ADIRONDACK MOUNTAIN RESERVE – AUSABLE CLUB
A SHORT HISTORY
In the spring of 1886, the residents of Keene Valley and a growing colony of summer visitors became alarmed over the threatened purchase, for lumbering, of the Ausable Lakes and the surrounding mountains, together with the adjacent forest and the road leading to the Beede House, the site of the present Ausable Clubhouse. By October 1887, twenty-nine stockholders had formed a corporation, the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, which purchased outright 25,000 acres of as yet unspoiled forest, mountains, streams and lakes.
The Beede House at Keene Heights, already a bustling mountain hotel for summer vacationers, was serving well as a gathering area for AMR stockholders and their families. By 1889, the Beede family had agreed to sell their hotel to a group of AMR shareholders, who planned to form a Keene Heights Hotel Corporation to operate the hotel. The Inn continued under the new ownership for a dozen or so years. During this period gas and kerosene lighting was introduced; seven “Inn” cottages, a Casino and a second wooden tennis court were constructed.
Following the original land acquisition of 25,000 acres, later purchases brought the total to over 45,000 by 1910, including most of the summits of the “Great Range,” adjustments in land holdings have taken place from time to time through conveyances to the State of New York, that have transferred to the State the responsibility for maintaining in perpetuity the “forever wild” nature of the conveyed lands. In 1978, the most recent conveyance of land left the AMR with approximately 7,000 acres, consisting principally of the area surrounding The Clubhouse, and a corridor to the Southwest (up to an elevation of approximately 2500 feet above sea level) including the river above The Club, the Upper and Lower Lakes and a portion of their headwaters.
Since 1887, six Managers, thirteen Presidents, scores of concerned Trustees, and innumerable members of a dedicated staff have guided the Adirondack Mountain Reserve and the Ausable Club through their full share of fire and flood, marauding bears, lost hikers, top-heavy taxes, leaking dams, decaying buildings, obstreperous members and other such perils. Somehow, all have so far been largely surmounted, and there is every indication that the AMR will continue to surmount them as it strides forth in its second hundred years.