Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Smoke Rise East Gate

The Smoke Rise East GateKim Vawter's article about Smoke Rise Relic: Car Badge generated comments from Jim Rohrer and Herb Fisher about the Smoke Rise East Gate and the car badge.

Jim Rohrer wrote:

Ah yes, the car badge. Growing up in Smoke Rise in the 50s and 60s I remember them well. Wish I still had one.

The East Gate was the main gate for many years. There was a family who lived there and they were responsible for operating the gate 24/7. 

I don't think that lasted very long before the club hired shift workers to operate the gate. Many of those workers were SR residents (college kids, etc.- myself included).

At the time, there was only one road, very narrow, entering and exiting the East Gate. Also the gate was operated by turning a large wheel almost like a sailing vessel. It took some real muscle to open and close the gate. It wasn't always electric operated.

Not sure when the North Gate was built but I do remember the Sales office was there for the SR Club. 

Many men commuted to NYC by bus. They parked in the parking lot on the hill on the right as you exit the North Gate. Is the lot still there?
Welcome to Smoke Rise
Herb Fisher said,

Yes, I remember the "Badge" as Kim calls it. Actually, if my memory serves me correctly, that would be a 2nd generation badge.

I remember in 1960 or so my dad traded the 57 auto for a brand new one. He was very angry with himself after several months, because he forgot to take the SR "badge" off that trade in.

The "badge(s)" were the equivalent of today's SR sticker. It was attached thru the front grill. Honored at either gate, you got one.... you live in the RISE.

Second, he was fuming because the originals were a machine stamped disk of metal, the letters, the Chapel, etc were raised then hand painted. They were actual works of art. A metal threaded rod was centered welded to the rear of the disk. Rod was then inserted thru the grill and secured with a large washer and wing nut from the inside of the engine compartment/grill. Remember EVERYTHING was metal back then, not cheapo plastic.

I know I do not have one of those. I wish I could find a picture of one of Herb's early Cadillacs with a frontal view. It would clearly be displayed.

Thank you, Jim and Herb, for sharing these great details!


Anonymous said...


Well, both Kim and my good friend, Jim Rohrer say there was NO North Gate back in the mid to late 50s. Like I said in my first SR&K Blog, in 1954,Ole Abe was a gate keeper at the north and a fellow named John Walker had his office in the structure to the right, as you entered. I clearly remember throwing rocks into the kick below that building while Herb and Emily when finalizing things. Maybe I am now experience dementia, but I do not think so. We need another opinion from someone who was there at the time. HOF Jr.

CB Whittemore said...


Opinions are still coming in, but I do believe the North gate existed.

Stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

Thanks Jim and Herb for sharing your memories.

I will try to get a better picture of my badge. It was enameled and more color was involved in the greenery. The Lake appears to be a darker blue and the sky is more of a celery color below a bit of light blue. The drawing /design of your badge seems to be the same. It reads "Smoke Rise" on the top and in cursive on the bottom: "Club." I would love to get this restored if I knew exactly what color enamel is baked on the little chapel's tower and the larger "bush" in the center of the composition. (I am an art teacher and I love all these tiny wonderful details.)

I lived in Smoke Rise when the gate was operated with the wheel by an elderly gentleman. I had a chance to go into it and it had the appearance (then) of a tiny living room with cozy chairs and a rug and stuff all around like it was really "lived in." There was only one road and there were no lines down the center of the road so you had to pull over to the right when someone was coming in the opposite direction. The roads were blacktop raised in the center--no shoulders or sidewalks.

Kim Vawter

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