Adirondack Express

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Adirondack Express.

I love this article and the fact that the public is invited into the sanctity and sanctuary of the beloved League (albeit pricey) in my humble opinion.  But, I think there is a bit of an omission & because so much time has passed, completely understandable. But, I for one, Remember Wicks, and the beginning of it all.

The Original:

mountain-lodge-1894

William S Wicks was actually the first Professionally trained, Cornell & MIT, Architect who designed the original Mountain Lodge that was destroyed by fire with the replacement designed by Shepard. Many of the “small” camps were designed by Wicks, who, along with a band of preservationists purchased 100,000 acres of the Adirondack wilderness in an effort to preserve its beauty from exploitation. I believe many of Wicks designed camps are among the originals still standing today and it is the Wicks “Camp” who orchestrated the beginning and existence of the Adirondack League Club. Wicks is best known for his designs within the Buffalo, New York region and as partner of Green & Wicks, architects of the Albright Knox Gallery.

Remembering Wicks,

wicks 1890

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Less Personal – More Historic

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Less Personal – More Historic

Rabbitwild Cover

Today I have been in communication with a wonderful Acquisitions Editor with Syracuse University Press. Although there is still interest in publishing “Rabbitwild”, the introduction must be attuned to the historical significance of William S. Wicks.

After combing through hundreds of personal records, archives, articles, scanned documents and a thesis, I do have access to the necessary facts … but there is always more isn’t there?

Remembering Wicks, 

wicks workroom

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Re-Imagining Rabbitwild

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Re-imagining Rabbitwild …

arabbitwild

 

Rabbitwild was real.  Here it is in it’s rustic beautiful splendor on Honnedaga Lake, oh so long ago when Wicks designed and built this camp among the first within the Adirodack League Club.  Family and friends in Victorian whites on the porch … maybe that’s my grandmother or her sister living a life that looks quite wonderful in every way.

In the book, Wicks provides meticulous detail related to the construction of the camp from analysis of the site to blue prints to the number of hand hewed nails needed to build this camp utilizing timber on the land.

I have land in Barneveld, at least a little of it, with timber, timber grown from saplings planted by my grandmother Ruth, my mother Kitty and her two brothers Syd and Skip. My grandmother was a Smith graduate horticulturist and planted acres and acres of saplings provided by the State of New York in the 20’s and 30’s.

And I imagine, building this cottage again on the land my mother saved in Barneveld where she had planned to build a cottage someday. The small parcel she saved specifically for its aesthetic correctness. She was a painter after all, and she looked at the site  it as if it were a painting. The parcel overlooks Big Drumlin, the pond that Wicks had built as part of his tireless dedication and love of his land in Barneveld.

And I think, wouldn’t it be great to follow the book, step by step and create this cottage in  just the same way it had been built  in the 1800’s? Wouldn’t it be stunning to document the story of Wicks in this way, to see it go up, to write about it, to film it?

Wouldn’t it be lovely to re-imagine Rabbitwild where new generations will have a footing on sacred ground and remember how very beautiful life is in its rustic splendor, in the Wicks tradition?

 

And I wonder, how do others who have these ideas, find the right people to make it happen.

That’s what I want to know.

little ruth 2

Remembering Wicks …

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Study it as you Would a Painting

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Source: Town of Webb Historical Association:

On April 14, 1913, a massive fire destroyed the Adirondack League Club’s Mountain Lodge, the ice house, laundry and storehouse at Little Moose Lake. Local firemen were able to save the Club’s boathouse and several adjacent cottages. The Directors met two days later in New York City and a decision was made to have Augustus D. Shepard design the new clubhouse, known today as the Little Moose Summer House.

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Mountain Lodge – Green & Wicks

Sketch from the Syracuse Sunday Herald, “Adirondack League Club,” January 8, 1893, p. 2.

Shepard’s Adirondack Architectural Style: An Adirondack Camps National Historical Landmarks Theme Study was submitted to the National Register of Historic Places in March of 2000, later updated in 2007. The study was prepared by Historic Preservation Consultant Wesley Haynes and National Historic Landmarks Program Historian James Jacos. Central to the theme study was the argument that the wilderness camps in the Adirondacks “represented the first and fullest application of a rustic aesthetic in American buildings.” “They appealed to some of the country’s most prominent and wealthy families, who were attracted to the idea of traveling to the mountains to experience nature and outdoor activities in extremely private yet luxurious surroundings.”

This document credits architect William S. Wicks, an Adirondack League Club member and designer of the 1892-1893 clubhouse at Little Moose Lake, as the earliest voice on the subject. Author of Log Cabins: How to Build and Furnish Them (1889), Wicks emphasized the importance of selecting a site with commanding views while cutting as few trees as were necessary for the construction of camps. In Wicks’ words, “Study it as you would a painting.”

wicks 1890

Remembering Wicks …

Black Bears Were Unusually Numerous – ADK 1886

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Mountain Lodge – Green & Wicks

Sketch from the Syracuse Sunday Herald, “Adirondack League Club,” January 8, 1893, p. 2.

Source:

Adirondack League Club Early History Transcribed in 2009

by Town of Webb Historian Peg Masters

News Notes

1886 – Utica Weekly Herald, “Rod and Gun,” November 9, 1886, p. 12. “Black bears are unusually numerous in the Adirondack region this fall. Charles A. Nicholson of Utica, W. S. Wicks of Trenton and Howard Brown of Brookline, Mass. are about to erect a handsome and commodious log camp at Big Rock Bay, Jock’s Lake. A. D. Barber, Jr., of this city has erected the frame for his new hotel on Jock’s Lake in the North Woods.

1890 – Watertown Times, “To Save The Great Forests,” September 4, 1890, p. 2. “The history of the project of saving the Adirondack forests is exceedingly interesting. With that object in view, the Adirondack Park Association was quietly formed in New York City in April last. . . . This association came into being because of the sealed conviction that the forestry commission has proved a failure, says the New York Press; that it has suffered inroads to be made into the heart of the Adirondacks, which has effected serious injury and threatened still greater; that it has promoted no serious measures to promote the planting of trees; that it has not property resisted the encroachments of shingle men and charcoal burners; that it had allowed the encroachment of railroads; that in fact the commission was a useless body.

1892 – Utica Morning Herald, “Personal,” March 25, 1892, p. 6. “Architect W. S. Wicks of Buffalo has returned from Little Moose lake, where he has been locating a new club house for the Adirondack league club, to cost from $15,000 to $20,000.”

1893 – Syracuse Sunday Herald, “Adirondack League Club” – from the NY Mail and Express, January 8, 1893, p. 2. “The Adirondack League Club has just completed negotiation by which it accrues absolute title to the club house ‘Forest Lodge’ on Honnedaga or Jock’s Lake in Herkimer County together with all the buildings and, furniture, boats, camps, and other equipment formerly owned by A. D. Barber. . . . The club has two handsome and perfectly equipped club homes on its preserve, the new house on Little Moose Lake having been just completed at a cost of nearly $30,000.

1893 – New York Tribune, “Adirondack League Clubhouse,” February 19, 1893, p. 22. “The new clubhouse of the Adirondack League Club on Little Moose Lake, Herkimer County, N. Y., has been finished at a cost of over $25,000. . . The clubhouse will accommodate over 100 people and is tastefully as well as substantially constructed. The pride of the architect is the great hall in the centre of the building, 50×35 feet, at one end of which is a huge fireplace capable of burning logs six feet in length. At the other end, or southern extremity of the preserve, twenty-five miles away from Mountain Lodge, is Forest Lodge, the club’s other house on Honnedaga Lake . . . and accommodates about seventy-five people. Honnedaga, or ‘Jock’s’ Lake, is six miles long. . . . Honnedaga is the Indian name of the lake signifying ‘clear water.” On many old maps it is simply designated ‘Transparent Lake.’

 

rabbit wild cabin

This is Rabbitwild –

A Wicks camp designed and built for daughter Ruth & family on Jocks Lake at the Adirondack League Club.

The original story of Rabbitwild written by Wicks, in his spare time, as a story for Ruth in 1896,

and now waiting to be published. 

little ruth

Remembering Wicks

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and so the hope & process of publication begins …

Video

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I am very happy to be in communication with Syracuse University Press and the offer to submit the story of “Rabbitwild” & personal introduction for consideration. 

Remembering Wicks,

wicks 1890

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The Firm

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For Rick – the Green & Wicks Firm was housed in an old Unitarian Church in Buffalo for sometime. I haven’t taken the time today to check times, place and dates, or have even tried to guess. But, for now here are some photos that have somehow survived! (All rights reserved, duplication of content is strictly forbidden without consent of author, owner.)

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