the Youngs dismantled the Beaver River Inn to salvage as much as possible. The old foundation can still be seen in times of low water (usually late fall) just to the east of the present boat launch.
1925 - Harlow and Minnie Young used some of the salvage to build a smaller hotel at the current location. It was also named the Beaver River Inn.
1928 - Douglas J. and Katherine Purcell from Croghan, NY purchased the hotel and later renamed it the Stillwater Hotel.
1938 - D. J. Purcell died. Kate Purcell and her son Robert, along with his wife Catherine continued to successfully run the hotel.
1950 - Emmitt and Marge Hill of Glenfield, NY bought the hotel. Emmitt Hill was the first forest ranger to be stationed at Stillwater. He added the current bar to the hotel. Much to the displeasure of his superiors, Emmitt Hill used the bar as his ranger station.
1972 - Dan and Sue Mahoney from western NY bought the hotel and performed extensive renovations. They built the current building over the original hotel in order to expand and reorient the dining room to face the reservoir. They also added a small hotel block.
1988 - Marian Romano from Rockland County, NY bought the hotel. In order to improve the restaurant part of the business she expanded the kitchen, added a large deck overlooking the reservoir and added a new dining area behind the bar.
Though there have been many renovations and expansions over the years, much of Stillwater Hotel's architecture and decor are reminiscent of the early days of Adirondack life.
The Ice House Room - Stillwater Hotel's "Ice-house room" was the original refrigeration unit for the building. Men and horses would drag blocks of ice into the room to keep perishables cool. The Ice-house room functioned this way until the 1950's when electricity was brought to Stillwater. The room then served as lodging for staff from the 1970's to the early 1990's when Marian and Joe turned it into the hotel's most spacious room. Today the Ice-house room is much warmer and cozier than its name implies!
Many of Stillwater's historic areas remain true to their roots. Across the Stillwater Reservoir rests the hamlet of Beaver River. With a year-round population of about 40, Beaver River residents live "off the grid" with self-generated electricity and limited modern services such as phone and internet. Boat tours of Beaver River and the Stillwater Reservoir are available throughout the summer. During the winter, while snowmobiling down the railroad tracks, you may come across old railroad stations, such as Big Moose Station, now a restaurant.
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