Green Harbour Manor, the Lake George mansion owned by the Pitcairn family from the 1930s through the 1950s, has been purchased for $6.5 million by Joe Russell and John LaSalandra.
The Bolton Landing residents said their goal was to restore the 1915 Gilded Age survivor to a state of grandeur.
“Our immediate plan is to bring it back to what it was,” said John LaSalandra. “Very few of the places that gave “Millionaire’s Row” its name are still standing; so many have been torn down.”
The demolition of a colonial revival mansion in Bolton Landing, built on the site of Bayview, the home of opera star Marcella Sembrich, was a cautionary tale, said Joe Russell.
“Someone also could easily have purchased Green Harbour, knocked it down and put up a new McMansion in its place,” said Russell. “Preserving a house like this requires patience, time and a love for Lake George and its history. So John and I are perfectly suited for this project.”
According to Russell, the previous owner, Ken Erminger, conscientiously maintained the integrity of the house,
“The bones of the house are incredible,” said Russell. “There remain some cosmetic issues, but we will address those methodically, correctly, over a period of time.”
The house retains many of its original details, said Russell.
When fully restored, the house “will be a time capsule of the vanished era of the so-called Great and the Gracious,” he said.
Restoring the house “is a great way for us to give back to the community,” said LaSalandra,
LaSalandra said saving Green Harbour complimented the architectural preservation efforts of Lake George officials, who prevented a developer from razing a Lake George mansion on the National Register of Historic Places and subdividing the grounds, as well as the Lake George Club Historic Preservation Foundation, which is creating an endowment to maintain the appearance of that 1909 building into perpetuity.
Green Harbour was built for Frederick F. Peabody, president of Troy-based Cluett, Peabody and Co., the manufacturer of Arrow collars and shirts
Peabody owned the house until 1923. According to author Bill Gates, Harold Pitcairn purchased the property in 1934.
Pitcairn and a business partner developed and refined the autogiro – a rotary-wing aircraft, about which historian Joseph W. Zarzynski has written in the pages of the Lake George Mirror.
According to Bill Gates, “the main reason Pitcairn selected Green Harbour for his summer home is that Cooper Point has a large area where his autogiro could land. For many decades, a landing beacon illuminated the end of the point.”
Cooper Point was sub-divided by Ken Erminger. But the 14-bedroom, three-story mansion retains 3.3 acres and 1,585 feet of lakefront as well as a guest cottage, boathouse, and 33 rentable boat slips.