Maude Adams
of Hunter, NY

By Dede Terns Thorpe, Town of Hunter Historian

This story shares a bit on the life of one of the fascinating people who lived in the Town of Hunter: Maude Adams, also known as Peter Pan.  Miss Adams lived on the Mountain Top for about forty years. She died in 1953 in a friend’s home on the west side of Tannersville. She was 80 years old.

Maude Adams, known as a gentle and private person, learned that a photograph of her home had been taken and made into postcards. Her home in Tannersville was (is) not far from the main entrance to Onteora Park. It was designed by the famous architect G. A. Reid and was built back off the road. It had several windows looking toward the mountains she so loved. She considered her summer home, her sanctuary, her refuge. She was distressed over her privacy being compromised.

Miss Adams consulted an attorney and learned she’d have to give her permission before anyone could legally enter her property.

She visited souvenir stores in Tannersville, Hunter, and Haines Falls and purchased over one hundred postcards. In the following weeks, she bought all that was available. It quickly became a popular card.

Miss Adams visited the local photographers, but each denied taking a photograph. It took her about a week, but she soon traced the photo’s origin to Harding Showers, an amateur photographer, and a nearby neighbor. As soon as she asked him to discontinue the sale of the photographs, he agreed and gave her the plate. It was quickly destroyed.

Maude prided herself in her excellent relationship with the villagers and did not want to leave her home. The locals adored Miss Adams and respected her desire to live in absolute quiet. Like many prominent people, she continually had to fight for her privacy.

The article noted that Maude Adams had other troubles at that time. It said, “A polish artist is painting her picture as Peter Pan, and it was decided that the background of Artist’s Seat, one of the highest places in Onteora Park, was exactly appropriate to do the painting. Miss Adams, clad in her costume and wearing a long cloak, climbed up the 235 steps to the spot with two pickets (guards) to warn her if anybody approached. As early as half past 8 o’clock in the morning and again at 6 o’clock in the afternoon, the actress tried to pose against the rocks and trees. Every time she was interrupted, however, and at last, a photographer from New York was sent for to take pictures of the background.” (From a New Jersey Morning Call paper, August 10, 1906.)

Miss Adams called the mountains, visible from the crossroads of County Route 25 and 23C, “The Giant Elephants protecting the high peaks.”

A Little More – A continuation of Miss Adams from 1931 (Saugerties Telegraph).


Maude Adams sold her beautiful estate, her summertime home, Cadden Hill (named for a place she had visited in the Scottish Hills), to Phyllis Robbins of Boston. The house sold for $40,000, which included Maude’s extensive, beautiful gardens.  Today, in 2022, that equals $780,000.00.

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