Great Camps of the Adirondacks

Living in nature—Adirondack rustic style. The first and foremost guide to the historic camps within America’s most spectacular forest preserve. 

When Great Camps of the Adirondacks was originally published in 1982, it launched a campaign for the preservation of these architectural treasures, while also sparking a trend in Great Camp-inspired home design. This enlarged, second edition has more to offer than ever.

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 the wilderness and made something new.

  • Architectural history of remarkable wood and stone vernacular houses
  • A social history of a fascinating region of America

Today, many of the ‘Great Camps’ are under nonprofit and state control, while others remain in private ownership—though the days have passed when investment bankers such as Adolph Lewisohn visited his ‘Great Camp’ 120 years ago with a staff of forty. Whatever the history and fate of each camp, they speak to us now as homes built to serve as beautiful reflections of the land itself.

Profusely illustrated with photographs, extensive captions, and a revised and expanded text, Kaiser has once again taken on the subject he knows best, and with style, enthusiasm, and purpose, carried it into the new century.

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.

Since 1994, Steven Engelhart has been the executive director of Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), 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.