Stockbridge Falls was a popular picnic spot in the Town of Stockbridge. There was a house, or cottage nearby on the South side of the creek. One year about 1922 my father rented the cottage from the owner, Ed Spaulding. Mr. Spaulding was [or later became] Madison county Sherriff.
Click on any picture to see an enlargement and explanation
In the picture at the upper right, note our 1920 Model T Ford sedan parked near the gate in the driveway leading to the house. My most vivid memory of that time [I was a little less than 2 years old] was my falling off the porch of the camp. It was only about 2 feet off the ground, but I bumped my face. I can still remember my sore lip and the way it felt as it swelled up. A traumatic event!
In later years when my parents owned our own camp about a mile from the falls, we spent a lot of time around the falls. Beside the creek we explored a sort of tunnel through which water had been channeled to operate the mill. We found an old millstone half buried in the dirt [maybe there were two, I don’t remember]. I can’t recall whether the tunnel and stone were above the road which crossed the creek, or below it.
Many years later [probably in the 1950’s] I talked to a man named Sid Mason who was collecting old millstones. Sid lived on what is now Mason Road near Crystal Lake just outside of Oneida. I told him about the stone at Stockbridge Falls. I believe he went and dug it up, but I’m not sure. I remember talking with him about it. Recently I talked to Sid’s son who still has several stones in his yard. He knew where some of them came from, but he was not sure of the origin of two of them.
Sid was what we called a "tree doctor". One day when I was a kid, I was planting a tree in our yard. Sid apparently had been doing some tree work nearby [maybe at the Chapel Estate] and he stopped and showed me the best way to plant one so that it would survive. I still use his method, and it works well.
Stockbridge Falls was a place to which people would come from Oneida and many other places for a day's outing. In later years the owners had to prohibit people from using it because vandals were causing too much damage. Beer parties, etc. left garbage, broken bottles, and other trash all over the place. It was no longer fit for family recreation. Now since it has "gone back to it’s wild state", it is again a "beauty spot".
At one time my father, Clayton, and his friend Dr. Crockett tried to interest others in making Stockbridge Falls along with 30 or 40 acres surrounding it, and including the Devil’s Oven, into a State Park. At that time there was only the one camp and no residences all the way from Jones Road on down to the valley floor. There was beautiful scenery all along the creek, much of it being below the road crossing out of sight of most picnickers. An association was formed called the "Stockbridge Valley Scenic Ass'n" that tried to get a bill through the State legislature, making the area into some sort of State preserve. There is a copy of a newspaper article describing the attempt on file at the Madison County Historical Society in Oneida. However, the powers in Albany had little interest in such a project. A great opportunity to preserve a picnic spot for central New York residents was lost. C.E.P February. 2002
Copyright©2002 Charles E. Page
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