Great Camps of the Adirondacks

The greatest rustic homes ever built, inside and out, by the lakes and in the forests of the Adirondacks. Includes the social and architectural history behind each camp and the highlights of design (the windows, verandas, fireplaces, doors, beds, staircases and much more) that makes each one unique.

From the mid-1870s to the late-1930s, Americans including the very wealthiest New Yorkers, sought out the wilderness. The camps they built as private seasonal retreats are distinguished as architectural responses to the Adirondack environment, 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. This was a cohesive approach to building that author Harvey H. Kaiser named Adirondack Rustic Style. It is style that continues to inspire new builders and homeowners today.

The camps, many National Historic Landmarks, include:

  • the multi-building Camp Katia with its boathouse and pier
  • the architecturally creative, Camp Uncas including a dining hall with massive windows and fireplace
  • Camp Wild Air, only accessible by water on Upper St. Regis Lake
  • the grandest of them all, Camp Sagamore, a self-sufficient family camp in a 1,500-acre preserve

In 1982, Kaiser wrote the first edition of Great Camps of the Adirondacks and helped launch a campaign for the preservation of these architectural treasures. Now, in this new, enlarged edition, preservationists will find a success story. Homeowners and builders will discover page after page of inspiration. All readers will see the history of a region unfold as urban Americans discovered what it meant to leave the city and live with nature.

Praise

Great Camps of the Adirondacks is worth its weight in gold, an Adirondack classic that, like its subject, has undergone a renaissance. The beautifully executed book tackles its subject from every angle.” —Adirondack Explorer

Sample Interior Pages 

 

Godine, Publisher is distributed to the trade by Two Rivers Distribution, an Ingram brand. For more info, click here.

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  revitalized interest in Adirondack Rustic Style. 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.