Follow by Email

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rogues' Harbor Inn, Underground Railroad Station

Local legend adamantly claims the Rogues' Harbor Inn was a station on the Underground Railroad. It is said that there was a tunnel which ran from the Inn to Cayuga Lake; slaves bound for freedom would pass through the tunnel on their way to Canada...It is very difficult to document something which was a secret (lives depended on secrecy), but many historians, town of Lansing residents and the Inn's owner have spent hours searching for clues because we all believe the legend.
*Here's what we have found so far. The map below drawn in 1898 by William Seibert has Lansing along a route from Elmira to Ithaca to Lansing to Auburn to Oswego. There are many well documented stations along this route including a number private homes in Elmira, the St. James Zion Church in Ithaca, and Harriet Tubman's home in Auburn. The Rogues' Harbor Inn (then the Central Exchange Hotel) would have been an ideal spot along that route to stop, geographically as well as logistically- an extra wagon unloaded, an extra meal or two prepared would have gone un-noticed. Furthermore, the builder of the Rogues' Harbor Inn, General Daniel Minier, was the Chairman of the Free Soil Party in Lansing. His family was acquainted with the Seward family in Auburn (Mrs. Seward was an active Abolitionist) and General Minier's family came from Elmira, a hot bed of UGRR stations, where many close family close members still maintained a farm and homestead. A later owner of the Inn, Harvey Platts, signed an Abolitionist petition with many other area residents.
*We're still working on the tunnel aspect of the legend...
******but it seems likely that the Inn was part of the Underground Railroad. If anyone has information regarding this aspect of the Inn's history, please share it with us. We would really like to transform this legend to fact.

Monday, March 28, 2011

General Daniel D. Minier, Builder of the Rogues' Harbor Inn

Major General Daniel D. Minier was born September 30, 1794 in Lansing, NY. His father Abram settled his growing family, wife Rachel & eventually 9 children, in Lansing from Elmira in 1793 after purchasing 600 acres of military lot 87 from Captain Van Rensselaer of Albany.
*General Minier served in the 50th Infantry Brigade of the New York State Militia during the war of 1812 . He served until 1836 when it is believed the Hotel began operating.
*General Minier began building the Central Exchange Hotel (aka the Rogues' Harbor Inn) in 1830 on 5 acres of land in Libertyville (now known as South Lansing) along the stage coach line from Albany to Buffalo where the horses were exchanged- hence the name Central Exchange Hotel. From Libertyville (South Lansing) stages went to King Ferry and were barged across the lake to Kidder's Point, then onto Ovid and points West.
*According to Alice Bristol, "History of the Town of Lansing", the original floor plan for the Hotel was: the first floor had a bar, a store, a grill, a dining room and a sitting room. The second floor was divided into bedrooms. The North West corner was said to be called the Governor's Suite where William Henry Seward would stay on occasion. Most of the third floor was a large ballroom.
*The ballroom held many political meetings and social gatherings some of which have been described in articles in the Ithaca Journal & General Advertiser. From these articles it is known that General Minier was the Chairman of the Free Soil Party, Chairman of the County Board of Canvassers & Inspectors of Elections, and served as Lansing's Town Supervisor 1837-1840.
* 7 years after the Hotel's entire completion, General Minier died October 8, 1849 . He remained a bachelor so upon his passing the Hotel was left to one of his brothers. General Minier is buried at the Asbury Cemetery just one mile from his Hotel.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

First Blog Ever

Rogues' was built in 1830. I can't imagine that anyone would ever have thought that one day The Harbor would have it's own web site, virtual tour, facebook page and now blog. A mere 181 years has dramatically changed the way we interact with one another, yet Rogues' stands to remind us that there was once a time when folks had to stop in to see who was in town, catch up on news, share ideas... Thank god you still have to stop in for dinner and a beer- a virtual beer or virtual riggies would never due, and for that, we are grateful.