Ten-acre Birch Island, in Upper St. Regis Lake, was the site of the summer camp of the Anson Phelps Stokes family; built in 1876, it was the first of what would become a small colony of summer camps of the wealthy and powerful, who had been drawn to the area by Paul Smith's Hotel, on Lower St. Regis Lake. Stokes was a multimillionaire who had nine children; one of the Stokes daughters became a baroness, and Countess Alicia Spaulding Paolozzi spent many summers there in her youth;1 it is presently owned by the Alice S. Paolozzi Birch Island Trust.
New York Times, June 7, 1903
At Birch Island Mr. Stokes is making many substantial improvements in the form of the erection of new boathouses after elaborate plans. On the west side of the island facing St. Regis Mountain a new boathouse replaces the former structure. It has a cobblestone foundation, 28 by 38 feet, and is two stories high. The first floor is devoted to the landing for boats, while on the second floor is a general assembly room which may be converted into sleeping apartments. The exterior of the building is in shingles, stained. There is a veranda 10 feet wide on three sides of the boathouse on a level with the second floor. A feature is the new stone fireplace in the assembly room, and which connects with a stone chimney running from the ground to the top of the building. This new boathouse of Mr. Stokes is considered to be the finest private boathouse on the St. Regis Lakes. The other new boathouse faces St. Regis Lake, on the north, and is intended for the storage of launches and yachts. It is 32 by 40 feet and one and a half stories high.
Malone Palladium, May 7, 1906
Several new buildings are in the course of construction at the camp of Anson Phelps Stokes on the Upper St. Regis Lake. A new heating system will be installed, and it is proposed to make the camp suitable for occupancy occasionally in the winter.
Stokes Record, January 1907, p. 131. We went, as usual, to camp for midsummer, where we had a large family gathering. Sometimes we had between forty and fifty in camp, including servants and guides.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, July 1, 1954
Telephone Service Restored on Island
Through the good offices of R. J. Longtin, president of the Paul Smith's Electric Light and Power and Railroad Company, telephone service has been restored to one of the two old Stokes camps on islands in Upper St. Regis Lake after an interruption of more than 60 years.
In 1884 the late I. N. Phelps Stokes, Phelps Smith and Joe Baker ran a telephone line from Paul Smith's Hotel to Birch Island, at that time the summer home of Mr. Stokes' father, the late Anson Phelps Stokes. They laid a cable on the bottom of the lake to carry the line to the island, now owned by William S. Spaulding Jr.
The old cable was later abandoned. A new one, a quarter of a mile long, was laid last week by Albert Claremont, one of the company's foremen, and Morris Harrigan of Lake Clear. This time the line was laid from the Upper St Regis Boat Landing to Pearl Island, the present summer home of Mr. Stokes' son Harold Phelps Stokes.
• Anson Phelps Stokes, ''Stokes Records'', in four volumes, privately printed, 1910.
1. Adirondack Daily Enterprise, January 18, 2006