The

Abenia Estate – The History of Our Property

The property that The Boathouse Restaurant stands on has a lot of history.   We did a little internet research on sites such as Wikipedia and found a lot of information in the book Millionaires’ Row on Lake George, NY by author and historian William Preston Gates.

Lake George, NY was a summertime playground for the most wealthy Americans.   Many of the richest Americans built “cottages” on the lake.   These “cottages” consisted of large homes including multiple bedrooms and being as large as 20,000 square feet!   In the 1860’s Walter W. Price followed some of his wealthy friends and purchased land on the west side of Lake George.   Unlike most of the homes built on Lake George, Mr. Price chose to build his home high on the hill with gorgeous views of French Mountain across the lake.  He named the home “Price Manor” although it was quickly referred to as “Upper Price Manor”.   His son built a home a little futher south that was named “Lower Price Manor”.  Mr. Price enjoyed entertaining and was known to consume alcohol very heavily.  Ultimately it was alcohol that caused his death in the late 1870’s.  After Walter W. Price passed away the estate was entangled in a battle between his former wives looking to obtain a share of his wealth.

In 1891 George Foster Peabody purchased the estate and renamed it Abenia.  Abenia is an Algonquin Indian name meaning “home of rest”.   They remodeled the home and gifted it to their mother, Elvira.  Mr. Peabody purchased a large 55 foot yacht that could carry up to 75 people.   He would stop along the docks in Lake George picking up passengers to attend church.  George Foster Peabody was a frequent guest at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY.  George Foster Peabody was known to be very shy.   He was in love with Katrina Nichols who married Spencer Trask, one of his friends.  Mr. Trask was killed in a railroad accident in 1909 and ten years later, Katrina and George Foster Peabody were married.   She passed away two years later.   After her passing Yaddo became an artist’s retreat.  During his time in Lake George Mr. Peabody purchased land in the surrounding area and then donated it to the state to be included in the Adirondack Park and for public use.

In 1914 the estate was sold to the famous New York Times publisher Alfred S. Ochs.   Mr. Ochs met Spencer Trask and George Foster Peabody through his purchase of the then struggling New York Times.  He brought the paper to be one of the most well known and regarded papers.   In 1914 he purchased Abenia from Mr Peabody.  Mr Ochs was an entertainer and often held dinner parties at the estate that included many famous people such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Buffalo Bill Cody, John Philip Sousa and Marcella  Sembrich, an opera star who also owned a home on the shores of Lake George.  Mr. Ochs passed away in 1935 at the age of 77.  

The property was auctioned off and subdivided into various resorts.   The Vogel Family purchased the property in the early 1980’s and have since developed the property into one of the area’s premier resort properties.   When it was purchased it was the Cresthaven Motel including housekeeping cottages and motel units.    Now the property includes lodges available for fractional ownership and rentals.   The Boathouse Restaurant, which is in the converted boathouse on the property, is one of the area’s few lakeside restaurants.  The main house on the property housed the secretary of Mr. Ochs and there is a 300 year old white oak tree that still stands near the entrance of The Lodges at Creshaven property.

Information was obtained through internet searches on sites including The New York Times, Wikipedia and the book Millionaires’ Row on Lake George.

Lodges at Cresthaven

Lodges at Cresthaven