Monday, April 09, 2012

This was either extreme stupidity or arson. Even without the DEC warnings that have been everywhere recently, anyone with an iota of connection to the environment would know better than to burn outdoors right now. It is often windy, and it is especially dry this year. So the detective in me says arson. The story captured my attention, as I knew Olive firefighters would be there. Also, in the 1990s I went to a math conference at the Concord, and while there, wrote the story Sums and Differences. Finally, Bob and I occasionally drive through that area with all the old, mostly defunct hotels, on our way to Western NY when we are starting from Samsonville rather than Castleton.

The linked newspaper story is a combination of kind or silent on this point, but I vaguely remembered a controversy about the place, so I did some searching and found this (sorry you have to register to read the full article). In a nutshell, an alleged descendant of Native Americans* has his application rejected from various legitimate tribes, and formed a tribe of his own that is not recognized by the federal government, but still managed to get the town and investors to buy into a scheme to renovate the defunct structure into a casino. Partial renovation took place, but bankruptcy and various other legal infractions led to the project being abandoned.

As often happens while searching, I wound up meandering from URL to URL. Here's some stunning footage of the fire. Then I stumbled across this fascinating flickr photo set that documented the lodge's recent sad condition. I couldn't stop looking. Finally I found this gem, a collection of vintage postcards and brochures.

*I was going to write "fake Indian." But perhaps there is a family story that just hasn't been documented. I have one myself, and if it could be proven I could claim to be 1/32nd. That's still much less than the 1/8 required to be "real," and I suspect that is the case for this man as well.

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