Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Noted Architect Linked to Wiawaka

In researching individuals associated with the Wiawaka Board of Directors, I found mention that Mr. Charles S. Peabody helped design the new boat house that was completed during the 1916-1917 season.(1) This boat house is still in use at Wiawaka; with it's bright red color and curved entryways, it serves as a recognizable landmark both from the lake and overlooking Lake George from high up on Prospect Mountain.

Wiawaka boat house, designed by Charles S. Peabody. Photo by Megan E. Springate.

Charles S. Peabody was an American Architect born April 8, 1880 in Brooklyn. He graduated from Harvard University in 1903 and enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, graduating in 1908 the second highest in his class of three hundred. Peabody worked for the architectural firm of Ludlow & Peabody of New York, well known for public buildings including churches, hospitals, and college buildings as well as skyscrapers. Charles S. Peabody was decorated by the Greek Government for his work designing a Temple of Youth in Athens, Greece commissioned by the Greek Government, the Greek Church, and a group of American philanthropists.(2)

Other buildings designed by Charles S. Peabody (several of which are on the National Register of Historic Places) include:
The Lake George Club
The Royal C. Peabody Estate (Wikiosco), Lake George
A "daring" plan for Brooklyn's Civic Center
Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Alaska

I don't have a full run of Wiawaka Annual Reports, but the ones I do have show Charles S. Peabody serving on the Advisory Board between 1923 and 1933. His wife served on Wiawaka's Board from at least 1913 through 1940.(3)

Charles S. Peabody died on September 10, 1935 at his summer home on Lake George.(4)

(1) Wiawaka Holiday House (1917) Wiawaka Holiday House Annual Report 1916-1917. Wiawaka Papers, Box 2, Rensselaer County Historical Society, Troy, New York.
(2)  archINFORM (2011) Charles S. Peabody.
(3) Wiawaka Holiday House (various) Wiawaka Holiday House Annual Reports 1913-1940. Wiawaka Papers, Boxes 1 and 2, Rensselaer County Historical Society, Troy, New York.
(4)  archINFORM (2011) Charles S. Peabody.


Anonymous said...

Charles (nicknamed Carlos) S. Peabody was a favorite nephew of George Foster Peabody, second husband of Katrina Trask. Quite an interesting family.

Was Stanford White the architect of the "great - little camp" that is on Wiawaka's property ?


MSpringate said...

Hi SS,

The Peabody/Trasks are certainly an interesting bunch!

I will have to get back to you about whether Stanford White was involved at Wiawaka...

Gail Oakes said...

Hi Megan,
Last year, we heard that the grandson of Stanford White had all of his architectural records, and the Wakonda Lodge (previously Amitola) was not part of the records. The supposition that he had designed Wakonda may be based on the similarity to the buildings on Triuna Island which were owned by the Trasks and had been designed by White. I hope you find out more in your research.

MSpringate said...

Hi Gail, Thanks for that info! One of the places I want to check for information are archives associated with the Trasks (especially letters). I have a suspicion that the work Charles Peabody did on the boathouse was "unofficial" and may not show up in his company's records (also something to follow up on regarding an "informal economy" among those involved with Wiawaka). The same may be true for White's involvement, if, indeed, he was involved.

I haven't forgotten the posts about the historic gardens at Wiawaka! Soon is probably a good time, as the seed catalogs are arriving in droves here...

Gail Oakes said...

The "unofficial" status was something that was suggested here too. Also, that another architect or contractor used White's plans for Triuna and modified them.

We are getting catalogs also, and I am trying to resist temptation. I have no money left from last year, so am planning to sell plants at my house during our development's garage sale in June, as well as at Wiawaka during the summer.

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