Columbiona on Lake George, 1925-1938

SB Columbiona

Edwin Merton McBrier had the good fortune to be a cousin on the ground floor of the Woolworth Co. In the summer of 1917, his family rented a cottage at Silver Bay. “We liked the place very much, so I bought the Old Point property where the steamers on Lake George formerly docked,” he said, much in the way that Silas Paine of Standard Oil found and purchased his dream spot. McBrier’s land included Hazle Point, known as Rowan Point now, on the north end of what is known as Van Buren’s Bay or Oneita Bay. McBrier built a home, with large stone fireplaces, servant quarters, et al, and called the place “The Brier Patch.” After their last summer at Silver Bay in 1925, the McBrier family sold their home and property to Dr. Wilbert W. White.

White was president of the Biblical Seminary of New York, associated with the missionary movement, the YMCA, and the Silver Bay Association. On the property, he established a retreat where clergy could come for “pastors only” Bible studies. He called his center Columbiona-on-Lake George. After some financial setbacks in the 1930s, perhaps because of the Depression, he was forced to sell the property in 1938.

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My thanks to Benjamin Van Buren’s Bay by Charles G. Gosselink and to the postcard printed by the Advertising Souvenir and Calender Co. of New York City.

Another View of the Classrooms

SB Classrooms Uphill

A photo postcard of the new classrooms. “Lowrie Hall,” named for the Rev. Walter Macon Lowrie, a Presbyterian missionary who perished at the hands of Chinese pirates, is the second building on the left, just uphill from Mills Memorial. The latter building, in the foreground on the left, was named to honor Samuel John Mills, a Congregational missionary who did missionary work in the Mississippi valley and later among the poor in New York City. While returning in 1818 from a journey to West Africa, where he had been sent by the America Colonization Society to locate a site for the repatriation of freed African-American slaves, Mills died at sea at the age of 35.