An Elegant Wilderness: The Gilded Age of the Adirondacks Awoke Conservationists

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adirondack great camps rowing lake photo
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In her new book An Elegant Wilderness, Gladys Montgomery collects photographs and stories from one of the premier vacation destinations of the Gilded Age: The Adirondacks.

For the era's rich, escaping the stresses of urban life was essential and the great camps of this mountain range—combining a natural setting and incredible opulence—became a favored destination. Yet the homes built in the region, Montgomery says, did more than simply house the wealthy.

"Photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard toured New York State with a slide lecture," she explains, "showing the devastation of the Adirondacks by lumber companies and was instrumental in the passage of the state constitutional provision protecting the Adirondack Park."

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Photo credit: Courtesy of Acanthus Press and the Adirondack Museum