Home of Sunday Rock
"The hills begin here. So do the woods.
The great South Woods, the Adirondacks". The Town of Colton straddles the
northern boundary of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. One end of the two
touches on the neat homes of St. Lawrence County; the other reaches into
the woods. In the middle is Sunday Rock.
Previous to settlement in this area,
the Indian trail into the mountains ran by here. In that long ago time,
this 64,000 pound glacial boulder was used as a landmark by the Indians,
and when the white settlers came, they used it for the same purpose. The
rock was a natural landmark, and travelers were guided by the big rock
in the middle of the road, and the rock separated the woods from the world.
There was no law for deer nor trout,
and all the woods was one grand hunting ground. In those days, it was said
that beyond the rock there was no Sunday. Camp life went on from day to
day with no change. It was all one glorious holiday when Tuesday might
just as well have been Saturday, and Thursday and Wednesday could change
places, and Friday might begin the week for all anybody knew or cared.
The rivers, the brooks, the ponds, the
mountains and the trees, the fleet deer, the rushing trout, the wild cat
and the black bear ruled supreme. It was their land, and there was no Sunday.
The road past the rock also served as the way in for scores of loggers
and for them, here the rough and tumble fellowship of the winter camp began.
Thus the big rock began to be called Sunday Rock. By whom, nobody knows
but the reason is evident.
South Colton was originally called Three
Falls. The small, peaceful community is nestled along the river between
the South Colton and Higley Flow reservoirs. Higley Flow State Park provides
outstanding camping, fishing, cross-country skiing and hiking opportunities.
Upstream from South Colton are the major
Raquette River impoundments: South Colton, Five Falls, Rainbow Falls, Blake
Falls, Stark Falls, and Carry Falls Reservoirs. Rainbow and Blake are in
the Town of Parishville, as well as a part of Stone Valley. Farther upstream
on the Raquette are Jamestown and Moody Falls, accessed by short trails
from Route 56.
After a while, the rock came to stand
for something else. When people from the valley passed it on their way
to the mountains, they felt a sense of arrival, of having crossed a dividing
line. On the other side of the rock were the woods and mountains, life
was freer and easier. Saluting the rock became a kind of joyful ritual
to be observed. Elders might uncork a bottle at it, and children could
cut up without fear of a scolding. Hunters and fishermen had the feeling
of eager anticipation as the cares of everyday life were left behind.
In 1925, when the automobile became
the popular way to travel and this Highway 56 was to be built, the rock
lay directly in its path. Old friends, headed by Doctor C.H. Leete of Potsdam
came to the rescue. The Sunday Rock Association was formed, with 210 members
from seven states, the District of Columbia, the Canal Zone and Canada
giving a total of $260. For this amount the rock was moved, and a booklet
entitled "Sunday Rock, Its History and the Story of Its Preservation" was
Who could move the rock now was the
big question, but there was an answer ready: Joe Grew. Joe and his crew
could move anything, and they did. The rock was moved to its new location
which was on the opposite side of the road from this present location.
In 1965 when Highway 56 was again remade, Supervisor George Swift organized
the project and the rock was moved to its present location. This land was
given to the Town of Colton by Mrs. Hilda Swift, and through her generosity,
the area was enlarged to the present day park. The 1976 Bi-centennial Time
Capsule is buried beside the stone.
For the many who pass by here, the Adirondacks
still exert their mystical appeal. Vacationers who return to these hills,
year after year, probably have their own Sunday Rock: a river crossing,
a turn in the road that reveals a first glimpse of the mountains, some
sign that you have crossed into a place where the calendar can be forgotten,
where there is a beauty to love and the everlasting hills to savor.
The meaning of the rock has not been
forgotten. Through the years people have remembered the legend and all
it represented. The invisibly inscribed names of Hollywood, the Jordan,
Catamount, The Plains, Joe Indian, Sevey, Huggards, Stark, Jamestown Falls,
Moody and Moosehead can still conjure up thought of the comfort of camp,
venison, fried trout, pancakes, maple syrup and adventure in the big woods.
It has been the continued affection
of many generations which has preserved the old landmark and the legend
surrounding it. Sunday Rock still separates the woods from the world, and
the message from those who preserved it is still clear. "The woods are
better" -- a sign right next to the rock.