By Diane Chase
Raquette Lake comes together each year to celebrate the founder of the Adirondack Great Camp style, William W. Durant. Durant Days not only celebrates the history of the Adirondack architectural form, but brings people to the area that was the birthplace of the Great Camp design.
Event Organizer Donna Pohl says, “Beverly Bridger of Great Camp Sagamore and I started this event 14 years ago as a way to gain attention for the National Historic Landmarks of Raquette Lake. One of the crowning jewels during Durant Days is the opportunity for a guided tour of Camp Pine Knot.”
Camp Pine Knot, owned by SUNY Cortland was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2004, making it the first such landmark owned and operated by a SUNY institution. Now named Huntington Memorial Camp, the university has operated as an outdoor education center since 1948.
“Camp Pine Knot is not usually open to the public,” says Pohl. “It will be interesting for people to go on the Friday tour and then go visit Durant’s other Great Camp on Sunday and see how the style changed and evolved when he built Great Camp Sagamore.”
The Alfred Vanderbilt estate is open to the public with daily tours at 10 am and 1:30 pm and on Sunday will offer ½ price tours as part of Durant Days.
Pohl says that the Durant Days runs from August 3-5 with many other fun activities planned such as a boat parade, live music, poker run and fireworks. There are also tours of St. Williams on Long Point. On Sunday, August 5, the Church of the Good Shepard on St. Hubert’s Isle will celebrate its 132nd anniversary with a 3:00 pm Vespers Service. There will be free transportation from the Raquette Lake Village Dock at 2:00 pm. The annual service still uses the original organ and prayer books.
“We have something important here to share,” says Pohl. “We want people to come and experience the history of the area and learn about William W. Durant. We want to continue to preserve and protect these landmarks and the social history of the Adirondacks. It is a great event for everyone.”
photo used with the permission of the Raquette Lake Navigation Company