“Lumber King” Meets Automobile Doom
(Aug 8, 1909) George Van Dyke, the loved and hated ‘Lumber King’ of our community, has died at Farren Hospital after his Stevens Duryea automobile went over a rocky cliff on the Gill side of the river near the Turners Falls Dam. This shrewd and ruthless businessman was well known for being ‘on top’ of every aspect of his business ventures. Such was the case on August 8, when we was supervising the new sluiceway at Riverside (Gill), beside the falls and old lumber mill. Apparently he had ordered his driver very close to the cliff edge. While attempting to back out, the car plunged over the side, taking the driver with it. Van Dyke was able to leap out of the car, but still fell to the cliff bottom. Severely injured, but true to his character, Van Dyke is said to have stood and shouted orders to his rescuers before being taken to Farren Hospital.