It’s time to wander out on the proverbial limb, and despite a lifelong penchant for climbing trees I’m not 100% confident with this morning’s adventure. I’m hoping that you’ll help me!
A week ago we posted this mystery photograph on the blog and made it our photo of the week on the Essex Facebook page. We asked you to guess (via Facebook/blog comment) the subject of the photo. We were looking for answers to questions like,
- Where was it shot?
- When was it shot?
- What is the little building?
- Does the little building still exist?
For the last few months we’ve been posting Vintage Essex Trivia images to challenge your memory, sleuthing and guesswork. Frankly we’ve been astounded with how sage you are! We’re blessed with many, many Essex docents in our community. Thank you for unraveling the mysteries.
But perhaps last Monday’s Vintage Essex Trivia challenge stumped you? While previous posts rendered plenty of history, rumor and anecdote, this image only resulted in two guesses. There’s a reason for that. The scene captured by Gene Van Ornam (Geri Van Ornam’s father) in this photograph no longer exists in Essex. The wiles of time have transformed this waterfront more than once, but there are still some vital clues to guide us.
Clues: Sherwood Inn & Rosslyn Waterfront
Despite the sound of silence (deafening digital silence) which greeted this most recent challenge, two oracular residents shed light on the photograph.
“This looks like a no longer existing precursor to the Sherwood Inn dock.” ~ Diane Lansing
“Looks like a precursor to the Rosslyn dock, based on the topography of the hillside. But that’s a total guess on my part.” ~ adkkathryn
Both Diane and Kathryn are correct. Bravo! The stony pier actually predates the Sherwood Inn (though by how many years I’m uncertain) and it still exists today. The topography and pier are indeed helpful clues, but perhaps the most telling detail is the stone retaining wall which girds the bottom of the hillside.
The stone terracing has endured the wrath of icy flows and swirling floods. Or at least, most of it has endured Lake Champlain’s persistent threat. The 2011 floods which initiated this blog damaged Rosslyn’s waterfront, and reparations are ongoing. But the stone terracing and ramp are once again restored, offering a contemporary context for the historic photograph above.
The photograph below confirms the hypothesis that the building is the former Rosslyn bathhouse.
Rosslyn Bathhouse Confirmed
Entrants in the challenge were entered in our La Mia Tote Giveaway, and this morning we randomly selected a winner. The winner is Diane Lansing!
In one fell swoop we’ve confirmed the mystery photograph and the La Mia Tote winner. Special thanks to
- Diane and adkkathryn for your sleuthing,
- La Mia owner and artist Stephanie DeJoseph for donating the charming “farm fresh eggs” tote bag which we’ll be passing along to the winner,
- Todd Goff for the superb photograph of Rosslyn bathhouse, and
- Shirley LaForest for the color postcard image which helps solve the mystery.
But one significant mystery remains. We’ve confirmed that the building in the photograph at the top of this post depicts Rosslyn bathhouse, but I can also confirm that it no longer stands on the Rosslyn waterfront. What happened to it?
Is Yesterday’s Rosslyn Bathhouse Today’s Green Frog?
This is where I go out on a limb. Are you ready? Be gentle. And generous…
I’ve been told on several occasions by different people that the building now absent on Rosslyn’s flood-challenged hillside is none other than the charming cottage on Whallons Bay known as the Green Frog. In fact, I’ve even been told that it was transported from the Rosslyn waterfront to its present perch by dragging it over the frozen waters of Lake Champlain. Now that is a vintage photograph I’d love to post!
Perhaps you’ve heard the same thing? Or perhaps you can offer a different explanation for what happened to the Rosslyn bathhouse?
At the very least it’s clear from the following photographs that the Green Frog has been significantly remodeled if it is in fact the former Rosslyn bathhouse.
New Essex Vintage Trivia Challenge
It’s time for another challenge, but this time we let the cat out of the bag early. We included the colorized photograph above (courtesy of Shirley LaForest) to validate that Rosslyn bathhouse once stood on the shoreline just north of the boathouse. That same postcard reveals several other intriguing elements including a yacht and one or two (maybe more?) buildings that are no longer visible in Essex. I’m stumped on at least one building which was either removed or dramatically remodeled. Can you help decipher this dates Essex waterfront view? All blog/Facebook commenter will be entered in a new drawing. Details soon!
What do you see in the photo?
- Vintage Stereoview: Northern Essex Bay (essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Vintage Postcard: View from Steamer of Essex, NY (essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Vintage Stereoview: Main Street, Essex, NY (essexonlakechamplain.com)