Eagle Island, Inc. has received an award of $320,775 through the Save America’s Treasures grant program, funded by the Historic Preservation Fund, and administered by the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Department of Interior.
Eagle Island Camp was designed in 1903 by Adirondack architect William Coulter for Levi P. Morton. Morton had served as both New York Governor and United States Vice President. The camp has been described as a quintessential and highly intact example of an American Adirondack Camp, and as perhaps the finest example of Coulter’s work.
In 1910, Morton sold the camp to Henry Graves Jr., an industrialist from Orange, New Jersey. In 1937 Graves and his wife gifted the property to the Girl Scouts of the Oranges in memory of their sons, with the intention that Eagle Island be “a place to keep the spirit of childhood alive.” From 1938 to 2008 the camp, on its own 30-acre wooded island, was the summer home for generations of campers.
This Save America’s Treasures grant, which requires a non-federal equal match, enables Eagle Island to undertake Phase II rehabilitation of the National Historic Landmark on Upper Saranac Lake. Through the grant funding, eight buildings and structures are expected to receive stabilization, including foundations, and roofs, railings, and other detail work.
Eagle Island, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity that was incorporated in April 2011 for the purpose of acquiring Eagle Island and returning it to use as a youth camp, after a New Jersey Girl Scout Council discontinued use of the island in 2009 and offered the property for sale in 2010. Eagle Island Inc. has owned the camp since 2015, and is in the process of infrastructure upgrades to support the goal of phased resumption of youth camping operations.
Much infrastructure work has already been completed, including priority historic rehabilitation partially funded by a grant from the New York State Regional Economic Development Council. Former campers, staff, and others devoted to Eagle Island’s mission have provided financial and other support.
Eagle Island Camp returned as a youth camp this past summer, welcoming day campers from the local area for programming that included sailing, kayaking, and swimming. In 2020 Eagle Island Camp will again offer Day Camp, and expand into Overnight Camp, Family Camp, Women’s Weekends, and more.
According to an announcement sent to the press, the vision for Eagle Island is threefold: (1) to provide an environmentally responsible and economically sustainable summer camp accessible to youth of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, (2) to conserve and preserve Eagle Island’s natural and historic character, and (3) to facilitate Historic Tours that promote public understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of Adirondack heritage.
More information about Eagle Island is available on Eagle Island’s website.
Photo of Eagle Island Camp courtesy Friends of Eagle Island.