Tuesday, February 04, 2003

By Ethan

Part I- The beginning
of an Inn—
The Munro Home

The Green Gate was not always an Inn. It started as a family home.

This is how it started. Mr. David Munro was the second settler in Camillus in 1808. He grew up near Elbridge, N.Y. In 1808, he purchased a lot of land at the east end of what is now known as the village of Camillus. David Munro was a builder of a railroad line that went through Camillus and he was the first village postmaster, a judge, and was a member of the NY State Assembly.
His wife’s name was Abigail Munro.

They had a son named David Allen Munro who grew up in the village of Camillus and lived in the house his father built in 1810. He grew up to be a businessman and a farmer. He was also worried about slavery.

David Allen Munro did not like something called the Fugitive Slave Law. It was a law that said that if a slave had run away from the South and was found in the North, he or she would have to be returned to their owner. Mr. Munro believed in something called “abolition”. It means he did not believe that slavery was right.

A place called Rowe’s Hotel , owned by Samuel Rowe, was a meeting spot back in the 1850’s in
Camillus. It is still located in the village and is now Solvay Bank. On that spot on January 27, 1852, a call went out by the Free Soil Party to get rid of the Fugitive Slave Law. The party chose David Allen Munro as Free Soil Republican Supervisor. Later, people said it was the first Republican party meeting to ever happen. Abraham Lincoln was the first president chosen who was a Repulican, which was the party Mr. Munro helped to form.

You wonder what this has to do with the Green Gate? Mr. David Allen Munro built the house for his wife Mary and their children during the Civil War in 1861. When it was first built, it looked like a square-shaped colonial house.

Mr. Munro was a farmer, and he had a barn and cows and the farm stretched from the old train station (was Estlinbaum Lumber) all the way to the old Camillus High School on First Street.
The house I live in on Meadow Lane was once part of Mr. Munro’s farm. Cows used to graze in my back yard.

When his father David died in 1866, David Allen Munro moved out of the house that is now the Green Gate and moved across the street to the home his father built in 1841. He may have done this because he inherited the house. At that time in history, his mother Abigail was still alive, but the law said she could not own the house because women couldn’t own property back then. The house is still there today and is owned by the Bush family. There is a historical plaque on the Bush house that says “Munro Home”.

David Allen Munro died in 1897 at the age of 79.
For many years, his son Isaac lived at what is now known as the Green Gate with his wife Edwena and their children. Isaac was also a farmer and businessman. Isaac moved to Syracuse and when he did, his son Edwin K. Munro (known to friends as Ned) and his family moved into the house.
Edwin died in 1936. Shortly before he died, someone burned down his barn on purpose. All the cows inside were trapped and died. It smelled like burned hamburgers for a long time after.

Part II—
Food, Drink,
And Lodgings

In 1939, Bertha Carrington, a businesswoman,
bought the Green Gate Inn from the Munro family estate. That is when it first became an Inn instead of a home, but it has always seemed comfortable like you would expect a home to be. Since Bertha Carrington started the Inn, there has been fine dining, parties, wedding receptions, and overnight lodgings, (which means overnight sleeping). There is a lot of charm and history at the Inn.

In 1944, Bertha Carrington sold the Inn to Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Kleist, who continued the fine dining, parties and lodging. The Inn was in the Kleist family all the way until 1983.

When Daniel and Linda Roche bought the Inn in 1983, they made major improvements in the building. They bougt new furniture for all the rooms in the Inn. Mr. Roche did new carpentry and restored the wood trimwork. He built new oak doors, a brand new bar, and oak cabinets. Mrs. Roche did all the new interior decorating.

On the Green Gate Menu from 1991, you could have ordered appetizers such as: French Onion Soup Gratinee (soup with onions, croutons, and melted provolone cheese) or Clams Casino (clams with bacon, peppers, and parmesan cheese).
For dinner, you could have ordered: Roast Chicken Breast with Herbs, Baked Stuffed Sole Filet, or Veal Scallopini Picata (veal in lemon-caper juice).

The next owners bought the Inn in 1992. Their names are Scott and Lori Edwardson.

The current owners, the Welch-Shanley family, bought the Inn in 1996. I spoke with Megan Welch Shanley on November 16, 1999. She says she bought the Inn because she had worked at restaurants, but dreamed of owning one. She grew up only a few miles from the Green Gate Inn.

Today they serve both lunches and dinners at the Inn. There is also a Tavern Menu for lighter meals and there is a Children’s Menu. Megan tells us the favorites of many diners are the steaks.
Seafood, Veal and Chicken, and Beef entrees are also available choices for dinners. She estimates they serve about 500 dinners each week.

There are six guest rooms upstairs with bathrooms and there is one Honeymoon Suite called the “Cupid Room”. Megan’s doughter Jessica and her friend Jenny were kind to show me around the upstairs. From the main downstairs Hallway, we went up a big circular staircase with pretty pink flowery wallpaper. At the top, there was a large mirror with the words “Green Gate Inn” etched into the glass. There are old photos hanging in the hallway. Guest-rooms have big wooden doors with numbers of the room on each door. I saw the “Laura Ashley Room”, the “Walnut Room”, the “Cherry Room”, the “Rose Room”, and the “Eyelet Room”. Some rooms have whirlpool tubs and skylights. When I saw it, it was hard to believe the world outside was modern, because you get used to the old-fashioned house and forget what date it is!



I asked the current owner Megan if she knew of any ghosts at the Inn. She said she didi not believe there were ghosts, but she could not rule out the possibility. Guests, especially children, are always curious about Inn ghosts.

Here are some interesting facts about the Green Gate :
--the Inn is called a “Victorian” because of the time in history when it was built.
--It has heavy railroad cornices (wood on top that projects from a wall) to support the wide roof.
--If you go into the basement, you go down a wooden circular staircase. The walls were made of brick and you will see tree-trunks used to support the Inn’s structure.
--The original “Balloon-ceiling” is still seen in the front Dining Room. A balloon ceiling is not really a balloon…it is a ceiling made of special paper and you must be gentle when you paint it.
--There are still original chandeliers in two of the dining areas and original pocket-doors (doors that slide into the wall) leading from one dining area to another.
--There is a cupola on top of the Green Gate, which is a small structure built on top of the roof.
--As you face the front of the Green Gate, you will see a landing stone right in front of the main entry steps. This is an original tanning stone used at a nearby tannery (where they changed animal skin into leather). After an animal’s hide was tanned, it was pulled over the edge of the stone, then pounded, making it easier to handle.
--The current owners have made a new handrail leading up the circular stairs to the guest rooms. It is covered with soft pink fabric.
--There is a woman who works and sometimes stays upstairs in her own quarters and she takes care of the guests and the cleaning.
--There is antique furniture in the guest rooms. Every room looks different and is very pretty.
--Politicians used to meet at the Inn and helped make decisions while dining at the Inn. Singers like the Tom Dooley Choraleers and the Irish Rovers have been known to entertain at the Inn.
--The farthest a guest has traveled to stay at the Inn is from Australia. (“G’day, mate”!)
--My mom told me she read in the newspaper that the Disney songwriter Alan Menken (who wrote songs like “A Whole New World” from “Aladdin” and “Colors of the Wind” from Pochahantas) attended a wedding reception at the Inn a few years ago.
--At the time the Munros were living at the Green Gate, they probably saw people zooming by their house on sleds. On the snowiest days when roads in the Village were closed to traffic, village residents would pull out their sleds and slide all the way down from the top of the West Hill and often they would not stop until they got to where the railroad bridge is now.

Megan Welch Shanley says she hopes the Inn will have a good future and that it will go on as a favorite place for people to come and enjoy themselves.

by Ethan

Shadows, dark and cold, cover the land.

The innocent and frail will be crushed.
But then a light shines though to banish the shadows.
Even when the light is covering the land, the shadow will always be there.

Tucked away in the tiniest pocket.
Watching, waiting for the right moment to come out and repeat history.
The shadows shall then bring out its warriors.

Then the warriors of eld shall find their predecessors.
Then the clash of light and shadows shall begin.
The victor of this battle shall never be known.

Because there will always be a small amount of light or shadow.
Tucked away and planning.
Watching, waiting for the time to repeat history again.

The warriors of eld shall also come again when the time comes.
To find the next true warriors of light.
The shadows shall also come again.

To find their next shadow warriors.
The battle of the conflicting powers shall always continue.
Even when all is lost, there will be a ray of light.

Ready to shine the way.

Copyright2003 EthanWatch


I wrote this speech for an Optimist Club contest.


Americans desire and deserve a bright future. If we are to stand united, those standing together must be optimistic. We stand together because we have something to say. We stand and say we have seen a better solution, not in spite of our differences, but because of our differences. Those who can find a better solution are true optimists who live in the light of the democracy that was born of the wisdom of our nation's forefathers. Optimists see their differences as a glass that is half-full and wish to be united with their fellow
citizens. rather than seeing it half-empty and causing destructive division.

There are immense amounts of diversity in this country. We are a nation of men and women, old and young, rich and poor. We come in colors of white, brown, black, yellow. I happen to be diverse in my own way. We all are. There are many different ways of seeing the same thing. It is possible to see diversity in the light of optimism or have it clouded with the pessimistic view. I have seen both views in my time. I have learned that looking at a problem in a better light and building consensus is healthier than being divided because of our differences.

In our system of government, there are many different processes and many different voices that contribute to the conclusion of each and any legislation, question, or action. Often, a majority rules some voices out, but that doesn't mean that the minority of ideas were wrong or bad ideas. The fact that people have a different motive or ideology doesn't mean they are wrong or bad. It just means that they have a different opinion. In America, we are blessed with the freedom to express those ideas.

The founding fathers of our nation had a different idea for a new country. Like today, many of them did not share exactly the same ideals. They found common ground with each other. They agreed that they should not have to be ruled by a King that lived an ocean away. They also agreed that they did not wish to pay taxes for which they had no say. With their common ideals, they wrote the Declaration of Independence. In that document, they wrote their ideas for the government of a new republic, the like never before seen in the world. It has withstood the test of time as an example of optimism and respect for differences.

The Revolutionary War was fought for those ideals and for the freedom of a new nation. That war was fought because the ideas of those living in the Colonies were different than that of King George of England. In that day, there were also people living in the Colonies who did not share the idea for independence. They were loyalists, also called Tories. Despite those differences of opinion among the people of the Colonies, there was a battle for freedom from England. In the end, the war was won by those who sought independence. Those new freedoms have helped us to continue to become the great nation we are today.

Later in our nation's history, we fought another war over different opinions. It was the Civil War. That war was fought over many differences between the North and the South, such as the issue of slavery. In the Civil War, we saw our nation split because of the different opinions. The people of the nation needed to find optimism in their reasons to become united once again. In the Gettysburg address, President Lincoln spoke about a government of the people, for the people; by the people. He made democracy the important issue and showed the world how democracy would help to keep a nation united. The Civil War may have been fought among divided people, but in the end, it brought our nation much closer with a new and stronger view of democracy.

In the twentieth Century, there were wars that split the world. Our country joined European allies and defeated the Central Powers in World War I. Being united and strong, we decided it was not always wise to be isolated and that we could make a positive difference for peace in the world. We began to play a large part in international affairs. In WWII, we united with allies to free parts of the world from the German grip. The world became a little more united and peaceful after that war. This was the time of the birth of the United Nations. This showed America as an example of responsible world-citizenship and respect for the international rule of law.

A great time of despair which we came through in our nation was the Great Depression. In that time, the entire nation came together to save it. Regardless of differences, we did our best to save our country from going into ruin. We came together to help those in need. We sacrificed for the sake of others. In the end, we stayed united and saved our nation from depression. It took a lot of new and creative ideas. As we look back and see how successful we were, we see this as one of the great American triumphs.

The most recent event that has brought us together is "9-11". That was a grave day indeed. The entire country was in shock and did not know what to do. But we came together to face this task. This was very tough because everyone was afraid that they might be next. Regardless of any of our differences, we came through and saw what we needed to do.

Through all these examples of history, I want to remind you that optimism plays an important role in remaining united.

There is an important key that unites us, and that key is democracy. It unites us even when we disagree. It means people have a right to be heard in government when laws are made or important documents and decisions are being considered. Looking at our rights and doing our duties as citizens has a huge impact on our democracy and helps to keep us united. If we failed to perform our duties as citizens, our nation could fall into the hands of those who would make decisions without our knowledge or consent. That could bring our cities, states, and country into a state of crisis.

Being patriotic is important, but that doesn't mean we only wave our flag. That is important, but it is only a part of what being patriotic means. It also means being willing to serve our country and taking part in our government to help make the right choices. If we don't make a stand for what we think is right, the things we want might never happen.

We learn to respect the wisdom of our founding fathers in the hard times we've faced. We've seen and learned from them. We are blessed that we have democracy. It is power that we should never allow to be abused. In many countries, the people do not have a say in their government like we Americans do.

So, when we stand truly united, we are remembering what came before us and how our nation has fought for democracy and freedom. When we are truly united, we are trying to find the optimistic answer. If we always try to find the answers this way, we can probably solve most of the problems that face the world today. We need to sit and think about our different choices and the freedom we have to lend our voice to those choices. Most of all, we need to be grateful to all who came before us and served our nation in their own way for the great blessings we share in America today.

Copyright 2003 EthanWatch
Hello, world.

I'm looking at you.