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       A little known aspect of programming at Camp Huntington is the historical interpretation we provide almost on a weekly basis in the summer and occasionally even during the winter season. The camp received National Historic Landmark Status on Aug. 18, 2004, and over the years we’ve spent many hours and dollars to restore some of the original Camp Pine Knot buildings to their original condition.Chalet interior Photo courtesy of Ed Kanze

        Of course, every student or guest who spends any time here has the opportunity to explore the early history of the camp, which dates back to 1876. The first two buildings to be constructed, the Old Maid’s Cabin, now called Coolidge Cabin, and Moseley Glass Dining Room, appeared the following year. In addition, last year we conducted nine public tours in partnership with Raquette Lake Navigation, who delivers participants to the main dock aboard the W.W. Durant. These usually include a two-hour tour of Camp Pine Knot, followed by a walk through the woods to St. Williams Church, where the Durant meets the group and continues for a luncheon cruise of the lake.

        Raquette Lake Navigation sets up private tours for bus groups and promotes the annual Durant Days weekend in August, which includes a tour Friday morning. Another partner that works with us to open the camp to the public is Great Camp Sagamore. It offers a number of Road Scholar programs that study the Durant camps in the area. The Adirondack Museum and the Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) also conduct annual tours for their members.

        These public tours take place while other programming is going on in camp, so they require careful planning to prevent conflicts. It is important to provide them nevertheless, as they promote awareness of the contribution SUNY Cortland is making to the preservation of history and our local community. Although there are no requirements by the National Park Service that historic sites open their doors to the public, the College receives positive recognition by doing so.

        In recent years, a highlight of the tour includes a visit from Ken Hawkes, aka William West Durant, dressed in full period attire. The key buildings visited are the Chalet, Moseley Glass Dining Room, Huntington Staff House, Durant Cabin, Metcalf Hall, The Barque (houseboat), the Forsythe ’58 Carpenter’s Shop and the Blacksmith’s Shop. Tucked away in the carpenter’s shop is a small darkroom used by Seneca Ray Stoddard and possibly Edward Bierstadt in the 19th century.

               If you are interested in a tour, contact Raquette Lake Navigation, as they often have seats available on many of their scheduled tours. The partnership with Camp Sagamore allows us to send guests of Camp Huntington and Antlers there for public tours free of charge. Inquire about them when you are here.

Photo Courtesy of Ed Kanze