The Thousand Island Park Landmark Society will be hosting the 17th Historic Cottage and Garden Tour on July 20th, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s tour theme is “Four Decades of Landmark: Preserving the Past Today for Future Generations.
Sermonizing and Sunshine
Thousand Island Park (TIP) is located on the southwest corner of Wellesley Island and was one of several religious campground communities founded during the thriving religious revival in the late 19th century. These religious camps offered a combination of sermonizing and sunshine and as their popularity grew, the tents evolved into wooden cottages. As these cottages multiplied, they expanded in size and changed in appearance. Characteristic of the popular architecture of the late 19th century, TIP cottages included, of course, the tent platform or Early Campground style, the Queen Anne, Shingle and Stick styles, and then following the devastating fire of 1912, the more economical and simple Craftsman/Bungalow style.
Morning and afternoon tours will begin at the Tabernacle ,with a presentation on the history of the Landmark Society and the history of preservation in the Park. The program will include various “players” in Landmark’s past, along with a representative from the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), who will speak on the state’s historic preservation efforts here.
For forty years, the Thousand Island Park Landmark Society has worked to promote and encourage preservation, restoration and rehabilitation in the community. Originally incorporated as the Thousand Island Park Preservation Company, we are more commonly referred to as the Thousand Island Park Landmark Society or “Landmark”. Landmark has experienced both successes and challenges throughout its forty-year history. These include nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, development of the Preservation Code, rehabilitation of the Pavilion, the Walking Tour booklet, Preservation Workshops/Educational Seminars, the Four Corners Project and Cottage and Garden Tours, among many other endeavors.
The Landmark building contains a preservation reference library, which includes a database of all TIP buildings and a shop where one can purchase souvenirs and literature about the Park’s history. The Landmark Society is presently spearheading a major project, in conjunction, with the Corporation to update this information for all cottages and public buildings.
Our 2017 Tour
This summer’s tour will feature five cottages, and for the first time, a boathouse, in addition to points of interest and gardens.
Among the gardens featured will be a “ribbon” garden in front of the Landmark building, a Victorian garden typical of the late nineteenth century. Points of interest will include the “Sweetheart Cottage”, one of the “signature” cottages of TIP, the Thousand Island Park Museum, the Pavilion, and the “Guzzle”, rebuilt after the devastating fire of 2014 destroyed the entire commercial block.
The cottages on the tour include two Campground styles, which are typically constructed from an original tent platform, diminutive in size, with strong vertical emphasis, often with steeply pitched roofs and decorative gables. Another is composed entirely of concrete block and is stylistically Craftsman/Bungalow style, where the same concrete blocks were used, as in the old Commercial building destroyed in 2014. This home is multi-generational, as are many of the cottages in TIP, and has survived both the Hotel fire of 1912 and a century later, the 2014 fire.
One of the tour cottages is a year-round home which is of vernacular Victorian style, with a Queen Anne Tower and an Astro Haven Observatory tower. The fifth cottage and the boathouse is owned by the same family, the cottage being an Arts and Crafts/Shingle style, with a decorative metal gambrel roof, from which the newly built boathouse is styled. There will be a presentation in the boathouse of drawings and materials used in boathouse and cottage design that are in compliance with preservation regulations.
Although primarily a walking tour, there will be golf carts available for those who may need them. Participants may tour the cottages and gardens at their leisure and there will be docents as each spot to answer any inquiries about the cottages and TIP in general.
The Wellesley Hotel will be offering a buffet luncheon for pre-paid ticket holders, and the Guzzle will be open for walk-ins. The Wellesley lunch tickets are $15 and the tour tickets are $30 for Landmark members and $35, for non-members. Tours will be from 9:45 a.m. through noon and 1:45 p.m. through 4 p.m., with the informational presentations at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets for tours and the buffet may be purchased online at thousandislandlandmarksociety.com or at the Landmark Office, after June 24, 2017. Landmark hours will be 11 a.m. through 2 p.m. on Monday through Saturday.
By Amy Phelps
Amy Kane Phelps is a life-long “river rat”, having spent summers on the River since birth. She is a fourth generation Round Island descendant and fifth generation from Thousand Island Park, where she now spends her summers, wintering in Naples, Florida. Amy has been a member of the Thousand Island Park Landmark Society for six years and this is her second time Co-chairing the Cottage and Garden Tour. She also serves on the TIP Preservation Board and is a Trustee at the Thousand Islands Arts Center.