This weekend I am taking the opportunity to visit Great Camp Sagamore in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State.
A dear friend of mine is teaching a college course about the history of the Adirondack Park, focusing particularly on it’s cultural significane. His class is taking a sort of field trip and he invited me to come along.
Camp Sagamore was built by William Durant around the turn of the 20th century and was owned by the Vanderbilt family until the mid 50s. Sagamore is fairly representative of the so called Great Camps of the Adirondack Park. These were elaborate camps built by the rich and famous, mostly from New York City, from the end of the Civil War to about the time of the Great Depression.
The camps were constructed to appear very harmonius with the nature that surrounded them. They were mostly of log construction and featured native stone work and decorative rustic work that incorporated twigs and branches from the surrounding forests. Far from being simple weekend hunting shacks, the camps often included their own self-sustaining farms. It wasn’t uncommon for the camps to have the usual staff of servants to prepare food, clean, look after the boats, and otherwise ensure a pleasant stay for family and guests. William Durant’s camp even had a church built on the premises so that servants and guests could worship.
Some photos of other Great Camps: