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Notes from the North Country

New guide to Camp Santanoni available

Visitors who are curious about the history of one of the last Adirondack Great Camps -- one the public can visit, with a bit of effort -- have a new resource.

Adirondack Architectural Heritage has pushed a 52-page full-color guide to Camp Santanoni, a National Historic Landmark owned by New York state that is a roughly five-mile hike from Route 28 in Newcomb.

The guide, written by former AARCH summer staffer Charlotte Barrett, delves into the history of the rustic camp complex built in 1892 by Robert and Anna Pruyn, members off a prominent Albany family that made a fortune in paper, lumbering and banking. Camp Santanoni eventually encompassed nearly 13,000 acres on the southern edge of the High Peaks.

The camp is surrounded by state-designated wilderness. The massive main lodge on Newcomb Lake was declared a special "historic" district by the state in 2000, allowing for the on-going restoration of the camp, which had fallen into disrepair.

The guidebook will also help visitors understand what's hard to comprehend while hiking along the woods road -- the relationship between the main camp and the "gate lodge" complex, which is as far as the public can drive, and the ruins of the nearby farm, where the Pruyns produced their own milk and vegetables for guests who included prominent people like then-governor Theodore Roosevelt.

Camp Santanoni, whose architectural design was influenced by Robert Pruyn's early exposure to Japanese architecture, is a nearly five-mile trip in by foot, bicycle, cross-country ski or horse-drawn wagon. As state wilderness, the land is closed to motorized uses. The camp is open to visitors year-round, and staffed during the summer.

The guide costs $3.95, and is available at the camp, through Adirondack Architectural Heritage, and at bookstores.

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