This year Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) has offered 34 historic and notable destination tours that range from inside a maximum-security prison to horse-drawn wagon rides to an Adirondack Great Camp. Guided by field experts, the AARCH tours offer a diverse array of Adirondack architecture from the distant to recent past.
“Our schedule this year starts in early June and ends in early September,” says Susan Arena, AARCH Program Director. “We offer second tours for places like Camp Santanoni and Dannemora because there is limited space. We balance that out by doing two tours.”
According to Arena part of the value of these tours is the information people can gather from other property owners who are attempting to historically preserve their homes.
“It is important to keep track of how influences have changed and how various materials are being used,” says Arena. “It is a tricky thing. We keep our eye on the future as well as the past. [At AARCH] we aim to preserve the past, but everything will eventually become part of our past.”
Arena mentions the recently renovated Leary Castle. The reason Leary Castle was included on the AARCH tours was to demonstrate how architecture and structure are always evolving. Besides historic tours AARCH is a well-used resource for preservation workmanship.
“We get phone calls regularly from people looking for someone to work on a slate roof,” says Arena. “There is also a lot of misinformation about the National Registry. People tend to think it is more restrictive. We are making headway on getting correct information out.”
Arena states that most of the properties are in the process of being restored. Besides visiting incredible destinations the tours can become a source of information for others wishing to retain the historic integrity of their homes.
Arena says, “It is a great way for people to talk to other people about how to tackle projects. That restoration can be manageable, habitable and still maintain the building’s integrity.”
Besides the tours AARCH will be presenting its annual Preservation Award in September to acknowledge the people that are providing exemplary examples of historic preservation throughout the Adirondack Park.