The Red House

The Red House: Chickens or People it was a good place to sleep.

From Sadie’s reminisces:
When Nate and Sadie were married, they went to Kerhonkson to live. Nate always wanted to be a farmer and they decided to go into the chicken business. It was February 1942 and they set themselves up in the Old House (the original farm house) of the hotel, without water, heat and all the comforts of home that Sadie was accustomed to. However, love was strong and Sadie was never a quitter. They set up two outside bungalows as “brooder houses” for the chickens and also used one of the rooms in the Old House as a third “brooder house”. Maybe that is where the saying “Going to the Birds” comes from.

Nate and Sadie found a hatchery near Gardner or Modena by the name of Kauders and went there to pick up the chicks. They were amazed that in the middle of nowhere there was this large hatchery. They were shown around and made our order. Sadie thought the gift money from their wedding was used to purchase the chicks. They then went home to get things nice and ‘comfy’ for ‘their’ brood that was going to be delivered. Well, Nate got everything ready and things went smoothly for awhile. Nate got oil brooder stoves, set them up and soon 500 little chicks were in each one of the brooder houses. A total of 1500 birds and at that time 1500 laying chickens could yield a nice living.

Then the problems began, Nate found that the flues for the oil burning stoves would get full of soot because they had elbows and bends in them and sometimes when Nate checked the chickens in the middle of night, he would find them all bunched together. He would take apart the large flue pipes, have to go out in the freezing cold to clean them out and then put them back together so that they would function again until the next time, and there always was a next time.

When spring came, Nate’s plan was to build a chicken coop for the birds. Pop Friedman assigned a piece of land from his property between the hotel and our house. At that time there was no clearing and it was all woods and growth so that you could not see the chickens from the hotel. The Red House was really built as a chicken coop with three stories and seven foot high ceilings with provisions that if we would ever want to turn it into rooms, we could by lifting the floors up. That is why as a guest house those rooms had nine foot ceilings.

The carpenter that was to build the new building was from New York, someone that Pop Friedman knew. He was very good at what he had to do, especially working under the handicaps that existed. Such as when Nate decided to go into New York Cite and bought second hand lumber. He got two truckloads full for 500 dollars. You can imagine what the lumber looked like, but the carpenter put it all to go use and the Red House was completed.

Anyway, Nate moved the chickens into the coop by April, vaccinated them all and they started to lay eggs. However, that was when the Army called and the chickens had to be sold. Sadie was already pregnant with Barry and couldn’t stay alone all winter in the country. The rest is history. When Nate came back, he could not get feed for any chickens as the grain and feed supply companies were not taking on any new customers. The established chicken farmers were doing very well at that point. “Pop” Friedman talked Nate into combining the chicken coup Red House with the rest of the hotel and they became partners in the hotel. Soon the Red House was sleeping guests instead of chickens.

One Response to “The Red House”

  1. hope winkelstein firestone says:

    i remember the last time we slept in the red house (1960-ish) it was freezing for some reason. all 5 in my family bundled under all the blankets we could find. i think that was when my dad, Ben, taught us that putting blankets under as well as over kept you warmer . i fondly recall the outdoor showers. i thought it was exotic instead of rustic and have always sought out showers al fresca since then.

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