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Today's Historical Tidbit 8/10

F_in Ray Of Sunshine

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Lenox Basin doesn't even really exist today - it's just a 4-way intersection. On one corner is a bar. That's it. But come to find out, back in the canal days, it was a swingin' place. There was a small canal basin* a hotel, a livery stable and a number of farms. The hotel - The Little Mascotte- was the setting for an endless stream of newspaper articles. Unlicensed booze, Sunday sales, gambling, hookers ("inmates of a disorderly house"), two murders, two suicides and a number of accidental drownings that may be attributed to time spent at the Mascotte. The proprietor was one Clayton D Johnson. Time and again, he would get raided and shut down...and be back in business shortly. In this case, it appears he wasn't above a little jury tampering:




*hence the name Lenox Basin. I felt pretty stupid when I realized a lot of place names weren't just pulled out of a hat. Stacey Basin actually had a basin, there was actually a foundry at Lenox Furnace, "Clay Hill Road"  was where they drew clay from, for the pottery....

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Clayton had a long, interesting career.

Lost his liquor license, so he took one out in the bartender's name.

Got popped for Sunday sales and running a disorderly house. He pled guilty to the Raines Law charge, but the judge dropped the disorderly house charge after he agreed to sell the place, which he did:


Three months later:


(....if an actual sale ever took place).

He had a couple of race horses, a "naphtha launch", was married four times.... (his third wife skipped town with the bartender after a couple of months).

Even after he sold the place, he made the news. I have an article where he got busted for pirating fish from Oneida Lake.

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There was an inn several miles from where I grew up that had a similar reputation. When in high school the guys all talked about wanting to check it out when they got a little older. It never happened, before I graduated the place was sold, torn down and they built a Burger King there.

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35 minutes ago, Airehead said:

Clayton Johnson was an interesting man.

Tip o' the iceberg.

Lenox Basin itself was the real eye-opener. I didn't even know it existed, until fairly recently, let alone that it was such a den of iniquity. If I pull up fultonhistory and do a search for "Lenox Basin" I can almost guarantee the resulting articles will involve some sort of nefarious behavior.

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