Silver Lake

In the early 1700's, most of West Harrison, then known as Silver Lake, was owned by Daniel Merritt, who sold out to John Horton (of Horton's Grist Mill) in 1732. The following century, the Horton family sold property to a Mr. Underhill in 1833, who again sold to a Mr. Gainsborg in the 1890's. Mr. Gainsborg developed early West Harrison into a resort area, and many old-timers remember that before World War II, West Harrison had a hotel, a casino and an internationally known ski jump.   

A large, beautiful map hanging in the West Harrison Branch of the Bank of New York (it used to be the County Trust), shows many houses around Silver Lake (then known as St. Mary's Lake) which were later moved to other sites in West Harrison. Why? Presumably to leave a clean waterfront for the parkland that was sold by Harrison to the county in 1926. As for the hotel and casino, Charles Dawson was not sure if they moved or burned down.

As for other landmarks that have disappeared such as the ice house which divided West Harrison and Purchase near Anderson Hill Road, owned by the Rubel Ice Company on Croker's Pond, it was abandoned when the ice box bowed to the supremacy of the refrigerator, and again, Charles Dawson was not sure when.

Slavery also existed in early Harrison. An old New York newspaper advertisement dated 6th August, 1772 (sic) reads:

"Runaway from Nathan Field of Harrison's Purchase in the Township of Rye, a negro called "Plato." Twenty shillings reward." The slaves were freed by the Quakers between 1773 and 1783 and were given land to farm in the Stony Hill area in West Harrison by one of the friends, Frederick Stephens. An old church and a cemetery existed there.