The story begins in 1815 in a sleepy little town in the Adirondacks now known as Lake Pleasant. Philip Rhinelander arrived on 300 acres of land that had been given to him by his brother. The land was cleared and the Rhinelander estate was built. The estate included gardens, orchards, a stock of cattle, horses and sheep, as well as stables, a barn, mills, and a servant's house. Most impressive of all was the mansion Philip had built for his wife Mary.
While it may seem a romantic gesture to build a grand estate for your love, it has been said that Philip brought Mary here from New York City to keep her prisoner. Mary was fond of socializing and Philip was a very jealous man. He would not allow her to mingle with the people around town and kept her all to himself. Many people who tried to befriend Mary mysteriously went missing or were found dead near the estate along Elm Lake Road. Mary would try to write letters to her family in New York City and give them to Philip to mail. Eventually she found out that instead of mailing her letters he was burning them, further cutting her off from the world. She then befriended a peddler who agreed to send her letters. When Philip found out, the peddler vanished. Rumor has it that his body was dropped down a well, never to be seen again.
Mary herself fell ill and died in 1818. Stories spread about her husband denying her access to a doctor and was even accused of poisoning her himself. Philip was beside himself with grief and only remained at the mansion for another five years before going back to New York City. The estate was watched over by a few caretakers until it burned down in 1875 under suspicious circumstances.
Many have visited the ruins and have had eerie experiences, including two of the caretakers who lived in the mansion after Philip had left. Many are said to have seen apparitions of a very sad woman wandering the house, sobbing to herself. Others saw candles fly through the air, heard footsteps on the stairs, and many times people reported to have seen the ghost of a washerwoman whose body had been found along Elm Lake Road when the estate was still occupied.
Now all that remains are the ruins of the estate. They can be visited by taking a long a winding drive down Elm Lake Road, past where the road turns to dirt. Eventually you will come upon a historical marker noting the Rhinelander Estate. There isn't much to see until you start to head into the woods a little bit and you will find a few remaining rock walls and remnants of the foundations. More can be found if you are brave enough to wander towards the shore of the lake. If you feel a cold, quiet presence come over you, don't be scared. It is probably just Mary coming to say hello.