Architecture in the Adirondacks

Johnsburg Historical Society

Adirondack style became popular across the country in other mountainous regions, with designs intended to reflect a connection to nature. Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park is an example, as is Glacier Park Lodge in Montana. Like the Adirondack Chair which is known internationally as a sign of leisure, Adirondack style architecture has spread across the country as a symbol of our rootedness to the earth.

Among the notable regional homes to be discussed are the Dunn House which is the Greek Revival mansion on South Johnsburg Road, and The Gables, the magnificent North Creek home of railroad tycoon Dr. Thomas C. Durant.

Familiar to Johnsburg residents and visitors is the style known as American Vernacular. The Johnsburg Historical Society’s publication, River, Rails and Ski Trails, describes this style:

“Special in Johnsburg is the American Vernacular, defined as the freestanding narrow and deep retail store – an Americanism that dots rural hamlets across the country, although it is particularly associated with the frontier. Typically the structure is one or two stories, clapboard sheathed and porch fronted… Nine of them are standing on Main Street in North Creek being put to good use…

Throughout architectural histories these buildings have been variously referred to as: Double-Tiered Porches, Old West Main Street Commercial, Two-Storied Porticoes, Two-Part Commercial and Two- Tiered Veranda.

Any of these ring a bell as you travel up and down Main Street in North Creek?”

The program will discuss not only the area’s well-known regional treasures but also the simple cabins in the woods, which are, as author of Cabin Country Paul Schaefer noted, “a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the life I was living, a place to sit in front of the fireplace, alone or with friends, anticipating the trip on the morrow or reliving the adventures of the day.” This event is an opportunity for all age groups to become informed about the structures we encounter every day and their fascinating histories.

Johnsburg Historical Society welcomes new members. Help is always needed with programs, Living History interviews, accessions and exhibits. Open board meetings are held the first Monday of each month at 11 a.m. at Wevertown Community Center, or by appointment with general membership. For more information please call 251-5788 and leave a message.

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