|Fish Rock Camp/Sekon Lodge:A Timeline
With Links to Supporting Documents
1884 – NYC architect A.W. Brunner publishes Cottages or Hints on
Economical Building. Sketch of a rustic building shows distinctive
jerkinhead roof line later to be used in Fish Rock Camp. To view,
enlarge and download image, go to this link.
c. 1890 – Isaac N. Seligman scouts Upper Saranac Lake for a site for a summer home (Source:
New Era Illustrated Magazine, Aug., 1904 article contains this passage. "It (site of Fish Rock Camp)
was primitive and wild enough fourteen years ago (1890) when Isaac N. Seligman,who is one of the
pioneer campers, went about the lake looking for a permanent camp. A sturdy Adirondack guide
pulled him along the shores in one of the long, narrow boats which are typical of the region. They
came to a densely wooded point near the lower end of Upper Saranac. The brush was so think that
they had to chop out a trail that they might reach the heights and study the view. The point
commanded a magnificent stretch of lake in both directions and stately mountians lay to the east
and south, among which were Ampersand, Seward and Whiteface.
"Axemen were put to work and soon had cleared out room for a small cabin. This was the beginning
of the extensive Fish Rock Camp of today--a cluster of half a dozen rustic buildings near the lake."
To read the entire article and see the pictures, use this link.
1892 – I. N. Seligman’s purchase of Fish Rock property is recorded in the Franklin County
records. (Source Franklin County property records.) View a complete copy of the Fish Rock deed
back to the Seligman purchase at this link.
|1893 – Arnold W. Brunner was the original architect for Fish Rock, not William Coulter as
incorrectly stated in Harvey H. Kaiser's book Great Camps of the Adiorndacks. Read a short
biography of Brunner at this link. Brunner's sketch of a rustic building designed for I. N. Seligman
appears in the Architectural League of New York Annual Exhibition Catalogue with the inscription
“Saranac Lake Log House for I. N. Seligman, Brunner and Tyron, Architects. To view, enlarge or
download the image below, use this link.
|Historic records indicate that Fish Rock Camp was the first of the great camps to be built on Upper
Saranac Lake. Here is a list of the other major camps, their founding dates and architect's identity
where known (source AARCH records and Wenonah guest book:
Fish Rock Camp (1890-93) A.W. Brunner for Isaac Seligman
Wenonah (1897) first entries in guest book
Moss Ledge (1899) William Coulter for Isabel Ballantine
Bull Point (1901-02) William Counter for Otto Kahn.
Prospect Point (1903) William Coulter for Adolph Lewisohn
Eagle Island (1903) William Coulter for Levi P. Morton
Wonundra (1932) William Distin for William Rockefeller
|1838 -- Joseph Seligman, then 17 and future founder of the Seligman financial empire, emigrated to the
U.S. from Germany with $100 sewn into the seat of his pants. Joseph Seligman quickly rose to success
after his humble start as a foot peddler. He paid to bring his two sisters and seven brothers (who became
his business partners) to America. Among Joseph's children was Isaac Newton Seligman, many years later
builder of Fish Rock Camp. The New York Times recapped Joseph Seligman's life in 1880 with an
extensive obituary after his death. To learn more about the Seligmans, read Stephen Birmingham's book
"Our Crowd": The Great Jewish Families of New York.
|1877 -- In June, 1877, a national controversy erupted when Joseph Seligman and his family were turned
away from the prominent Grand Union Hotel in the popular resort town of Saratoga Springs, NY, where they
had stayed for 10 previous years. They were denied admittance under orders of the manager, Judge
Henry Hilton, who instituted a new policy prohibiting Jewish guests. Hilton's action was widely denounced by
many at the time. However, it ignited a wave of anti-Semitism in the nation and emboldened Adirondack
resort owners to begin barring Jews, probably leading to the desire of many wealthy Jewish families to
establish private great camp homes of their own in the Adirondacks. The Adirondack Almanac posted this
account of the Hilton Affair. The New York Times published this account of the Hilton affair.
|Arnold W. Brunner