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July 27, 2011

BEAUTIFUL BOOK-ELEGANT WILDERNESS: GREAT CAMPS AND GRAND LODGES

Filed under: Adirondacks — Tags: — jherzlinger @ 12:29 pm

I thought that after attending an all girls camp in the Adirondacks, I would never look back!  But all of our lives really do come full circle, whether we like it or not.  They say you can go all the way around the world only to run into you neighbors and at the same time people and places from your past will always still be there and make themselves known in your life regardless of what you may think.  The adirondacks is one of those places.  In dropping one of my daughters off for camp it dawned on me how certain places will remain benchmarks in our lives.

The first book to place the rustic Adirondack architectural style in the context of the cultural, social, and environmental history, An Elegant Wilderness, Great Camps and Grand Lodges of the Adirondacks, 1855-1935, showcases the intensely private retreats set into the pine forests on the shores of the region’s shimmering lakes.

Open earlier to tourism and more accessible than the western United States, the Adirondack region is where many urbanites of the Industrial Age came to experience the wilderness. It was in the Adirondacks that the constricting social proprieties relaxed, that city swells hunted in deer-filled forests and angled in trout-stocked lakes, that women shed their corsets to hike, fish, and play tennis, and that children learned to appreciate the great outdoors.

For the members of the leisure class, rustic architecture and decoration and the woodland lifestyle were a splendid conceit. Transported in private Pullman cars from New York, they arrived with chefs from the city’s premier restaurants, a retinue of servants who would join those on site, tennis and voice coaches, chauffeurs and secretaries, and a cadre of houseguests who might stay for six days or three months.

The Adirondack “camp” was spoken of with the same faux modesty as the luxurious “cottage” in Newport. But, unlike the flaunting opulence of the Newport mansion, the secluded Adirondack camp whispered of the quiet power associated with unassailable wealth. Those who owned Adirondack camps or lodges included railroad tycoon Collis P. Huntington, mining magnates Berthold Hochschild, Daniel Guggenheim, and Adolph Lewisohn, financiers J. Pierpont Morgan, Otto Kahn, and Isaac Newton Seligman, the surpassingly wealthy Alfred Vanderbilt, New York governor Levi Morton, President Benjamin Harrison, lawyer Louis Marshall as well as the prominent intellectuals: philosopher William James and neuroscientist James Jackson Putnam. Women camp owners of note included Lucy Carnegie, Margaret Emerson (Vanderbilt), and Marjorie Merriweather Post.

That being said, this book is out and I bought it and thought how magnificent as a place  in time.

I do hope you have the opportunity to read this as it is wonderful!

Enjoy!

Love,

Jamie

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