During the late 1800's it was socially vogue for socialites of New York City to escape the noise and chaos of the city and escape to the tranquil beauty of the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York State. One of the city's socialites who made the journey to the Adirondack Mountains was Herbert Sanford Carpenter, son of famed artist Francis Bicknell Carpenter. Herbert, his wife Cora and family decided to purchase a sizeable piece of property 15 miles outside the town of Saranac Lake, New York. Where the name Camp Arden was derived from is uncertain; however, it has been suggested by relatives of the Carpenter family that it came from the Forest of Arden found in Shakespeare's play 'As You Like It'. This is suspected as Cora Anderson Carpenter was a professionally trained Shakespearian actress before marrying Herbert, and this was his acknowledgment to her skill.
In the beginning the Carpenters would constructs elaborate tent platforms, fully equipped with wrought iron beds, oriental carpets, and furnishings for themselves and their guests to "camp" in during their visits in the summer months. Over time the elaborate tent platforms at Camp Arden would be replaced with more permanent buildings throughout the property. It was customary with architecture within the Adirondack Mountains to have buildings represent single rooms of a home. This practice would lead to the Great Camps of the Adirondacks consisting of multiple buildings within the premises. Camp Arden was not any different in this practice with the guest buildings, the kitchen building, the dining building, boat house, sugar house, boy's 'play' cabin, tea house, and etc. The Carpenter's and their guests, including Calvin Coolidge, Jack Dempsey and Francis Bicknell Carpenter, would spend many years enjoying the peaceful activities of canoeing, fishing, hunting, reading and socializing that Camp Arden had to offer. Sadly during the economic turmoil of the Stock Market crash in 1929, Herbert Carpenter was hit hard financially and was forced to sell the property off.
Herbert sold Camp Arden to Robert "Bob" Bogie and his family. Bob was an avid race boat enthusiast and spent his time building and racing hydroplanes. Mr. Bogie would take third place in the 1946 Gold Cup held by the Detroit Yacht Club. The Bogie family would spend much time at Camp Arden designing and building his boats along with entertaining guests. In the 1950's Mr. Bogie decided to relocate out of the Adirondacks and chose to donate the camp to the Trudeau Institute for use in their continued efforts in discovering a cure for Tuberculosis.
Sadly Bogie's hopes for Camp Arden's use as a research facility was never utilized, remaining dormant for over 50 years. Having been a haven for hunters and local teenagers, Camp Arden became overgrown and in desolate shape. In the early 1990s Steve Gothard and his family purchased the property and have since then lovingly restored the camp to what it is today. Today historic Camp Arden, one of the few remaining transitional camps of the Golden Age of the Adirondacks, is home to Arden Creek Designs. This small family owned Adirondack Rustic furnishings company has for over 20 years continued to uphold the craft of yester year's craftsmen who occupied the Adirondacks designing and crafting distinctive and unique furnishings for the historic camps of New York City's Socialites.
Today Camp Arden remains a private residence for family and friends of the Gothard Family. However, if you are interested in touring the premises, spending a night in one of the historic cabins, or using it as an inspirational tool in designing a unique and distinctive custom Arden Creek Designs piece, please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to arrange a visit to this charming and historic Adirondack property.