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Mission of the Transfiguration

Blue Mountain Lake is becoming very popular to the city visitors. Two years ago, in 1883, it was decided that a church was needed. The theme was to be more of a mission than a church.

This is where I entered the picture.

An old friend, Edward Bierstadt, had been involved in the popularization of the Adirondacks. He had close ties with the Durant family who had contracted for several lodges to be built. These were planted on various lakes in these North Woods. The Durants are always pleased with my contributions to these projects.

It was decided that the mission should be built of wood. My opinion was asked and my answer was “red spruce.” Spruce logs were plentiful and straight.

Red Spruce Picea Rubens

Red Spruce


Some damn fool from New York City came along and said it was Picea Rubens!

It was red spruce and will always be called ‘red spruce.’

Damn fool!

He said it was also called “Adirondack Wood” by the people that made musical instruments. I will have to ask ‘Old Boomhower’ if he ever made one of his dulcimers out of red spruce.

Oh – oh. My mind went a-ski-daddlin’ again. Back to the ‘mission.’

I was contracted for two jobs.

The first was to collect enough fieldstone for the foundation.

The second job was to cut timber and then de-bark enough spruce logs to build the mission. The builder who had the contract to assemble the mission was pleased with the materials I had furnished.

The fieldstone foundation had to be laid very wide and deep in order to support all the logs. The builder hired a mason to do the fieldstone work. The mason, in turn, hired me as his helper. He was a perfectionist; as well he had to be in order to lay those old fieldstones in a true fashion. Without a perfect foundation the mission would not be standing for long. The deep frosts in this North Country can raise hell with foundations.

The church was finished early this year, except for windows and the bells.

Some fellow by the name of Tiffany was contracted to design and assemble the windows. His business was located someplace called ”Queens section of New York.” That posed a big problem. How were they to get the delicate windows from New York to Blue Mountain Lake without breaking?

The bells also posed a transportation problem. Not due to being fragile but because of their weight.

A Mrs. Morton, also from New York, had paid for the bells. Her husband has something to do with our country’s capital in Washington. The whole area around Blue Mountain Lake is buzzing about the rich people taking over the small village.

However, the locals do not mind all the jobs that are created.

Tahawas and Tomosky c