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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Wakonda at Wiawaka Holiday House
Photograph courtesy of Wiawaka Holiday House archives at the Rensselaer County Historical Society.

Barbara McClintock Historic view of Wiawaka guests in front of Fuller Houset
Photograph courtesy of Wiawaka Holiday House.

Mary Wiltsie Fuller, (1862-1943),
progressive activist

Located on Lake George in New York's Adirondack Mountains, Wiawaka is one of the oldest continuously operating retreats for women in America. A progressive activist for women's rights, Mary Wiltsie Fuller, established Wiawaka (the spirit of God in Women) in 1903 to provide affordable vacations for working women who might otherwise be unable to afford such a luxury. Wiawaka was popular with female immigrants working in the shirt-collar factories, mills and laundries of Fuller's native Troy and Cohoes. When it opened, the resort could accommodate up to 38 women and the weekly rate for room and board was $3.50.

Wiawaka was established on the grounds of a earlier 19th-century resort that included several guest cottages and a three-story house that became the hub of the retreat, known as the Fuller House. The resort was purchased by Fuller's friend Katrina Trask, a philanthropist who gave control of the grounds to Fuller. Several more buildings were constructed including boathouses, a dock, an ice house, a barn and a new caretaker's cottage. Fuller also purchased several adjacent acres from Katrina Trask which included a two-story Adirondack-style building, now known as Wakonda. Katrina used Wakonda to house visiting artists, Georgia O'Keefe is purported to be the most famous. Wakonda has been one of Wiawaka's most popular lodges because of its secluded location and its sweeping view of Lake George. Wakonda has been restored and is open for guests. Today, Wiawaka continues as a summer retreat for women offering affordable vacations on a sliding-fee scale and many enrichment programs.

The Wiawaka Holiday House is located on State Rte. 9L in Lake George, New York. Accommodations are available in July and August. To make a reservation or for information call 518-668-9690. Reservations can also be made through the Wiawaka Holiday House website.

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Last Modified: Thursday, 30-Jun-05 15:42:58EST