History comes alive
We are known for our amazing Great Camps, but of course, our history didn't begin with the popularization of these Camps. From our first settlements to logging villages to mountain exploration, we have a long history. Historical societies and museums are located throughout the region which celebrate our history and create opportunities for visitors and residents alike to learn more about this unique area. These destinations are staffed by talented, welcoming volunteers and staff and love to share their knowledge with visitors of all ages.
Small towns, big outdoors, fascinating history
Hamilton County is home to both great history and sites full of it, places where you can stand and be in the same spot where remarkable things, big or small, happened. The first hotel in the nation to have electricity was right here in beautiful Blue Mountain Lake. Painter Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, a British-American artist whose work was printed by Currier & Ives, painted throughout the area, and you can even view his work! Throughout the region, small town history museums and historical societies celebrate the ordinary people who made the area a home and what it is today.
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 the Indigenous art to the cabin of famous Adirondack hermit Noah Rondeau, the collections are wide-ranging and endlessly fascinating.
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.
Today, tour Great Camps by boat or even spend the night at a real historical treasure. Here, you're not just learning about history, you're living it!