A Part of Nature’s Self: Horicon Pavillion
By Anthony F. Hall
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Less than five years after William West Durant more or less invented the Adirondack style of rustic architecture at Camp Pine Knot on Racquette Lake, Cyrus Butler built the Horicon Pavillion on Lake George’s Black Mountain Point, the first hotel to be constructed in that style anywhere.
“It is the most striking and picturesque hotel on Lake George,” wrote Seneca Ray Stoddard in 1880, and who took these photographs at about that time. “It seems here a part of nature’s self.”
Now part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve, Black Mountain Point can be reached by boat or by the Shelving Rock Mountain trails. Visible in the water are the ruins of the original Minne-Ha-Ha, which Butler had towed to the bay as a floating restaurant and, not far from the shore, logging roads and the remains of a boys’ camp which was discontinued before New York State purchased the land from the Knapp family in 1941.
“Horicon Pavillion like the rebuilt Minne was designed as much for daytime visitors who wished to climb the mountain and find a good meal awaiting their return as for longer staying guests. The hotel had a large pleasant dining room but only twelve bedrooms. There was a stable full of horses and mules for those who wished to ride up the mountain or southward toward Shelving Rock over the level shore road the lumbermen left. Of course, the needed steamboat landing was built. This pier extended out from a whalebacked rock south of Black Mountain Point. A rustic bridge led from rock to shore. The old path to it is one of the few things traceable.”
Steinback’s historical account is helpful, but to truly visualize the Horicon Pavillion, Stoddard’s photographs are the best aid, and we reprint a selection of them here.