ALBANY TIMES UNION ; July 29, 2020
July 29, 2020Updated: July 29, 2020 4:48 p.m.
LONG LAKE — The Adirondack estate owned by the Whitney family for 120 years is on the market for $180 million.
John Hendrickson, the widower of Marylou Whitney, plans to sell the 36,000-acre estate – including the great camp Deerlands – that has been in the Whitney family since the 1890s.
Hendrickson inherited the property near Long Lake when Whitney, a philanthropist, socialite and thoroughbred owner, died last year at age 93.
“We’ve been very good stewards of the land,” Hendrickson said. “But now I’m living Marylou’s lifestyle without Marylou. It’s not fun. I need to build some new memories. For one person, it’s too overwhelming.”
The property includes the main house, Deerlands, that overlooks Little Forked Lake, one of 22 lakes on the land. The house sleeps 34 in 17 bedrooms. The property also includes a trapper’s cabin from the 1800s and a timber operation. A collection of Adirondack guide boats and canoes are being sold, he said. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report Hendrickson’s plan to market the expanse.
It would not be the first time Whitney property has been sold in the Adirondacks. In 1997, the state spent $17.1 million to purchase 15,000 acres of forest from Whitney. She inherited that land and the property that is now for sale when her previous husband, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, died in 1992.
The neighboring William C. Whitney Wilderness – which includes Little Tupper Lake – is described by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation as featuring “an extensive and historic system of navigable lakes and streams which are readily accessible by canoe, kayak or other non-motorized boat.” DEC also touts fishing, hiking, camping, biking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing at the park.
Hendrickson said that he would not consider selling to the state again, believing a private owner would offer better protection for the land. Prior to announcing the land was for sale, Hendrickson called Gov. Andrew Cuomo to tell him.
“Little Tupper Lake was the home of brook trout,” Hendrickson said. “It was protected for more than 100 years. The state bought it and someone from the public introduced bass and now the trout are extinct from that lake. I have a hatchery with Little Tupper brook trout. I stock the lakes so they’re not completely extinct. I don’t want to see it happen again. It didn’t make me very happy.”
Hendrickson said $5,000 an acre is a bargain because the property is “priceless.” But for him, he said the Adirondack wilderness “is lonely without Marylou.”
“It’s bittersweet,” Hendrickson said. “What gives me happy memories is I got to show her every one of her lakes every day. The day before she died we drove the property. She got to say goodbye to it too.”
He called the chance to buy the land a “once in a lifetime opportunity for someone,” describing it as the size of two and a half Manhattans. He also said its the largest privately owned land mass in New York state that will not be subdivided.
“It’s such a pristine park, there is no property like this in America,” he said. “It’s my wish that it stays the same.”
He plans to keep about 60 acres with a mile of shoreline and a guest house. “It’s perfect for me,” he said. “That’s all I need.”