Prospect House (The Utowana)

1882 – 1915

 1889-Stoddard-PH-L  Stage-at-Prospect-House-L  1906-The-Utowana-L
 1889 Prospect House
photo Seneca Ray Stoddard
Library of Congress Collection
 Stage at Prospect House
Small sign behind coach
renamed The Utowana
 1897Prospect-House-Ad-L  1886-BML-stage-ticket-L  1899ProspectHouseAd-L
 1897 Ad
Harper’s Magazine
 1886 Stagecoach Ticket
North Creek to Blue Mountain Lake
 1899 Ad
Scribner’s Magazine
 1902 The Utowana from Crane’s Point
photo William Henry Jackson

The first hotel in the world to have electric light in each room! Thomas Edison himself built the electric dynamo! A steam-powered elevator! All of these describe the new six-story 300-room establishment opening in July 1882 overlooking Blue Mountain Lake.

William West Durant saw the success of Holland’s Blue Mountain Lake House and Merwin’s Blue Mountain House – visitors were flocking to the Adirondacks for respite from the hot crowded streets of the nation’s metropolitan areas. Durant suggested to his cousin that another large hotel would be a good investment.

Prospect House was built by Frederick Durant (nephew of Dr. Thomas Durant) on the site of the three-story Ordway House (also known as the American from 1877-1880). Frederick purchased Ordway House from the owners in 1879 and ran it the final year. In 1881 he added it to the rear of his new six-story hotel which had its grand opening in 1882. Prospect House could sleep 500.

In 1899, with diminishing returns, Frederick took a loan from his brother Howard and then turned the hotel over to him. In 1901 a new manager opened the doors to anyone who could pay, rather than reserve it exclusively for the wealthy – the Julliards, Guggenheims and Woolworths for instance – but again reservations decreased.

From 1901-1902 Prospect House, under new ownership, was briefly known as the Utowana in an attempt to restore bygone glory. Many of the photos are from publicity generated during those years.

Unfortunately, the hotel was forced to close in 1902 and sat empty until 1915 when it was torn down. Edison and a few friends returned to try and rescue the dynamo for a museum but it had been sold as scrap metal for the war effort.

Today the Point is once again open for visitors as the Prospect Point Cottages and we thank them for providing many of the photos on this page.

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