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Werrenrath Camp owners seek to add landmark to national register

DANNEMORA - The New York State Board for Historic Preservation has recommended 25 properties and districts for addition to the State and National Registers of Historic Places, with the Werrenrath Camp in the town of Dannemora being among those on the list.

Robert Brewer of Hilton Head, S.C., who owns the camp with his wife, Lee, said he recently received notification the camp was added to the state register, with a recommendation it be added to the national register.

The process to be added to the registers began nearly four years ago when the Brewers hired Adirondack Architectural Heritage, a nonprofit organization from Keeseville more commonly known as AARCH, to prepare their application to be added to the registers.

Through conversations with AARCH executive director Steven Englehart and state Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Office representative Lynn Garofalini, Brewer was convinced the Chazy Lake property was deserving of recognition on the state and national historic registers.

"When they said they thought it had merit, that was the first step," said Brewer. "It's in pretty much the same condition it was when it was built."

Brewer wrote a narrative to accompany the application prepared by AARCH, which listed its rich architectural and celebrity history.

According to Brewer's description, Werrenrath Camp is a "high-end Adirondack summer camp" consisting of a stone mansion built in 1928 by Reinald Werrenrath, a pioneer in the recording industry with the Edison National Phonograph Company. Werrenrath's career in recording, live concerts and opera spanned several decades in the early 1900s and he became a notable figure in the emerging entertainment world.

As a boy, Werrenrath was said to have attended summer camp in the Plattsburgh area, and became acquainted with Chazy Lake during that time. Years later, he purchased the property and built the main house, which he affectionately called his "The Shanty."

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