Thanks TI Park - Great Idea!

By: Thousand Island Park Landmark Society

Volume 17, Issue 8, August 2022

Ask this editor, Susie Smith, what would make her happy and it would surely be an email and press release received recently from Julie Mathien and Marjorie Snelling. Why? It was an announcement that the Thousand Island Park Landmark Society has started the ball rolling to research and publish a new book describing the last 50 years of life in Thousand Island Park on Wellesley Island.

The Thousand Island Park Main Dock has been an iconic feature along the St. Lawrence River for over 100 years. A small, one story warehouse landing, originally built in 1875, was “remodelled into two-story office and pavilion” by the mid-1880s. That is the same structure present today, though it was widened in the mid-1890s. By the 1990s, the cribbing and other structural members of the Pavilion, along with a gabion cage dock system, were failing and restoration was needed. [Photo courtesy Thousand Islands Park Landmark Society]

In addition to researching and gathering the material, the Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee has put out an RFP - Request for Proposal - to several historic preservation organizations, colleges and preservation firms seeking applications for the contract of writing the book.

Now the next news we want to hear will be that they have chosen a lucky candidate and the project is well underway. This will surely be followed by this editor receiving a copy to review and then to place proudly on the island bookshelf!

Save the Pavilion — Funding for the T.I. Park Pavilion Restoration Project was the result of significant community involvement, grants, and individual contributions. Various fundraisers were held, including a limited edition watch with the image of the Pavilion on the face. The watch, and other historic items related to the restoration, can be seen in the Thousand Island Park Museum. [Photo courtesy Thousand Islands Park Landmark Society]

Press Release: Thousand Island Park Landmark Society Launches Local History Project

The Thousand Island Park Landmark Society, established in 1976 for the purpose of preserving the historical and architectural resources of the “Park,” recently announced its intention to publish a popularly-written book documenting the last 50 years of Park history as part of the Sesquicentennial Celebration scheduled for 2025.  The Landmark Society is a non-profit, incorporated 501(c)(3) organization.

Thousand Island Park was founded in 1875 as a Methodist Religious Campground at the head of Wellesley Island.  One of several religious campgrounds established in the Thousand Islands during the 1870s, it quickly became the largest and has grown from a collection of roughly 500 tents to a vibrant community of over 300 historic cottages.

The Park is now operated as a privately held, non-denominational summer community by the Thousand Island Park Corporation.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. A listing with new information was approved by the National Register in March of this year (2022). The renewal was a full community effort, led by the Landmark Society.

A previous book documenting the Park’s history, Thousand Island Park: One Hundred Years and Then Some by Helen P. Jacox and Eugene B. Kleinhans, Jr., was published in 1975 as part of a centennial celebration.  It is considered by many to be the preeminent work on both the Park and surrounding areas.  The new book, tentatively titled Thousand Island Park 1975-2025. The Preservation Era: Restoration, Renewal and Change, will serve as a sequel.

One theme of the book will be that of change in the economy, families, religious observance, and the fabric of life at the Park.  The birth and growth of the Preservation Movement during the time period will also be a feature of the book with insights into the rehabilitation and restoration of cottages, and public buildings such as the Tabernacle, the Main Dock Pavilion and Wellesley Hotel.

The community history will be set within a broader, regional historical context. The new book will explore notable events that affected the Park such as the Nepco Oil Spill of 1976, the Guzzle Fire (2014), and significant weather events like the Blizzard of ’77, Ice Storm of ’98, Halloween Storm of 2019, and record river levels in the mid-twenty teens.

Applications still open

The Landmark Society's Request for Proposals (RFP) to several historic preservation organizations, colleges and preservation firms seeking applications for the contract of writing the book is still open. The project is expected to take approximately two and one-half years starting in January 2023.

The successful candidate will write a well-researched and documented history of the last 50 years at T.I. Park utilizing documents, photos, maps, and interviews to include social, economic and architectural history of the Park.  The Landmark Society is also seeking volunteers who wish to contribute to the book via interviews.

This project is being funded by the Landmark Society, the Thousand Island Park Foundation and the Thousand Island Park Corporation. For more information about the project or the application process, contact Julie Mathien: or Marjorie Snelling:

By Thousand Islands Park Landmark Society

Thousand Island Park Landmark Society
42831 St. Lawrence Avenue
Thousand Island Park, NY 13692

Landmark Shop and Resource Center Hours:
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturday of Annual Meeting in June - Labor Day
Summer Phone #: 315-215-4144

Mailing Address: 42822 St. Lawrence Ave. Unit 220
Thousand Island Park, NY 13692

Heater photo "Fall Colors" by Andrew Kane, Feather in Flight Productions, LLC. []  To learn more about Andrew Kane see March 2021, TI Life: Andrew Kane: His Photography - His Art, His Passion and His Life by Raymond Kowalski

Posted in: Volume 17, Issue 8, August 2022, News article

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