April 7, 1926 – JSA to Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • April 7, 1926 – JSA to Hon. Franklin D. Roosevelt (NYC)

Dear Franklin:

You will be pleased to learn that the protection of the natural beauty of the narrows at Lake George, as discussed by us on that enjoyable trip up Black Mountain, is half completed. The State is now in possession of 11,000 acres of land, all on the West side, leaving only three important lots to be acquired.

After much effort, we succeeded in keeping Lake George in the five million dollar Forest Preserve Item of the Park Appropriation Bill and now for the first time there is no legislative barrier to the necessary funds for completing this important work. The attached, might indicate that the administrative branch was being encouraged to take no further action.

While the Lake George problem has bothered the Governor at times, it has also made him many admiring friends and followers. It seems plain that the work should be completed during his administration and while funds are available.

You may know that Mr. G. O. Knapp recently sold the land on the East side, consisting of about 8,000 acres and ten miles of shore, to his son W. J. Knapp for $74,000.00. It seems evident that the son could easily make himself and his family confortable and happy on a mile of shore and a strip three miles deep, which would include Shelving Rock Mountain and all the improved land and improvements which he and his father have made. If the Governor could have the right person take this up with the father, Mr. G. O. Knapp, in a big, public spirited way, mentioning incidentally the long fight that would otherwise occur, favorable results would seem probable. If this attempt of the State to co-operate in the protection of the Lake failed, there would still be ample authority and funds to acquire the land by appropriation. This last resort would not, in my opinion, be necessary since the father would see the wisdom of friendly action and is also anxious to have the shore preserved in perpetuity as he has been keeping it. It will no doubt require very proper and skillful handling and if it does not add too much to your usual overload, I would appreciate your advice on the best procedure. No ordinary method will prove effective from what I have learned.

You may recall the tourists often speak of the narrows as “The Masterpiece” and to protect only half of any masterpiece and leave the other half to the uncertainties of private ownership would seem indefensible.

With best regards to you and your family, I remain

Cordially yours, JSA

P.S. Should it prove easier for you to talk this over with me, I will arrange to drop in when it suits you best.