History & Historic Sites

Small towns, big outdoors, fascinating history

From the area's first settlements to logging villages and mountain exploration, Hamilton County has a long and storied history. Museums, historical societies and sites where remarkable events occurred are located throughout the region and welcome visitors of all ages to learn more about the people and events that helped shape the area into what it is today. There is much to explore and learn – did you know that the first hotel in the nation to have electricity was right here in beautiful Blue Mountain Lake? 

The ADKX

Known as the "Smithsonian of the Adirondacks," the extensive campus of The Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (ADKX) is the beloved repository of some of the Adirondacks' most cherished stories, where historic artifacts and even entire structures are preserved here for all to appreciate for generations. From displays featuring guideboats, an Indigenous craft, to the cabin of famous Adirondack hermit Noah Rondeau, the collections are wide-ranging and endlessly fascinating.

The Adirondack Experience will be open for the season beginning May 24, 2024!

A cabin on display inside a museum.

Great Camps

Hamilton County is fortunate to have been part of the early history of vacationing in the Adirondacks. The Adirondack Great Camp tradition began in the late 19th century soon after the publication of William H. H. Murray's Adventures in the Wilderness in 1869. This highly popular book was an account of Murray's various camping, hunting, and fishing trips in the Adirondack wilderness. Murray's book put the Adirondack Mountains and Hamilton County on the map as a tourist destination, inspiring men and women from cities downstate to "vacate" the city in the summer.

Grand hotels were soon built and the rich and famous from around the world were soon spending their summers here, building luxuriously rustic summer compounds. William West Durant was a designer and developer of camps in the Adirondack Great Camp style, including Camp Uncas, Camp Pine Knot and Great Camp Sagamore which are National Historic Landmarks. 

In warmer weather, explore the waters and very special history of Raquette Lake onboard the W.W. Durant, a replica steamboat owned and operated by the Pohl family. During summer months, the Durant offers a variety of narrated history cruises, from evening dinner cruises to Sunday brunch to daily sightseeing tours.

Great Camp Sagamore's Dining Hall
An interior view of Great Camp Sagamore's Dining Hall
An interpretive display at Great Camp Sagamore

 

 

Experience More

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(518) 648-5377

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5186485377
6355 State Route 30
Indian Lake, NY 12842
History of Indian Lake & people who lived here.

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(518) 359-7800

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5183597800
45 Museum Drive
Tupper Lake, NY 12986
Three years running, The Wild Center was named the People’s Choice top attraction in the Adirondacks by the readers of Adirondack Life. The Wild Center has also been named named "#2 science museum in the country" by readers of USA Today.
View of The Wild Center sitting across a shimmering body of water

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(315) 354-5311 ext.21

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3153545311,21
Sagamore Road
Raquette Lake, NY 13436
Welcome to Great Camp Sagamore in the Adirondacks at Raquette Lake, NY. Our 27 authentic National Historic Landmark designated buildings were the wilderness estate of the Vanderbilt family from 1901-1954.

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(315) 354-5532

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3153545532
254 Antlers Road
Raquette Lake, NY 13436
ALL ABOARD! The best way to enjoy beautiful Raquette Lake is from the deck of the W.W. Durant. Cool breezes. Breathtaking scenery. Fascinating history. Scrumptious food.
WW Durant Boat on the lake with mountains in background

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(315) 357-2896

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3153572896
149 Route 28
Inlet, NY 13360
Open from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, mid-June through mid-September.

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(518) 352-7311

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5183527311
9097 Route 30
Blue Mountain Lake, NY 12812
New Season, New Experiences The renamed Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake is open for its 67th season, offering the most immersive and diverse visitor experience in its six decades.

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(518) 548-4478

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5185484478
2885 Route 8 Box 103
Speculator, NY 12164
Speculator Lake Pleasant Historical Society Inc. Website Museum Hours:
Speculator, NY 12164
Off South Shore Road in Lake Pleasant, a trail leads to an old cemetery containing the grave of Colonel Loring Peck, Hamilton County's only Revolutionary War officer.
State Route 30
Speculator, NY 12164
The historic Makomis fire tower has been relocated to the Sacandaga River Community Park in Speculator NY, and is now open to visitors. The tower will be open from dawn to dusk, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (weather permitting). And it's free!
Take a lovely stroll around Speculator and see the newly restored fire tower.
Piseco Lake Historical Society
155 Old Piseco Road
Piseco, NY 12139
The Fulton Chain History (Herrstory Publications)

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(315) 357-2186

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3153572186
PO Box 664
Inlet, NY 13360
Adirondack - Sacandaga River Sculpture Park

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(518) 774-6641

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5187746641
New York State Route 30 -South Main Street
Wells, NY 12190