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Rachel's rememberances of the Silver Birches

The Silver Birches opened on July 1, 1929 with 13 bedrooms. Eight rooms were on 
the second floor with two bathrooms and the third floor had five bedrooms and no
bath. I wanted a bathroom on the third floor, but Chancey McLain insisted that 
the  two on the second floor were enough. By the third year we had a dormer put 
on the top floor of the roof and a bathroom installed.

The laundry tubs were installed in the basement. It was impossible for me to do the 
laundry in the basement as well as the upstairs work so the second year an extra 
room was added and the tubs were moved to the first floor. An extra bath was put 
in this area and and a refrigerator was moved there from the kitchen. Also a room 
was built above this area for the hired girls.  Before the room was added, I had 
to get up at 5 O’clock and do the wash so George could hang it before going to work.

 We heated the water by pipes going through the fire box and a place on the stove 
to save water that was heated. This was not very satisfactory. We also had what was 
called a “Bucket a Day” stove that was heated with coal. I timed the hours and 
would go down to shake the ashes down and and put on more coal. Doing this I kept 
hot water for the house.

There was a fireplace to heat the living room and the kitchen stove was burning 
all the time, By leaving the dining room door open, that room was always warm. 
There was an additional small stove for the office and dining room. When Dolly was 
11 months old in 1932, we had a large furnace installed in the basement. Several 
years later we had a coal stoker attached to the furnace. This would feed coal as it 
was needed and a coil over the coals and attached to the hot water tank supplied all 
the hot water that we needed. There was a wood stove in the kitchen for cooking and 
baking and a large stove top gridle for when I served pancakes. Most of the time we 
had oak and cherry wood and it didn’t take long for the stove to become red hot, 
so I had to be careful. Our last year there (1940), we had a large gas stove installed. 
It was a great help and saved a lot of time.

Our second year there, George had the barn made into a cottage, but cottages were 
not much in demand. The Singer house also had five rooms which were rented to us where 
people stayed by the week. In 1933 we built a 4 bed room Log Cabin above the highway. 
We rented it more by the room than as a cottage.

We also had a tennis court to accomadate a group who wanted to paly. That group 
came every year from 1933 through our last year and were very disappointed 
that we were leaving. 

When we first opened there was a chicken house near the inn where my sister 
Marjorie’s hous now is. George’s brother Herman had a saw mill in the field above 
the inn. The second year, the mill and most of the lumber was sold. Ggeorge 
bought the property, cleaned up the place and planted a lawn on it. In 1932, I 
planted spruce and maple trees up in the field. I also planted lilac bushes and a 
willow tree that is now full grown.

On our opening day we took in 35¢ for a sandwich. By the end of July we were filled 
up and busy and buy August I had to hire two waitresses. Then the Depression put 
a lot of people out of jobs. But we still had a busy time and YMCA frequently sent 
people to me. Weekends we had all rooms the cottages and Singer’s rooms filled. 
Many of the parents would come for a week and one group from Philadelphia 
stayed for a month. Because of Polio, one year they didn’t start the private schools 
until October.*

After the Depression business picked up and there was no time to let down. George 
worked all day at his mill and also had a lot to do around the inn. We never hardly 
had any time to talk to each other and did not have much time for our three children. 
The sawmill business had also grown and George traveled to New York to cruise a tract 
of timber, looking for ash for a baseball bat mill. He found a beautiful tract of oak,
maple and beech as well as ash. He came home and said. “let’s give up the Silver 
Birches and move up there”. Since winter was about the only time I ever had for 
the children, I agreed with this plan. We sat down and wrote letters to all our 
regulars and said “the Silver Birches is closed”.We kept the books with all the names 
so when we sold the place they would have the contacts and our regular people were 
happy when the new owners reopened the inn.

* I believe the point she is making is: Due to the Polio epidemic, parents who could 
afford to, sent their children away from the city for the summer. The schools even 
opened later than usual in the Fall and parents would come up the lake to visit 
the children who were at camp.