Wallpaper January 2011

Wallpaper January 2011

To my surprise, only two people (please see note at end) recognized last month’s Thousand Islands Christmas tree, a pitch pine surviving on who knows what as it clings to an elephant’s back of granite out front of my cottage. It seems difficult to believe that these are Canada’s rarest pines, found only within the immediate region when they seem so willing to survive on essentially nothing.

Last Month's wallpaper (November 2010)

The reason I suspected most people would recognize this hardy little tree is because it has been growing directly in the view of the web camera I leave on so you can check up on the River when you’re away from it. I know many people do, because we actually had to change the feed from live video to a single live frame because high traffic would jam the server when too many people left it playing in real time on their screens.

As it happens, only Susie Smith and Patty Mondore identified this scene and Patty’s was the only story submitted:

It was easy to identify the little snow-covered Christmas tree’s location. The tricky part is determining if it is on Hayley’s shoal or Hayley’s island because it depends on whose definition of an island one is using. While everyone agrees that an island must have over one square foot of land that is above water 365 days of the year, some claim that it needs to have one tree or shrub, and others maintain that it requires two. When Ian planted the little pitch pine on the shoal just off of Raleigh Island, I’m guessing he was working with the former definition and hoping to build his own neighboring island (named after his daughter). Even though I’ve never been there in person, I might as well have, for the amount of time I spent watching the little (let’s call it an) island via the Ian-cam during that first winter he set up the camera and left it running in his island cottage. What an amazing sight it was, checking in to see the River (and the island) go through the many moods, and many changing seasons on an almost daily basis. I was settling in for another virtual winter-on-the-River when the web cam crashed, early in the season, leaving us in the dark. That was the year (2007/2008, I believe) that Ian’s friend John Street saved the day… the year, in fact… with a web cam of his own that ran on Ian’s site. Today, we have the good fortune of both web cams (http://www.1000islandsphotoart.com/LiveCam.aspx). I would be remiss in leaving out the new Singer Castle cam that one can also enjoy online (http://www.singercastle.com/seiten/a_webcam.html). Thankfully, us remote River Rats have all kinds of views and angles of the River we can check in to, to make sure that the locals are taking good care of it for us until we can return in the Spring.

Happy Holidays!
Patty Mondore, Jamesville, NY

Many thanks Patty. If anyone else would care to weigh in on the official definition of a (Thousand) Island, please be my guest. For what it’s worth, I planted two pitch pines on this rock to put it beyond any question, but only one managed to survive.

In the meantime here’s a more recognizable scene (for some) which I’m hoping will dig up some interesting stories or lore.

Happy New Year,

Ian Coristine 

NOTE: Only after having posted this month's email did I discover that a recent change in software running the site no longer automatically notifies me when responses are posted. I discovered several had been posted last month after all, with one of them from Cary Childs clearly worthy of this month's laurels along with Patty's story, so two prizes will be forthcoming. Here's Cary's Christmas story:

Hi Ian, I'm sure I don't have the best Christmas story but other island river rats will understand and relate. Last year my father wrapped an envelope addressed to the whole family. It was filled with a bunch of letters to complete a word game to reveal his family gift. The letters spelled "Washer & Dryer." Every woman in the family loved the gift while every man went speechless as we started thinking about just how we would get the washer and dryer across the river to the island. River rats have many different ways to transport furniture and appliances, most of which are good for a kodak moment. Ours was no exception. We decided to balance the appliances on the railing of our pontoon boat during the windiest weekend of the year last spring. Just captaining a pontoon boat in such wind was a task, let alone taking on water while balancing an overloaded and undeserving little pontoon boat. You might think that after we safely reached the island the story would end, but no, my dad insisted that they would be installed on the second floor. Okay, fine! You should know the upstairs is only accessible using a spiral starcase that's 36 inches in DIAMETER. At this point we decided to construct a make-shift scaffold to support one appliance plus two men, in an effort to hoist them over the railing and into the loft. This procedure took six men; two in the loft awaiting the hand-off, two lifting the appliance onto the scaffold and then climbing on, while two tried to keep the teetering scaffold upright. To our own surprise it was a success with no damage or trips to the emergency room. As I dreaded the work required it turned out to be a weekend we won't soon forget and a real family memory. Sometimes the best Christmas gifts are those that create the stories we tell around the camp fire all summer long. Thanks for the pictures that get us river rats through the winter.

Wallpaper January 2011

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Carleton Island , Wolfe Island in the background. Sorry no stories. Moved to Wolfe this fall and love watching the ships, wildlife and the sky changes out our front window. Carleton sits calmly to our left. Love this web site and all the pics. and stories. Thank You , happy new year, fondly Crothers, Wolfe Island.

posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011

Carleton Island. Great Island.

Capt. Barry Chalk posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011

Carlton Island, Cape Vincent, USA. To the left of Carleton is the foot of Wolfe Is. Canada. There used to be a big old barn on the U.S. side of this island that many local "kids" would use to party in. The only thing remaining are the two silos, which we use to navigate around the Featherbed Shoals. The "T" at the head has many hidden treasures for scuba divers. This landmark is also home to Carleton Villa. [What could be] a beautiful stone mansion, abandoned after the owner died his first and only night living there.

Olivia Lancaster posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year! At last, an area I recognized immediately...Carleton Island. I don't have any great stories or lore about this island, but it is an island I have grown up with. When I was a child, my family would spend as much time as possible at a rented cottage at Green's near Sand Bay. In 1984, they bought a lot near Grass Bay which sits directly across from Carelton on the mainland in Cape Vincent and built their own cottage. We have done a lot of boating, fishing, skiing, and tubing around this island. I always enjoy taking my first summer boat ride around the island to see what new "cottages" have gone up, and to ride by Iron Man (excellent fishing) on the northwest side, Carleton Villa on the southwest side of the island, and the barn silos on the southeast side of the island, which have been, and still remain landmarks. Thank you for posting these photos...even the ones I don't immediately recognize. I have been living out of state for the past ten years, and don't get as much opportunity to go to "my river" as often as I would like, so it's nice to come here, see the photos, and read the stories of others that feel the same way about this amazing place.

Melissa Brookmire posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011

That's Carleton Island, as seen from above, just downriver from Cape Vincent. Thanks, and happy New Year!--Anne

Anne Del Borgo posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011

I believe it is Carleton Villa on Carleton Island. In the early 1970s a couple of friends and I would sail from Toronto to the 1000 Islands every summer and Carleton Island was a "we've arrived point." We had jobs back then that would let us take a month off and explore. Carleton Villa like Boldt Castle were amazing to see but in a sad way. It was hard to fathom how such beautiful architecture could be left to devolve into such a state. Boldt Castle at the time had not been acquired by the Bridge Authority and you could tie up directly and wander about and see what time and vandalism had done. So now while Boldt Castle has been saved, Carleton needs the same sort of attention. 2 great properties as gatekeepers at each end of the core of the islands. It would make an excellent hotel, retreat, B&B, etc!In 1987 I bought my own little spot, Wood Isle) in The Lake Fleet Group sandwiched between Ramsden and Wyoming. We have seen you fly over a number of times and admired all your books. Hope you are well. Only 10 weeks left till opening!

Doug McLellan, Wood Isle & Toronto, ON posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011

I spend a lot of time on all sides of Carleton Island in pursuit of perch. No matter the wind direction there is always a calm spot to be found! When we have visitors we take them around the Island (in the Lyman) to enjoy its diverse landscape. Large oaks dominate the hills which support a number of whitetail deer, coyotes and a multitude of birds. This time of year we watch for bald eagles along her shore until the River freezes over. Thank you for sharing your amazing photos!

Mike LaDue posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011

Carleton Island. The turnaround point for the annual "Niddle" sail boat race out of Clayton in early May. The point being to motivate "sailors" on both sides of the border to get their boats in the water early and start enjoying the new season. The race takes a couple of hours depending on the strength and direction of the wind and usually involves about 50 boats. After the race the participants make their way to the Clayton Fire Department garage for a BBQ steak dinner, speeches and awards and of course liquid refreshment. One year (about 1988) I decided to not only enter my own boat (a Gozzard 37 - a heavy cruiser not noted for its speed), with a crew composed entirely of friends from the powerboat fraternity. I helmed, while they sort-of followed my instructions. The winds where intitially light and we were soon left behind - oh well we were just there for the fun, right? The wind picked up however, and was soon blowing very strongly from the north. A perfect wind for the Gozzard - reaching to the end of Carleton Island and close-hauled back to Clayton. We enjoyed the incredible experience of sailing through most of the fleet (my powerboat crew were estatic standing on the bowsprit and waving as we passed boat after boat. Rounding Carleton for the return leg there were a couple of "racing types" in the distance wlth the mob of "week-enders" behind us. As we neared the east end of Carleton Island the crew began making comments about it being lunch time, needing a reward for such hard work, etc.. I chose what I though was a fairly nautical fellow and gave him a brief lecture on sailing dynamics, told him to maintain our course (pointed directly at Clayton), and went below to prepare lunch. It took longer that expected and when I emerged with a platter of sandwiches and other goodies, found that we were surrounded and being passed by the mob of "weekenders" and our sails were flapping listlessly - my chosen helmsman standing dutifully at the wheel. The wind had changed direction and was now just a whisper - no one topsides had any idea what had happened or how to adjust course or sails to compensate. Nothing left to do but drift with current, wolf down our lunch and motor into the town dock. A very undignified way to end but the hurt was not understood by the crew. We all however, enjoyed the festivities at the Fire Department Garage, and to this day speak fondly of the experience.

Kenneth Truesdell posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011

Two questions:How do we get to your webcam, we use Peck marina, and where is your island located among the islands.We vacation on Manitouana in the Admirality group near Susan Smith. Love your pictures and can't wait till summer!!Editor's note: On the web site's menu, you'll find an item - LIVE CAM. Click on it and it will bring you to two live cameras as well as several videos. Enjoy!

susan saiter posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011

In my muskie pursuing days, trolling Featherbed Shoal and Carleton's shores was where I spent some time, yet only managed to hook some pike on the north shore. Also managed to view the remnants of the ship and archeological grid of the 1970's activities in the North Bay. The island has a wealth of history from when the British commanded Fort Haldimand in the War of 1812 time period. The Villa has always caught my eye and brought thoughts of "that should be saved from dilapidation " as does Ina Island's boathouse, but that's another story. Anyway, impressive vista of Carleton! Thanks.

John Krake posted on: Monday, January 03, 2011

Carleton Island, of course! A personal favorite as our family's cottage is on Linda Island (a spec in the upper right corner of the photo that seems to blend into Cedar Point) so Carleton is in 'our backyard' so to speak. No significant lore to share but I did have a lovely surprise on Carleton a few years ago. A good friend had property on the island that had a dock but no cottage and she had offered use of the dock if I ever want to go for a hike on the island. It was late May and a calm, quiet sunny afternoon on the River so I thought it would be nice to go exploring. I parked the boat and hiked up a steep hill that I figured would provide a bird's eye look at the old mansion on the island as well as a view of Wolfe Island and Lake Ontario. Much to my surprise as I crested the hill, I discovered an enormous thicket of lilacs in full bloom. Not only did they look beautiful but the smell was amazing! It's one of my favorite River discoveries, even more special I think because I've been back to that spot several times but have never again managed to catch the lilacs in full bloom again. I'll also note that one of my favorite architectural features on the River is on Carleton - the twin silos with rooms atop each with a walkway connecting them! I've always been curious about what's up there but I'm sure the view is magnificent!

Jennifer Caddick posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011

Carleton Island, Cape Vincent NY. This one was instantly recognizable to me because of Carleton Villa, the beautiful yet ruin like estate. I love to look at the old Villa and wonder about its golden days. I know that it was for sale and I believe it still is. The main building is structurally sound but needs tons of work due to the failing of the roof and all the water damage. I wish I had the money to buy the place and restore it....but if I can't I hope someone can. It is such a magnificent part of the golden era of the islands I would hate to see it lost forever.

Kate Janus posted on: Sunday, January 02, 2011

Ian, Seems about a year or two ago there was an article in TIL.com about the capture of Carleton Island from the British in the era of the War of 1812. As I recall, a group of disgruntled American patriots left Mullins Bay on a Saturday night and rowed to Carleton Island where they captured the garrison without firing a shot. The British were facing the liklihood of a long, cold winter on the island, and were probably glad to hand it over to the first interested party. They may have been better provisioned with grog than the invaders which may have influenced the decisions. We'll probably never know, but it may have just turned into a pretty good party before it was all over. I make not claim to a connection, but the invaders were apparently led by one Abner Hubbard. It may be more than coincidence that my father's uncle was named Abner Hubbard. I wonder how many of them there were. This might be the skeleton for a good story if someone were inclined to do the research. I loved the story about the washer/dryer. Last year a neighbor had a similar need to do the island transport thing for appliances that were being replaced. It is always a little difficult on the islands because the appliances being removed have to get to the landing ahead of time so they can be removed when the replacements are delivered. Since deliveries are done "on River time", and weather is always a factor. the smart move was to extract the oldies and get them ashore a day early, The appliances were in the first floor kitchen, no problem there; but the stairs down to the dock were a major issue. No problem; I enlisted the able assistance of two powerful young men. Simplest of plans: remove appliances on Thursday, replacements come on Friday, owners aarrive Saturday,....everybody's happy. You probably already guessed, but I'll tell you anyhow. We removed the appliances without difficulty and managed to get them down the steps and into the boat. Now it is rumored that in some similar siturations, rogue waves have struck and junk appliances have inexplicably come up missing before getting to the shore landing,,,,but we were being very careful.....so careful that I called the owner to reassure her..."We're all set. The washer and dryer are in the boat safely and just approaching the landing"........There was a pregnant pause/gasp. "Oh, NO! It was the washer and the STOVE that we're replacing." (another pregnant pause) So...back to the island, lug the dryer out of the boat and back up the stairs and re-install. You can imagine that the boys are stilll beating me up with memories of that. To top it off, it started to pour rain and we were all soaked to the skin as a special reminder of our carelessness. The River taught us several good lessons that day. (It has to be true; nobody could make this up) Thanks again for your photos. Dick

Dick Withington Round Island, NY posted on: Monday, January 03, 2011

Carleton Island... I should know because I live there from May to October. We bought our lot in 1998 and built our home in 2004. We absolutely love it! Quiet, peaceful, beautiful and full of history and wildlife. Thank you Ian for sharing your awesome photographs!

Jane Falvey posted on: Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Beautiful aerial view of Carleton Island. My wife's family have had a presence on Carleton for over 50 years. My father-in-law is a duck hunter and accomplished waterman. There are many a story of dicey December river crossings and encounters with livestock and wildlife on Carleton. Our own cottage dates to the 1980's development at the foot by Patten Corporation. Mr Patten, an east coast developer, liked to fly in for deer hunting and had a landing strip behind the farm house and silos. You can still see the skeleton of the wind sock he had installed on the large pole barn. The island is filled with other interesting and historical sites. Besides the villa and silos, there is Ft. Haldimand, an old lighthouse station built in 1898, an indian grave yard, and numerous old stone foundations and walls. There are terrain features in the west, including 'potholes' that attract ducks, left over from the development of a golf course in the 1920's. GE had begun turning the island into a employee resort until the crash of 1929 stopped their plan. Living on the island has taught our family boat handling skills, the importance of good neighbors, reliable watercraft and solid docks, and many other life lessons. You never know what you will find on your shore; This year our children found what turned out to be a military white phosphorus flare, bobbing in the water on our beach. Numerous warning labels attached to the aluminum canister led to a call to the Coast Guard. We were visited by 4 demolition experts from Ft. Drum who proceeded to detonate the ordinance with plastic explosive. The explosion thrilled our kids but confused our neighbors. The next day we heard that the loud noise could be heard over half a mile away. One neighbor thought her husband had fallen out of bed and another that his boat had blown up. Carleton is a special quiet place with many gifts and challenges.

Sabo Stephen W. posted on: Saturday, January 08, 2011

Carelton Island on a beautiful day, with Cape Vincent at about the four o'clock position. The estate in ruins, is quite visible. I have cut through south of Carleton many times on our way to and from Cape Vincent

Roland Pootmans posted on: Monday, January 10, 2011

I have predominately worked out of Rochester restoring Historic structures throughout western NY. I have owned the servants quarters at the Chalet since 1986, I have recently spent the last 16 months restoring the grounds at Hopewell Hall for the Sanzone's, with an eight-man crew it has been both a challenging and rewarding project, we will return in the spring for the last of the details. We are also involved with the preliminary work at the Tea Room at Singer Castle as well a a few minor projects at Pullman Island. The Villa has always fascinated me and surely is worthy of rescue. Your report of the history of the island though short is fascinating, who would have imagine the Naval History. These derelict structures have become a specialty and passion for me over the past 35 years of my life I have had the privilege of saving many. I would like to visit the the Villa. Perhaps there is a connection here that could lead the the rescue of the Villa.

Wm. Farmer Jr., Catenary Constr., Rochester, NY posted on: Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I don't typically use these comments to carry on dialogue between various commenters, but in this case think it is important to do so, so this is in response to your comment above Bill (Farmer). I've seen the amazing job you've been doing at Hopewell Hall, including last winter's greenhouse! Not a minor undertaking. Very well done. Yes, the Villa is in desperate need of a savior. Many inquiries came in over the years since Paul and I first began exposing this exceptional property in our books, but as far as I know, only two were truly serious. One offer failed over price, the other I believe was accepted - just before the downturn which forced its withdrawal. Both Paul Malo and I have always tried to keep the Villa on the radar in hopes that a steward might emerge. It is owned by the Millar family of Utica, NY. I've copied this note to Charlie Millar in case you would like to communicate with him and also with Susie Smith who is the very able editor of TI Life Magazine, which she took over following Paul's passing. I suspect you might know Andy Greene of Greene Structures. He's very knowledgeable about the Villa, having looked at it in detail on behalf of one of the potential purchasers. Here's hoping that this still could happen before it's too late. It was Paul's fondest wish that he would live to see the Villa's restoration so I know he'd be celebrating from above if it were to happen.

Ian Coristine, Raleigh Island, ON posted on: Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Thanks for including me in this communication Ian. TI Life Magazine is looking great these days! Carleton Villa is definitely near and dear to my heart. I have climbed over every bit of it on many occasions and looked at the property with two possible buyers, one of whom retained us to do the restoration. Unfortunately, the global melt-down caught up with the Villa and that buyer bowed out. We have even worked up estimates to temporarily cover the roof and then replace it with a new sheathing plane and new red cedar shingles. Also, we worked up estimates to stabilize the worst areas of the structure. I have visited the Villa annually (or every six months) for three or four years now and the structure is rapidly moving toward collapse. I am generally an optimist and believe that wooden structures are very resilient, but this house has been abandoned for a very, very long time. I have had some contact with people at Cornell University who have shown interest in helping to fund a restoration. The Villa’s architect was one of Cornell’s first architecture graduates. The first buyer also had a contact at GE who showed interest in helping to fund the restoration. GE owned the Villa around World War 2 and had a role in the Villa’s deterioration. If I can be of any assistance to anyone interested in saving this very unique late Gilded Age mansion, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Carleton Villa is very special and is still savable, but will not be savable for much longer.

Andy Greene, Greene Structures, Fischer's Landing, posted on: Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I wondered if Andy Greene would be willing to share the cost estimate of stabilizing and replacing the roof? My family owns part of an island on the Canadian side of the thousand islands and the Villa has always interested me.

Tawny Davis posted on: Thursday, February 17, 2011

All estimates are greatly affected by individual home owners, but here is what we came up with for one potential buyer. The cost estimate to remove the Villa's existing roof and to replace all of the Villa's roof structural system (rafters) and to "dry-in" the building with weather resistant plywood (final roofing material would be applied to this) was $232,000. The final roofing cost would vary greatly depending on whether a new owner chose to replace the exisitng cedar shingles with the same or with asphalt shingles. The cost estimate to stabilize the two worst foundation and wall areas of the Villa was $4,300. I hope this helps.The Villa is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for someone. It will be a huge project, but incredibly rewarding.

Andy Greene, Greene Structures, Fishers Landing, N posted on: Thursday, February 17, 2011

Andy-I very much appreciate you taking the time to give me some of the numbers. Preservation has been a passion of mine for many years. I have helped to save 5 historic houses and even moved one myself to keep it from being demolished. I can see the wonderful potential to this building and wish with all my heart that I had the resources to make it happen. You are right that the Villa would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thanks again.

Tawny Davis posted on: Thursday, February 17, 2011

I am a direct descendent of the original Wyckoff immigrant; my family and I have been visiting the Thousand Islands for nearly 30 years, and I had never heard of this island or villa. I would love to see this beautiful structure restored. I agree. I will contact the Wyckoff Association, although I know their priority is the homestead in Brooklyn.

Eileen - granddaughter to Irene (Wyckoff) Whited posted on: Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Great shot of Carleton Island! I lived in Cape Vincent for over ten years and was always fascinated by the Wyckoff castle and Fort Haldimand. I even ventured to the other side to attend a lecture at the Brockville Historical Society on the Fort and Captain Aubrey. Never got to tracing the connection from the Aubreys who had the store in the Cape for so long, but I'm sure there is one. Anchoring in North Bay with friends on a warm, sunny day and taking a swim. On a good day you can see a shadow of one of the wrecks sunk there when it was a shipyard. I wonder, has TILT done anything at the fort since their efforts to clear the overgrowth from the site in the '90s?

Dan Denney posted on: Wednesday, March 02, 2011

In the top right of the photo you can see where the U.S. mainland juts out. This is Sand Bay and Linda Island. My grandparents owned a cottage in Sand Bay from '78-'13 and I was able to spend time there for 33 summers. From the front windows of the cottage I could see Carleton and the iconic twin silos. It is my ultimate dream to own my own slice of heaven in or near Sand Bay one day. Thank you for this shot.

Ian Cubitt posted on: Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Notification List

One afternoon at a book signing, a lady shared with me a profound statement. "The River chooses some". Those of us who were chosen, spend winters longing to get back. To help my winter longings and yours too, each winter month I enjoy sharing a computer screensaver image to help infuse a little summer warmth into your day. I also outline the latest additions to ThousandIslandsLife.com online magazine. If you would like to receive these images and updates, please add your email address to the notification list using the form below. It will not be shared elsewhere.