Speculator, New York

Speculator is a village in Hamilton County, New York, United States. The population was 324 at the 2010 census.[6] 2,966-foot (904 m) Speculator Mountain rises just south of the village.

Speculator, New York
Location in Hamilton County and the state of New York
Location in Hamilton County and the state of New York
Coordinates: 43°31′37″N 74°21′47″W / 43.52694°N 74.36306°W / 43.52694; -74.36306Coordinates: 43°31′37″N 74°21′47″W / 43.52694°N 74.36306°W / 43.52694; -74.36306
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
TownLake Pleasant
 • MayorMunro Collie Smith[2]
 • Total47.2 sq mi (122.3 km2)
 • Land44.6 sq mi (115.6 km2)
 • Water2.6 sq mi (6.7 km2)
1,739 ft (530 m)
 • Total324
 • Estimate 
 • Density7.26/sq mi (2.80/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
12164, 12812[5]
Area code(s)518
FIPS code36-70123
GNIS feature ID0965973

Speculator is the only incorporated village within Hamilton County and is within the town of Lake Pleasant.[1] The village includes the northeastern end of a lake, also called Lake Pleasant.[5] The local inhabitants sometimes refer to the village as the "Four Corners", referring to the intersection of NYS Route 8 and NYS Route 30 in the middle of the business district.[citation needed]

Speculator is within the Adirondack Park.[1]


Native AmericansEdit

Archeological evidence of Native Americans has been found in arrowheads and spearheads near the shores of Lake Pleasant. Many historians believe Speculator was the hunting and fishing grounds of both Mohawk and Algonquin tribes. These Native Americans would only travel to the Adirondack Mountains to hunt during the warm months, while their villages were located in the Mohawk and Hudson Valley regions. There was a Mohawk, who named himself Captain Gill, who lived in a wigwam at the outlet of Lake Pleasant, during the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century. He had a wife named Molly, who had a daughter named Molly Jr., although Capt. Gill didn't claim the daughter as his own. Old Capt. Gill was a trail guide for the first settlers. He would show them places to hunt and fish. Capt. Gill was most famous for his storytelling of the Iroquois Nation, such as the Flying Head.[7][8][9]

Newton's CornersEdit

The small settlement at the outlet of Lake Pleasant was part of the town of Lake Pleasant. In 1864 Joel Newton built a small store and hotel in the center of town and secured a post office with the name "Newton's Corners". At that time Page Hill and Page Street were included in Newton's Corners. Joel Newton's structure burned in 1870, and in 1872 the Newton's Corners post office was reopened in Satterlee's store. Henry Dunning built a hotel in 1882 where Newton's hotel had been and the post office had moved there, and in 1896 the community received a new name, "Speculator", after the mountain seen across the lake.

Becoming SpeculatorEdit

In 1892, a few ambitious and industrious business leaders felt they needed to update and modernize their facilities. Speculator was a "booming Mecca" for tourists. With the support of the voters in 1925, the village of Speculator was incorporated with a mayor and two trustees, which later changed to four trustees. The village of Speculator purchased a small water system of Dexter Slack and expanded it. The village had a generating plant and waterwheel installed at Christine Falls, and by 1926 they had electricity.

Age of tourismEdit

Growth escalated in the Victorian era between the mid-1800s and the early 1900s. Entire families spent their summers enjoying the mountain hospitality and fresh air. Several more hotels were built to accommodate them, and eventually more stores, homes and several cottages were built. Around the 1850s, city sportsmen began to come to the Adirondack Mountains to hunt, fish, and enjoy expeditions into the deep woods. They hired local men to be guides, who provided food and crude lean-tos for shelter. Hunting shanties were later widely used. With these sportsmen came their whole families to use the many hotels and boardinghouses in Lake Pleasant and Speculator. Private summer camps and cottages were built and along came the established family and children camps. Camps such as Camp-of-the-Woods, Camp Setag for girls, Kamp Kun-ju-muk for boys, the YMCA Camp Agaming, and Deerfoot Lodge for boys were established around the shores of local lakes. After World War I, famous athletes came to practice in the isolated communities, such as Gene Tunney, Max Schmeling, and Max Baer who arrived to train for their heavyweight championship fights at various times. [10]

Age of lumberingEdit

In the beginning, small sawmills provided lumber for local use. After the Civil War, large lumber companies formed and mills were built near the Glens Falls area. At first logging was prevalent along the upper Hudson River which was used to float the logs to the mills. Later, logging operations moved into Lake Pleasant, and the Sacandaga River, the outlet of Lake Pleasant, was used to float logs to Glens Falls as the state of New York designated rivers as public highways for moving logs to the larger companies. Many local farmers found winter employment as lumberjacks, and also supplied the companies with potatoes, meat, animal feed and dairy products. The lumber companies bought large parcels of land for their timber. Some of this land was later abandoned and became state land. This was the beginning of the Adirondack Park as designated in 1892.


Speculator is located at 43°31′37″N 74°21′47″W / 43.52694°N 74.36306°W / 43.52694; -74.36306 (43.526920, -74.363185).[11]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 47.2 square miles (122 km2), of which 44.7 square miles (116 km2) are land and 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2), or 5.46%, are water.

Speculator Mountain, with an altitude of 2,966 feet (904 m), is south of the village.

Lake Pleasant and Sacandaga Lake are west of the village.[5] The Sacandaga River assumes its riverine nature from the outflow of Lake Pleasant at Speculator, although much of the water flows from Sacandaga Lake through the Sacandaga Lake Outlet into Lake Pleasant underneath NY-8 southwest of the village.[citation needed]

NY 8 and NY 30 intersect and combine in the village.

The entire village is located within the Lake Pleasant Central School District.[5]


Census Pop.
Est. 2016302[4]−6.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

As of the census of 2000, there were 348 people, 163 households, and 94 families residing in the village. The population density was 7.8 people per square mile (3.0/km²). There were 484 housing units at an average density of 10.8 per square mile (4.2/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 96.26% White, 1.72% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.57% Asian, 1.15% from other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.72% of the population.[3]

There were 163 households out of which 17.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 4.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.3% were non-families. 39.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.00 and the average family size was 2.61.[3]

In the village, the population was spread out with 14.7% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 28.2% from 45 to 64, and 26.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females, there were 112.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 110.6 males.[3]

The median income for a household in the village was $33,393, and the median income for a family was $43,750. Males had a median income of $33,750 versus $20,417 for females. The per capita income for the village was $25,089. About 4.3% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.7% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.[3]

Additional informationEdit

Speculator calls itself the "All Season Vacationland". A public beach is located in the village on the north lake shore. Free parking is available across the street from the beach. There is a baseball field, basketball court and large pavilion next to the parking lot. There is also a nature walk behind the pavilion.

Speculator Mountain, for which the village was named, lies just south of the village on Gilmantown Road, and is visible from most of the village. Oak Mountain is the location of the Oak Mountain Ski Center, located just north of the four corners.

The Grace Methodist Church Complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.[13]


Two chefs from Speculator,[citation needed] Steven Tempel and Lance Nitahara, were featured on the Food Network show Chopped in the episode "Crunch Time", which aired on July 6, 2010.[14] Tempel was eliminated after the appetizer, but Nitahara held on until the dessert, at which he was eliminated.[citation needed] Nitahara later returned to the show in a special Chopped Redemption episode and subsequently won.


  1. ^ a b c "Welcome". Hamilton County, NY. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  2. ^ "Government". Town of Lake Pleasant. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d Hamilton County Online Mapping System (Map). variable. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  6. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Speculator village, New York". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  7. ^ Weaver, Anne A., and Beverly Hoffman. "Introduction." Lake Pleasant and Speculator in the Adirondacks. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2010. 7-8. Print.
  8. ^ Aber, Ted, and Stella King. Tales from an Adirondack County. Prospect, NY: Prospect, 1981. Print.
  9. ^ Aber, Ted, and Stella Brooks King. The History of Hamilton County. Lake Pleasant, NY: Great Wilderness, 1965. Print
  10. ^ "Welcome!". Town of Lake Pleasant. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "National Register of Historic Places". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 2/09/15 through 2/13/15. National Park Service. 2015-02-20.
  14. ^ ""Chopped" Crunch Time (TV episode 2010)". IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved April 5, 2011.


  • Lake Pleasant and Speculator in the Adirondacks by Anne Weaver and Beverly Hoffman. Arcadia Publishing, 2010. www.arcadiapublishing.com

External linksEdit