Monday, October 29, 2012

Lake Oquaga, New York

When you walk into Scott's Oquaga Lake House in the Catskills of upstate New York, you might just as well have stepped out of a time machine in the 1940s or 50s. In fact, I'm guessing it wasn't all that different in the teens/early1920s when Grace Shapley was there.

I have a folder of negatives and prints that belonged to Grace, showing Binghamton and surrounding areas, including Oquaga Lake, Russel Sage College, as well as Syracuse University and Scranton, Pennsylvania. Grace was born in Binghamton in1903. In the 1920 Census her father is listed as proprietor of an iron foundry, presumably Shapley and Wells, which manufactured steam engines.

The young woman on the right is standing a little too close to the edge for my comfort. I don't know who any of the people are, but I really like the clothing, including these boys' shoes.


I think I have a clear sense of what it must have been like to spend time at the relaxed family resort, because it just doesn't seem to have changed that much. The resort has been there since 1869. We stopped by for lunch on October 7, 2007.

Here's a copy of the menu.

This is a sign on the outside of one of the buildings; it looks like it's been there for awhile too.

You can take dancing lessons in Scott's Playhouse or canoeing lessons out on the lake. There's also shuffleboard and a golf course where Grace took a few pictures.

Here's a photo of the Scott's bus and a couple of guys who may have been slightly damaged on their voyage in the time machine.


  1. I like the saying "the best way to get the last word is to apologize", although it is a bit strange to see it on a menu (do you have to apologize to the waiter?). Also, I had to look up shuffleboard, never heard of it, and there doesn't seem to be a Dutch translation. It reminds me of sjoelen, an old Dutch parlor game.

  2. You have such wonderful old photos. I love looking at the clothing in them--the knickers and the two-tone shoes in this post are especially fun to see.

  3. These are interesting photos, Christine. I really like the first photo. The two ladies could have stepped forward just one step and both would have had a little more room, without danger of anyone falling into the water. Lady on the right does look precarious! Did you notice the large pocket on the outside of the dress of the lady on the right? I know Colonial women wore separate pockets under their skirts but this is the first time I've seen one on the outside. And it's huge! Your post makes me want to visit Lake Oquaga and see it for myself.

    1. Nancy, I didn't notice until you mentioned it. It looks like she has a pocket on each side.

  4. The ladies in the first pic have some seriously thick hair, woman's on the right almost looks like a helmet... Those are indeed some fancy shoes on the boys, I'm guessing they are Italian. And it must have been the 'blast from the past' lunch that did us in- there was no way I was actually getting on that bus though, might never let me off!



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