The original Panther Mountain building was built just after the Civil War by the Faxon family as a private home. In 1924 the building was purchased by Walter H. Wertime, a Cohoes attorney who also owned the brick building across the street which was built and designed to house a theater and retail space.
The Wertimes remodeled the building, turning it into a hotel. It served as accommodations for 50 people (it was later expanded to accommodate 100) throughout Prohibition.
The hotel was run by the daughter and son-in-law of Walter Wertime, Robert H. “Bob” Nicholson of Elizabethtown. Bob Nicholson’s family were pioneers of Elizabethtown. Bob’s Nicholson’s brother was John D. Nicholson, head of the Rouses Point border patrol unit during prohibition. During Prohibition, the Panther Mountain House housed border patrol officers, including the head of the Chestertown unit, David Walters.
On March 22, 1941, the Panther Mountain House was destroyed by a fire which was reportedly the worst in the history of the community. Wertime decided he would rebuild the hotel and asked an architect from Troy to design a new building of concrete block – the building you see today. Construction was begun in the spring of 1941 (using some of the existing foundation) and was completed in time for the summer season.
In 1957 Tom Carroll took charge of the Panther Mountain House from John “Pops” Wertime. Tom Carroll was born in Ireland and came to America in 1949. He spent ten years in the hotel business before taking charge of the Panther Mountain House. Tom and his wife Margaret (Markie) lived in and operated the hotel and bar until his passing on June 24th 2009. The Panther Mountain House closed its doors on December 30th 2009.
On June 1st 2010 Don and Darlene Butler and Keith Wilkinson, bought The Inn From the Carrolls. Keith and Donnie were partners in the Brant Lake Taxi business. Before they bought the Inn, the menu in the bar was limited to cold sandwiches. A meat slicer next to the bar served as the only equipment used to make their popular large sandwiches and the only beer served was from bottles.
Keith and Donnie, during their ten-year ownership of the Panther Mountain Inn, installed a new walk-in cooler and commercial kitchen. The improvements allowed them to expand the menu offerings to hot food and a robust pizza business, as well as the ability to serve 10 draft beers.
In December of 2019, Darren and Sara Alvaro (the current owners) purchased the Panther Mountain Inn. Darren, a chef with 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, and his wife Sara, a chemistry professor, had a vision of The Panther Mountain Inn being more than just a bar but a gathering place for friends and family in the center of the community. Darren has also grown a catering business which has served the community for weddings, fundraisers and other events, both off-site and at the Panther Mountain Inn. We look forward to many years of serving the community. Thank you for your patronage and for being a part of the history of the Panther Mountain Inn.
Some historical information in this summary is from the Adirondack Almanac, “The Panther Mountain House: End of an Era”, January 7, 2010.