This little work is intended to comprise in a cheap and convenient form all the pleasure a health-seeking public may wish to know concerning Hemlock Lake.
Most of those who have once paid it a visit regard it as a most enjoyable spot, and many say that the heart ever yearns for a re-visitation, and that it is one of the places in man’s wildwood rambles where he esteems it a luxury to stay.
A lake like this, situated in the very heart of a long settled and highly cultivated portion of the Empire State, surrounded by hills of almost primitive wilderness; “Slumbering still in the midst of Nature’s luxuriance,” where the ripple of the tiny wave at your feet, the melody of the feathered warblers and the thousand and one rarer forest voices, all tuned to harmony, having still their own charm, and all singing their own native songs, from the freshness of the morning till long after the sun has gone behind the western hill and the gray twilight has settled on all things, without being disturbed by the woodman’s ax or the plowshare of the agriculturist, is indeed one of the rarities of our country.
There is no lake in Western New York that has greater demands for our consideration, or is faster gaining notoriety as a summer resort than this. Its cool, refreshing air, its pure waters, its lovely scenes; its beautiful points and picturesque nooks, and these old hills, all unite in one inviting, persuasive voice for man to occasionally step away from the tiresome routine of life and enjoy more of Nature in her pristine beauty and healthfulness.
The Hemlock has never been made classic ground. Her “Delphian cliffs and Etrurian shades” have never been immortalized. No sightless Homer or Milton has ever sung its beauty, but in one respect, if in no other, does it possess more than the “wealth of Ormus or of Ind” -- it is the summer home of untold thousands, and can truthfully and empathically be called “Health’s cheerful haunt.”
A portion of the following pages were written by us a few years since for the “Wayland Press” and had a limited circulation, and after having been rewritten, we trust it will not be amiss to include it here. Our first thought was to give cuts of several cottages along the lake, but the limited sale it must necessarily have, would not warrant the expense incident thereto.
We wherein acknowledge our indebtedness to nearly all the owners of sights along its shores, and to others for valuable suggestions and information of a historical nature. Many faults, no doubt, can be found in the work should they be looked for. The sketches may lack artistic finish, but we have endeavored to have them possess the merit of correct outline.
We do not challenge criticism in the least, nor do we make any special pretension to literary merit whatever, our greatest aim has been to gather up the fragments by piecemeal and preserve them in a shape so that the future historian of our ideal lake, can have something of a base on which to build, if he wishes, a nobler superstructure, than he could, had we never made the attempt.
D. B. Waite
Hermitage, May, 1883