Great Camps of the Adirondacks

The first and foremost guide to Adirondack Rustic Style.

Now available in a second and enlarged edition, here is the foremost guide to the historic camps within America’s spectacular forest preserve, the six million acre Adirondack Park.

When originally published in 1982, Great Camps of the Adirondacks launched a campaign for the preservation of these architectural treasures while also sparking a trend in great camp-inspired home design, a cohesive approach to building that author Harvey H. Kaiser named Adirondack Rustic Style.

In this second edition, preservationists will find a success story. Designers and builders will discover page after page of inspiration. All readers will see the history of a region unfold as Americans from the mid-1870s to the late-1930s, including the very wealthiest New Yorkers, sought out the wilderness. The camps they built as private seasonal retreats are distinguished both as architectural responses to the Adirondack environment in the use of logs and stone, and as successful examples of buildings blended into the forest and the natural contours of the mountains and lakes—homes built to serve as beautiful complements to the land itself.

Harvey H. Kaiser served as the Senior Vice President for Facilities Administration and University Architect at Syracuse University between 1972 and 1995. His 1982 book Great Camps of the Adirondacks popularized the term “Great Camps” to refer to the grand summer residences that wealthy families built in the Adirondack Mountains in the nineteenth century, and revitalized interest in these now-abandoned sites. Several studies on western national park architecture culminated in his 2008 book The National Park Architecture Sourcebook.

Until his passing in the autumn of 2019, Kaiser ran Harvey H. Kaiser Associates, a consulting firm specializing in architecture, urban planning, and facilities management.

Steven Engelhart  has been the executive director of Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) since 1994, the private, nonprofit, historic preservation organization for New York State’s Adirondack Park, whose mission is to promote better public understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the region’s architecture, communities, and historic sites. He is the author of Crossing the River: Historic Bridges of the AuSable River.