Great Architects of New York: Henry J. Hardenbergh
Kingfisher Tower
Address
N/A
Location
On the east bank of Otsego Lake in Otsego County, N.Y., behind a thick forest west of County Highway 31. It's two miles north of Cooperstown and six miles south of Springfield, as the crow flies.
Built
c. 1876
Style
Gothic Revival
Use
Public art
AIA Guide
N/A
Landmark Status
Within the Glimmerglass Historic District, designated in 1999.

Straining the eyes along a long narrow lake, as one might search for the Loch Ness Monster, one sees a mini-castle standing near the shore of upstate Lake Otsego, N.Y. What is this mysterious structure, and who put it there? Like the Dakota and the earlier and later sets of townhouses on West 73rd Street, this tower was built for Edward S. Clark, who made his fortune on the Singer Sewing Machine Company and vacationed in Cooperstown. It was built"to beautify the lake" and "to provide construction jobs during an economic downturn" (PDF!).

As you may have guessed by looking at my pictures, one can't get too close to this tower without renting a boat. From the closest point on land, it is hidden behind a thick forest and a barbed wire fence. But my how it beautifies the lake. There is a beautiful winter postcard of this tower taken by Richard S. Duncan and put out as part of a coffee-table book sold at the Farmers Museum in Cooperstown. Another wonderful postcard photograph is put up by the Daylily Dreams Bed & Breakfast. Dan Coveny has also taken a georgous autumn photo as well.

To recap: This tower looks great in all seasons: spring & summer, fall and winter.


The east and south facades of the tower face the shore. Photo by Bob Sheridan.


A short peninsula connects the tower to the lake shore. Photo by Bob Sheridan.


Tower, as seen from the western shore of Otsego Lake.


Kingfisher Tower is visible at a great distance from the Cooperstown waterfront.


One can glimpse the tower from County Highway 31 during the winter months.