At the turn of the century, whenever George C. Boldt was not busy managing
New York City's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, he enjoyed vacationing in the 1000
Islands. Mr. Boldt and especially his wife Louise enjoyed this region of the
St. Lawrence River so much that he had the magnificent Boldt
Castle built for her. He continued to purchase much land in the region,
including hundreds of acres on Wellesley Island, and entertained many wealthy
friends and business associates here. Several of them soon shared Mr. Boldt's
affection for the area and constructed their own summer homes on the islands.
Occasionally, while Mr. Boldt was on vacation, Oscar Tschirky attended to
matters at the Waldorf-Astoria. Best known as "Oscar of the Waldorf," he served as maitre d'hotel and official greeter of presidents, dignitaries, and
Oscar was a hard-working, obedient, and modest man. He was the first person
hired for the elegant Waldorf Hotel, and soon became Mr. Boldt's confidant.
Oscar's attention to practicalities helped counter Mr. Boldt's fancies and
create one of the most elegant, successful hotels in the nation. But when food
was involved, Oscar's fancies prevailed.
Many times Oscar accompanied Mr. Boldt on his trips to the 1000 Islands and
to Mr. Boldt's beloved castle in Alexandria Bay. On one such trip aboard the
yacht Louise (named after Mrs. Boldt), Oscar discovered that the noon meal's
salad fixings had been left sitting on the dock. Improvising with the
ingredients he had aboard the yacht, he concocted the tasty dressing for which
the region is now known around the nation and the world. Soon, Mr. Boldt
started serving the dressing at his hotels and its popularity quickly soared.
Oscar's fame as a chef (which he was not, although mistakenly thought to be
by many) became widespread not only because of 1000 Islands
Dressing, but also such other innovative and improbable creations
as Waldorf Salad and Veal Oscar.
Oscar was such a loyal and talented maitre d'hotel that in 1912 Mr. Boldt
offered him the opportunity to be manager of the Waldorf. Oscar gracefully
declined, explaining that he was content as, and wanted to remain, "Oscar
of the Waldorf."