The Big Moose Inn

12The Big Moose Inn
on historic Big Moose Lake
1510 Big Moose Road
Eagle Bay, New York 13331 (open throughout the year)
(315) 357-2042 | (888) 924-4666
On the shores of Big Moose Lake in the Adirondacks, sits the historical Big Moose Inn. For decades this has been a beloved vacation spot, but is best known for the murder of pregnant Grace Brown in the early 1900s. Built in 1902 as Burdick’s Camp and then Waterman’s Camp, it became Big Moose Inn in 1946, and more new owners offered more building and renovations. The Inn now boasts 16 guest rooms, a dining room, and a tavern.
The story of Ms. Brown has been immortalized in a book called “An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser. Native to South Otselic, New York, Brown started working at the Gillette Skirt Company in Cortland, New York in 1905. An illicit affair with the owner’s nephew, Chester Gillette, resultedin pregnancy. Gillette, an entitled young man took this working glass girl to Big Moose Lake, with promises of marriage and a new lifestyle. Witnesses saw the two on the lake onJuly 11th, but Gillette returned alone. Brown’s body was found in the lake the next day. It is believed that Gillette knocked Brown out with a tennis racket and threw her out of the craft to drown in the lake. Gillette was executed in 1908 in Auburn Prison.
This became a story of poverty, pregnancy and privilege. Jennifer Donnelly’s novel A Northern Light. and the non-fiction Adirondack Tragedy: The Gillette Murder Case of 1906, by Joseph W. Brownell & Patricia A. Wawrzaszek, and Murder in the Adirondacks: An American Tragedy Revisited by Craig Brandon. George Stevens’ 1951 film, A Place in the Sun, starring Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor, was also inspired by the murder.
Many hotel guests have allegedly seen Brown’s ghost by the lake, and the ambience of the area adds to romantic and other unsettling feelings deep in the heart of the forest.