Architect Addison Mizner
"Pre-modern" roof lines & asymmetrical-shaped buildings
Irwin & Laura Kirkwood on the steps of Owner's Cabin, early 1920's
President Calvin Coolidge
Celebrating Rustic Elegance since 1907
Soaring rooflines... rustic interiors bathed in natural light... towering pines that touch the clouds... White Pine Camp stands alone among the Great Camps of the Adirondacks.
At the turn of the twentieth century, much of the St. Regis Lakes area was owned by Paul Smith - lumber baron, inn keeper, and raffish raconteur. Many of Smith's prominent hotel guests subsequently purchased lake front property from Smith to build their own summer homes, or "camps," as they came to be known. One such buyer was Archibald S. White, a prominent New York banker, and his socialite wife, Olive. The Whites purchased 35 acres -thick with white and red pine - overlooking what then was called Lake Osgood.
In 1907 White commissioned New York architect William Massarene to design the camp he would build, just a short boat ride from Paul Smith's Hotel. Ben Muncil, the region's unschooled master camp builder, began construction of White Pine Camp in 1908. Three years later, White hired architect Addison Mizner to design several additions and alterations to some of the buildings. White Pine Camp was one of Mizner's first commissions. He went on to become one of America's leading architects and the visionary behind the development of Boca Raton, Florida.
The camp that Massarene, Muncil and Mizner designed and built would be architecturally unique among the Great Camps of the Adirondacks. Its 20 original buildings included an owner's cabin, dining hall, four sleeping cabins, two boat houses, an indoor tennis house, bowling alley - and the Japanese tea house that would become one of the Adirondacks' most iconic images. But unlike the heavy log style first developed by William West Durant or the ornate artistry associated with later Adirondack styles, White Pine Camp's builders championed a more subtle rustic expression. Their "pre-modern" composition featured soaring roof lines, asymmetrical -shaped buildings, and the extensive use of dramatic, natural lighting. If windows are indeed the eyes of a home, White Pine Camp's unusually shaped windows -in corners and clearstories -open every room to a kaleidoscope quality of natural light textures.
Another one of the builders' innovations was the rough-milled siding developed by Muncil and Paul Smith's millwright, Charles Nichols. It was a compromise between the architect's desire for a more traditional clapboard siding and the rustic slab siding of more typical Adirondack camps. Muncil and Nichols' brainstorm siding, as they humorously referred to their innovation, soon became a common element of Adirondack architecture.
In addition to its innovative architectural style, White Pine Camp's designers surrounded their buildings with the most extensive landscape architecture of any Adirondack rustic estate. Its masonry walls, paths, and bridges, flower plantings and lush rhododendron gardens create a medley of natural elements that embrace the camp's grounds.