Skip to main content

Paradox farm

If you wander along Springtown Road, past DeJoux House, you will see our mailbox opposite the front door.  It's not especially distinguishable except it is rather large and sits on an old tree stump.  It's a rusty old thing but it seems to have survived the snow plows and drunk drivers of Springtown Road.

It has always bothered me that on the side of the mail box you can see the vague outline of the words "Paradox Farm" which was clearly a name that DeJoux House was more recently referred to.  Occasionally when wondering the fields I would stumble across some incongruity and wonder if that was indeed the "paradox" that the farm was named after.

Yesterday morning, for some unknown reason, I decided it was time to resolve the paradox.  I sent a quick email to the previous owner June Finer to see if she knew anything of the Paradox Farm ghost on the side of the mailbox.

This was her reply:

once upon a time we, (myself and russell gilmore---my ex), met a rather strange man called mark larson, (since deceased) roaming the mountain. and we struck up a friendship of sorts.  during a dinner we said that we were thinking of possible names for our place, and, later in the conversation it came out that i was an M.D. and russell a Ph.D., and he, (somewhat of a punster) immediately said "pair of docs"---- "paradox", and so it became paradox farm. my friend christine and i rode by recently, but you were not at home, so we just peeped into the window---its looking good.

A "pair of docs" was the answer I should have been satisfied with...but alas.  Who was this "strange man" who roamed the mountain and named our house?  The punster sounded like an interesting fellow.  I wanted to know more.  What would we do without Google?  It didn't take long to find some good stories about Mark Larson in New Paltz.  The first entry, on the first page of the search was just a tease.  

 "Mark Larsen, 43, of Tillson, a woodsman suspected of the May shooting and stabbing death of Columbia County divorse attorney John J Crimmins.  A few more searches of "John J. Crimmins" and Mark Larsen of Tillson revealed the full story.

Something of a Folk hero and a sweet man.

Reports suggest he planned more killings

It turned out that the "shack" that Larsen lived in was on River Road extension, near where Stone Mountain Farm currently is, so it is not unlikely that our Woodsman would have been wandering the woods around here.  But in my investigations there was one quote from Mark's brother that caught my attention.  In the Albany Times Union, on June 3rd 1988, there was an article where Mark's brother Stephen said "something snapped" in his brother.

In this article Stephen Larsen is quoted as saying...

"Noting that his brother had been a conscientious objector to American military involvement in the Vietnam War, Stephen Larsen said it was a "paradox" that he was involved in violence. "It seems almost as if something built up and built up in him, and then snapped," said Larsen, an Ulster County Community College psychology professor.

So, Paradox Farm, although named because of a "pair of docs", was in fact named by a "sweet, kind" paradox of a man who died in a gun battle with state troopers after murdering one man and planning to murder more.


  1. Larsen was anything but sweet and kind. He stalked his own family, burned his son's school down, blew up 4 state trooper cars and drew pictures of his beheaded children. All of this of course in addition to murdering a lawyer and planning on murdering more (judges and his own family.). Not sweet and kind.

  2. Thanks for your comment. Obviously I do not have any point of view on Mark Larson. I put "sweet, kind" in quotations because it was a direct quote from the headline in the newspaper. My final sentance was meant to highlight the fact that this description was totally at odds with his murderous actions....and thus paradoxical.

  3. I lived with his ex-wife while going to high school and the first sign of his presence was that our entire kitchen was destroyed, he ripped a wall of cabinets right off the wall. We then spotted him in Philmont NY and Maria asked me to run after him and get his license plate, which I did. Of course I did not know how dangerous or crazy he was, being only 16 or 17. I boarded with a new family after that new year and the Larsens went into hiding, leaving me to wonder if he was going to come after me because I had gotten a solid piece of identifying information on him...pretty eerie to see all these stories after so many years, very sad events.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Inspiration for the future look

Daniel has found some wonderful reference materials for keeping the history and character yet not making it a museum. I love the big kitchen table plan for the kitchen inspired by Lutyens and some "behind the scenes" pictures of victorian kitchens. He also showed me some country houses from Axel Vervoordt that I really love. Simple, authentic yet modern. We discussed putting a full length plate glass window in the old hay loft window on the end of the house. Wow. I can't wait.

DeJoux House to be published

Reclaimed Doorway  Our house has been watched over the years by a couple, Susan Daley and Steve Gross who create amazing books of old houses and Hudson Valley (each name below is a link to Amazon).  They knew the house and had been watching our progress. As we came close to finishing they reached out and asked if they could photograph the house for a book of cottages: Catskill Country Style Book , Old Houses , Farm House Revival , Homes With A Past , Gardens of Hudson Valley , Time Wearing Out Memory name but a few. All of these books are beautifully produced. I can't wait to see our home in one of them later in 2015/16. I won't reveal all of the amazing photographs that have been taken of our house, you'll have to buy the book to see them all....but here is a little taster. Summer patio Kitchen Stools Front Door Open