Thousand Island Park is an ideal summer vacation community that sits on the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York. Canada is four miles away and there are signs on the island that direct you back to the “U.S. Mainland.” However, what makes Thousand Island Park so special is its character and history. Imagine street after street of perfect Queen Anne, Shingle, Stick style houses (most people would say Victorian but as a preservationist, I try to avoid that term.) The houses are breathtaking and at least on the outside, have not changed much since the early 1900s.
In the center of Thousand Island Park (TIP) there are tennis courts, a soccer field, a playground, a small library, and a large town green all overlooking the St. Lawrence River and the docks where everyone swims and enjoys the pavilion. The entire community is only as large as a 10 minute run around its perimeter. About two streets are paved, while the rest are dirt and gravel. Hardly any fences exist and dogs are everywhere, but obedient. Children ride their bikes to the “Guzzle” to get candy and ice cream. Everyone goes to breakfast here, which is delicious. It’s an idealistic place, almost unbelievably so. It truly is one of those places where you don’t lock your doors. (Of course there are quirky rules as well, like only 2 cars per driveway in the town, but it’s a minor puzzle to solve.)
Had one of my beloved preservation girls, Ali, not grown up here in the summertime, she would not have decided to get married here and none of us would have heard about this wonderful town. It was a Mary Washington preservation girls (i.e. flamingo lovers) reunion; we had a great time jumping off the dock into the unbelievably clear river water, eating at the Guzzle, and of course, attending the wedding. The weekend included a preservation presentation to the Landmark Society from Kerry and Ali, but I won’t give away the details. (The next issue of Preservation in Pink will include an article about TIP. No one is more qualified to tell you about this place than Ali.) But, three cheers for TIP’s interest in preservation efforts and Mary Wash grads!