Property Rights Foundation of America®
Founded 1994

Save the Historic Cody Place

JOHN CODY
John Cody, the long-time holder of the lease to the last house in the area known in earlier times as the Barber Place and most recently as the Cody Place. For decades, the historic log cabin has afforded a beloved residence and place to host friends in the beautiful setting. (Photo provided)
Photo Story

All photos of the Cody Place and West Stony Creek by Peter J. LaGrasse

 

 

JOHN CODY
John Cody, the long-time holder of the lease to the last house in the area known in earlier times as the Barber Place and most recently as the Cody Place. For decades, the historic log cabin has afforded a beloved residence and place to host friends in the beautiful setting. (Photo provided)

The Cody Place - May 2013. The welcoming porch of the Cody Place, the last remaining building from the Barber Place homestead area in the little community of West Stony Creek in the town of Thurman about three miles north of the Stony Creek town line. If the State of New York does not grant a reprieve, before a limited time occupancy runs out on December 31, 2014, the cabin will be razed and in a few decades traces of the cabin will be overtaken by the inexorable march of the forest. (All photos of Cody Place and West Stony Creek by Peter J. LaGrasse)

 

After we climbed past Bearpen Peak to our north, we followed the general route of one of the branches of Madison Creek as it peacefully winds down the gentle slope into the valley of West Stony Creek. A welcome. Many friends have gathered at John Cody’s cabin and enjoyed the rustic comfort of this generous porch during nearly four decades.

Gentle shadows. The evening sun illuminates the west side of the Cody cabin, shaded by a tall pine. A chimney. A charming cast elephant atop the chimney of the Cody cabin.

This well-maintained classical construction is one of the rare remaining examples of this log construction in the area. Details of squared-off log craftsmanship. Close-up details of the log craftsmanship and chinking of the two-story cabin. At the corners, each log is v-notched on its bottom surface only. The upper surface is sloped to shed the rain water. This is a modification of the rounded saddle notch system. It is intact for ninety years.

The sweeping view. From the shadow of the porch of the Cody cabin, the sunny hilltop plateau opens up
and runs down the grassy hillside of the pasture to the road and across to the wooded mountains surrounding the valley of West Stony Creek.

Dating the Cody Place.
On the mantle inside the cabin is a plaque with the words,
September 23, 1923 — Godfrey & Viola Barber.

Two Places Known as “West Stony Creek”
Years ago, the settlement at Harrisburg Lake in the town of Stony Creek was known as
West Stony Creek. This was truly located in the western part of the town and today is a thriving small community of vacation and year-round homes known as Harrisburg. In the early twentieth century, this West Stony Creek included such buildings and attractions as hunting camps, the Perkins House hotel, the Stony Creek Country Club with its golf course, and its own post office.
Appreciation is expressed to Peter J. LaGrasse for title research for the Cody Place.

Holdouts facing a tenuous future. From a sunny spot on the pasture alongside the John Cody cabin, Carol looks down across the open hillside to the mountains. Down the road in the valley ahead are two more hunting club camps that were once homesteads of West Stony Creek at the location called Fullers: the S. L. Hunting Club and, at the very end of the road, the Dog and Pup Club. These are located on the only remaining privately owned land in West Stony Creek. Day’s end. A last view of the road as we leave the Cody Place. The pasture fence posts follow the edge of the road, which became pleasantly smooth, firm, and sandy once we reached the area of West Stony Creek.

Somewhere on the original homestead property that includes the Cody Place lie the foundations of the structures in the community known as the Barber place in earlier times. The locations of the gravestones and traces of the houses and other buildings are known to few. The state wiped out every trace of all that the men and women did to make a homestead, raise their children, and spend their entire lives producing the sustenance for their needs from food to fuel to shelter, and then hosting guests. This is typical of the State of New York. Even their gravesites are not memorialized by the state.

Historic Barber Place in West Stony Creek, Burned to Ashes by the State DEC
Photos courtesy Stony Creek Town Historian Cynthia Cameron

A view of the buildings at the Barber Place with the farmhouse, which hosted the campers and guests, seen in the background. About a week after acquiring title to the property from the Lake George Steamboat Company in late 1974, the DEC piled up all the buildings in a heap and burned them. The historic Barber Place is seen in this beautiful Christmas card image. Does the same fate await the Cody Cabin, the last remaining building on land where the Barber Place farm and camp were located?

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