Friday, March 27, 2009

Mr. Perry Bartlett

This photo is from the “Sandy Pond Memories” book produced by Sandy Creek Town Historian Charlene Cole a few years ago. Thank you Charlene for graciously granting me permission to use photos from the books you and your crew put together.

The Sandy Pond Memories books inspired me to establish this web log.

If anyone would like any of their Sandy Pond memories, photos, etc. posted here just email them to me. Please put "Sandy Pond Memories" in the subject line of your email, thanks.

This site is intended to be a permanent record for our children and grandchildren…

OK back to the photo. This is Bartlett’s Bait Shop, also known as Bartlett's Marina. It was owned by Mr. Perry Bartlett, who was already an old man when I was a youngster during the ‘60s.
Mr. Bartlett had an ice-house built into the hill next to the road (County Route 15). Perhaps you can still see the remnants of the entrance to the underground ice-house across from Sandy Pond Marina's pizza parlor and boat ramp area today.

In this photo the entrance to the Mr. Bartlett's ice-house would be to the left and behind the photographer.
(Photo posted with permission of Charlene Cole, taken by Phyllis LeBeau.)

During the 60’s there were still a number of summer residents who were using the old-fashioned ice boxes instead of refrigerators, and they relied on Mr. Bartlett to periodically deliver the big blocks of ice. I remember my summer friend Michael Savage’s grandpa “Joker” Savage had an ice-box in his garage for his Piels beer. He said it needed a new block of ice once a week. I wouldn’t doubt that ice-box is still in that old garage…

During the winter Perry would monitor the thickness of the ice on the Pond until it was just the right dimension. Then he would spud out some starter holes for his big ice saw and start sawing the ice in long strips.
He had to carefully guide the saw on the cross-cuts in order to make good square blocks that would fit in a standard ice-box.
Then he would bring them in and stack them the ice house, opening the doors on the coldest winter days to get the ice as cold as possible. It would keep well into the late summer. I remember ice-block deliveries into late August. My Dad bought ice from Perry from time to time to cool down food and beverages for their clambakes and square dances in the driveway.

These guys are trying to figure out how the old-timers did it...

Ronny Whisnant used to hang out a lot with Perry in the big old workshop/bait shop, earning a few bucks tinkering on whatzits and thingamabobs. Ronny was a skilled jack-of-all-trades who worked as a handy-man for many residents and summer people. He used to plow the snow out of my Dad’s driveway with his old red and white ’46 Willy’s Jeep. There was a rumor that after he passed away his relatives found thousands of dollars of cash in his home - that he had a bathtub full of coins - pocket change saved for many years. Not sure if I believe it though.

Dad never made a habit of bragging and telling a lot of stories about his 25 year career as a State Trooper, but if you were peristent you could get one out of him eventually. This one about Mr. Bartlett is one of my favorites:

My Dad was a State Trooper from 1936 to 1961.
He heard stories from the older Troopers who enforced the Prohibition laws in the late ‘20s and early ‘30s.

One of the stories Dad relayed to us when we were kids was that Mr. Bartlett was under surveillance for a long time in those days because he was suspected of “Rum-Running” -transporting illegal Canadian liquor by boat into New York State.

It was alleged that Mr. Bartlett would wait until very late into the night and sneak a small sail boat with a black sail (an original "stealth boat" you could say) out of the Pond out onto Lake Ontario where he would either rendezvous with larger boat that had made it through the Coast Guard’s “Rum Line”, or come ashore at a pre-determined location where a load of liquor had been stashed earlier by the party who had transported it from Canada. Allegedly, Mr. Bartlett would take on the load of liquor and bring it in to for someone to pick up in a vehicle. For his clandestine activity he was allegedly well-paid.

Apparently this alleged information about Mr. Bartlett came from semi-trusted local sources but was legally hearsay. The authorities needed to catch Mr. Bartlett red-handed. Unfortunately the State Troopers simply did not have the resources in those days to watch Mr. Bartlett twenty four hours a day. The Troopers suspected that Mr. Bartlett would just bide his time and wait until they weren’t around, then slip out on his black sailboat to pick up the next load…

The State Troopers never caught him, and to the best of my knowledge Mr. Bartlett never confirmed or denied he was a "Rum-Runner".

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