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.
* * *
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.