Essex, NY’s Industrial Waterfront c. 1910

Industrial Waterfront, Essex on Lake Champlain, circa 1910
Industrial Waterfront, Essex on Lake Champlain, circa 1910

This morning I’d like to share a fresh (at least to me) look at Essex, New York’s industrial past. This vintage postcard titled, “A Lake View, Essex, N.Y.” (and allegedly published between 1907 and 1915 was recently available for auction on eBay. Sadly, I was overbid in the final seconds of the auction, but I’ll continue hunting for another copy of this revealing document.

Although I’ve shared other Essex Horse Nail Company images and artifacts before (i.e. Essex Horse Nail Company in Essex, New York and Essex Horse Nail Company and Wadhams Mills), this perspective was previously unfamiliar to me. And it’s fascinating!

I’m surprised by how incredibly immense the Essex Horse Nail Company’s building complex appears, especially in proportion to the other buildings in the historic photograph. I was unaware that such a large structure stood where Alan Wardle’s Nail Collector’s House, a singular, brass clad cottage, nestles today. (I admit this oversight despite the fact that I’ve often witnessed the old stone foundations that define the tree-shrouded promontory that inspired Steven Holl’s bold architectural.) And I’m intrigued by the treeless shoreline north of Rosslyn (perhaps looking south from the Wilder House lawn?) I’ve collected other historic photos demonstrating that most of the land north and west of Rosslyn were treeless fields (and orchards, so not exactly treeless, I guess), but I find the opportunity to witness views —now altered with trees and construction — ever enticing. And lastly, I’m reminded that their was a small dock house on/near the waterfront now home to Cabins by the Lake. I have other historic images that indicate that this dock house was part of a boat and automobile refueling station, though it’s not 100% clear whether or not that’s the case when this photograph was made.




About virtualDavis

A writer, storyteller and unabashed flâneur, George Davis (aka virtualDavis or G.G. Davis, Jr.) is the author of Rosslyn Redux: Reawakening a home, a dream and ourselves, a transmedia chronicle about rehabilitating an historic property in the Adirondacks with his bride. He blogs about storytelling, poetry, doodling, marginalia, flânerie, publishing, and other creativity-inspired esoterica at; posts sometimes exhilarating, often unnerving, occasionally euphoric, and always pollyanna "midlife mashups" at; chronicles his sailing adventures (and misadventures) at Sailing Errant; and delves into matters of parenting, babylandia, and childfreedom at Why No Kids? George formerly taught and coached at Santa Fe Preparatory School and The American School of Paris, and he co-founded and launched Maison Margaux: "Paris à la parisienne" in Faubourg Saint-Germain. He currently owns and operates Adobe Oasis in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his bride. George meanders on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and Flickr.
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