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"Mysteries" of Sleepyside Lake & Hospital Solved? (Read 220 times)
RabidEwok
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"Mysteries" of Sleepyside Lake & Hospital Solved?
Jul 16th, 2017, 10:33am
 
Also "The Village School" and "Sleepyside Jr/Sr High!" It's been a couple years since I posted  cry. Been very busy with a move and a change of jobs.  
 
One of the questions or speculations we have all enjoyed have to do the size and depth of the lake bordering the Belden and Wheeler properties that the kids enjoy. How big is the lake, really? How deep? Is it just a glorified pond? Could the kids REALLY swim and dive and fish and boat in it? And what of Sleepyside Hospital? Would a  small town actually have a hospital of its own? What of the schools? How many are there, what grades, how many kids?
 
I moved almost two years ago from the coast  of Connecticut that more resembles the setting in Cobbett's Island to a part of Connecticut that is close  to the NY border near where the Sleepyside  Trixies take place. More or less the CT side of the Hudson, though there are  closer rivers than the  Hudson. The Housatonic for one. Drive across a bridge crossing it every day going to work. Where I work is actually on the NY/CT border. I live a couple towns east and south of there. Litchfield County on the CT side, Duchess on the NY side. Duchess is just 2 counties north of  Westchester  County, where Sleepyside is.  
 
 
The area is very beautiful, quite undeveloped,  and rather mountainous, as the Berkshire Mountains begin in the area. The States of NY orCT or  the US Government own much of the land. Part of the Appalachian Trail runs through here. Amid all the deciduous and evergreen trees and hills there are  many small to large lakes. I can think of 8 without trying  hard. Most are owned by the  States of CT or NY  or local towns, but some are  owned by homeowner associations from the homes surrounding the lake. The smaller lakes are maybe 50 acres, but the larger ones are in the mid to high hundreds of acres. Even the little ones are big enough to go out on a small boat in. The larger ones definitely are usuable for boating; they have public boat ramps. I've seen quite large boats on them. They are quite deep, as well. Lake Waramaug, one of the large ones is close to 700 acres, and 40 feet deep. It is easy to swim, dive, fish and boat in any of them. None of them are glorified ponds, and none are very shallow. The big ones ARE large enough to be driven around rather than walked or biked! The lake described in the Trixie books is another of the same sort, I am certain! Thinking back to the local geology I learned in school, it also stands to reason that the lakes would not be shallow. The glaciers from the last Ice Age more or less stopped along the coasts of NY and CT. Their presence and their receding shaped this area, gouging out depressions that  became water filled lakes and creating the craggy, rocky, hilly terrain. There we have it! The lake described in the Sleepyside Trixies is very likely plenty large enough for it to allow all the activities that take place in it or near it in the books, given the characteristics of many real, actual lakes in the same general area!  
 
As for Sleepyside Hospital, well, where I work is a small community hospital in a town that even today in 2017 has just over 3000 people. It was built early in the 20th Century, because the area needed a hospital. The ones in more populous areas were too far away with the limited transportation of the  time. Even now it takes quite a bit longer to get from here to there because of the windy, narrow, two lane roads. The hospital I work in is still convenient and needed by locals. Has everything a hospital needs! Very bad critical emergency cases are stabilized then transferred by ambulance or helicopter to large hospitals. It's been expanded over the years, and now has 3 floors, and several connected buildings.  I figure Sleepyside Hospital is of a similar size, and founded for similar reasons. If such a hospital can exist and thrive in a smaller town than  " Sleepyside" 17 years into the 21st Century, then a hospital of the same sort could easily have been in Sleepyside in the late 40's to early 80's of the 20th Century! Smiley  
 
Now to the schools. There is one school in the town I work in. It goes from Pre-K to Grade 8. It's called Center School. The High School is a regional one, located in a neighboring town, shared among several  small towns. It goes from Grades 9-12. The town I  live in has 4 schools. One, Center School, is for Grades PK-3. There is a school for Grades 4-6, one for Grade 7-8 and a High School  for Grades 9-12. Center School was built in 1925, and originally had Grades 1-12. There are a couple of other regional school districts in the towns closest to where I live. In one of them the  small towns in it all have their own PK-6 Elementary School. The older kids all go to a single regional school, for Grades 7-12. In the other, there are  PK-4 Elementary schools in each town, then a regional Middle School for  Grades 5-8 and a regional High School for Grades 9-12. I figure Sleepyside is a similar setup to the smaller towns in my area. Might even have been a regional district, although the  regional schools here aren't named for just one of the towns they are a part of. They have neutral names or a name that honors all the towns in it. 2 schools, one  Elementary going up to Grade 4 ,5, 6, and one for older kids  Grades 5/6/7-12. Probably  the  Sleepyside elementary school went to Grade 6, as only 2 schools are mentioned, not  3. Some  of the books also  strongly imply  to me  that  Sleepyside Jr/Sr started in Grade 7
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macjest
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Re: "Mysteries" of Sleepyside Lake & Hospital Solv
Reply #1 - Jul 16th, 2017, 11:13am
 
Welcome back to posting!
 
The size of the lake and the ability to go swimming, diving, boating was never an issue for me other than the idea that only one family had lake rights. Of course, that was never actually stated, but was more implied. Even a very small lake would allow all three activities. The camp where I worked many years ago added a second lake. It's small enough to easily see the other side and walk around, yet deep enough for small sail boats.  
 
The hospital was what always confused me. I grew up outside a community of about 2500 and all we had was a medical clinic. The nearest hospital was about 20 minutes away. The way I figured it originally was that all the wealthy people living along the Hudson wanted the convenience close to home.
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RabidEwok
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Re: "Mysteries" of Sleepyside Lake & Hospital Solv
Reply #2 - Jul 16th, 2017, 11:26am
 
The hospital I work in was founded by people in the community, wealthy ones among them. Not just for the convenience of the wealthy, but because of the need for a hospital in the area to meet the medical concerns of all residents in the town and surrounding area. People had died in the time it took to reach  a hospital farther away who might have lived had there been a hospital closer at hand. It was 1909 when it was first founded, 1916 when the oldest of the present buildings opened. It still has an original elevator, from 1930!
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RabidEwok
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Re: "Mysteries" of Sleepyside Lake & Hospital Solv
Reply #3 - Jul 16th, 2017, 11:38am
 
I think all the families had lake rights, but I always assumed that the Beldens didn't have a boat, but that the Wheelers did. Maybe other people living on the lake had boats as well, but the Belden kids were not friendly enough with them to be able to borrow a boat. Hence Trixie's  joy about the Wheelers' boat when she and  Honey became best friends. I bet Uncle James   had a boat before Aunt Nell died. But he let it go to wrack and ruin  after she died, along with the rest. That was when Brian and Mart were babies, and  Trixie was either a twinkle in Moms and Dad's eyes, or when Moms was pregnant with her. In any case it was when the kids were too young to have used the boat. Uncle James was a curmudgeonly angry bitter lonely old miser after that and would not have allowed anyone to use his boat, if he had one, even if it were in good repair. If the Belden kids had wanted a boat they'd have had to work for it! I still think the Beldens were not NEARLY as poor as Trixie made them out to be in her mind. I just think  Moms and Dads were hard working, moral, honest frugal people who were quite well off. Not rich the way the Wheeler and Lynch parents were. But not like the Darnells either. Personally I think Dad was at the very least the Manager of the Sleepyside  Bank, if not the Vice President or President of it. I always have had it in my mind that Moms and Dads probably COULD have afforded some of what they had the kids work for. After all , they could shell out 5 bucks per week to Trixie for her "job" and potentially that much also to  Honey for her job. I bet Mart and Brian got similar funds for their work. But they wanted the kids to have their values and morals, so they had the kids work for the things they wanted.
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Re: "Mysteries" of Sleepyside Lake & Hospital Solv
Reply #4 - Jul 18th, 2017, 6:05pm
 
I have always believed that since the lake was on the Manor House estate, it was private, not accessible to anyone else but the Wheelers and their guests. (Except when the Belden kids helped themselves to it when the Manor House estate was not occupied). I've seen private lakes on farms and estates, anywhere from around five to fifteen acres. I picture the Manor House lake at around 15 acres, deep, spring fed.
 
Here's a funny story: Years ago, my husband, was on a call in the Hudson Valley area. For whatever reason, he had decided to take our dog, Hannah, with him in the car. The afternoon became hot so he started looking for some water for Hannah to swim in. He spotted what he thought was a public lake and drove to it and let her out to swim in it. As he was standing there while she cooled off in the water, he noticed a large house up on a hill half-covered by trees. Then he looked around him and noticed a fancy gate and a fence nearby. Oops ... he realized he had taken Hannah to someone's private lake at the edge of their estate. He got Hannah quickly in the car and drove away, wondering if anyone had seen him from the house.  Huh  Oh, geez!
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