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Knollwood is the epitome of the classic Adirondack camps. While the camp itself is fairly well hidden from the public’s view, its footbridge is by far the most well know part of the estate. This is found at the end of the Inlet road, in Star Lake NY. It is on the East bank of the Oswegatchie river. This is also the location (within a couple hundred yards) of the parking area for the Oswegatchie Wild River D.E.C boat launch. It is a very popular place for canoeist and kayakers to begin their treks. Upstream works its way to the popular destination of high falls. Downstream take you to Wanakena and the inlet of Cranberry lake. There once was a large hotel at the site.
Knollwood was the vision of Dr. Fredrick R. Calkins, a Watertown surgeon. After keeping a small camp there for a several years, Calkins started construction of a new camp in 1923. The new log cabin would feature electricity (from a power plant located in a separate building), screened sleeping porches, two fire places and six rooms. It was around this time that the suspension footbridge was constructed.
After owning the property for more than three decades, Calkins made the choice in 1944, to sell the property due to his health. Arrangements were made to sell the camp and property to John Sevey. Sevey was the proprietor of the Moore’s Inlet Hotel, which was at the present sight of the boat launch parking area. Within a year, Dr. Calkins had passed away, and Sevey defaulted on the sale. The property was back in the hands of family, Calkins widow, Evangeline. When she passed in 1955, the camp became the property of Frederic R. Calkins Jr, the couples only son. The untimely death of Calkins Jr, at an age of only 39, found his son J. Stewart Calkins, as the third -generation owner.
In subsequent years, the camp and grounds fell into disrepair. With Calkins busying himself with a stint in the air force during the Korean War, and a successful career in the chemical industry – little time was left for a cabin in another state. After his retirement, much time, effort and money was spent restoring the place to its former pristine state. The 90’s saw major renovation of the footbridge, which included Oregon cedar logs salvage from the closed J&L iron mines. The family has three more generations to carry on the family’s holdings in the Adirondacks. Knollwood was added to the National Registry of Historic places in January 4, 2012 and the owners received the Adirondack Architectural Heritage Award in 2008. I hope you get a chance to see the place for yourself, but this is private property, so please look from the road, and respect the landowner’s privacy.
Clifton Fine ADK page
Watertown Daily Times- 10/18/2008
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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About the Author
I am a life-long resident of the north country, calling Edwards my home. I have always had a passion for the outdoors, and for local history. I recently started this site to share places that have been part of our local history and heritage. I hope you get a chance to hike some of these trails for yourself, and reflect on the rich history of those that walked here before you. And if not, sit back and experience these from where ever you are right now. Either way, enjoy!