~ Prospect Point ~
A Place in History


After a photograph in the collection of the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York.

PALACE IN THE WILDERNESS: The grand old Prospect House (1881-1915) which played host to the nation's elite, was the toast of a bygone age. Thomas Edison personally rendered it the first hotel in the world with an electric light in every room.

It is difficult now, gazing at the quiet cabins, trees and fields, to imagine that Prospect Point has a unique place in America's past. But it was this point with its magnificent setting that Frederic Durant, nephew of the railroad tycoon, Thomas C. Durant, chose as the place to realize a grandiose vision. In 1881, on the grounds of Prospect Point, Durant erected what swiftly became the most fashionable mountain hotel in the Northern United States. With the help of Thomas Edison, who saw to the electricity, Durant's fabulous Prospect House was the first hotel in the world with an electric light in every room. It soared 6 stories high, boasted 300 rooms, accommodated 500 to nearly 600 guests, and offered a bowling alley, barber shop, shooting gallery, billiard room, hydraulic steam elevator, electric bells, restaurant, library, physician and pharmacy, telegraph office, steam heat, and resident orchestra, which twice each day charmed America's wealthiest and most influential citizens.

 


After a photograph in the collection of the Adirondack Museum.

The Tuscarora bringing guests
to and from Blue Mountain Lake.

Lured by the romance of vacationing in the heart of the primeval forest, guests of the Prospect House endured an arduous journey by boat, rail and stagecoach before arriving at this palace in the wilderness.


Among the guests were Astors, Tiffanys, Whitneys, Vanderbilts, Pierreponts, Macys, Mellons, Colgates, Lippincotts, Roosevelts, Juilliards, Clevelands, Polks, Colts, Vassars, Rothschilds, Huntingtons, Schuylers, van Rensselaers, Delafields, Biddles, Harrimans, Auchincloss's, Garrisons, Bloomingdales, Stuyvesants, Rikers, Osborns, Westinghouses, Fahnestocks, Drexels, Hirschorns, Schwabs, Guggenheimers, Woolworths, and many others.


Durant's famous uncle - whose Union Pacific Railroad united the country - not only frequented the hotel but built the Adirondack Railroad which helped bring the visitors on part of their journey.


Even as Frederic Durant erected his great hotel, another man came to Prospect Point in pursuit of a different vision. From this site, the eloquent young conservationist, Verplanck Colvin, surveyed Blue Mountain Lake as part of an epic exploration of the region. For nearly three decades the indefatigable Colvin mapped the Adirondack wilderness and tirelessly lobbied for its protection. His efforts led to the establishment of the Adirondack State Park - the largest park in the contiguous United States and one of the early forerunners of wilderness parks throughout the country. After weeks or months deep in his beloved wilderness, Colvin and his men often enjoyed returning to Prospect Point for a few days respite at the hotel.


 Former Visitors to Prospect Point:


 Louis C. Tiffany

 
Thomas Edison

 
William C. Whitney

 
Jay Gould

 
Harvey Firestone

 
Henry Ford


Contemporary Guests
of Prospect Point:
 

 
Three generations of Crillys:
From right to left - Grandma Anne, Tom, Claire, and the kids!

  After the demise of the hotel, Thomas Edison returned more than once to Prospect Point, where decades earlier his genius had made history. With him at various times were Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and the famed naturalist, John Burroughs.


The friends scoured the area for Edison's generator, which they hoped to preserve for posterity in the Ford Historical Museum. Regrettably, Edison's Prospect House dynamo - which heralded the end of the gaslight era and lit the way to the age of electricity - had already been sold for scrap metal.


Nonetheless, Edison, Firestone and Burroughs rhapsodized over the old hotel and its place in history in their 1916 poem, "In Nature's Laboratory," and in its whimsical preamble, "Living It Over Again."

Today the grand hotel is gone and the echoes of its orchestra have faded, but the splendor of the Point remains. We feel that with its overhanging trees, fields and cabins, or the soft sound of a guitar playing round an evening campfire, Prospect Point is more lovely now than at any time in her famous past.


* * * * * * *

Prospect Point: "Surely, this is a spot for mortals to seek!"
 - Outing Magazine, August, 1888


"Unsurpassed in loveliness"
-Appleton's Tourist Guide, 1885



"Where the brain weary can rest in a very lacustrian paradise of more than sylvan beauty . . ."
-The Knickerbocker, June 16, 1883


"I do not wonder the Indians came here to worship, it [is] so quiet, so awe-inspiring, that ‘tis almost akin to worship, to look upon the hills and listen to the murmuring of the waters."
-The Sunday Herald of Baltimore, August 27th 1882


"One of the loveliest spots in the world,
with all the varied charms of lake and mountain scenery at their best . . ."
-The Boston Courier, Sunday Morning, May 31st, 1885


"One of the most attractive . . . of the many resorts in the Adirondacks is this beautiful spot at the foot of Blue Mountain, on the shores of the lake. . . a magnificent prospect is stretched out, commanding a wide and sweeping range of the surrounding scenery."
-The New York Times, Thursday, August 9th, 1883


"'I also have lived in Arcadia'" may he well repeat who has basked in the loveliness of this place, for the poet's dream seems here to be realized. On a point of land stretching far out into the lake . . . the scene that spreads out before the visitor is one in which the elements of beauty and grandeur so mingle and blend that one knows not which epithet to apply . . ."
-The Home Journal, Wednesday, May 28th, 1884


Prospect Point Cottages
3381 New York Route 28
Post Office Box 113
Blue Mountain Lake, NY 12812
 
Tel #: (518) 352-7378
Fax #: (518) 352-7677
 
 
or email us at:
info@prospectpt.com



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