You can now own a piece of the Adirondacks that has provided serenity for so many others for over a century.
The secluded Camp Uncas was built in 1895 by Brooklynite William West Durant, who is credited with perfecting the Adirondack “Great Camp” style. While the compound is unquestionably a spectacular work, its claim to fame is that it was once owned by financier J.P. Morgan. Morgan purchased the 1,500 acre property from Durant in 1897, and for the fifty years that followed, his family used it as a vacation home. Though the property has traded hands several times since the Morgans graced its grounds, its roster of owners is no less interesting—nor is its rustic architecture.
After the death of the J.P. Morgan Junior in 1943, the family sold the lodge to Mrs. Margaret Emerson who used it to entertain distinguished guests from around the globe, including Secretary of State George Marshall, Madame Chiang Kai Shek and Bernard Baruch. Camp Uncas’s history did however become somewhat less glamorous after 1965 when the property was sold to the Boy Scouts of Rockland County, New York. Years of hard use and little upkeep left Camp Uncas in desperate need of maintenance.
Fortunately for the storied property, Howard Kirschenbaum and Barbara Glaser restored the camp back to its former brilliance when they bought it in 1975. However, while the camp’s flame shined bright again, Kirschenbaum and Glaser’s faded. Following their divorce sometime in the 1980s, the property was split, and Kirschenbaum’s share of Camp Uncas is now on the market for $3.25 million.
Although we are talking millions, for what’s being offered, this price almost seems to good to be true. Camp Uncas was designated as a National Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior in 2010 and is truly a masterpiece steeped in luxury and history. In the main lodge you’ll find five-bedrooms, 3.5-bathrooms, and an intimate great room on the first floor—the perfect space for entertaining family and friends. A fieldstone fireplace serves as the focal point of the room, while exquisite built-in furniture throughout the lodge combine design and functionality. These original rustic furnishings are also included with the purchase, which should make it easy for the next owners to settle in.
Amenities in the home are for the most part modest, but can easily be given an update to meet modern needs. On the other hand, little needs to be done to the decor and finishes, as they seem almost untouched by time. Remnants of the camp’s past, which date all the way back to when Durant was a resident, are evident all throughout. For example the queen-sized bed in the master bedroom is dressed in an original Uncas blanket, and filling this same room you’ll find rare arts-and-crafts furniture including a Gustav Stickley night stand.
A few steps from the kitchen is the covered screened porch, which serves as a major room of the house three seasons of the year. One area seats 12 people for outdoor dining, while another area provides a sitting space filled with the original couch and porch rockers, plus additional couch.
In addition to the main lodge there are another two cabins on site, The Hawkeye and the Chingachgook, as well as a boathouse. The two cabins carry the same homey charm found in the main building and provide excellent private quarters for visiting guests.
Camp Uncas is sited within the Great Camps Historic Recreational Area, a reserve designated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as part of the Moose River Plains Wild Forest and Blue Ridge Wilderness Areas. Although there is plenty to do on the property, there is also an abundance of hiking trails surrounding the home, and a sandy beach just a few minutes walk away, you can also go fishing for trout and northern pike in the 60-acre Mohegan Lake which wraps three sides of the land. The lake is also perfect for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, rowing or windsurfing. And as a bonus, the buyer of the Camp Uncas will also get an Emerson Adirondack guide boat original to the compound, two modern canoes and a row boat.
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Photos via Franklin Ruttan