The Brown Swan Club located in Schroon Lake, NY was designed by Glens Falls Architect Ward Grover Shippey (1885-1963) for owner Philip Rice of Warrensburg, New York. Construction on the club grounds was started in 1916 with the erection of the first building, a framed two story brown clapboard sided cottage named “Windemere”.
At the time the construction the hillside site was cleared of most trees which provided an unobstructed view of Schroon Lake.
A year later in 1917 the main building of the Brown Swan Club was added just to the west of Windemere Cottage. The “Club” was a three story brown clapboard structure with dormer windows projecting from the third floor hip roof. The front porch was supported by a rustic stone foundation with stone pillars supporting the roof. The first floor contained a reception desk and lounge at the entrance. An office was located to the rear. The stair case to the second floor was just to the left of reception and the dining room occupied the left third of the building. The kitchen was located to the rear of the first floor.
The second floor contained rental rooms and the third floor housed staff.
Three cottages to the east of the “Club” and “Windemere” were constructed in 1917 as shown in the picture below.
A picture postcard shows the extent of the Brown Swan Club as it looked in the first season of the summer of 1917.
Below is the 1917 Dining Room before the addition was added to the Brown Swan Club. Note the rustic furniture and cobblestone fireplace.
In 1929 Phil Rice decided to expand the Brown Swan Club with a number of additions. The first was an expansion of the main “Club” building with the addition of an expanded Dining Room. Note that the front veranda of the building was expanded.
As part of the 1929 expansion of the club grounds a number of cottages were built on the grounds of the Brown Swan Club. All were designed by Architect Ward Grover Shippey.
Today many of these buildings are still extant including the Main “Club” Building. They are all part of the Word of Life Complex located at Schroon Lake, New York. The Ward G. Shippey collection contains many more pictures of the Brown Swan Club including the service buildings for the complex.
Photos: All photographs were taken by Ward G. Shippey, Architect.
posted by Tom Lynch, grandson of Ward Grover Shippey
contact: [email protected]
Source: The Ward G. Shippey Collection # 28 at the Warren County N.Y. Historical Society.