Byrnes Corners? Some of us might not even know there Was a Byrnes Corners. I heard about the Manhattan Hotel. I know people who went there, but it was Before My Time. I was just young enough when the Thruway went in to not remember much about it.
So I explored. I found a postcard of the Maple Grove House on delcampe.net, a postcard sale sites, and followed the trail …
There may have been a hotel or boarding house in use as early as 1860, if not before.
Michael Byrnes, proprietor, had this ad in the NY Herald in 1898:
Maple Grove House, three hours out (of NYC), one mile from village (of Saugerties); excellent table; shady lawn; pleasant rooms; terms $6 and $7; special to families for season; accommodates 40. Byrnes, Saugerties, NY.
And this one in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 19, 1908: Maple Grove House, beautifully situated within 5 minute walk of the depot, is the most popular house here and has this week the largest crowd of people it has had during the season .
Being between the Village and Veteran, in the area known as Churchland, Byrnes Corners, like Shultis Corners, Byrnes Corners must have been a hamlet within a hamlet.
The brown-colored French map shows the houses in this area in 1858.
The black & white 1875 Beers map shows M Burns and J Burns having residences at what looks to be the pre-Thruway intersection of today’s Churchland Lane and 32.
This must be the family Byrnes Corners is named after!
Michael Byrnes/Burns and his brother John were born in Ireland, and came to the US in the late 1840’s.
Michael married Emma Gay, also known as Amy, daughter of Joseph Groom Gay and Julia Ryan.
Joseph G, born in Coxsackie in 1810, died in 1858, and was buried in the Gay Ground “3 miles north of Mount Marion station and overgrown” (Poucher’s Old Gravestones). Julia was born in Ireland. This cemetery had to be on the land Barnet Gay owned. (Joseph may have had a first wife Judith.)
Joseph’s father Barnet was born in Rhinebeck, and moved to Greene Co. He was in Saugerties by 1840, and died in 1848. His mother Adah (Eytje) Groom, was born in Coxsackie, and died in 1846. They are the only three listed as buried there.
Other members of the Gay family of CT and Dutchess Co lived in the area. George A Gay (1792-1871), prominent in early Saugerties, married Mary Ann Trumpbour. His property on the Kierstead map of 1825 is on the corner of Main and Partition (now Inquiring Minds); on the 1858 map, he is in Churchland, near Michael Byrnes. As seen on the maps, this may have later been the farm of J Newkirk. The farm of the late Mrs James H Newkirk was bought in 1888 by Luke Fitzgerald, whose wife Elizabeth was Amy Gay Byrnes sister.
(Mary E Newkirk died in 1882, she was the daughter of John H Freligh. Her husband James H moved to the village, and then to Washington state.)
In the newspapers of 1848-9, Surrogate Notices of the will of Barent Gay describe his lands (46 acres) as bounded on the North by Peter I Snyder (Snyder’s Farm) and Joseph G Gay; on the east Joseph G Gay and highway and Henry I Myers; the South by Jacob Snyder and William Valkenburgh; and on the West by Noah Snyder and John Valkenburg.
Two years after Joseph G’s death, in the 1860 Census, Michael and Emma are newly married and living with Julia. Michael is listed as a farmer, and Julia a ‘taverness’.
In the 1870 Census the value of Michael’s real estate is listed as $3000, and his mother-in-law Julia’s personal estate as $1000. A hefty sum in those days!
Michael and Amy celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary in 1912; “they are both enjoying good health and are able to maintain the management of the Maple Grove House in the excellent manner as for years past” (Freeman).
Michael’s obituary of Feb. 12, 1915 says he died at his home, The Maple Grove House, aged 80, leaving his wife and a number of children and a brother John.
Amy’s obituary of April 8, 1923, says she died in her home, the Maple Grove House on the Saugerties-Woodstock Road, age 83, and was survived by three daughters; Mrs Ray (Rachel) Rogers, Mrs Mary (Mary Ada) Nichols and Iris Byrnes; three sons, John, Luke and Joseph. Her funeral was held at St Mary’s.
Michael and Amy’s daughter Iris T died in 1928; her obituary says she was survived by her sisters Mrs Mary Nichols and Mrs Ray Rogers and brothers John, Luke, and Joseph, and that she was buried in St Mary’s cemetery.
Michael’s son John died in 1930. His obituary of June 17, 1930 says he died at the home of his sister Mrs Mary Nichols, on the state road, survived by 2 sisters and 1 brother.
Daughter Mary Nichols of the state road died at the Dale Sanitarium in 1968 at age 85. Her husband William died in 1918. She was survived by sons Walter and William of Buffalo, Robert of Wingdale and John of Staten Island.
Michael’s brother John died in 1923, his wife Anna died in 1928. They are buried in St Mary’s cemetery.
Byrnes Corners Tidbits
This area of 212 has undergone many changes and many accidents. 1900 saw the rebuilding of the Saugerties & Woodstock turnpike.
In 1926 John C Shults was supervisor when the State Highway Dept eliminated two sharp curves on the Saugerties-Woodstock road at Byrnes Corner by cutting thru the rock opposite Charles Abbott’s, and making other improvements so there would be less danger than “the present corked highway” (Freeman).
In 1927 the concrete road from WSRR crossing to Byrne’s Corner was open on one side. David Schoentag was the contractor for some of the work in the area.
1931 Officer John Lavelle was stationed at Byrnes Corners – “The placing of an officer at this point is a thoughtful act, as many accidents may be avoided…”, and Frederick Ianone and James Van Allen collided near Byrnes Corners.
The front-page headlines in the Freeman on Jan 13 1940:
Five Persons Are Injured In Byrnes Corners Crash.
John Brinnier of Kingston was the driver of one of the cars, Edward Sperl was the other, Leonard Sperl was a passenger.
In 1946 an auto, while driving through the rock cut near the Abbott residence by Byrnes Corners, went into a ditch.
And in 1949 Louise Fatum was injured in an accident at Byrnes Corners.
In 1935 Byrnes Corners had a softball diamond, hosting the Berardi A.C.’s vs the Saug V-8’s, with Chick Tiano & M Tiano as battery for Berardi, Garrison and Terwilliger for the V-8’s.
In the ‘20’s The White and Green bus had a stop at Byrnes Corners. Mr Garrison had a route through there in the ‘30’s.
The Women’s Democratic Club met at Mary Nichol’s house in 1942.
In 1949 the safe of the Coxsackie Milling Co feed store at Byrnes Corners was blown open and robbed. Samuel Wolven was an employee. In 1938 the Kaksakie Chick starter could be purchased from the Co., from the main plant in West Coxsackie, and stores at Ravena, Catskill, and Saugerties.
The business moved to the Spatz building on Cross st. The Co. sold some of their property to Fred Mickle in 1953.
Rachel A Rogers, daughter of Michael and Amy, sold the Maple Grove House to Albert Buhl and his wife in 1931. In Dec of that year, Albert was charged with possession and sale of alcohol at The Maples.
In January of 1933 Prohibition office seized whiskey, wine, beer and beer mash at The Maples, at the junction of Woodstock-Palenville roads. Mrs Kate Buhl was arrested and held for arraignment on charges of manufacture and possession.
March of ‘33 there was an application seeking to padlock for one year the saloon and restaurant on the first floor of The Maples filed in Federal Court.
A Freeman article of Aug 25 1933 lists names of licensees:
Liquor license issued to Albert Buhl, The Maples.
John W Connolly of Catskill bought The Maples in 1935, and renamed it the Manhattan Hotel.
He leased for a bit of time to Kathryn Sullivan of Albany, with Al Vanwie of Albany as manager.
The Saugerties FD and the Ashokan Council no. 213 Daughters of Pocahontas held banquets there in 1939. The Lions Club met there in 1947. The Sickles Entertainers played there in 1938.
Mr & Mrs Charles Arnold celebrated their 25th anniversary there in 1940 and Mr and Mrs William Daley of Ulster avenue celebrated their 25th anniversary in 1941.
1949 – The End of an Era.
From the Freeman, Jan. 31, 1949:
Property owners in the vicinity of Byrnes Corner have been given notice by the State Highway Department to vacate their properties on or before April 1 as the state plans to do construction on the new thruway in that vicinity.
In March of ’49 Joseph Connolly’s wife Albertina advertised an auction of her restaurant and hotel equipment.
And, from the Freeman of May 12, 1949:
Among the buildings razed … was the Manhattan Hotel, located at Byrnes Corners, for many years a landmark in the town of Saugerties.