The Town of Webb, located in the Central Adirondacks, is the largest township in New York State, and includes the hamlets and small villages of McKeever, Thendara, Okara Lakes, Old Forge, Eagle Bay, Big Moose, Stillwater, and Beaver River.
The youngest town in the Herkimer County was named for Dr. William Seward Webb, builder of the Mohawk and Malone Railroad through the region in 1892. The impact of the railroad upon the region was immediate. Thousands of people poured into the mountains to enjoy recreational and health-generating opportunities. Steamboats and Guide boats brought them to the new hotels and guest houses along the lakes. Logging camps and mills provided plenty of work but claimed a fair share of the surrounding forests. Two decades of prosperity followed along with a great building boom. The jubilant citizens of the new township were unaware of the perils looming ahead in the new century — of catastrophic forest fires, the decimation of forest lands and wildlife, spiraling land prices, unpredictable cycles of development, two major world wars and other global conflicts, the changes in transportation systems, the impact of technology, acid rain, and the powerful political forces that operate within the Adirondack Park and State of New York.
Tourism drives the economy in the Town of Webb. It is still a land of rugged mountains with nearly 200 sparkling lakes and ponds. Approximately 1,900 year-round residents live in the small hamlets and along the waterways. Thousands more visit the region to enjoy boating, hiking, river rafting, skiing, and snowmobiling or to spend time with their families at their seasonal camp properties.
Old Forge, New York and the Central Adirondack Region offers much for the vacationer during all seasons. In the summer we are pleased to offer all kinds of activities including; boating, golf, water skiing, fishing, canoeing, hiking, swimming and mountain biking. The region is proud to be the home of various recreational facilities. Among these is McCauley Mountain, which operates its chair lift during the summer and fall months providing a fantastic view of the region. Old Forge also has Enchanted Forest / Water Safari, Adirondack Scenic Railroad, Old Forge Lake Cruises, Thendara Golf Club, View (Old Forge’s new Arts Center), The Town of Webb Historical Association’s Goodsell Museum, three miniature golf courses, a movie theater, public swimming beach and let us not forget white water rafting, canoeing and kayaking in the spring, summer and fall. Sportsmen have ideal hunting for big and small game. The area is also known for its fine variety of quality restaurants, accommodations and retail specialty shops.
In the winter you can enjoy the wide open spaces that only a snowmobiler can access when you hit the well groomed trails in Old Forge, which is being referred to as the “Snowmobile Capital of the East”. These famous trails take snowmobilers through the majestic woodlands of the Adirondack Mountains, and with hundreds of miles of groomed trails and snow from early December until March. It doesn’t get any better. If you want to take a break from the trails, there is plenty of sightseeing and shopping in town. You may want to try a different winter sport such as downhill or cross country skiing at McCauley Mountain. Other winter activities include ice skating, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice fishing.
With all of this, Old Forge, in the Town of Webb, enjoys a continuous growing popularity as a recreational oasis, and this is helped by our closeness to the remainder of New York State and the Northeast in general. It’s a place where you can enjoy the beauty of nature and a clean environment.
Fun Facts about the Old Forge area
Old Forge and the surrounding areas are full of rich history. If you’ve been coming here to vacation for years, or even if you’ve lived here, there are some interesting facts about the area that you might know!
Did you know…?
- The original name of Thendara was Fulton Chain.
- Old Forge is home to the longest continuously run mail-boat services in the country!
- The “Pickle Boat” was a grocery supply boat operated by the Marks and Wilcox Company that delivered food and supplies from Old Forge to Inlet dockside.
- Theodore Dreiser’s novel “An American Tragedy” and the movie “A Place in the Sun,” with Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor, are based on the Chester Gillette-Grace Brown murder case that was committed in Big Moose Lake.
- The Town of Webb is the youngest and most northern town in Herkimer County, as well as the largest town in the county AND in the state of New York! It contains 536 square miles and over 300,000 acres completely located in the Adirondack Park.
- The black bear is among the largest animals in the Adirondacks. An average adult make weighs about 300 pounds, and the females average about 170 pounds. The Adirondack region is home to between 4,000-5,000 black bears.
- The 23rd President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison, had an Adirondack cottage on Second Lake which was named Berkeley Lodge after Berkeley Plantation, the Harrison Family home in Virginia. Today the Lodge is a private home. The Goodsell Museum in Old Forge is the proud owner of the American Flag that once flew over the Lodge.
- Verplanck Colvin completed the first topographical survey of the Adirondack Mountains. For more on early surveys and maps, visit the Goodsell Museum’s exhibit ‘Mapping our Adirondack Wilderness – Historic Pathway to the Settlement of the Town of Webb.’
- The Devil Bug Lure was invented and manufactured by Orley Tuttle in Old Forge after fishing from a guide boat on the Fulton Chain of Lakes. The lure was famous in many forms, such as a mouse, many types of insects, and hand painted trolling spoons.
For more fun facts about the area, be sure to stop by the Goodsell Museum in Old Forge, home of the Town of Webb Historical Association. Special thanks to them for helping us come up with these fun facts about Old Forge!