|PRESENTATION: Raquette Lake History and the Great Camp Phenomenon. Enjoy an illustrated slideshow presentation providing an overview of local natural and human history.|
The source of the Raquette River, Raquette Lake has 99 miles of wooded shoreline, the largest natural lake in the Adirondacks. Dotted here and there with small towns, 80% of the shoreline is owned by the State of New York and “Forever Wild” by law. It was here in 1877 that designer, developer, and entrepreneur William West Durant began work on what would become the first of the so-called “great camps” with a distinctive architectural style, Camp Pine Knot. Elements of the style include log and native stonework construction, decorative rustic items, and a compound of separated structures. Raquette Lake then began to develop into one of the most prestigious summer getaways for the elite. The two other extraordinary estates showcasing Durant’s vision are the Vanderbilt's Sagamore and J.P. Morgan's Uncas. Today, all three are designated National Historic Landmarks.
FIELD TRIP: Following the presentation, we'll have a walking field trip through the self-sufficient workers’ complex at Sagamore, where generations of local families lived and worked to support the lavish lifestyle of the owners and guests, and where they created crafts that became synonymous with Adirondack regional culture. The functional architecture for the worker’s complex is red board-and-batten structures, very different from the Vanderbilt guest buildings.