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Huntington Lodge Restoration Gets High Marks

"It's perfect!"

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Joanne Murphy expressed the sentiments of the first guests to see the completed restoration of Huntington Lodge in October. The occasion was a dinner for the ESF Board of Trustees hosted by Joanne, her husband (and ESF President) Neil Murphy, and the AEC staff.

The goal of the project was to recapture the lodge's original Great Camp look. The knotty pine paneling, the spruce stair rails and the whole-log archways reflect the original vision of architect William West Durant. The result combines the ideas of AEC educator Paul Hai, the architectural design work of ESF architect Gary Peden and the craftsmanship of Joel Delia, Joseph Novak and Thomas Steven. Their work provides a rich setting for craftsman furniture created by L. & J.G. Stickley Inc. and obtained by the College through the generosity of the Audi family, owners of the Stickley company.

The entry of the 1911 lodge brings guests into a foyer that features a reconstructed, historic fireplace and a staircase reflective of vintage Durant architecture. The foyer opens onto a formal dining room. New floor-to-ceiling windows draw in the late afternoon sunlight. A painting of Wolf Lake Cabin done by the late Justus Mueller, who taught at ESF during the 1930s and '40s, and restored by West Lake Conservators of Skaneateles, has been placed over the dining room fireplace.

The bedrooms have been reconfigured into suites with beds made up with Hudson's Bay blankets.

But, as always, the lodge's centerpiece is the first-floor Trophy Room. Multiple-pane windows restore the picture-window view of Arbutus Lake and its stunning sunsets. Archer Huntington's chair, an oversized easy chair, was reupholstered by Stickley. Rocking chairs, a leather sofa, and an oriental rug complete the look.

"Now that the work at Huntington Lodge is complete, we are turning our attention to restoring Arbutus Lodge and the landscaping to the same rustic elegance that existed a century ago," said Dr. William Porter, AEC director. "Our goal will be to have another honored guest say, 'It's perfect!'"