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Chester Gillette, convicted of Grace Brown's murder.
Chester Gillette, convicted of Grace Brown's murder.

On Big Moose Lake, Adirondack Murder & American Myth

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One of the most controversial events in Adirondack history is back in the news this week. In July of 1906, a handsome young man named Chester Gillette was accused of drowning his pregnant girlfriend, Grace Brown, in a secluded cove at Big Moose Lake. Gillette was the nephew of a mill-owner in Cortland, New York. Brown was one of the company's workers. Gillette's trial and execution made headlines around the world. The story is the basis for Theodore Dreiser's classic novel An American Tragedy.

In the hundred years since, the murder inspired other novels, plays, and two Hollywood movies -- including the classic film A Place In the Sun. Tomorrow, a new opera based on the murder and Theodore Dreiser's novel will premier at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Brian Mann spoke with Charles Adams, who's been a summer resident of Big Moose Lake since the 1930s. Adams drives a tour boat on the lake and is part of the Grace Brown Committee that is commemorating the anniversary of her murder.

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