(To jog your memories, here's one of Emily's photographs featuring expat New Zealander Adrian van Schie, who designed and built the cabin, and his sons Huck and Tana. Alexandra Perce, Adrian's wife and the boys' mother, is just out of frame).
Christina Kaiser's connection to the Adirondacks and Raquette Lake runs deeper than the aforementioned childhood memories: her father, architecture professor Harvey Kaiser, wrote The Great Camps of the Adirondacks, probably the definitive tome on this important aspect of the area's history. In the mid-1800s, wealthy families from New York would come upstate for the summer and stay in tents or compounds made up of structures that, even when they became elaborate, still aspired to a type of rusticity. (Adrian and Alexandra's cabin shown above was built recently, but it emulates the rusticity of the buildings in the Great Camps nearby.)
[Dad's] book helped popularise the term 'great camp' and drew an incredible amount of attention to these historic places and their need for preservation. Without planning it, he became an expert on the great camps and local celebrity in the largest state park in the country. Thirty years later, he is still regularly asked to give talks about the great camps.
Sam Eichblatt's story for us touches on the way preservation efforts of the camps were galvanised in the mid-1970s. Harvey Kaiser's important role in these efforts came about almost accidentally, Christina writes:
When Syracuse University announced plans to sell Camp Sagamore, my dad was an architecture professor and a Senior Vice President at the university. According to him, he "turned up at the auction in September 1976 and while standing there, as an Adirondack novice from Brooklyn, wondered who built the place, why did they build it out of logs down this 5-mile road from the nearest highway, and so on. When I couldn't find any answers in print - virtually zero was ever published about the camps - I decided there should be some advocacy voice to bring to the public's attention these rustic architecture masterpieces. So I researched, wrote, took pictures, and found a good publisher."
The rest is history, as 40,000 copies of the book are in print, and the preservation efforts it helped inspire have ensured many of the camps have survived. We're delighted Christina got in touch, and that our story prompted this connection with Harvey. We're looking forward to the new edition of his book (due in late 2014 or early 2015), and we applaud the way his work turned out to be instrumental in preserving the unique buildings of this area. We'll end this post with a photo Christina sent us of her and Harvey at a signing of the book at Lake Placid 1982 or 1983.