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Wakonda Opening Gala At Wiawaka: It Began With A Dollar And A Dream

Before founding Yaddo in 1900, Katrina and Spencer Trask would invite young artists to their magnificent waterfront property on Lake George for an artist retreat.

It was there that the New York Arts Club held their first retreat, featuring Georgia O’Keeffe as a registered guest-artist. The property featured the then-new Wakonda, a 12 room Adirondack lodge that the artists referred to as the “artists’ roost.”

 In 1903 the Trasks deeded the land to Marry Fuller for one dollar and a bouquet of wild flowers.

It was that generosity that allowed Mary to begin realizing her dream of opening Wiawaka Holiday House and bringing “factory girls” from the local textile mills to Lake George for a much needed rest.

The property featured the then-new Wakonda lodge as well as cottages and the main home.

 For many years, Wakonda provided a peaceful get-away for women from all over. Financial assistance was provided for those facing hardship and/or medical issues.
In 2003 the Wakonda was closed due to disrepair. Although Wiawaka has continued to provide a retreat for women from all walks of life, Wakonda has been missed.
Thanks to the NYS Department of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation, the Wakonda building was stabilized in 2006. This was the first step in working to reopen the Adirondack lodge. It was a great step in the right direction, but there was still a long way to go.
Now the task at hand is to raise funds to update and modernize
  • Electric
  • Bathrooms
  • Maintain structural integrity
  • Furnish restored guest rooms
  • Add space for workshops
  • Create a natural waterfront amphitheater
  • Preserve porches and balconies
  • Preserve historical use of Lake George waterfront.
Wiawaka has received a commitment for a challenge grant from the Charles R. Wood Foundation. Once this grant is matched by community support, the year-long goal of raising $300,000 will have been reached. Community support at Wiawaka’s upcoming gala is needed to restore Wakonda to the Adirondack lodge that began with the generous Trasks and Mary Fuller’s dollar and a dream.
How can you help? On June 29th, Wiawaka Holiday House will host the Wakonda Opening Gala. To get full details for the gala, please visit the Wakonda Gala event page. If you would like to make a donation, but are unable to attend, please visit the Wiawaka Holiday House website and find out how you can make a donation.