Round Lake is located at Exit 11 of the Adirondack Northway (Interstate 87) within the Town of Malta, Saratoga County New York. Now a residential community located close to the Capital District, it still maintains the serenity of a small rural town with a great deal of history.
The Mohawk and Mohegan Indians were the first inhabitants of the Round Lake area, hunting and fishing along the banks of the lake, which at this time was known as Lake Tanendahowa. Round Lake began to become popular in 1868, when several Methodist laymen purchased a tract of land on the west shore of the lake as a site for camp meetings. The Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad Company even erected a passenger station nearby to accommodate the area with transportation for both people and freight.
As the years progressed, the meetings became more educational and cultural, although they remained primarily religious in nature. Several cottages were constructed as an option to sleeping in tents, and an auditorium was built as the official meeting site. In 1888, the camp site acquired a wooden Ferris-Tracker organ, originally built in 1847, now considered to be the largest, oldest, three-manual organ in existence.
The Village of Round Lake with its decorative cottages crowded together on small lots, created a quaint community. They also created a collective fire hazard. This was most dramatically illustrated on July 10, 1921, when 16 buildings were destroyed by a blaze that left only rubble in the heart of the village.
Before then, in 1883, flames destroyed the cottages of three prominent summer residents on lots between Wesley and Prospect Avenues. This scare prompted the creation of a committee to study ways of providing modern fire protection. Thus, the M.B. Sherman Hose Company was formed in 1886 with a constitution that required active members have good moral character and live within a mile of the community. The first firehouse was situated on Troy Avenue near the intersection of Burlington Avenue. A two-wheeled cart carried two sizes of hose, which were rolled up on a wheel axle and had a long pole with enough handles for seven men to pull it along if necessary. Another two-wheeled cart, with a bell mounted on the axle, would proceed ahead of the hoses to sound a warning.
The modern Round Lake Hose Company of today operates two fire stations, housing a total of eight pieces of apparatus. The membership consists of 60 dedicated, volunteer men and women who continue to respond to emergencies in this quaint little village of Round Lake as well within the town of Malta and town of Ballston. Additionally, a 1926 Child’s fire truck, which was purchased from the village of Ballston Spa in 1945, is maintained as a unique parade piece representing our history.