Stories: Introduction

. . . I always feel like exploring a little bit when I go to a new place, to find out what the background of the town is, and what’s happened and what is happening. Well, Rosendale has a very fascinating history but I didn’t come to realize it until much later in my tenure here. I first came here in 1928, which is now fifty-eight years ago, as a sonny-boy, and when I came I saw what my father had bought: beautiful lakes, but a wilderness. There was nothing here except the ruins of some industry, which I didn’t realize at the time was cement, but it’s the ruins of a cement industry. So I was told that there used to be a flourishing cement business here in Rosendale, but that it was defunct and no longer in existence and my first thought was that they must have run out of raw material. But that did not prove to be the case.

Right where the hotel is standing there was huge pile of waste material, cement waste material, which was called “slag” or “clinker.” And on either side of this huge pile of material — it was about thirty feet high, about two hundred feet wide at the base, and a couple of hundred yards long, the length of two football fields — bisecting a swamp: a swamp on either side, a swamp on the end. And our first task here, in trying to make something of this place, was to level this huge pile of cement slag into the swamp to create a level playground field. And as I looked into the background of the cement ruins that were here I found a most interesting story.