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Remember Lost Parkville

Lost hamlet gets historic marker near Northville

July 5, 2009
By SHAWN M. TOMLINSON, The Leader-Herald

A lot was lost on March 27, 1930, when the dam at Conklingville was sealed, thus creating the Great Sacandaga Lake.

Among those things lost was the tiny hamlet of Parkville, just north of Northville. Nearly forgotten, the hamlet got its own historic marker at a ceremony this past week near the place it once stood.

"I spent a lot of time here when I was a kid," said Doug Parker who attended the ceremony. "I knew all these folks."

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Shawn M. Tomlinson
Doug Parker, left, Mayor James K. Groff and Loren Roose unveil the new historic marker at a hill on the old Northville road. The spot, immediately north of the Northville village line, overlooks the place where the hamlet of Parkville once stood. The hamlet was lost in 1930 when the Hudson River-Black River
District closed the dam at Conklingville and flooded the Sacandaga Valley. Parker and Roose spent part of their youths in Parkville.

Northampton town and Northville village historian Gail Cramer organized the event and, with the help of the Northville-Northampton Historical Society, wrote the message for the marker.

"I always wanted to put a sign," she said to the gathered audience. "There's a lot of history here."

Cramer said a local woman and former historian, Charlotte Duncan, left money to the historical society that Cramer suggested using to pay for the marker. Cramer said Duncan had family members who lived in Parkville, so it made sense to use her monetary gift to erect the Parkville historic marker.

Parkville was a small hamlet just north of Northville with fewer than 100 people living there. Unfortunately for the inhabitants, Parkville was in the flood plain of the new Sacandaga Reservoir planned for the Sacandaga Valley. While people knew for decades the flood was coming, they still were reluctant to move.

Parker, whose grandfather Elmer Warner lived in Parkville, said many of the people in Parkville who were forced to sell their homes to what would become the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District through eminent domain, bought them back for $1 and had them moved.

Some, he said, were moved to Northville, while others moved farther from the incoming lake.

Parkville was one of many communities that disappeared before the water came. Others included Osborn Bridge, Fish House, Munsonville and parts of Cranberry Creek, Conklingville and Day, among many others. They all were swept aside for what state officials deemed the greater good of flood control along the Hudson River.

Mayor James K. Groff, who helped unveil the new marker, also had family members who had lived in Parkville. He was aided in the ceremony by Parker and Loren Roosa, both of whom had spent time in Parkville in their youth.

"I was 12 years old when the lake came in," Parker said. "I went fishing here and at Osborn Bridge and Fish House. There were good fishing holes there."

Fulton County Historian Peter Betz praised Cramer for her efforts to place a marker to help people remember the lost hamlet.

"When the state put up the original markers in the 1930s and 1940s, [officials] relied on the knowledge of the local historians," Betz said. "It's not the county historian who puts them up, but the town historians who know their communities. I'm very happy to see this marker go up. Gail has wanted to do this for a long time.

Cramer, talking with Betz after the ceremony, said she was considering placing another historic marker at Osborn Bridge, which now stands under the Great Sacandaga Lake, although it is visible when the water is low. Betz joked that the historical society will need a long pole and said their might be a problem with navigation since the marker would be in the middle of the lake.



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