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Adirondack camps

October 16, 2011
By DON WILLIAMS , For The Leader Herald

Once America found the positive attributes of "summering in the Great Northern Wilderness," owning a camp became a way of life.

Adirondack camps ranged from the simplest one-room shack to the great camp estates of the wealthy. The migration from the hot, smoky cities each summer to the nearest cool, wood-ringed lake was an annual event. Lakefront properties were populated until none were left and, with an increasing numbers of those who could afford a "second home," camps sprung up on the back lots, in the woods and on the mountainsides.

Many of those early camps have now fallen victims to fires, decay and the wrecking ball, often to be replaced by a modern version of a rustic camp.

The Schine family camp, "Schine's Pines" or "Camp Myhill," now owned by the Veghte brothers, is somewhat typical of a modest camp owned by a successful family. Unfortunately, the main house on the estate is now scheduled for demolition; rot and mold took hold along with leaky roofs and it became beyond saving. The estate still has a story to tell and a history that is part of our nation's growth.

The Schine family created one of the largest movie chains in the history of our country, opening movie theaters across the nation beginning in Fulton County in 1916. Louis and J. Myer Schine bought the Glove Theatre in 1920 and got into the vaudeville business. Junius "Myer" and Hildegarde Schine bought the Boca Raton Hotel in 1946 and eventually owned 15 hotels across the United States. Thus, the Schines, pioneers in the nation's entertainment and movie business, hosted gatherings of the country's "rich and famous," often at their Adirondack camp.

In my estimation, it is altogether fitting and proper that the present owners, Bruce and Richard Veghte, are refurbishing, restoring and preserving the Schine story along with the Glove Theatre Museum.

The new owners of the Schine Adirondack property are restoring the three-car garage with the chauffer's apartment and upstairs dormitory. The large tennis courts, the five-stall horse barn and the large heated swimming pool are being saved from the ravishes of time. The once show-place landscaping is making a comeback. One of the giant projectors from the attached movie theater will be moved to the Glove Theatre Museum in Gloversville. Thanks to the Veghte family, a recent fund-raiser event at the camp raised some needed funds to keep the Glove Theatre Museum going.

Our family was fortunate to have an "Adirondack Camp" while our children were growing up. My wife's parents passed away and left their Wells home to my wife and the children. It was close enough to my job that we could move to the camp each summer the day school was out and return to the city on Labor Day. We could also use it on other vacations and during the winter ski season. It is well and good that the Wells Historical Society and the town of Wells have preserved that "camp." It now houses the Wells Museum, saving the history of another Adirondack story.

The camping tradition is long-standing in the Adirondacks and, as old camps disappear, new camps take their places. Some camps have enjoyed three and four generations of the same family and some rented camps have the same campers returning year after year. There are families that have several camps of siblings' families with their own buildings in the complex. Add to these, the hunting camps, fishing camps, church camps, sports camps, school camps, scout camps, and unknown camps of all kinds and, it is safe to say, Adirondack camps are here to stay.



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