The Legacy of Harvey Kaiser’s Great Camps of the Adirondacks

Steven Engelhart in conversation with ADKX Executive Director David Kahn

Monday, July 6 at 7:30 pm

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Pay What You Can

The publication of Harvey Kaiser’s Great Camps of the Adirondacks in 1982 was a call to action by drawing much-needed public attention to the importance and plight of Great Camps and the rustic architecture of the Adirondack region. Before Great Camps, there were a handful of public crises and great uncertainty about their future and, on the heels of the book, came a new wave of awareness, appreciation, and stewardship of this remarkable architecture. But the legacy of Great Camps is actually more complicated. Not all Great Camps were endangered as there was a long tradition of good family and institutional stewardship here, too. The book inspired a new generation of regional architects, but it led to a rise in the commercialization of “rusticity” that actually devalued this aesthetic.

This program will explore the importance of the region’s rustic architecture, the role that Kaiser’s Great Camps had in its appreciation and stewardship, and some of the unintended consequences of this success.

Presenter: Steven Engelhart is the Executive Director of Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the regional historic preservation organization of the Adirondack Park, with a mission to promote better public understanding, appreciation and stewardship of the region’s built environment. Steven is a native of the region and has a B.A. from SUNY Plattsburgh and a M.S. in historic preservation from the University of Vermont. He is the author of Crossing the River: Historic Bridges of the AuSable River, a small book about bridges and local history of the AuSable Valley. He also wrote the foreword to the new edition of Harvey Kaiser’s Great Camps of the Adirondacks. He resides in Essex.