THE HERMIT OF CRYSTAL LAKE
Now that we are on the verge of Summer, I thought it’d be appropriate to revisit the store of the Hermit of Crystal Lake who survived 60 years in the woods! Imagine living in the woods for 60 years without air conditioning or heat or running water!? Phew, I don’t know if I could do it!
The Hermit was born Charles Alan Lambert and was originally from England. After moving to the Manchester, New Hampshire area in the 1840s, Lambert bought about 40 acres of land on Crystal Pond and began his recluse lifestyle. He built his own home and survived off of the skills he learned from his horticulture and farming past.
In the Manchester Historic Association’s archives, I found some great paintings and photos of The Hermit. The picture to the right shows The Hermit being visited by two women. “Over the years, his hermit lifestyle made him into a kind of local celebrity, and he became the object of great curiosity. Despite opting for a secluded lifestyle, he would be visited by hundreds of people every summer.”
Lambert lived in his secluded cabin through all seasons, even New Hampshire winters! In the picture to the left, you can see a postcard of “The Hermit preparing for a cold night.” Ulric Bourgeois, a local photographer, “documented Lambert’s daily lifestyle…Over the years their relationship grew. Bourgeois gave Lambert a wood stove and a mattress for his log cabin in order to make Lambert’s life more comfortable. While the stove was met with enthusiasm, the Hermit had no use for the mattress and it spent its days leaning against an outside wall. The boards in his bunk were more to his liking.” Unfortunately, even the wood stove was not enough to protect Lambert from the New Hampshire winters… “In the winter of 1912, the Hermit contracted pneumonia and collapsed in the snow.” After 60 years in the woods, Lambert ended up “spending the last two years of his life with the Sisters of Mercy at the House of St. John for aged men. He passed away in 1914 and his body now lies in St. Joseph’s Cemetery marked by a plain white tombstone, inscribed “The Hermit.”