E Bierstadt NYC 1885
Gift of Mrs. Perry Mackey
(1879 – c1922)
When Fairview burned down about 1922, Stanley Brown-Serman helped put wet towels on the roof of the new rectory to keep the fire from spreading. Huge patches of burning material were blowing across the channel from Osprey Island to St. Hubert’s Isle.1
In 1879 Dr. Thomas Durant wanted his nephew Charles W. Durant Jr. (1849-1928) and his wife to build their summer home on Osprey Island, across from St. Hubert’s Isle. Dr. Durant’s wife invited the guide Alvah Dunning to tea at Pine Knot to convince him to give up his “squatter’s right” to the state land.
Fairview (1879), Camp Cedars (1880) and Echo Camp (1883) appear to have been built using the same twin-towered design by an unknown architect.2
Darwin Parker is believed to have been the principal builder of Fairview, supervised by William West Durant. Charles Bennett and Joseph O.A. Bryere assisted in the construction of the boathouse in 1883, with bedrooms above.3 Judging by the photographs, a second floor between the two towers was added by J. Harvey Ladew.
Thomas Wallace was the builder for Echo Camp and also for the Church of the Transfiguration in Blue Mountain Lake two years later. Charles Bennett also helped build Echo Camp.
Dunning lived year round on the 12-acre island from 1868 to 1879. He had taken over the rough camp of the Rev. ‘Adirondack’ Murray, allegedly one of the first white men to set up camp on Raquette Lake.4
Osprey has a natural spring, which made it an attractive spot on which to settle.
Joseph O. A. Bryere (d 1921) was the caretaker for Fairview. He and his wife Mary (d 1954) built Brightside, which burned in 1905. The rebuilt hotel was later run by their daughter until 1957 and in 2000 was purchased by the TLC Division of FIS for use as a conference center.
Fairview was built in the rustic cabin style of the Adirondack camp. In 1891 Charles Durant sold Fairview to the J. Harvey Ladew family of New York City, who renamed it “Camp Ladew” and also renamed Durant’s steamer Stella, the Osprey. The steamer has been at the Adirondack Museum since 1956.5
At one point, according to Mrs. Perry Mackey of St. Andrew’s, Albany, Osprey was owned by her paternal grandfather, Thomas McClyman (1841-1893). Mrs. Mackey gave three Edward Bierstadt photos to Ralph Carmichael.6 Since the 1940s the property has belonged to the Berry family. Mrs. Berry also lived there 12 months a year.
1 Mary Brown-Serman Walke Kirby in telephone conversation with webmaster on 9 July 1998.
2 Craig Gilborn, Durant: The Fortunes and Woodland Camps of a Family in the Adirondacks, (Sylvan Beach, New York: North Country Books, 1981), 50.
3 Gilborn, 53.
4 Ted Aber and Stella King, The History of Hamilton County, (Lake Pleasant, New York: Great Wilderness Books, 1965), 786.
5 Jim Fynmore, “Relics of 1890 Travel in the Central Adirondacks,” (North Country Life, Fall 1957), 37.
6 Ralph Carmichael in conversation with webmaster Summer 1959.