Eagles Mere Historic District
The Eagles Mere Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2009, The Gombach Group.
The Eagles Mere Historic District, located in the Borough of Eagles Mere in Sullivan County, Pa., is an intact, late nineteenth and early twentieth century resort community of architecturally varied cottages, boat houses, commercial buildings, churches, and outbuildings. The Eagles Mere Historic District is situated around the Eagles Mere Lake, a natural spring fed lake 2,100 feet above sea level in the Allegheny Mountains. The historic district includes the Eagles Mere Beach, hiking trails, pristine wooded areas, and former hotel communities. Thousands of acres of forest surround the district. Additional residential areas of the borough are located south of the district. The Eagles Mere Historic District has many grand cottages designed in the architectural mode of the Shingle style. They dominate the landscape in several areas. There are also fine examples of Queen Anne, Craftsman, Prairie School, and Folk Victorian style cottages. Most visible are the cottages that line Eagles Mere and Pennsylvania Avenues, on the south and west sides of the lake, respectively. Modest-size yet stylish cottages and homes are found throughout the Eagles Mere Historic District. Churches, commercial and civic buildings are found in the original village south of the lake. Walking paths and boathouses surround the lake. The Eagles Mere Historic District contains 339 resources, of which 241 are contributing and 98 are noncontributing. There are 234 contributing buildings, the majority of which are cottages, but also outbuildings, churches, and 15 boat houses; 93 noncontributing buildings, the majority being cottages; six contributing structures, including the Launch (a water taxi) and the Laurel Path; three noncontributing structures, including the Footbridge on the Laurel Path; one contributing site, the Athletic Field; one noncontributing site, the Village Green; and one noncontributing object, the clock in the commercial center of the village.
There are five sections of the Eagles Mere Historic District. The original village is south of the lake. Pennsylvania Avenue is west of the lake. The Crestmont area and Lakewood Avenue are east of the lake. The Park section is north of the lake, and the lake and shoreline are in the center of the district.
Eagles Mere Lake and Associated Resources
The centerpiece of the Eagles Mere Historic District is Eagles Mere Lake, its shoreline, and associated resources. The kidney-shaped, 250 acre, natural spring-fed lake is approximately three quarters of a mile long, running north to south, and includes a small outlet pond southeast of the lake. There are no major tributaries to the lake besides underground water systems, leaving the water clear, even after heavy rains. This fact was not lost on turn-of-the-century promoters. They sought to attract bathers by placing restrictive covenants preventing construction or the cutting of trees within one-hundred feet of the lake shore. Most of the shore area today is completely forested. The Eagles Mere Association presently owns the lake and shoreline, maintaining this natural setting.
The Association also owns the Eagles Mere Beach, on the lake's north end. The beach facility is a turn-of-the-century bathing beach that has changed little. It includes a natural sandy beach, large lawn area, beach house for beach equipment storage and offices, individual locker rooms, two boat houses, docks, and other buildings. Most of the buildings at the beach are mainly vernacular and have been painted dark green, a color found on several nonresidential buildings throughout Eagles Mere. The beach is the social and recreational hub of the Eagles Mere Historic District.
The Laurel Path, a popular walking path named after the abundant Laurel around the lake, follows the lake shoreline. It weaves into the forest in several places, allowing walkers to view massive rock formations and places named "Fat Man's Squeeze," "Lovers Leap," and "Gypsy's Landing." The landing is a grassy picnic area on the lake's east shore. Several acres east of the lake between the water and Lakewood Avenue are still virgin forest. A small wooden footbridge on the Laurel Path crosses the lake's Southeast corner near the adjoining section of the lake called the Outlet Pond. Often rebuilt due to rotting wood and ice movements, the bridge is noncontributing. It was originally constructed in the late 1880s.
The "Edgemere" is on the lake's southern end, and contains several boat houses. The Eagles Mere Association's boat house, the Launch boat house [Hiram's Landing], the Yacht Club boat house, the Launch shelter, and private boat houses are at or near the Edgemere. Lake Avenue descends steeply to the lake at the Edgemere, providing ample speed for the regionally famous "Eagles Mere Ice Toboggan Slide." The Edgemere is a popular place to relax and watch sailboats and the Launch glide by. Besides the boat houses at the Edgemere and the beach, there are 13 private boat houses on the south and west sides of the lake. Their vernacular appearances reflect the buildings found at the beach. With few exceptions, the boat houses are one story, usually rectangular shaped, approximately 15' x 20', and are clad in German siding or vertical boards. Most have gabled or hipped roofs.
The beach, the lake, the immediate shoreline (to approximately 100 feet inland), and the athletic field [the district's only site] are privately owned, protected, and managed by the Eagles Mere Association. The beach is also the home of the Eagles Mere Water Carnival.
Original Village of Eagles Mere
Located on a bluff south of the lake is the original village of Eagles Mere. The Eagles Mere Historic District's oldest cottages and its commercial, civic, and religious buildings are found here. Eagles Mere Avenue runs east to west and is the district's "main street." Several large and architecturally significant Shingle and Queen Ann style cottages line this street, many with views overlooking the lake. The district's commercial center is at the intersection of Eagles Mere and Pennsylvania Avenues. The commercial center sits opposite the Village Green and consists of several shops, a restaurant and an inn. Although the buildings date to the late 1800s, a major focal point is the "town clock," a noncontributing object brought here in the 1970s. Streets in the village follow a grid pattern. Most cottages along Eagles Mere Avenue are larger and more stylish than cottages on other streets in the original village. Many sit behind large stone walls, entrance pillars, and spacious front lawns. The village also contains Laporte Avenue, the district's oldest street, and Lake Avenue, site of the Eagles Mere Ice Toboggan Slide. Wood framing, shingles, and clapboard, and German siding are principal building materials in the original village and throughout the district. Brick is a major fireplace and chimney material on cottages constructed before 1900, and there are many fine examples of corbeled brick chimneys here. Stone is most often used for foundations and porch entrances. The waist-high stone walls that front many properties in this area are either dry laid or mortared, and made entirely out of sand stone. These walls line the sidewalks in several places, particularly along Eagles Mere Avenue. Excluding the resources on Pennsylvania Avenue near Eagles Mere Avenue, the majority of the resources in the original village are contributing: 114 versus 38 noncontributing. All but three are buildings.
On the west side of the lake is Pennsylvania Avenue. It stretches from the Eagles Mere Historic District's commercial center at Eagle Mere Avenue to the beach. More cottages are found here than any other street in the district, including significant contributing cottages of various styles, sizes, and ages, and several noncontributing cottages. The avenue has fine examples of the Shingle, Queen Anne, and Craftsman styles. Pennsylvania Avenue has 55 resources: 36 contributing buildings and 18 noncontributing buildings, and one contributing site. Almost all of the buildings are cottages.
Eagles Mere Park
Just north of the Beach is the Eagles Mere Park. This neighborhood, generally consisting of cottages and lots of a uniform size, is a planned community dating from the turn-of-the-century Eagles Mere Chautauqua. After the Chautauqua ended in 1902, the owners of the Forest Inn (the former Chautauqua Inn) continued to develop the cottage community, adding 42 more cottages to the Chautauqua's original 12 by 1930. Most, if not all, of the original cottages were constructed by one builder, C.A. Brink. Still extant, they were built between 1897 and 1902. Of the Park's 62 existing cottages, twelve are of the Shingle style; the remaining cottages are mainly Craftsman, Folk Victorian, or Prairie style. Wooden shingles and clapboard clad many cottages. Most cottages are modest two story, wood frame buildings with names like "Chalet," "Kozy Corner," "Just Us," and "Summer Daze." The Park's noncontributing cottages include ranch type structures, an A-frame, a contemporary "log" cabin, and a modern Queen Anne style cottage. The Park's cottages, old and new, suggest the prevailing vacation home styles at the time of construction. Besides the cottages, the only other remaining Forest Inn building of any size is the Caretaker cottage. (The inn was demolished in 1978.) This house's color is the only building in the Park to carry the Forest Inn's cream color. The Park contains 54 contributing buildings and just 18 noncontributing buildings. Almost all are cottages.
The Park is similar in some ways to the resort community of Mount Gretna, in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. Like Mount Gretna, it began with the Chautauqua Movement. Its small, wood frame cottages are similar in shape, materials, set back and size. The Park, however, is flat, with larger lots, and less wooded. Mount Gretna cottages have "Carpenter Gothic" detailing, featuring wood frame cottages, board and batten cladding, Gothic pointed arched windows, steeply pitched front-end gabled roofs, and abundant wood ornamentation. Park cottages have, for the most part, far less Gothic ornamentation, larger floor plans, and larger wrap around front porches.
Lakewood Avenue and the Crestmont Inn Area
On the east side of the lake are Lakewood Avenue and the Crestmont Inn area. The avenue connects the beach with Eagles Mere Avenue. Thus, Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, and Lakewood Avenues form a loop around the lake. Appropriately named, Lakewood Avenue runs through a heavily wooded section of the district. On a hill above Lakewood Avenue is the Crestmont Inn area, a former hotel community. The Crestmont Inn was demolished in 1982. Despite this loss, cottages, originally owned by the hotel management, outdoor recreational facilities, other outbuildings, and a sense of community, survive. On virtually the same footprint of the hotel sits the three-story, vinyl-clad Crestmont Condominium complex, which contains 19 units in one noncontributing building. Like the hotel, the building has commanding views of Eagles Mere and the surrounding mountains. The Crestmont's five tennis courts and swimming pool are still in use; the former employee lodge is now an inn and its bowling alley is now a cottage. Most of the buildings maintain the dark shingled architectural tradition of the hotel, helping to maintain its legacy. (Note, there are several tennis courts in the district; they are not counted in the resource count.)
Lakewood Avenue crosses the channel between the lake and its outlet pond on the Eagles Mere Historic District's only vehicular bridge.
There are 13 resources found on Lakewood Avenue, nine of which are noncontributing buildings, mainly cottages. The Crestmont area has 25 resources, 11 are contributing buildings, 11 are noncontributing buildings, and 3 are contributing structures.
There are 234 contributing buildings in the Eagles Mere Historic District. They include 143 cottages, 5 residences, 15 boat houses, 27 garages, 15 sheds, 5 churches, and 24 assorted commercial buildings, beach facility buildings and outbuildings. Large cottages are the main focus of the district. Their architectural styles reflect the distinctive characteristics of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly the styles found in mountain and lake resorts. Although there are several styles represented in the district, the most visible is the Shingle style, followed by the Queen Anne style.
Contributing Buildings: Cottages
Contributing cottages make up the overwhelming majority of resources in the Eagles Mere Historic District. Many of Eagles Mere's Shingle style cottages are large wood framed buildings clad in German siding on the first floor and wood shingles above. These buildings contain large, open, wraparound porches, open floor plans based around a central living hall, large stair areas, bell towers, large windows, and an abundance of bedrooms. Interior woodwork often features exposed beamed ceilings, wooden arches, interior siding, stained glass, full-length or wainscoted beaded paneled walls, and massive mantels. The Shingle style's natural theme compliments the district's natural setting. Most cottages in the Eagles Mere Historic District are for vacation use only, not permanent residence. In fact, several older cottages are not winterized.
Shingle Style Cottages
Eagles Mere Avenue has a large collection of grand Shingle style contributing cottages. (There are also substantial Stick, Victorian Gothic, and Queen Anne style cottages along the avenue). The cottages on the north side of the avenue hold commanding views of the Lake. The "Altamont" Cottage [constructed 1885], also known as the Gamble-Emery-Voorhees Cottage, was designed by the Philadelphia architectural firm of Rankin and Kellogg. Altamont is a prime example of the Shingle style. However, it contains stylistic details often not found on Shingle style cottages, such as a pair of oriels flanking a chimney on its east side. Its core is a two and one half story front-end gabled structure, with a cross gabled extension to the east. A dovecote adorns its garret level, which is over a third story window. This entire third story overhangs the lower two floors, supported by a second floor, bay window arrangement and brackets. Two flared-on-the-end dormers grace the south side of the extension. Its interior walls have murals painted by James Gamble. The property's rear and side lawns are the location of the annual Fourth of July speech. Altamont is the location of the original George Lewis and Judge Richter Jones house, which burned in 1863.
The contributing Roberts cottage is a large Shingle style cottage built in 1903 by A.C. Little. Like many cottages in the Eagles Mere Historic District, it has German clapboard on the first floors under its porch roof and dark wooden shingles above. The cottage has a huge cut away porch on its northwest corner. Next to this cottage is the Hartley Cottage, which recently underwent an extensive renovation. This two-and-one-half story Shingle style cottage has five bays, a three-story square tower, and a widow's walk on its southeast corner. The cross gabled cottage has a tremendous view of the lake. The "Shadow Lawn" cottage [constructed 1877] may be the oldest cottage in Eagles Mere. Once known as the Hays cottage, its outstanding features include a wraparound porch, a three-story tower topped with a flared pyramidal roof, and Palladian windows, all characteristic of the Shingle style. Period photographs, however, show that the house was constructed in the Folk Victorian style before remodeling.
Three other Eagles Mere Avenue Shingle style cottages were once part of the Lakeside Hotel property. They are the Fitch [circa 1902], the Ryan [constructed 1885], and the Almy [constructed 1902] cottages. They were designed in an age when visitors brought servants, chauffeurs, and "huge trunks of belongings," according to a Kirk family descendant. (The Kirk family owned the Lakeside Hotel.) The Fitch cottage is similar to McKim, Mead, and White's Isaac Bell House in Newport, Rhode Island, built in 1882-3. It has a wraparound porch, three stories, dark shingles, Palladian windows, heavily detailed wood interior, and an open plan. Its first floor plan includes a centrally located living room providing an open link to a dining room, entrance, and rear parlor. Its entrance has a large wooden stair case and landing, and an inset cushioned window seat. The dining room window on its west side has a rare orange colored stained glass window providing privacy from the once adjacent Lakeside Hotel. Former servants' bedrooms and a kitchen are located in the basement.
At Mary and Eagles Mere Avenues is the three-story Rawley cottage, constructed in 1906. The building has a large, octagonal bell-roofed tower standing over the front entrance, supported by two large stone pillars. Flared hipped-roofed dormers flank the tower. A large arched window is visible at the third story under the gambrel-roofed end gable. Although clad in aluminum siding, the building maintains its integrity, and remains a prominent building along Eagles Mere Avenue. Its interior contains room numbers on some of its bedroom doors. Its former owners, the Sones, took boarders.
Another major example of the Shingle style on Eagles Mere Avenue is the Munson Cottage, now called "Aquilaheim". Its exterior resembles architect Arthur Little's "Grasshead," also known as the Mrs. James L. Little House in Swampscott, Massachusetts. Grasshead was built in 1882; Aquilaheim was built in 1886. The cottage contains two and one half stories, with two cross gabled roofs flanking the center section. The western gable is four bays wide and has an asymmetrical roof on the west side. A two-story bell tower, similar to the Rawley cottage's bell tower punctuates the building's west end. An eyebrow dormer, reminiscent of H.H. Richardson's work, is centered in the roof between the cross gables and two stone chimneys. The first floor contains a recessed wraparound porch on the north and east facades. Square stone columns support the structure over the porch. The first floor and porch walls are rubble sandstone. The rest of the building is clad in aluminum siding.
The "Sunnyside" cottage [constructed 1912] is a large Shingle style cottage located on Pennsylvania Avenue. The 40 x 70 foot rectangular building has two and one half stories resting on a stone pillared base supporting a wraparound, recessed porch. The recently restored cottage has German clapboard on the first floor and dark wood shingles above. It is topped with a green asphalt hipped roof, containing hip-on-gable dormers on three sides. "Oak Crest" cottage is an example of the Park's Shingle style cottages. A Chautauqua-built cottage, the two-story building features a hipped roof with an eyebrow dormer, a wraparound porch and clapboard siding. Also in the Park is the "Mushroom" cottage [circa 1899], on Linwood Avenue. The cottage is a small Shingle style building whose focal point is a large curved roof over its round porch on the north end. The two-story cottage is clad in clapboard. Its side gambrel roof has a monitor shed dormer.
Many buildings in the Crestmont area were constructed to be compatible with the Crestmont Inn, the Shingle style hotel razed in 1982. Just south of where the hotel once stood are two such. "North and South Bungalow" are twin cottages built in 1904. The long, U-shaped, single story building was once the Crestmont bowling alley. It is clad in dark shingles and carries a hipped roof. Nearby is the "Wood Shed" cottage, constructed in 1908. Wood shingled, it is a square, one-story building with a hipped pyramidal roof and center chimney.
Queen Anne Style Cottages
The L.S. Smith cottage, a Queen Anne style cottage at the northeast corner of Laporte and Allegheny Avenues may be the largest and most photographed cottage in the Eagles Mere Historic District. The building contains two sections: the circa 1803 Lewis Boarding House and a Queen Anne style section constructed in 1879. The 1803 section was originally located southwest of the present building and was moved to the rear of the newer section when built in 1879. Its original Gothic style dormers are now topped with shed roofs. The 1803 section has many bedrooms and a sleeping porch located on the second level of its north side. Clad in wood shingles, the 1879 section rests on a massive curved rubble stone base supporting a wraparound porch. The third level contains Palladian windows and a cross gabled roof. The roof has a pointed turret. Second story fenestration includes an oval-shaped window and dual arched windows on the front facade, and a multiple window arrangement on the rounded southwestern corner. The main entrance is reached through an archway capped with a gabled roof. The interior features finished wood detailing throughout the building, including interior wood clapboard and a large stairway landing, the latter prevalent in Shingle style cottages.
There are four cottages on Eagles Mere Avenue in an area once known as "Mount Lewis," site of the Lewis glass works. Each sits on high ground approximately 100 feet from the road and was constructed in the late 1880s.
Their size, location, and setting make these cottages prominent fixtures in the Eagles Mere Historic District. A stone wall lines the road in front of these cottages. Stone pillars mark the driveway entrances. One cottage there is a spectacular Queen Anne style building. The large three-story cottage has two large second story bay windows and end-gable dormers. The dormer roofs flank a three-story front-end gabled-roof center. A huge wraparound porch sits above a sloping lawn. Large curved brackets support the pediment roof above the bay windows. The third story fenestration in the center section includes three windows with diamond shaped panes and pilasters on the window surrounds.
Of the three Clay cottages on Pennsylvania Avenue, just north of Eagles Mere Avenue, two are Queen Anne style. The most visible is the R.W. Clay cottage. Built circa 1891, the cottage is a three-story, shingled building with clapboard on the first floor. A large round tower capped with a curved roof and finial is on the building's northeast corner. The building also has inset balconies on the second and third floors. A porch wraps around the first floor.
Stick Style Cottages
The "Kite Strings" cottage, (also known as the Graff cottage) is one of the Eagles Mere Historic District's few but highly visible Stick style cottages. Constructed in 1885 by A.C. Little, the two-and-a-half-story, wood frame cottage features ornamented wood clapboard, bracketed porch supports, wood clapboard on the first floor and diagonal beaded woodwork on the second floor. An important feature is the large porch running the width of the building on the first and second floors. A large third story inset dormer extends over the second floor porch. The roof is a hipped-on-gable, asphalt roof adorned with a large corbeled brick chimney. The cottage contains an elevator.
Other examples of the Stick style include the former Davis cottage [constructed in 1887] on Pennsylvania Avenue, and the Wishing Well cottage on Eagles Mere Avenue. The latter features a cross gabled roof supported by walls clad in clapboard and wood shingles. The transom above the front door contains Lewis glass. Built circa 1877, it is one of the oldest cottages in the Eagles Mere Historic District. The former Eagler Inn [constructed 1891], is a Stick style building containing a tower, wraparound porch, and a stained glass window. It is part of a row of Folk Victorian and Queen Ann style cottages on Eagles Mere Avenue just west of the commercial center.
Craftsman Style Cottages
Craftsman style cottages are found throughout the Eagles Mere Historic District. The block outlined by Allegheny, Sullivan and Jones Avenues and Laurel Lane contains the district's most eclectic cottages. Compared to the large cottages on Eagles Mere Avenue, most are modest or small cottages built close to one another on small lots. This tighter arrangement is also found in the Park. The "Fern Cliffe" Cottage at Laurel Lane and Allegheny Avenue is an excellent example of Craftsman cottage style architecture. Possibly once used as a public laundry, it now features a one story, shingled building with stick work on the porch, a stone chimney, and a wraparound porch.
The largest example of the Craftsman style in the Eagles Mere Historic District is the Bailey cottage [constructed 1914]. It is located on Pennsylvania Avenue near the site of the former Raymond Hotel. Constructed by builder Frank Little, the building is over 40' x 60'. Like many cottages in the district, it has dark wood shingles and rests on a cut stone base. Its south facade extends over the porch and rests on stone pillars. The cottage has a hipped roof with a single hip-on-gable south dormer. Huge second story windows provide a full view of the lake.
Another example of the Craftsman style is "The Alpine" cottage, one of two cottages in the Park that resemble Swiss chalets. The Alpine has an exaggerated, dual-pitched hipped roof extending over the front facade and supported by large wooden brackets. A large, inset sleeping porch and balcony is located on the second floor on the front facade. The walls are clad in German siding and painted dark brown.
Prairie School Style Cottages
Like the Craftsman style, Prairie School was a popular cottage style in the early twentieth century, particularly on the west side of the lake and in the Park. Prairie School cottages often contain large hipped roofs, large front porches, and are square or rectangular. Most Prairie School cottages are two stories high. Examples include the Geyelin cottage on Eagles Mere Avenue and another Geyelin cottage on Jones Avenue.
The "Widmere" cottage on Jones Avenue is a fine example of the Prairie style [also known as "Camp David"] is a fine example of the Prairie style. It was built by the Geyelin family circa 1907. The large, two-and-one-half-story, rectangular building has German siding on the first floor and dark green shingles above. Its hipped roof contains a large eyebrow dormer facing the street. Stone steps lead to a large inset front porch that wraps to the south side.
Two other examples of the Prairie style are found in the Park. "Summer Daze," is a two-story cottage with a hipped roof. Like Widmere, its first floor has clapboard siding and wooden shingles above. "Hollywood," is a two-story Prairie style cottage with heavy Craftsman influences.
Other Period Styles
In addition to the above mentioned styles, Eagles Mere's cottages demonstrate several other stylistic influences. There are few streets where any particular style is the norm. Certain styles, however, such as the Shingle style on Eagles Mere Avenue, may be the most visually dominant.
The Eagles Mere Historic District has many Folk Victorian style cottages. Many cottages originally constructed as permanent homes are of the Folk Victorian style. Two examples of these are the Dunham residences on Allegheny Avenue [constructed 1903]. One of the most prominent is the Flora Villa Inn, near the commercial center [constructed 1892]. Nearby is a Folk Victorian style cottage constructed in 1892 and moved here in 1900. Folk Victorian cottages in the district are usually two story buildings with clapboard siding and large front or wrap around porches.
On the north side of Eagles Mere Avenue is the Bodine Cottage. This cross gabled, two-story cottage is rare for its Gothic Revival style and its Italianate arched windows and stained glass. Constructed in 1880 by A.C. Little, it also contains white clapboard wooden siding and hood mold arched windows under the steeply pitched roof. The east side of Jones Avenue is a mixture of Folk Victorian, Craftsman, and Gothic Revival style cottages. Most are nestled behind thick vegetation and large porches. All are contributing. The Green cottage, for example, is a two-story, 30 x 30 foot, cross-gabled building with clapboard walls. It also has stone chimneys while its gabled roof contains gingerbread scroll work. Constructed in 1887, the Gothic Revival cottage was moved here from Eagles Mere Avenue in 1903.
"Huckle Chuckle" is located on Pennsylvania Avenue [constructed 1889]. The rectangular two and one-half story cottage has aluminum clapboard siding and a hipped roof and dormers. It is one of the Eagles Mere Historic District's few Colonial Revival style cottages. The builder was A.C. Little. Other examples of the Colonial Revival are found in the Park. The former Charles Woddrop cottage ["Sunset Lodge"] is a large two-story white clapboard building built in 1917 by Charles Brink. Sitting approximately 100 feet from the road in a grove of trees and surrounded by a rubble sandstone wall, its setting complemented the Forest Inn's park-like setting across Mineral Springs Avenue.
"Shady Nook," also in the Park, was constructed circa 1900. It is a prime example of the Carpenter's Gothic style. A small wooden bridge connects the cottage with the sidewalk. Its narrow, inset front porch is supported by square shingled pillars and dual arches. The Downing-influenced cottage has two stories, a rear addition, and board and batten cladding.
At the northeast corner of Mary and Allegheny Avenues is a house built in 1917, and now used as a cottage. It is one of the Eagles Mere Historic District's few Dutch Colonial styled cottages. The two-story building features an end-gabled monitor roof.
There is at least one mail order cottage in the Eagles Mere Historic District. "Hathaway" cottage is a contributing cottage constructed in 1928. It is an intact Sears and Roebuck mail order cottage, and has changed little since its construction. Hipped roofs top the front porch entrance and the main block facing Mary Avenue. The porch is located on the northwest corner of the cottage. Side-by-side windows are located on the first and second floor of this two-story cottage. It contains a steeply pitched hipped roof with hip-on-end gabled window dormers on either side. Hathaway cottage plans contain six rooms, including a living room, dining room and kitchen on the first floor, and three bedrooms on the second floor. The circular trellis on the porch is also intact. (In 1994, an addition was added to the rear of the cottage. Its design is extremely complementary to the original architecture and materials.)
Contributing Buildings: Boat Houses
Fifteen boat houses are located on the south, west, and north ends of the lake; thirteen are contributing. Most boat houses were constructed around the turn-of-the-century. Eagles Mere's boat houses provide space for winter boat storage and summer entertaining. With few exceptions, they are one story, clad in shingles or beveled clapboard, and contain large doors that open onto docks facing the lake. Many are painted green and contain green asphalt shingles and hipped or end gabled roofs. Two boat houses similar to this are located at the beach.
One of the most significant boat houses is the former Lakeside Hotel bath house, now used as a boat house. The building is clad in wooden shingles and has a hipped roof. The Brown cottage boat house at the base of Lake Avenue is one of two which have bays and lifts for boats. It also has the distinction of being the only boat house with a second floor. It is a large, hipped roofed building with green asphalt shingles and green German siding. A row of casement windows overlook the lake. Also located at the Edgemere is the Launch boat house. The one-and-a-half story building features a large bay and two dormers facing east. It is clad in German siding, painted green, and is end gabled, with its north end facing the lake.
Contributing Buildings: Garages, Sheds, and Outbuildings
Throughout the Eagles Mere Historic District, particularly behind cottages, are numerous contributing outbuildings, such as garages and sheds. A common theme found among the outbuildings (and boat houses) are wood frame construction, dark green painted German siding or beaded vertical boards, and often, green asphalt roof shingles. Fern Alley is lined with such buildings. Most are one story, front end gabled buildings, although some have a second story. One notable garage type is found on Mineral Springs and Forest Avenues in the Park. Both single bay buildings have a front end gable roof that is cantilevered over the front of the building by approximately twelve feet. The Reily and Dodge cottages on Pennsylvania Avenue have large garages on the road behind their properties. The garages [Reily and Dodge] have large roof overhangs and green painted clapboard siding. The Dodge building also has a flared roof.
To the rear of many cottages are former carriage houses and chauffeur's residences. Many have been converted to cottages. Behind the Kite Strings Cottage on Eagles Mere Avenue, is the Miles/Graff carriage house [circa 1888], once associated with the cottage. The two story building is now a cottage itself. A similar adaptation is the Lakeside carriage house/Ryan carriage house on Locke Eagle Lane. The two-and-one-half story building is clad in wood shingles and rests on a stone base. The hipped roofed building was constructed circa 1885. Like the Lakeside carriage house, many outbuildings were associated with hotels. The Crestmont Inn area features several garages, sheds, pavilions, and a former jitney shelter.
Sullivan Avenue contains two small barns. One, the circa 1903 Dunham barn is now used for storage and retail shops. It is a small, two story, clapboard and board and batten building resting on a stone base. Built as an end gabled bank barn, it features a large overhang facing Sullivan Avenue. Another barn on Sullivan Avenue is associated with the Brink residence. The building measures 30 x 20 feet, has an end gabled roof, wood shingled walls, two stories, and sits on a stone base. It once served as a service station and as a public stable.
On the east side of Laurel Lane below Sullivan Avenue is a garage [circa 1885] that originally was a carriage house for the Brown Cottages on Eagles Mere Avenue. Early in this century it housed the town's fire equipment. The three-part building is two stories high and clad in board and batten, and contains an end gabled roof. It also has large doors and casement windows, and is painted dark green.
The Ellicott property on Pennsylvania Avenue contains the Eagles Mere Historic District's only creamery. The one story, stone building features a pyramidal shaped roof and an eyebrow dormer. It measures just 8 x 8 feet. (The Ellicott property is the only lake front property whose property line extends closer than 100 feet to the shoreline. Its property line is just 50 feet from the shoreline.)
The Crestmont Inn area also has jitney shelters, tennis viewing shelters, and numerous outbuildings. At one time the Crestmont property extended to the lake, where the hotel had a boat house. Near this location, and now a favorite stopping point on the Laurel Path, is the small wooden Crestmont Gazebo. A trail still connects the Crestmont grounds to the lake at this location.
Contributing Buildings: Beach Buildings
All five buildings at the Eagles Mere Beach are contributing. The largest building is the "beach house" [constructed 1890]. It has a hipped roof, and is clad in T-111 wood panels and German siding. The building is approximately 90 feet long and 30 feet wide, and is vernacular though heavily influenced by the Shingle style. Its massing includes a large second floor that extends over the first floor in the front of the building, sheltering the boardwalk below. A gambrel roofed rear section was added in 1933. Four bracketed wooden posts support the overhang. Like all beach buildings except the beach shop, the beach house is painted dark green. The beach house was moved to its present location from the water's edge in 1910. Flanking the beach house but connected by a board walk are six attached locker room units. These end gabled wooden buildings, rebuilt in the late 1970s, are approximately 90 feet long and 10 feet wide. Each contain dozens of private locker rooms, and are nearly identical to their predecessors.
Just south of the beach house are two large, hipped roofed boat houses. Sailboats, paddle boats, and canoes are stored here. The buildings are rectangular, clad in beveled siding, with familiar green shingles on the roof. The boat houses contain large wooden doors which open up to a part of the beach are called "the harbor," an area where boats are tied up. Wooden lake canoes, built in 1890 and 1909, are still in service and are stored in the boat houses. Other buildings at the Eagles Mere Beach are the beach shop and a concession stand.
Contributing Buildings: Inns and Commercial Buildings
The majority of the Eagles Mere Historic District's commercial buildings are located at the intersection of Pennsylvania and Eagles Mere Avenues. They include inns, stores, restaurants, and other enterprises. Folk Victorian style Flora Villa Inn [constructed 1892] is in the heart of the commercial district. It has three stories, four dormers, framed clapboard siding, and a large front porch. At the southeast corner of Sullivan and Mary Avenues is another Folk Victorian style inn called the Eagles Mere Inn. Originally called the Hotel Lewis, it was constructed in 1887 for A.C. Little's construction workers. Its appearance has changed little since it opened. Its facade, facing Mary Avenue, is six bays wide and contains two large gabled dormers on the third floor. A porch on the front facade runs the entire length of the building. Its roof is a hip-on-gable arrangement.
Upholding the tradition of the former Crestmont Inn is 'The Crestmont." The Crestmont, a much smaller version of the original inn is located in the former Crestmont employees' lodge [constructed in 1926]. The building is a two story bank building, with a hipped roof and aluminum siding, designed in the Prairie style. The adjacent former wash house is the lodge's restaurant and bar. It was constructed in 1908.
The main group of contributing commercial buildings in the Eagles Mere Historic District are the Eagles Mere Village Stores. Always used for various types of retail stores, the buildings now house gift shops and a small restaurant. The largest building, once known as Kehrer's general store was constructed in 1885 with the large western extension added in 1904. A 50 x 60 foot clapboard building with a cross gabled roof, this two-and-one-half story building contains a half dozen stores, with entrances throughout the building. On the front, or north, facade, a row of stores are protected under a shed-roofed porch, sheltering a walkway in front of the shops. A large "burglar alarm" box is attached to the front of the building between the second and third floors. The garret overhang above is supported by embellished brackets.
The commercial center also has two small Shingle style buildings, the former Post Office constructed in 1902 and the former Miller Drug Store constructed 1903, which sit on the southwest corner of what is now called the Village Green. The one-and-a-half story buildings are nearly identical. Each are approximately 15' by 25', with hip-on-gable roofs facing the street and bracketed pent roofs over the front doors. Front doors are flanked by large windows, allowing plenty of natural light into the buildings. Their walls are clad in a combination of German siding and wooden shingles, including a hexagon shingle pattern on the former post office.
The Sweet Shop [constructed in 1885], has historically housed a restaurant and ice cream parlor. The two story building on the northwest corner of Pennsylvania and Eagles Mere Avenues has two large shed dormers with dual windows occupying the front facade on the end gable. A pedimented porch roof shelters the double door front entrance. It is clad in dark shingles, and the eaves are open and bracketed. Next to the Sweet Shop is the "Player's Lodge," [constructed 1886]. Originally a bakery and ice cream factory for the Sweet Shop, the cottage has housed summer performing actors for decades. The two-and-one-half story Queen Ann style cottage has a huge front porch, a front gabled roof, and patterned wood shingles and clapboard cladding its walls.
The Eagles Mere Fire Company and Community Hall building [constructed 1942] on Laporte Avenue holds community meetings, fire equipment, fire company meeting rooms and storage space. It is also the site of the yearly Fire Company Carnival. The H-shaped building has a garage entrance on the right wing, and openings on the inset center and left wing. The one story bank building also has machined shingled siding and twin gabled roofs on the wings.
Contributing Buildings: Churches
The Eagles Mere Historic District contains five churches, four of which are still active. All are in or near the original village and were constructed between 1887 and 1905. The Episcopal Church and the former Baptist Church [constructed 1889], are exemplary examples of the Shingle style. Saint Francis of Assisi Church and the Presbyterian Church [constructed 1887] are designed in the Gothic tradition. The Federated Church [constructed 1907] is a Shingle style building on the corner of Allegheny and Laporte Avenues.
Saint Johns-in-the-Wilderness Episcopal Church is located on Jones Avenue just north of Allegheny Avenue. Designed by Philadelphia and then New York architect A. B. Jones, the building was completed in 1894. It is one of the few all stone buildings in the Eagles Mere Historic District. While its cross shape and massing resembles H.H. Richardson's Trinity Church in Boston, its rubble sandstone exterior resembles Richardson's Ames Gate Lodge (1880-1). Its highest point is approximately 50 feet tall, and is crowned with a steeply pitched pyramidal roof. Its apse is covered by a gabled roof which curves around the semi-circular exterior wall of the apse. Its two entrances and windows have arches highlighted with stone voussoirs. Stone pillars support the gabled rear entrance. A three foot dry laid stone wall surrounds the entire property. The inside is illuminated with colors formed by its stained glass windows. Biblical depictions are found in the large stained glass windows in the apse. The interior plan is Romanesque, with thick curved arches supporting the roof above. Its interior walls are plastered. The alter is cut stone, embedded with pieces of glass from the Lewis Glassworks.
On the southwest corner of Eagles Mere Avenue and Geyelin Avenue is Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and Rectory. The original section was constructed in 1905; a rectory was added in 1916, and further additions were constructed in 1923. The Gothic Revival building, clad in dark stained shingles, contains an end gabled roof and entrance extension located under the north facing gable. Pointed arched windows on the side of the building allow light into the nave. The rectory, attached to the rear of the nave, is a two story gambrel roofed structure, also clad in dark wooden shingles.
There are six contributing structures in the Eagles Mere Historic District They represent a variety of forms and uses. Two of the most visible structures are the Launch and the water tower. Besides the lifeguard motor boat, the Hardly Able, also called simply, "the Launch," is the only motorized boat allowed on the lake. The Launch is the fourth of the boats that transported people around the lake since the original side-wheeled steamboat (the Pioneer) began operating in 1881. Once a major source of transportation, today the Launch is primarily a sightseeing boat. It also provides regular service between the Edgemere, where its boat house is, and the beach. The recently restored craft, painted white with a gray interior, has a wooden hull and canvas top. It contains a gasoline powered mid engine, and seats approximately 15 people.
The water tower [constructed in the early 1900s] is just north of the former Crestmont Hotel. It is a ten foot diameter, 65 foot tall metal cylinder shaped structure resting on a 15" by 15" cut stone base. The structure, owned by the Eagles Mere Water Company, stores water pumped from the lake for Eagles Mere's water supply. It is the tallest structure in the district.
The Laurel Path follows the lakeshore. Described above, hiking the two mile trail is one of Eagles Mere's most popular activities.
There are two bridges in the Eagles Mere Historic District, the Lakewood Avenue bridge and the Laurel Path footbridge, both spanning the channel that separates the lake from the outlet pond. The cut stone and concrete vehicular bridge built circa 1925, is high enough to allow boaters passage between both bodies of water. It is the district's sole vehicular bridge. Its scale and materials do not distract from the otherwise natural lake setting.
The Eagles Mere Historic District has one contributing site, the Athletic Field, just north of the Beach. Formally a baseball field, the field is now used for a variety of sporting activities.
Hiking Trails and Paths
Several hiking trails called the "arrow trails" are in and around the district. Since being laid out around the turn-of-the-century, they have provided Eagles Mere with a major source of recreation. The Eagles Mere Historic District contains sections of the Red, White, Green, Yellow, and Blue "Arrow" Trails, along with the Laurel Path, are mainly wooded trails and are well maintained. (The Laurel Path is a contributing structure because of its use, location, and it is entirely within the district.)
The Green Arrow Trail connects the Park to the Crestmont. The White Arrow Trail begins at the Park and leads out of the district to the west. The Red Arrow Trail circles the Park. The Blue Arrow Trail begins at the Crestmont and travels south to rock formations out of the district. Hikers still enjoy such natural sites as Table Rock, the Labyrinth, Sullivan View, the Panther Den, Castle Rock, Glacier Rocks, and Prospect Rocks. (Some of these are located along the trails outside of the district.) The trails, which have undergone little change, give people a nearly identical walking experience to hikers at the turn-of-the-century. The trails and surrounding scenery are some of the most preserved features of the Eagles Mere Historic District.
Small Scale Landscape Features
The Eagles Mere Historic District contains many small man-made landscape features (which are generally excluded from the resource count and inventory, except where noted.) One of the most significant features is the district's many large stone walls, especially in front of the larger cottages. Two to three feet high, most are built of rubble sandstone, and capped with large rounded stones or cut sandstone. In the early days of the district, walls and fences were necessary to keep livestock from wondering into yards. Locations of corners, ends, or gates are often marked with large pillars. The Fitch Cottage has a patterned wrought iron fence, held in place with stone pillars. Many other cottages have large hedges in front.
Other small scale landscape elements are the series of small wood bridges over the various springs along the Laurel Path and other paths. Also found can be springs surrounded by masonry walls, gazebos, shelters and benches, often with beautiful views of the lake or forest.
Many cottages have small signs bearing the cottage name. These simple wooden signs substitute for street numbering. Favorite cottage colors are dark brown stained shingles, dark green siding (especially on garages and boat houses), and green asphalt roofs.
Visitors walking through the former hotel sites may also find traces of the hotels. The Crestmont grounds contain the most intact resources, described above. Tennis courts, shuffle board courts, foundations, steps, sidewalks and outside lighting fixtures remain on many of the hotel sites.
Few cottages in Eagles Mere are heavily landscaped with plantings or shrubbery. (Recently, however, many owners are landscaping their property with mulch.) The cottages along the north side of Eagles Mere Avenue contain large lawns that slope down to the edge of the Laurel Path. Many of the major streets, such as Laporte, Allegheny, Pennsylvania and Lakewood Avenues, closely follow the natural terrain. In fact, compared to the prescribed lots in the original village area, cottages along Pennsylvania and Lakewood Avenues appear in a random manner, like small country roads.
New elements have also been added to the landscape, such as the town clock. Freestanding "gas" lights (electric lights made to look like gas), which burn at night, were also placed along Eagles Mere Avenue in the commercial area.
The Eagles Mere Historic District retains the important physical characteristics that have made it attractive as a resort destination for over 100 years. These characteristics include both architectural and natural elements. The large cottages lining the streets continue to dominate the historic landscape. Very few cottages have been lost to man-made or natural causes. Their settings behind thick stone walls and their commanding views of the lake remain. While all cottages have experienced change, very few have been severely altered to the extent that they are unrecognizable. Churches, commercial buildings, and most boat houses also remain, with few major alterations.
The district has noncontributing cottages, yet few disrupt the Eagles Mere Historic District's overall architectural integrity. They are mainly smaller cottages than their predecessors, and contain materials that blend well with the district's natural wooded and built historic setting. The district does contain some exceptions to this, however. For example, the positioning, location, and size of the noncontributing cottage [constructed 1990], as it relates to the adjacent contributing Sunnyside Cottage, has already been discussed. On the other side of the lake, the handful of cottages constructed in the late 1980s and early 1990s at the base of Crestmont area visually intrude on the wooded side of the district.
In addition to the intact contributing architecture, the most striking example of the Eagles Mere Historic District's integrity is the lake and its immediate shoreline. The lake, the bathing beach, the Laurel Path, the forest on the east side, the boat houses and beach structures, along with the canoes and the Launch, have undergone the least alteration. The lake, the most important attraction in Eagles Mere, continues to be known for its cleanliness, clarity, and refreshing waters.
Today, almost all of the Eagles Mere Historic District's cottages are well maintained and used throughout the summer. Many, like the L.S. Smith Cottage 1901 on Laporte Avenue and the Hartley Cottage on Eagles Mere Avenue have been carefully restored. The owners of the Hartley went so far as to remove an unsightly 1960s era winterized addition on its west side. Vinyl or aluminum siding, along with rear or side additions, has been the biggest change to Eagles Mere's contributing cottages. Two vivid examples are the blue 1960s era aluminum cladding on the originally shingle clad Munson Cottage, and the recent vinyl siding of Shadow Lawn. Fortunately, neither alteration has severely altered the appearance to the extent, of making the cottages noncontributing. The vast majority of cottages have their original shingled or clapboard siding and simple landscaping.
One of the most visible, yet subtle, changes to occur in the Eagles Mere Historic District is its gradual reforestation. At Lewis's departure (1829), the lands south and west of the lake were largely farmland. The Crestmont Inn area was cleared, ironically, not by man but by a cyclone in 1892. Period photographs show great vistas of the lake, cottages, and surrounding mountains mainly because there were few trees to block the views. The district is now shaded mainly with maple, cherry, hemlock, and beach trees. Since cottages began to be constructed in earnest in the 1880s, the residential areas gradually allowed trees to grow, and undeveloped areas to reforest. Today, the lake is largely hidden from public view in the summer, except for vistas from the intersection of Lake and Eagles Mere Avenues, the beach, and the Laurel Path footbridge. The finest views are still found from the large cottages on the north side of Eagles Mere Avenue and the Crestmont, albeit now condominiums.
In summary, Eagles Mere's integrity as a turn-of-the-century summer resort remains intact. Almost all of the cottages, religious, leisure, and commercial buildings remain. Most of these buildings continue to be used for original, resort-based purposes. The lake, trails and forest, also largely unaltered, remain as the Eagles Mere Historic District's major attractions. Although buildings at the beach were moved near the turn of the century, while others have been rebuilt, the beach has not lost its early twentieth century appearance. As a historic district, it remains the intact, highly popular, and heavily used social and recreational hub of Eagles Mere. Its dark green buildings and gabled and hipped roofs echo the predominant color and shape of non-residential buildings throughout the district, creating a certain continuity not found outside of the district. Boat houses, built around the same time as the great cottages, remain as the only structures ever allowed to actually be constructed on the lake's shore line. The Launch, meanwhile, still ferries passengers across the lake. Most importantly from an architectural point of view, the vast majority of the district's grand cottages lining Eagles Mere and Pennsylvania Avenues, or the modest cottages in the Park and elsewhere in the district, are highly intact reminders of Eagles Mere's past.
The Eagles Mere Historic District is historically important in the areas of recreation and landscape conservation for its association with the mountain and lake resort leisure movement in the last quarter of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries. A primary summer time destination for upper income families from such places as Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Williamsport, Pa., it is perhaps Pennsylvania's largest and best preserved specimen of a turn-of-the-century resort community. In addition, the Eagles Mere Historic District is significant for its large concentration of domestic resort architecture, including exemplary Shingle, Queen Anne, and Craftsman style buildings, primarily constructed during the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The district is also important as an early example of a successful conservation effort. Since the 1870s a series of individuals and organizations has worked to ensure that the surrounding natural beauty of the district was never compromised by development of the resort, local industry or outside forces. Thus, the Eagles Mere Historic District satisfies National Register Criterion A for its statewide significance as a resort and as an early example of conservation, while the quality, quantity, concentration, and integrity of its architecture satisfy Criterion C. Eagles Mere exists as a peaceful late nineteenth/early twentieth century mountain top resort community with a large, unspoiled glacial lake, sandy beach, wooded shoreline and forested reserve. Eagles Mere continues to be a popular destination, attracting visitors from across the nation who return year after year to participate in its traditional resort activities, stay in its 100 year old cottages, and enjoy its preserved natural beauty and historic character.
Summary History of the District
Eagles Mere's architecture and traditions are rooted in the late 1800s and early 1900s, however the community traces its beginnings to the early 1800s, when it was first settled. Prior to this time, Susquehannock, Lenni-Lenape, and Iroquois Indian tribes hunted around the Lake, giving it names such as Lekaumenupak (Sand Lake) and Wapaleechen (White Water). These names were significant because they recognized the fine natural sand that covers the north end of the glacier-created lake. It was this sand that led to the community's founding and the first settlement in what became Sullivan County.
Once part of William Penn's lands, the area was owned by Charles Walstoncraft of Philadelphia in 1794. He associated with Joseph Priestly, Jr. (son of the discoverer of oxygen), General Gates, and George Lewis. Lewis, a wealthy Englishman who was residing in New York at the time, was commissioned by the English business establishment to buy real estate in America. At a dinner attended by these men in 1794, it is believed Priestly described the area to Lewis.
Lewis bought the Lake and 10,217 acres from Walstoncraft in September, 1794. Turn-of-the-century historians note that Lewis was deeply impressed by the health aspects of living on the mountain, far removed from the yellow fever epidemic ravaging New York at the time. In 1803, he settled near the lake. Lewis surveyed the lands, designed a community, and by 1808 operated a glass works on the south end of the lake using the sand found on the lake's north end, the present site of "the beach." Sand was floated across the lake on barges to a glass factory located on what became known as "Lewis Hill." Difficulties in transporting the finished glass and the end of the War of 1812 brought financial ruin to the operation.
The Lewis Glass Works era lingered to 1829, when Lewis returned to England and died there in 1830. Only one building, the former "Lake House," a boarding house, survives from the Lewis settlement. Constructed by 1803, it is now the rear section of the Lewis S. Smith cottage [constructed 1879]. The land passed through a succession of owners until Philadelphia Judge J. Richter Jones bought the property in 1845 with the goal of establishing a resort community. Because of the Civil War, Jones was unable to realize these plans. In 1863 Jones was killed in action in North Carolina. Jones' wife, Anne Eliza Clay Laussat, also of Philadelphia, is credited with changing the name from Lewis Lake to "Eaglesmere," symbolically heralding in the modern resort era.
Heirs of the Laussats', the Geyelins', also of Philadelphia, began selling building lots south of the lake in 1877. The land restrictions contained in the lots sold by the Geyelin estate were continued after 1885, when the lake and 1,000 feet around the lake were purchased by four men: Robert Allen of Williamsport, Pa., attorney James Gamble of Hughesville, businessman John R.T. Ryan, a lumber and railroad businessman, and Benjamin Welch, of Philadelphia, and part owner of the Williamsport and North Branch Railroad. This group became known as the Eagles Mere Syndicate. Approximately two years after the formation of the syndicate, Gamble died and Welch's interest was sold to DeWitt Bodine, president of the Hughesville (Pennsylvania) National Bank. John B. Breed also purchased an interest in the syndicate at about this time. The syndicate not only developed much of the land around the lake, but, along with Eagles Mere hotel operators, promoted the resort, planned and built its infrastructure, laid out hiking trails, developed the beach area, and helped finance the Eagles Mere Railway. (Today, the syndicate's legacy is the Eagles Mere Association.)
Beginning around 1877 (the start of the Eagles Mere Historic District's period of significance), and especially by the late 1880s, Eagles Mere became Pennsylvania's answer to a movement that was sweeping the nation. Americans escaped the cities and headed for mountain and lake resorts for leisure, recreation, health, entertainment, and cultural activities. Eagles Mere attracted families from the eastern United States, particularly wealthy families from Philadelphia, Williamsport (then a prosperous city based on its lumber economy), and Washington, D.C. To accommodate these visitors, five large hotels, and dozens of rental cottages, commercial and religious buildings were constructed around the lake as the century came to a close. Eagles Mere lake became the main attraction for swimming and boating.
The large hotels are gone, but the cottages, most of which are in the Eagles Mere Historic District, are prime examples of well-preserved, Shingle, Queen Anne, Craftsman, and other architectural styles frequently found in similar resorts at this time. The district's architecture, activities, and traditions survive, making evident Eagles Mere's history and significance.
The Eagles Mere Historic District is significant for reflecting a broad pattern of American history (National Register Criterion A), specifically, in the context of recreation as a major resort destination from the late-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century. The context of recreation, as it pertains to the Eagles Mere Historic District, began in 1877, when land south of the lake began to be developed for vacation cottage lots. By the 1880s, hotels opened and the village was advertised in brochures as a resort destination.
Eagles Mere may have developed far differently had it not been for a syndicate that purchased most of the former Richter Jones family holdings in 1885. The syndicate helped plan the community and establish many of the activities that continue to this day. Soon after its purchase of the lake and surrounding land, the syndicate began positioning Eagles Mere as a major resort destination. A Wilkes-Barre, Pa., resident named Embley S. (E.S.) Chase was hired to manage the syndicate's holdings and lay out building lots. Chase, a civil engineer, arrived in 1886 and remained general manager of the syndicate and later the Eagles Mere Land Company for 36 years. Prior to coming to Eagles Mere, Chase was employed by the Williamsport and North Branch Rail Road. He was instrumental in the resort's early development. Chase laid out the street plan, helped organize the community into the Borough of Eagles Mere in 1898, designed the water and sewer systems, organized the fire company, plotted the lake's bottom, helped create water and electrical systems for the community, built the first golf course (a four hole course west of the lake where embankments can still be seen, cut the Laurel Path, built the original footbridge, designed the ice toboggan slide, began the water carnival (a yearly parade of lighted floats that are pulled from one end of the lake to the other), and helped design the Eagles Mere Railway.
In addition to selling building lots, the syndicate also formed a boat company, established a bathing beach on the north end of the lake, and began advertising the area as a resort. It was at this time (mid-1880s) that Eagles Mere's large Shingle style cottages on the lake's south end and west side began to be constructed. The syndicate attracted prominent citizens to Eagles Mere; the cottages they built are their legacy. A social register of Eagles Mere around the turn-of-the-century would include such as names as A.P. Brush, rector of St. James Church in Williamsport; William Emery of Williamsport; O. H. Reighard, Williamsport lawyer; Lewis Smith, owner of Muncy's (Pa.) Clapp & Smith store; E.M. Green, President of Citizens National Bank (Williamsport); William Hayes, physician; C. LaRue Munson, Judge of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court; C. W. Woddrop, railroad executive and Vice President of Williamsport's First National Bank; Edward Bailey, President of Harrisburg National Bank; Richard and Henry Clay, prominent in Philadelphia society and nephews of Judge Richter Jones; W.C. Dodge, United States Patent office attorney from Washington; Henry Geyelin, wealthy Philadelphia lawyer and investor; C.C. McCormick of New York City; J. Horace McFarland, famous photographer, writer and publisher from Harrisburg; and the Brown brothers, for whom the public library in Williamsport is named; and other prominent individuals.
The syndicate's direct influence in land development, resort management, and promotion helped to create and preserve the resort community as it is known today. In 1892, the syndicate became two corporations, the Eagles Mere Land Company and the Eagles Mere Boat Company. Its members eventually owned many of the large hotels, real estate concerns, including cottage rental and the Eagles Mere Railway, and organized several social events which remain as integral traditions of the resort.
Near the turn-of-the-century, the gentlemen who ran the land and boat companies and the hotels further latched onto the nation's interest in combining health, leisure and recreation as a vacation activity, becoming the chief producers of advertising brochures promoting the town's natural beauty, medicinal value, and modern comforts found in the hotels. Eventually, the sanitary, rail and electrical power systems established by the syndicate enabled various business interests to advertise Eagles Mere as a "choice family resort." Much was made of the fact that there were no factories, but excellent sanitary and electrical systems.
As Eagles Mere grew into a major resort, visitors had numerous choices of places to stay, including large hotels, small inns, boarding houses, and cottages. From the late 1880s and continuing through the 1940s, there were five large resort hotels in the Eagles Mere Historic District, and several smaller hotels. By 1919, the five hotels could accommodate over 1,100 guests. The services they offered paralleled those of many resort destinations, such as Pocono resorts during this time. The hotels included the Hotel Eagles Mere, which was located on the present Village Green facing Eagles Mere Avenue (opened in 1879, closed in 1960, demolished in 1962) the Raymond, located on the Northwest corner of Mifflin and Pennsylvania Avenues, (opened in 1886, burned and demolished in 1941); the Forest Inn, in what is now the Park on the north end of the lake, (opened as the Chautauqua Inn in 1896, became the Forest Inn in 1906, closed in 1965, demolished in 1978); the Lakeside Hotel, on Eagles Mere Avenue overlooking the lake, (opened in 1880 as a small boarding house, was significantly enlarged in 1888 and 1900, closed and demolished in 1961); and the Crestmont Inn, on the east side of the lake, (opened in 1900, closed in 1975, demolished in 1982). The Forest Inn and the Crestmont Inn had associated cottage communities. Most if not all of the cottages associated with these hotels and others with the Lakeside remain.
The hotels provided employment of the local craftsmen, landscapers, cooks, waiters, etc. The need for such individuals was satisfied by descendants of George Lewis' glassworkers, as well as workers from local towns. At their height, the hotels employed approximately one thousand staff members each summer. Except for the craftsmen, many hotel employees came from local colleges. Chefs, many African American, were hired from big city hotels and restaurants. In later years, children of vacationers also worked in the hotels.
The hotels also played an important part in Eagles Mere's development. The Lakeside, for example, began as a small guest house in 1880, which became popular with friends of the founder, John S. Kirk. It grew to become one of Eagles Mere's largest and most prestigious hotels. The Forest Inn began as a part of the Chautauqua movement. The Crestmont Inn began after its founder, William Yardley Warner, observed the site in 1899 and envisioned a resort hotel on it. (A cyclone in 1892 had removed the trees from the hill.) The Crestmont Inn and the Forest Inn are described below because their architectural legacy is an important component of the Eagles Mere Historic District. Each area contains a cohesive architectural and social history.
The Forest Inn grew out of the late nineteenth century Chautauqua movement and became a major factor in the development of the district's north end, which became known as "the Park." The Chautauqua movement was a religiously based enterprise begun by Methodist Bishop John H. Vincent at Lake Chauatauqua, New York. Chautauquas brought together America's late-nineteenth century interest in culture and religion, usually in natural, secluded, settings, such as Eagles Mere Lake's north end. The Inn was founded by Benjamin Welch (owner of the Williamsport and North Branch Railroad) and his brother, Reverend Joseph Welch. In 1896, they began the Eagles Mere Chautauqua and opened the Chautauqua Inn. General James Beaver, governor of Pennsylvania and an officer in the Chautauqua, presided at the opening ceremonies.
The popularity of Eagles Mere as a summer resort soon overshadowed the cultural-based Chautauqua. In 1902, the Chautauqua closed; its inn became a resort hotel. Dozens of cottages were built north of the hotel, adding to the 12 built during the Chautauqua years. All remain. In 1906, the inn was enlarged and renamed the Forest Inn. Also terminated with the Chautauqua was the "School of Methods," one of eight such schools in the United States dedicated to training Sunday School workers in the "methods and principles of teaching." The Forest Inn was also used for many seasons as a YMCA summer conference site. Cultural events continued on the Forest Inn's grounds long after the demise of the Chautauqua. The Playhouse, which collapsed in the mid-1970s, became the workshop for the internationally recognized theater director Alvina Krause. Its ticket booth sits behind the Beach Shop. (Today cultural events occur in the Dewire Center).
Another notable person who worked at the Forest Inn and helped guide Eagles Mere's future was Edgar Keiss. Keiss managed the Forest Inn from 1908 until his death in 1930. In 1912 he became a major owner of the Eagles Mere Company, the latter having controlling interest in the Forest Inn, the Park, and the natural lands north of the Park. Keiss also served as a United States Congressman. Ownership of the Forest Inn included ownership of the Amusement Hall, or Casino. ("Casinos" were a popular name given to resort amusement buildings at the turn of the century.) Designed by the Philadelphia architectural firm of Rankin and Kellogg, who also designed the Altamount Cottage for the Emery family, the Forest Inn's Casino was a large two story Shingle style building, measuring 64' x 116'. The Casino became the scene of social and entertainment events throughout the first half of this century. After sitting empty for several years, it was demolished in the early 1980s.
On a hill east of the lake, the Crestmont Inn became the largest of the hotels, and offered the most amenities, including swimming, golf, and hiking. It also became a major tennis tournament destination, a popular sport then, as now. The huge four-story hotel contained dark wooden shingles and a cupola which enabled visitors, according to brochures, to see twelve counties. While the large hotel operation is gone, the influence of its architecture and outdoor activities help Eagles Mere continue as a resort, making evident the past. Most of the Crestmont-built cottages remain while noncontributing cottages are mainly hidden by vegetation. Like the Park, the Crestmont area continues to be a distinct community within the Eagles Mere Historic District.
Eagles Mere's hotel industry began to decline after World War II. Changing lifestyles and vacation patterns helped to undermine the hotels. With the advent of superhighways and jet travel in the 1950s and 1960s, Americans were able to travel to more exciting destinations, with modern facilities, in distant parts of the country. Eagles Mere's hotels, open for summer only, failed to generate sufficient capital to modernize or install safety systems. The influence of the lake enabled the resort to successfully evolve to a mainly all-cottage community while the hotels faltered. Unlike other resort communities, such as Buckhill Falls or Pocono Manor, Eagles Mere's popularity was never based entirely on hotels. The longevity of Eagles Mere's appeal is based upon its sense of community, the lake, and its cottage life style, much like the resort community of Mount Gretna, in Lebanon County, Pa.
In addition to the large hotels, there were many smaller hotels surrounding the lake. Two of these hotels, the Eagles Mere Inn (1887), at the corner of Mary and Sullivan Avenues, and the Flora Villa (1890), on Eagles Mere Avenue, still operate. There is also an inn operating out of the Crestmont Inn's former employee lodge and wash house.
Like many turn-of-the-century resorts, Eagles Mere was, for a time, reachable by train. Although railroads enabled resorts to be located far from major population centers while providing affordable transportation, the resort was eight miles from the nearest line until 1892. The hotel owners realized this could be an obstacle for business, and in that year, financed the construction of a narrow gauge line. It connected Eagles Mere to the small town of Sonestown in the valley south of the resort. Two stations were built in Eagles Mere, one near the Conservancy cabin east of the outlet pond and the second near the Forest Inn, but neither survive. Sonestown was a station for the Williamsport and North Branch Railroad (W&NB). Prior to the Eagles Mere Railway, travelers had to take an exhausting carriage ride up the mountain from Sonestown. Once in operation, Philadelphia travelers could take the nightly Pennsylvania Railroad Pullman sleeper car directly to Sonestown, after connecting through the Halls station near Williamsport. Disembarking in Sonestown, passengers then took the fifty minute ride to Eagles Mere, arriving less then twelve hours after leaving Philadelphia.
After World War I and with the increasing number of cars and paved roads in the area, passenger business on the railroad declined sharply. With revenues falling, the Eagles Mere line was sold to a consortium of Eagles Mere hotel owners. In 1926, after a storm washed out part of the track, the Eagles Mere Railway ceased operating. The railway no doubt helped fuel Eagles Mere's success for a time, providing more efficient transportation while giving the resort a status symbol of modern times. It also allowed people to take day excursions to the resort, a popular activity around the turn-of-the-century. The day trips enabled those without the means to stay at the hotels to enjoy the resort. (The rails and ties are long gone. Approximately one mile of the eight mile line is now a hiking trail east of the lake and within the historic district.)
In 1881, a steam powered side-wheel launch began service on the lake. This was the first of four water taxis that have transported vacationers and sightseers around the lake. Like many lake resorts in the nineteenth century, Eagles Mere used steamboats for both transportation and enjoyment. The steamboats provided a link between the railroad station, the hotels, and the beach. Today's "Hardly Able" [commonly referred to as "the Launch"], is a recently restored World War I U.S. Navy launch brought to the Lake in 1918 on the Eagles Mere Railway. The gas powered launch replaced the larger steam powered boats that preceded it, and continues to be used for trips between the Edgemere (south end of lake) and the beach.
Although many visitors to Eagles Mere stayed in hotels, often for several weeks on end, cottages have always been popular at the resort. Cottages built of the time had large porches, enabling people to socialize while enjoying the cool mountain breezes and views. Along with the high integrity of the district's man-made and natural elements, the resort's traditional social and recreational activities remain, largely because of the relatively unaltered disposition of these elements. For example, today's summer residents still spend much of their time on the large covered porches found on just about all of the district's contributing cottages and smaller inns. This complements the traditional activities of swimming, boating, tennis, and hiking.
Two major factors that have changed in the last fifty years have to do with employment. One is the absence of summer residents arriving with domestic help as part of their summer households. Many of the contributing cottages, originally designed as summer residences, were built with the ability to accommodate non-family staff members. Another major change is the absence of the summer jobs once provided by the large hotels for the year-round and summer youths. This void has not been filled.
The Eagles Mere Historic District contains a collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth century architecture which is perhaps unsurpassed in the number, quality, and size by other resort communities across the state. Although most of its contributing resources are cottages, its architectural legacy can also be found in religious, water-related, and commercial resources. The Eagles Mere Historic District's resources make evident Eagles Mere's history as a major mountain and lake resort.
There are four main groups of resources in the Eagles Mere Historic District: the original village on the south end of the lake; cottages along Pennsylvania Avenue west of the lake; the Park on the north end of the lake; and cottages and condominiums located on the grounds of the former Crestmont Inn. Most of the district's resources are summer cottages. Their size and style reflect their owners' social traditions and the prevailing resort styles.
Although Eagles Mere's cottages have many styles, predominant is the Shingle style. This architectural style was popular in late nineteenth century upper class resorts, primarily in the Northeastern United States. Wealthy resort property owners often preferred this style over the earlier High Victorian and Gothic styles. Eagles Mere's Shingle style architecture, like the style in general, incorporates elements of nature, local materials, and strives to be picturesque. The style's natural theme complements Eagles Mere's natural setting and exemplifies its historic resort context. The number and condition of the majority of these and other contributing cottages built in the district make evident the district's superb architectural integrity, especially when placed within its turn-of-the-century historic context of resort architecture. Most of the Shingle style resources can be found south and west of the lake, and particularly on Eagles Mere and Pennsylvania Avenues. Most were constructed within a short period of time from the late 1880s to the very early 1900s and many are owned by descendants of the original owners. Cottage construction was accompanied by the building of hotels, commercial buildings, and the Presbyterian, Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist, and Baptist churches. With the exception of the hotels and a few cottages, almost all buildings still exist and are well maintained.
Many Shingle style resources in the Eagles Mere Historic District were built by A.C. (Albert Charles) Little, an "architect" and builder from nearby Picture Rocks. An 1894 brochure called Route of the Williamsport and North Branch Railroad, and the Eagle's Mere Railway stated: "Mr. A.C. Little, of Picture Rocks, a prominent architect and builder, has erected about three-fourths of the cottages at Eagle's Mere. Their appearance attest to his knowledge of architecture. They are handsome throughout and are the crowning ornaments of art to Nature's completed work."
Little built some of the Eagles Mere Historic District's larger and most significant cottages. These include the James Gamble Cottage also known as "Altamont" [constructed 1885], the Roberts Cottage [constructed 1903], and the Ryan Cottage [constructed 1885], all in the Shingle style, and the Bodine Cottage [constructed 1880 and 1885], a Gothic Revival style cottage. All of these cottages are on Eagles Mere Avenue. While Little probably designed many cottages or solicited the help of pattern books, two prominent architects designed at least two buildings he built. A.B. Jones, a New York architect, designed Saint John-in-the-Wilderness Church on Jones Avenue [constructed in 1894]. The Philadelphia firm of Rankin and Kellogg designed the Gamble cottage. Other major builders in the district included C.A. Brink and A.C. Little's son, Frank.
Many of the Park's cottages and its layout show the Chautauqua's profound influence. Twelve Chautauqua-owned cottages were constructed in what is now the Park between 1896 and circa 1902. When the Chautauqua ended and became the Forest Inn, the cottages were leased by the Forest Inn to private individuals, and the area was given the name, "Eagles Mere Park," or simply, "the Park," in 1906. It is difficult to trace the exact construction dates of these original twelve cottages, however, the Chautauqua operated between 1896 and 1902. More cottages were built and leased after 1906. By 1930 the Park had 54 cottages, although it is believed the majority of these additional cottages were built between 1906 and 1910. The Chautauqua cottages and others in the Park are primarily small Shingle and Craftsman style cottages, largely built by C.A. Brink. The Park's cottages have had few major alterations and none have been demolished. A few noncontributing cottages have been built in the Park, but mainly at the ends of the Park's streets. They are not major intrusions on the Park's historic character. The Park's highly intact collection of cottages reflect the Chautauqua influence and other prevailing resort architectural styles, thus preserving the historic context, of the community. The original plan and cottages are similar to another Pennsylvania Chautauqua, Mount Gretna, in Lebanon County.
Although the Forest Inn no longer stands, its sidewalks, streets, light posts, caretaker house, and other visual elements join the cottages in representing the Forest Inn's past glory and continuing importance to the historic district.
Another group of resources that survive as a result of a hotel is around the former Crestmont Inn overlooking the east side of the lake. Throughout the twentieth century, the Crestmont Inn owners constructed several cottages and other buildings around the hotel. These include tennis courts and pavilions, shelters, a restaurant, a swimming pool, an employee lodge, garages, etc. The majority of these buildings, including the cottages, are clad in dark shingles, similar to the hotel's cladding and for that matter, many buildings in the district. Similarly, most of the Crestmont buildings were of the Shingle style. Thus, the buildings near the Crestmont were linked architecturally to the main hotel building, and, although the main building has been replaced, this architectural continuity is present today in the cottages and outbuildings on the site. In addition, a 19 unit condominium building built in the 1980s was constructed nearly on the original footprint of the hotel, providing continuity between the old and the new. Like the hotel, the condominium contains a large cupola and is built around the former hotel's large open lawn. Today, the "new" Crestmont, its restaurant, the condominium, the cottages, recreational facilities and associated activities demonstrate the hotel's continuing influence on Eagles Mere.
The Eagles Mere Historic District's 15 boat houses and beach building, reflect the vernacular origins of a mountain and lake resort at the turn of the century. They demonstrate the importance of boating and bathing, while their subdued colors and natural materials (mainly German siding painted dark green or brown, like most outbuildings in the district), reflect the lake's natural surroundings. The boat houses also form the link between the district's historic cottages, which could not be constructed on the edge of the lake, and the water, where boat houses could be built. Many continue to be owned by owners of the properties originally associated with the boat houses.
Protection of the Eagles Mere's natural resources, especially the lake, its shoreline, and much of the forest surrounding the lake (and to a large extent, vast acreage immediately outside of the district) may be the single most important factor affecting Eagles Mere's continuing ability to attract vacationers. Much is owed to the foresight of the early founders of Eagles Mere whose separate efforts together represent a very early example of community wide conservation planning. Before the syndicate purchased the lake in 1885, William Bradford, acting as agent for the Geyelin family, sold lots on the south end of the lake with the restriction that no buildings (besides boat houses or docks) could be constructed within 100 feet of the lake, and that the lake must remain available for "public use."
When the syndicate began selling property on the south and west sides of the lake in the mid-1880s, it maintained the restrictions established by William Bradford. This restriction allowed the lake to visually remain in a natural state and continues to provide walkers along the Laurel Path with an unspoiled view of the lake and its rocky shoreline. The right to erect boat houses/docks is restricted to the owners of lots whose original deeds specifically grant these "lake rights." As a result, the shoreline now sustains the maximum number of boat houses/docks that will ever exist. In addition, the syndicate forbade properties from discharging sewage into the lake. These restrictions have preserved the lake and shoreline's natural setting and environmental quality to this day, unlike other resorts that were not so fortunate as to have had proper land management. For example, the small resort community of New Egypt, New Jersey was virtually destroyed after its lake became polluted during World War I from a nearby sewer (Dorothy S. Mount, A Story of New Egypt and Plumsted Township (NJ), 1979). Green Lake, Wisconsin, a lake resort with a similar history to Eagles Mere, has a shoreline built up with vacation cottages which dump sewage into the lake, which is now covered with algae and weeds (William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West, W.W. Norton & Co., 1991).
The fact that Eagles Mere Lake is a spring fed lake situated on top of a mountain may be as important as its restrictions. Not only is the water that enters the lake pure, but it never muddies after storms. (Contrast Eagles Mere's lake to the town of Laporte's Lake Makoma, just six miles away. While Eagles Mere was becoming a major resort in the 1880s, Lake Makoma, a man-made lake, experienced broken dams. To the dismay of Laport's investors, it has never rivaled Eagles Mere as a resort destination.) The syndicate's actions helped make possible the abundance of popular outdoor recreational and leisure activities dependent on the lake and forest, turning Eagles Mere into a major summer resort.
(The 100 foot restriction helps the lake remain in a natural state. It provides walkers along the Laurel Path an unobscured view of the lake. Boaters enjoy the natural and wooded rocky shoreline of the lake. The right to erect boat houses/docks is restricted to the owners of lots whose original deeds specifically grant these "lake rights." As a result, the shoreline now sustains the maximum number of boat houses/docks that will ever exist. In 1961, the Eagles Mere Land Company and Eagles Mere Boat Company, owner of the lake, shoreline, and beach, was bought out by the newly formed Eagles Mere Association. The Association was created by concerned property owners to preserve the lake, shoreline, land west of the lake, the beach, and the buildings and boats located at the beach.)
Several individuals were instrumental in the preservation of Eagles Mere. Edgar Keiss, manager of the Forest Inn, and U.S. Congressman, was instrumental in preserving vast areas north of the Park for a nature preserve. His support enabled the original 400 acres of the Park to expand to 1,000 acres, distancing the resort from lumbering operations. (Most of this land lies outside of the district, yet has helped preserve the wooded buffer around the Park. Today, much of this land is maintained as a forest and game reserve by the state.)
Other individuals, including Aubrey DeLong, a forester, and J. Horace McFarland, helped manage this area, called the Eagles Mere Forest Reserve, and, in the early 1900s, developed a series of trails, complementing the Laurel Path. Aubrey DeLong was a forester employed in Eagles Mere for a variety of projects. In 1926, he was hired as the manager of the Eagles Mere Land Company and the Eagles Mere Boat Company, the successors of the syndicate. The trails, called the Red, White, and Green Arrow Trails, were used extensively by visitors in the early twentieth century, and continue to be used and maintained. The Forest Reserve was created by J. Horace McFarland explicitly "for scenic and sanitary purposes," important elements in the resort's ability to attract visitors.
A key figure in the preservation of the lands in and around Eagles Mere was J. Horace McFarland (1859-1948). McFarland was a naturalist, horticulturist, and photographer. Author of several books, including Eagles Mere and the Sullivan Highlands (1944), McFarland was responsible for not only preserving the resort's natural features, but other parts of the country as well. He was one of the country's first naturalists, leading spokesman for the City Beautiful Movement, and the first president of the American Civic Association, a national group devoted to cleaning up the country's cities and parks. His speaking tours took him to hundreds of cities. Residing in Harrisburg, Pa., the publisher was responsible for scores of promotional brochures about Eagles Mere. Without McFarland's efforts, it is possible that Eagles Mere would not have the secluded wooded setting that it has today. His family maintains his original cottage in the Park called "Bide A Wee."
(In addition to the efforts of the Eagles Mere Association, another organization continues the tradition of preserving land in and around Eagles Mere. In 1981, when the Crestmont Inn land was in danger of being developed, a group of Eagles Mere property owners purchased the land. Except for 15 acres immediately surrounding the former inn, the remainder of the Crestmont property [approximately 250 acres] has been protected by the Eagles Mere Conservancy. The existence of these large protected lands, and others surrounding the district, have helped to preserve the district from over-development and industrial exploitation that occurred in other resorts and nearby towns.)
In conclusion, the Eagles Mere Historic District is a surviving microcosm of life in a middle to upper income mountain lake resort between 1877 and 1945. The high state of integrity of its architectural and natural resources reflect its successful history as a popular resort destination, despite periodic downturns brought about by changing leisure patterns and its aging resort hotels. While rural Pennsylvania's vernacular landscape continues to change in appearance and use, the Eagles Mere Historic District, which constitutes the bulk of the borough, has changed little. With the exception of the hotels, almost all of the original resort resources remain, exist in their near original appearance, and continue to be used for their intended resort-related purposes. These resources include cottages, retail buildings, beach buildings, boat houses and churches. The appearance of many of these buildings is significant in its own right, for the district has an array of large, well-maintained Shingle style and other notable architecture popular in turn-of-the-century mountain and lake resort destinations. During the period of significance to this day, Eagles Mere Lake and much of its surrounding natural areas have been protected, providing recreational and aesthetic pleasures for over 100 years. This physical history is augmented by the more subtle traditions of the ice toboggan slide, water carnival, water sports, walking trails and families who return year after year and vacation in homes that date to the resort's beginnings. The mechanisms for preservation put in place by the Geyelin land owners, the syndicate and later the Eagles Mere Land Company, enabled the resort to continually attract summer residents.
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