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Town History


Keuka Hotel

The Keuka Hotel was built in 1894 at a time when people traveled to the site by steamboat or carriage. An enormous dock dominated the waterfront near the hotel. Steamboats brought guests to the hotel, as well as serving as the best way to get goods and materials to the site in the days before roads were used for the purpose. Postcards from the era show small fishing boats drawn up on shore, giving testimony to the good fishing on the lake. The hotel had 30 rooms. In the early years, before electricity, the entire place was lit with kerosene lamps. Fishing in Keuka Lake was a big draw.

Hallet House

Until 1973 a magnificent house stood on a knoll between Keuka and Waneta Lakes just south of the hamlet of Wayne. Surrounded on three sides by columns with Doric capitals, the three-story building was a prominent landmark.

For the last sixty years of its existence this showplace was called “The Aisle of Pines,” but its first owner, Samual Hallett, referred to the house as “the Lake Home.” Local people called it “the Hallett Mansion” or simply “the Big House.”

The house was built in 1854 for Hallett by John Quick and Jesse H. Foster. Who actually conceived the design is not known. Quick was a carpenter who had a shop in Hammondsport and built houses there. The elegant house stood for nearly 120 years as a monument to Sam Hallett’s ambitions, and as a testimony to the designer’s architectural taste as well as to Foster and Quick’s solid construction.

The original cost is not known. When it was moved and remodelled in 1912 and 1913 the Hammondsport Herald reported that around $30,000 was being expended on the place. In later years it passed through a number of hands and completely exhausted the resources of at least onetemporary owner. The house went through periods of glory and longer periods of neglect. When it burned March 12, 1973, the monument to the fame and legend of its originator and his family was gone.

The Aisle of Pines

Childhood at the Aisle of Pines

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