History of Lake Pointe Inn
This farm, sold by the heirs of Dr. James McHenry in April 1868 to the Glotfelty Family, was purchased (304 acres) by Jonas Glotfelty from his father, William Glotfelty, in December 1887. “Jonas (Glotfelty) became the owner of the McHenry farm; He resided in the John McHenry log house until he built the present ample farm house on the same site which now stands at the head of the Buffalo Marsh Branch of Deep Creek Lake.” Documentation found behind plaster walls indicates construction of the house was 1889-1891.
Jonas Glotfelty retired from farming in 1924 at age 80. After selling off 55 acres to the Youghiogheny Electric Co. for the new hydroelectric lake, Jonas gave the farm to his son Brison, in return for life support of both parents. The deed is very detailed as to the quality of the support! Brison sold the farm to John Kurtz in 1926, who divided the house into two living units. The Kurtz’s used one on lake visits while the other was rented to the Spears family who worked the farm. Tragically, John Kurtz’s young daughter drowned in the lake, one reason the Inn is not suited to young children. On Labor day 1995, during renovation, Doris Spears Friend, of nearby Friendsville, visited. We were treated to her recollections of her childhood there, with 10 siblings, during 1926-1939.
Sam Leff, Owner of Pittsburgh’s Seventh Avenue Hotel, bought the farm and immediately renovated the house with its first electrical, plumbing and central heating systems. These mechanical systems were completely replaced in 1995. The 1939 renovation also included the great room, (opened from two rooms), the stone fireplace, all the chestnut beams paneling and doors, the stone well house and porch piers and the spruce trees.
Sam Leff sold the farm to Charles Arden May in 1943, who proceeded to sell off most of the land, and to establish a boat house and tavern in the large bank barn. The barn sat on the lakefront, two houses from the Inn, until it burned in the mid 1960’s. Arden May put in the primitive Marsh Hill Road running down the lake a half mile. He subdivided both sides of the road into about 75 tiny 60′ wide lake front and lake access lots and sold them between 1943 and 1946. The price -$200 each! Many of the small cottages on Marsh Hill Road were built by those early vacationers.
Most of the farm lying across today’s Marsh Hill Road was sold in the mid 1940’s. This land includes Wisp Ski Area and Wisp Golf Course. Helmuth Heise, from Austria via Pittsburgh, acquired the site by long term lease, developed the ski area and opened in 1955 with a rope tow and no snow making equipment. The golf course came later, as did expansion of the ski area.
Arden May sold off the house and last 25 acres in 1949 but was forced to quickly foreclose on the delinquent note. He re-sold the property to James and Robert McCann in January 1950. The McCann brothers, Pittsburgh tavern owners (McCann’s, on the South Side) used the house for vacationing with their families during the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. The McCann’s built a miniature golf course in the area surrounded by today’s Lake Pointe Drive. The house saw little use during the 1980’s and early 90’s. All but 9.6 acres was sold off during the 1980’s. The McCanns sold the house to Washington, DC residents George and Linda Pettie in March 1995 and renovation into the Lake Pointe Inn, with 8 guest rooms, began in May 1995. The Inn opened in January 1996 during one of the coldest, snowiest winters on record. The area had -15º F and received 213 inches of snow that winter. Typical snow fall is about 100 inches annually.
The remaining 9.6 acres was developed into the Lake Pointe community by the Petties, the Fords, the Freidmans and the Raileys, of Railey Realty. Today’s houses were built by the lot buyers
The Building and Renovation
The 24′ thick basement foundation is of massive shaped native sandstone. Upon the foundation is set a heavy semi-balloon framed structure. All framing material is rough cut native chestnut and hemlock. The rough sawn 1″ x 10 – 24″ diagonal subsiding boards are uniquely installed on the inside of the wall framing. The exterior weatherboard was then applied directly to all studding. Some of the dimension lumber was cut with the (usually) pre-civil war reciprocating sash saw while the rest was produced by the then modern circular saw. In keeping with traditional Mennonite frugality, ornamentation details were minimal.
Exterior doors, and most room doors, are distinctive grooved & mortised chestnut plank attached by wood or iron straps. Windows are wood double hung 2 over 2. All guest room windows were rotten and replaced, but 15 in the common areas have been restored, nearly all with original glass.
Most exterior features and architecture were saved and restored during the 1995 renovation and conversion to an Inn. One exception is the weatherboard siding. In 1939, asphalt composition (“insul-brick”; i.e.: fake brick) was clad over the weatherboard. Removal of the asphalt panels revealed weatherboard far too damaged, distressed, deformed and patched to permit restoration. The renovation included new wood weatherboard.
In addition to the foundation, native stone enhances the building in the form of a massive 9 foot wide stone chimney and 16 distinctive stone porch columns.
The interior features a large parlor with open chestnut post & beam timbering and “wormy” chestnut plank walls and ceilings. The 1995 renovation saved these, along with 15 interior chestnut grooved plank and mortise doors. The 2 stairways to the second floor were also saved in the original locations.
Although renovated into a B&B Inn, the original floor plan, with common rooms on the first floor and bedrooms on the second floor, was maintained. The only interior plan/partition changes were those involving the addition of bathrooms. The original walk up attic was finished into the Garrett & Savage rooms with no alteration to roof lines or plane. The attic stairway was moved forward 4′ to gain head room. The dining room, with its chestnut wainscoting, remained the dining room. Guest rooms are named after people and places important in the history of the property and area.
There is one very distinctive outbuilding. The stone well house, dating from 1939, is built entirely of native stone, including the gable roof, with no wood framing, steel or concrete!
According to Matthew Story Sr., a local resident who worked on this house at the time, the building experienced modernization in 1939 when electric, heating and plumbing systems were installed. These systems were 100% replaced with the 1995 renovation. Matt’s son, Mathew Story Jr., assisted with the 1995 renovation of the old house into the Lake Pointe Inn.
During the 1980’s, this building was seldom used and somewhat neglected allowing deterioration of the more exposed windows beyond feasible restoration. The asphalt fake brick siding also was badly deteriorated, not original and was unworthy of salvage. Fortunately, the previous owners installed a high quality standing seam metal roof, replacing the badly deteriorated original slate, so interior decay did not occur. Happily no vandalism, whatever, occurred. The building was used occasionally as late as fall 1994. It was never actually abandoned.
The 1995 renovation maintained the interior floor plan and imposed no major exterior architectural alteration. A small one story addition was built onto the rear as innkeeper quarters. Expansion to 10 guest rooms, in the form of an 18′ wide, full length three-story addition on the north side, along with total remodeling of the existing third floor, occurred during 2001 – 2002. Enlargement and remodeling of the Sam Leff and Browning rooms occurred during the winter of 2006 – 2007.
The Lake Pointe site has an interesting history. Upon this site converged the three cornerstones of the American Nation.
- The flight from European religious persecution: After the 60 year McHenry era, the site was farmed for 58 years by the Glotfelty’s, whose family history turned on Calvinist religious persecution of Mennonites, Amish and Lutherans in Bavaria and Switzerland.
- The European-American settlement and westward migration: The site was first settled by one of the Friend brothers, the first European-American settlers in today’s Garrett County.
- The Founding of the New Democracy: The site was the summer home and estate of Dr. James McHenry, prominent Revolutionary War and early Federal personage.
The House was built in 1889-90 by Jonas Glotfelty, who acquired the farm from his father William Glotfelty, the first Glotfelty to settle (1848) in now Garrett County, Maryland. The farm passed from the McHenry family to the Glotfelty family in 1868. Jonas Glotfelty’s great grandfather was Solomon Glotfelty, of Salisbury, Pennsylvania. Solomon Glattfelder (later changed to Glotfelty) came from Switzerland as a small boy, likely in the 1740’s-1750’s. Most of those emigrating to colonial America from the Rhine River area of Switzerland in 1730-1776 were religiously persecuted Mennonites, Amish & Lutherans. Majority Swiss Calvinists imprisoned Mennonites and Amish with threats of hanging or burning. Some needed armed escorts to leave Switzerland!
John Friend Sr., his brothers Charles and Andrew, his father Nicholas and their families were the first European Americans to settle in present day Garrett County in 1765. The Friend family in American went back to 1675. The Friend’s farm, near the Potomac River in Virginia, was flooded out in 1764. John Friend walked up the Potomac River and crossed the Eastern Continental Divide in search of a new place to live.
The King of England, to pacify native Americans and end the French and Indian War in 1763, prohibited settlement west of the Eastern Continental Divide. Native Americans apparently had no permanent settlements on the Appalachian Plateau, which include most of today’s Garrett County, Maryland, due to severe winters. The Native Americans did have many summer hunting camps to pursue the plentiful game, including bison, of the upland glades, grasslands and forest. There was a Native American permanent settlement on the Youghiogheny River in the lower lying northwest corner of today’s Garrett County. It was here that John Friend and brothers “purchased” Native American fields and habitats from the inhabitants, after joining the natives in “celebrating the first white men to come to that area.”
In spring 1765 the Friends returned to stay. Of course, they were “squatters” in violation of the King’s 1763 Proclamation. Also, the Colonial proprietor of Maryland, Lord Baltimore, claimed extensive lands ” west of Fort Cumberland” as his private domain. Some unauthorized settlement continued until 1774 when Lord Baltimore opened the area to settlement.
John Friend built his log cabin on his claim that is the site of present day Friendsville, Maryland. His brother, Charles settled at the Big Boiling Spring in Buffalo Marsh, seven miles south of John. Buffalo Marsh was named by hunters in the 1700’s when they found remains of a bison mired in the marsh. Marsh Hill (ski area) & Marsh Hill Rd. take their names from Buffalo Marsh.
The construction of Deep Creek Lake in 1923-1925 flooded the Big Boiling Spring and the Buffalo Marsh, which is now the lake cove sitting just 13 feet from the present day Inn. Thus, this site was one of three simultaneous first white settlements, by the three Friend brothers, in 1765 in present day Garrett County, Maryland. The Friend family patriarch, Nicholas Friend, is buried “in a hollow chestnut log” at Big Boiling Spring. The grave is now covered by the McHenry inlet of Deep Creek Lake in front of the Inn.
Between 1765 and 1774 only a few settlers squatted on land in present day Garrett County. In 1774, Lord Baltimore opened the area to Land Patent and Settlement. A flurry of surveys followed, by well connected and influential Maryland speculators patenting large tracts to be sold later to farmer-settlers. The Shawnee War of 1774 dampened settlement interest and then the American Declaration of Independence in 1776 put western settlement on hold. At that time, July 4, 1776, only about one dozen families lived in the 600+ square miles of today’s Garrett County, Maryland. Five men from these families responded to a call to enroll in militia companies of the Maryland Revolutionary convention.
In 1778 the Maryland General Assembly reserved all unpatented lands “westward of Fort Cumberland” for Maryland soldiers of the Revolution. As a recruitment incentive, a bounty of 50 acres to each soldier promising 3 year service was voted. In 1780, lands of Lord Baltimore in the Alleghenies were confiscated by the State. In 1787, Georgetown surveyor Colonel Francis Deakins laid out 4,165 fifty acre lots for war veterans in Western Maryland. Of 4,165 lots surveyed, 2,575 were actually allotted to veterans. Most sold them at once to speculators, averaging 12 dollars per 50 acre lot. Only two recipients actually occupied their land.
Also in 1787, Maryland undertook to dispose of its remaining western lands to encourage settlement. In the 1790 census, there still were less than 100 families in present Garrett County.
“Buffalo Marsh took its name from the fact that the carcass of a large bison had been found in the deep mud of the marsh by the first white men who ever set foot in the beautiful glade.”
Meschach Browning chronicled much of the early 1800’s settlement and happenings around the present day McHenry, Maryland in his book “44 Years in the Life of a Hunter.” At the time Browning lived about a mile or so north of McHenry. Browning wrote, “By this time (1823) we had several new neighbors — Captain Campbell, from Frederick County, with his family, and son-in-law, James Cunningham; and also Dr. James McHenry of Baltimore, and John McHenry, who settled at Buffalo Marsh.”
During the Revolutionary war, Dr. James McHenry had been a surgeon and secretary to General George Washington. Dr. McHenry also served on General Lafayette’s staff, as a Major, until 1781. Baltimore’s Fort McHenry, the British siege of which (War of 1812) inspired Francis Scott Key’s anthem “Star Spangled Banner”, is named for Dr. James McHenry. He was Secretary of War (today Secretary of Defense) under Presidents Washington and Adams and was one, of three, Maryland signers of the United States Constitution.
On March 4, 1808, Dr. McHenry acquired Buffalo Marsh, including the site of the Inn, when he purchased 7,873 acres. Dr. McHenry noted,” I like this country, its salubrious air, its mild summers, its interesting views made up of hills, woods, glades, streams and mountains; above all it delights me as affording at my time of life a solitary retirement – from the busy world and its cares. I do not feel disposed to wander further or to quit it in a hurry. Indeed did it quadrate with the interest of the whole of my family to fix here I should never move from the spot I am now on,” he wrote of Buffalo Marsh in 1810.
Dr. McHenry et al, eventually owned over 20,000 acres at present day McHenry, Maryland. This large farming estate was operated by Dr. McHenry’s cousin John McHenry and by Dr. McHenry’s son, Daniel McHenry. Daniel McHenry lived in a log cabin at Buffalo Marsh by the Big Boiling Spring. After Daniel died from being thrown from a horse in 1814, John moved from nearby to Buffalo Marsh where he lived most of his life.
Buffalo Marsh was Dr. McHenry’s summer home, though he spent the winter of 1812-1813 there. Dr. McHenry died in 1816. In 1815 John McHenry built the log house, occupied in 1888-1890 by Jonas Glotfelty when he built the current house. John McHenry filled important American diplomatic posts in The Hague and other European capitals.
On February 22, 1875, a U.S. Post office was opened at the “Buffalo Marsh” or “McHenry’s Gate.” The “new post office was named ‘McHenry’, in honor of James McHenry, Secretary of War under Washington and Adams.”
Finally, George Washington apparently actually did “sleep here.” Washington, in a 1784 visit, stayed with Charles Friend at his cabin. Washington wrote in his journal “Friend is a great Hunter, and well acquainted with all the waters, as well as hills, having lived in this country and followed no other occupation for nine years.”