Reflections of The Kenmore Cottages

In July of 1899, Jay D. Freeman opened the doors to his new Kenmore Hotel on the north shore of Fourth Lake in Old Forge NY with accommodations for 30 guests. It was advertised as having “modern” conveniences such as gas lights and a bathroom on each floor. For about 20 years, Mrs. Freeman operated the hotel.

In 1920, The Kenmore was sold to George Becker (not of Becker’s Hotel nearby). He only owned it for 10 years and then sold it to Oswald and Sylvia Schoelz, who were hotel owners from New Jersey. They renamed it “The New Kenmore.” Mr. Schoelz was a European-trained chef and the New Kenmore became known for its excellent meals. They grew their own fresh vegetables in a garden in the side yard and served them to the guests. During World War II, he also raised cattle on the property in order to serve the guests fresh beef.

The amazing feat of moving the annex from its original lakeshore location to the top of the steep hill overlooking the lake was accomplished by Mr. Schoelz. He also built five cottages during this time.

After owning the New Kenmore for twenty-three years, Mr. Schoelz sold the property in the spring of 1953 to Richard and Winifred McCarley, who had a six-week old baby at the time. They began operation on the “American-Plan,” which was popular then. This plan included three meals in the cost of the room.  The meals were served in the dining room of the hotel. The owners did most of the cooking and remodeling themselves.

In the spring of 1966, a devastating fire burned the hotel, and it was demolished. The boat house, which had already been renovated into six motel rooms, was gutted. Since the summer season was about to begin, the McCarleys quickly remodeled the annex into a dining room and kitchen to accommodate the American-Plan guests for the summer. Around 1970, the McCarleys switched from the American plan to a housekeeping colony. This was probably when they enclosed some of the porches on Lakeshore and the hill cottages to include a kitchen. The former boathouse was converted to guest rooms probably during the McCarley’s time. It is now Lakeview Up & Down. The annex was moved up on top of the hill by Mr. Schoelz and at some point it was renamed “Highland Lodge.” Later, it became the Main House and Fern.

In 1982, The Kenmore was sold to Dave Harradine, a Rochester lawyer, and Ron and Joyce Leszyk. The Leszyks were the resident managers and lived at The Kenmore along with their three sons. Mr. Leszyk was also a teacher of science/health in Remsen and Old Forge. Extensive remodeling, expansion, and the winterization of several cottages as well as the addition of two new cottages, Brookwood and Hickory, were undertaken during their ownership, turning The Kenmore into a true year-round Adirondack resort. Additional outdoor facilities, including a sand volleyball court, gazebo, and basketball court, added to the enjoyment of the Kenmore guests.

The Kenmore was sold to Ted and Irene Aloisio from Buffalo in December of 2000. Spruce and Tamarack were winterized, making a total of nine available for winter rentals.

Ray and Andi Smith bought The Kenmore on April 30, 2010. During their eleven plus years, they have made many upgrades to the cottages, including winterizing Pine and adding Willow, a 3BR 2B cottage. In addition, sit-on-top kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, a pedal boat, and a sailboat were added to the fleet of boats used for free by our guests. Brookwood, Hickory, Cedar, and Pine all were converted from kerosene to central propane heat. Many kitchens and bathrooms were remodeled and the swim raft was replaced.

By far, the best thing for Andi &Ray was enjoying all the wonderful guests who come to The Kenmore to enjoy all the activities or just some rest and relaxation. Families who have been returning year after year, who create fun events with lots of laughs and good times, have brought much joy to The Kenmore.

Ray and Andi have thoroughly enjoyed their time running The Kenmore and making it an even more comfortable and fun experience for all who stay here spring, summer, fall, and winter. They are grateful to have had this time to share this little piece of ADK paradise and hope everyone will continue to reap the benefits of a vacation at The Kenmore for many years to come.

On July 30, 2021, The Kenmore was sold to Dr. Greg Odell and his daughter, Lauren Jolliver and a new era of Kenmore owners begins.

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Citation: O’Brien, Clara V. God’s Country: Eagle Bay Area– Fourth Lake in the heart of the Adirondacks. Sylvan Beach: North Country Books, 1982.

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