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Historic photos show grandeur of Drake House at Golden Hill

Posted 18 May 2015 at 12:00 am

Contributed Photo – A gathering of Newell Shirt Factory employees at the Drake House in 1922.

By Cheryl Wertman

BARKER – A recent “I Love My Park Day” project at Golden Hill State Park involved cleaning up an area at the old “Drake House Ruins” site, on the west side of County Line Road.

Although the house itself was demolished in the early 1960s when New York State acquired the land as part of the development of the Golden Hill State Park, some remnants of the estate’s grounds remain, primarily the elaborately decorated perimeter (likely garden) walls.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – A section of the wall is shown here, a picture taken during the “I Love My Park Day” cleanup project on May 3.

Following an initial article and photos on the Orleans Hub of those remaining walls, photos have been received of the house itself. Two photos of the house in this article were taken in the 1920s when the estate was owned by Medina’s Newell Shirt Factory owner Robert Newell. In fact, the closeup photo of the group on the porch has the date of 1922 on it.

The first photo, shown at the start of this article, is of the house at the annual Newell outing in 1922 with the employees from the shirt factory gathered in front of the porch area.

This photo was contributed by Alana Koneski whose great-grandmother and grandmother worked at the shirt factory and the great grandmother is in the picture. The photo shows that the house itself was very near the shoreline as the lake is clearly visible in the background on both sides of the building.

This photo is an overview shot of the area with the red X marking where the ruins are (via bing maps). The estate’s location is at the far east end of the Golden Hill State Park property adjacent to County Line Road.

The second photo of the house shows employees in front of the house’s porch at the outing in 1922. The photo was contributed by Andrew Meier who currently owns the Newell Shirt Factory building.

Information contained in a booklet about the estate written by Town of Somerset Historian Lorraine Wayner indicates that the house was constructed in the 1850s by Aaron Drake. Several other owners followed over the years including Newell.