McKenzie Pond from Mount Baker McKenzie Pond is a 237-acre pond at the foot of Mount Baker, one mile east of Moody Pond. Its shore is almost entirely state owned; most of it is part of the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area. For nearly the whole of the 20th century, it was the water source for the village of Saranac Lake, with a distinctively good taste.

Before 1900 it was the site of Harvey's Farm, about which little is presently known.  It may have been a horse farm.  In 1900 it was sold to Philadelphia art educator J. Liberty Tadd who built the Adirondack Summer Art School there, which he operated until his death in 1917.  Tadd's way, a short road that leads from McKenzie Pond Road to McKenzie Pond is presumably named for him. 

It was also the site of Menzel's Camps, with its 9-hole golf course, which became Covey's Cabins,

1955 USGS detail of McKenzie PondPlattsburgh Sentinel, July 19, 1901

For a New Water Supply.

A New System Needed at Saranac Lake—Special Village Election.

The village of Saranac Lake is entering upon an era of improvement. At a meeting of the Village Trustees last week it was decided to hold a special village election Tuesday, July 23, at which election the following propositions shall be submitted:

Old Lumber Camp Used as Lodge for Fire Fighters on McKenzie Pond, c. 1900-1910. This image was likely created to record the fire control activities of the New York State Forest, Fish and Game Commission.
New York State Archives

“Resolved That the sum of $50,000 is necessary for the improvement of the water system of said village, for the purchase of a site for a pump house, for the construction of a new pump house, for the purchase of new and suitable pumps and wheel, for the construction of a flume, for the repairing of the reservoirs and intake, for the paying off the floating debt and for making necessary extensions in the water mains throughout village.

“Also, That the  sum of $12,500 is necessary for the improvement of the sidewalks of said village. That the said sums be raised by the levy and collection of taxes to said amount and that the Board of Trustees borrow the said amount and issue the negotiable bonds of said village to said purposes.

Water used in Saranac Lake village is taken from the Saranac river and is pumped by water power to reservoirs, from which the village is supplied by gravity. The water was formerly taken from the river at the dam in the village, but some time ago a pipe was laid to a point 3800 feet up the river from which point the supply is now obtained. The river furnishes an abundance of water which is of more than ordinary purity. The village is rapidly building up along the (banks of the river and for that reason the matter of obtaining waiter elsewhere has been agitated. McKenzie Pond has been suggested as a possible source of supply. This pond is surrounded by high mountains. A part of the watershed is owned by the state and is uninhabited. Except for one small clearing of two or three acres the watershed is covered with forest, and its area is about three square miles, while that of the pond is about 400 acres. It is estimated that the amount of water in the pond is much in excess of the present needs of the village, and that with one foot storage 1,000,000 gallons of water a day could be drawn throughout the driest season; with two feet available storage, 1,500,000 gallons could be drawn, and with five feet available storage about 2,000,000 gallons a day would be available, without diminishing the amount of water in the pond. McKenzie Pond in many respects is a remarkable reservoir for a water supply. The water, as shown by Mr. Whipple's analysis, is of unusual purity. There has been considerable talk of adopting this as a source of supply for the village, and it is not unlikely that it will be done within the near future.

Medina Daily Journal, May 13, 1903

Municipal Water Plant.

Saranac Lake, May 13. — Saranac Lake village voted to issue municipal bonds to the amount of $40,000 to procure pure water from McKenzie pond for domestic use and protection against fires.

Lake Placid News, January 6, 1922

Tadd's Art School Burned

The main building of the J. Liberty Tadd art school at McKenzie Pond near Saranac Lake, was destroyed by fire recently. A gale was blowing but it drove the flames toward the open clearing and this saved the other buildings. The building was used as a residence by Darwin Baker, caretaker, and the fire caught from a cook stove. The Saranac Lake fire department went to the scene and pumped the well on the place dry in fighting the flames. The firemen then used their entire chemical supply but without avail. They managed, however, to save one of the other buildings which stood very near. Practically all the contents of the burned building was saved. The owner of the property and proprietor of the school is now in Florida. The school has long been one of the show points in the Adirondacks.

Lake Placid News, December 15, 1933

...North Elba projects which have been submitted to the state C. W. A. [Civil Works Administration] for approval include clearing shores of McKenzie pond, extension of sewers and water mains, repairing streets and new forest trails with cost estimate of $47,362...