The Last of the Grand Gorge Boarding Houses
By Karen Cuccinello of the Stamford Village Library
Grand Gorge Hotel
The Grand Gorge Hotel, now the Hitching Post, was said to be built around 1918 by Omar Yanson for his son-in-law Elwood Lincoln Clark (1895-1948) and daughter Edna, who had gotten married February 1918. They had been proprietors of the Gilboa House before NYC took over Gilboa to build the reservoir in the 1920’s. Elwood had hoped to have a tavern downstairs from the hotel but prohibition (1920-1933) was in place so they had a fruit and vegetable stand up front and a speakeasy, with home brewed beer by Edna, in the back.
August 3, 1933 Stamford Mirror-Recorder – STEAKS, CHOPS AND CHICKEN DINNERS “A REAL MEAL FOR 65c” SPECIAL FROG LEGS DINNER 65c FREE CLAMS EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT – Dobler’s Draft Beer – Amsterdam Ale – CLARKIE’S – E. L. Clark, Prop. GRAND GORGE.
July 29, 1939 Brooklyn Eagle- Grand Gorge Hotel- Rates, amusements, location, booklet, phone 4761
The next owner was Stanley Gillette who owned the Grand Gorge Hotel when he married Miss Ethel Guetzow in 1945, and they got a liquor license in 1948.
Nate (Nathan) Bernstein got a liquor license in 1950. Advertisement in 1953- TRADER NATE’S SUPPER CLUB GRAND GORGE HOTEL GRAND GORGE – PHONE: 4761.
New owners at Grand Gorge Hotel in 1955, Gerald & Victoria O’Gorman of Downsville. They called the bar The Zanzabar Lounge, papered the walls with zebra wallpaper and specialized in steaks and chops.
The Grand Gorge Hotel under new management in 1978; owners Joyce Terrill and David Krinitski redecorated the bar and pool room and still had hotel rooms available.
Paulette Nadeau owned what she decided to call the Hitching Post, from 1989-2003. I chatted with Paulette, who later married Paul Reynolds, and she told me there were 13 small hotel rooms and one bathroom upstairs when she bought it. She created six rooms and added bathrooms.
William Brew was a co-owner from 2003 up until his death in 2009. Holly Augi owned the Hitching Post Restaurant and Tavern 2010-2012 and Richard Tunison purchased it in 2017.
Railroad Crossing Restaurant – Proper Rest
The first advertisement I saw for The Crossing was in 1949, proprietors George W. and Anna Ploutz. They received liquor licenses to sell beer and cider from 1951-1961. The address listed was the North side of Route 30 opposite R. R. station at Grand Gorge. In 1962 Euclid and Elsie (Ploutz) Proper received a liquor license for The Crossing, and another in 1968. They probably had more liquor licenses than I found in the newspapers. Anthony Liberatore, Roxbury town historian, remembers The Crossing being called Propers Rest but I could not find the owners for that time period.
George Ploutz (1893-1956) married Miss Anna Ruteshouser (1897-1989) May 18, 1919 and their daughter Miss Elsie Mona Ploutz married Euclid G. Proper (1916-1982), of Summit, June 25, 1948.
Thank you to Anthony Liberatore for emailing me the photos.
Three Maples Motel
The Three Maples motel, on the “Stamford end” of Grand Gorge, was constructed after 1925 and operated by Peter and Pearl Augusta (Dubois) Magro until 1967. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Pascarella, of Westbury, LI, bought the Three Maples in 1967. At some point in the early 1970’s Mrs. Ann Bruen bought it. The last mention I saw about it was in 1980 when Mrs. Ann Bruen was renting an apartment to someone in her Three Maples.
Peter Magro was born September 4, 1896, in Italy, the son of Joseph and Maria (Stravalli) Magro and moved to NYC about 1900. He moved to Westkill in 1921 to work on the Gilboa Dam and later in the year married Mrs. Pearl (Du Bois) Hyatt (1896-1959). Pearl’s husband Watson Hyatt had died earlier in 1921. They raised her two daughters Esther and Gertrude and had two children of their own Gloria and Joseph. Peter died November 29, 1971 after a long illness and is buried in Fairview Cemetery, Grand Gorge.
The original Harley Homestead is the site of this motel. The home is said to have been built in 1842 and was at times a boarding house, then motel units were added about 100 years later. I believe the last Harley to live in the main house was Agnes (Kennedy) Harley who died 1941, age 90. She had married Samuel Harley on March 24, 1875 and he died 1919.
Otto E. Steiner (1890-1960) and his wife Marie D.(1890-1975) bought the Harley home and building next door in the mid-late 1940’s. Otto and his first two children were born in Switzerland and his wife was born in France; they came to the USA in 1921 and were living in Prattsville in 1940.
April 24, 1949 Brooklyn Eagle- Steiner’s Colonial House- High in the Catskills, refined, clean, homelike, spacious grounds, swimming pool, Rates $30 to $45. Phone 5101
Otto built the concrete swimming pool on the premises, constructed neat cabins and took summer boarders and transients. He also had a few other occupations: cheese-making, farming, real estate broker, and purchased the Harley general store and electrical appliance business. Otto died in Stewart, FL in 1960.
Daniel Colby Tait (1926-2012) purchased the Otto Steiner Appliance store in 1955 and the Victorian style Colonial House, that included a small motel section, in 1957. In 1964 Dan and Margaret (Rose) Tait remodeled their Tait’s Colonial Motel and added new units, making an eleven unit motel. All units had ceramic tiled baths, wall to wall carpeting and Tessera corlon linoleum, TV in each room and individual thermostatic controlled hot water heat. The units were decorated and furnished in a colonial motif, using solid cherry colonial furniture.
In July 1984 Ted (Dan Tait’s stepson) and Frances Archibald, of Riverside, CA, became the new owners of Tait’s Colonial. The Archibalds still had to fulfill some obligations in CA so Millie and Rick Sparling lived on the premises and ran the day-to-day operations. At this time the motel consisted of 13 rooms, several efficiency units, a pool, ping pong and shuffleboard facilities and was open year-round.
The current proprietors, Robert and Diane Nash, purchased The Colonial from the Archibald’s in 2000. Rooms are available in the original Harley House and motel units. So I guess this is the last surviving boarding house in Grand Gorge.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about the accommodations available in Grand Gorge through the years; let me know if you have any more information on them at email@example.com.