A BIT OF LUMBERLAND HISTORY
By an act of the State Legislature, Lumberland came into existence as a township on
March 16, 1798, taking in an area that was bounded in the east by the Mongaup River and what is now the Town of Deerpark in Orange County, on the south and west by the Delaware River, on the on the north-west by Delaware County and on the north-east by what is now the Towns of Rockland and Neversink (these boundries were not described in this fashion in the act and were given so ambiguously as to make it nearly impossible to define the borders of the Town.) This original Lumberland contained some 300,000 acres, as compared to about 32,270 acres today and took in what are now the Townships of Bethel, Callicoon, Cochecton, Delaware, Fremont, Highland, Liberty and Tusten.
The population of Lumberland, circa 1800 was about 733, mostly in the Delaware River Valley and engaged in lumbering, hence the Town’s name. Much of the land of the Town was plundered for its rich forests of oak, chestnut, white and yellow pine and hemlock (used in the tanning industry) by out-of-county concerns.
A new value for land in Lumberland was established in 1868 when the Ulster firm of Mills & Cash opened large blue-stone quarries near Pond Eddy, followed in 1870 by the local firm of Decker, Kilgore & Company. Stone from these quarries left the Town via the D & H Canal on the New York side of the river and the Erie Railroad on the Pennsylvania side, destined to become the curbs and sidewalks of New York City.
It was about the early 1870’s that Glen Spey was becoming a summer resort residence of such large wealthy family groups as the McKensies and the Proctors. The name “Glen Spey” comes from the Scottish “glen” for valley and “spey” for spa or healthy spring. The present hamlet grew up around the intersection of the Old Cochecton Turnpike and the North, or High Road from Pond Eddy.
The original Proctor Manor, “Loch Ada”, was built in 1879 on the east shore of Haiggais Pond (now Loch Ada) by William E. Proctor, husband of one of the daughters of the inventor of the Singer Sewing Machine, Isaac Singer. The original McKensie estate was built circa 1880-1884 by George R. McKensie, one of the early presidents of the Singer Company and was named the “Homestead”.
As the McKensie family grew and their wealth multiplied, so did their summer residence, Glen Spey. At least eight estates, all with magnificent homes and appropriate appurtenances, were built by and occupied by members of the family.
From the September 1986 issue of the Observer