||This article relies entirely upon a single source, the National Register Information System (NRIS) database or one of its mirrors. Articles based solely on the NRIS may contain errors. (November 2013)|
The boathouse at Topridge
|Nearest city||Paul Smiths, New York|
|MPS||Great Camps of the Adirondacks TR|
|NRHP Reference #||
|Added to NRHP||November 7, 1986|
Camp Topridge is an Adirondack Great Camp bought in 1920 and substantially expanded and renovated in 1923 by Marjorie Merriweather Post, founder of General Foods and the daughter of C. W. Post. The "camp", in Paul Smiths, in the U.S. state of New York, was considered by Post to be a "rustic retreat"; it consisted of 68 buildings, including a fully staffed main lodge and private guest cabins, each staffed with its own butler. It was one of the largest of the Adirondack great camps and possibly the most elaborately furnished.
As originally built, the property could only be reached by water, though a driveway was added in years later. Guests arrived by float-plane or Post's yacht at a private dock, and thence via funicular to the main building at the top of the ridge. Three times a week, guests would gather in the 65-by-50-foot (20 by 15 m) living room where full-length movies could be screened; an adjoining dining room seated thirty guests. Many of the original furnishings of the room, which included an extensive collection of American Indian artifacts, are now in the Smithsonian Institution. Among the many elaborate structures on the property is a Russian dacha built for Post's third husband, who had served as ambassador to the Soviet Union.
The staff would arrive from Keese Mills Road in Paul Smiths and drive around the water and leave their cars in a parking lot, now used as public parking for the trail to St. Regis Mountain; the trail head is just before the private property line of Camp Topridge. From the parking lot, staff would walk a hilly, unpaved path into the workers side of the camp. In the early seventies, this unpaved path was widened and became suitable for one-way car traffic. Prior to the paving, vehicles could only be driven over the ice in the winter. Mrs Post's guests would arrive at Saranac Airport (in Lake Clear), often in her private Vickers Viscount, the Merriweather. They would be driven to a launch which would take them to one of the boat houses. From there, they could either take the stairs or ride a covered electronic lift or funicular (that could hold six people) which was installed for a relative of Mrs. Post, who had heart trouble. When Mrs. Post was in camp, it provided employment to carpenters, painters, maids and general labor. For years, the caretaker of the camp and his wife would feed lunch to staff in a dining room in the caretaker's home and this was one of the benefits of working for Mrs. Post at the time.
Post left the property to the State of New York. The main lodge, most of the buildings and 105 acres (42.5 ha) were offered for sale, with the remaining acreage to be made part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. It is now owned by Texas real estate magnate, Harlan Crow, who has substantially restored the buildings and added a number of new ones.
The property is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Kaiser, Harvey H., Great camps of the Adirondacks. Boston: David R. Godine, 1982. ISBN 0-87923-308-7.
- New York Times, "Out-Twigging the Neighbors; In the Adirondacks, Great Camps Are Sprouting Again." Includes news of recent renovations.