1967-The Institute Opens Its Doors
The Darrin Fresh Water Institute Laboratory was first opened at Lake George on Smith Bay across from Hague in 1967. During the 1970s, David M. Darrin '40 established the first of several endowments to DFWI. In the 1980s, the Darrin family provided additional funding to purchase the new site for DFWI at Bolton Landing, which would be closer to RPI and more visible to the Lake George community. The site purchased by RPI was formerly the "Sunnyshores Summer Resort" until 1981.
The story below is a recollection of the early history of the Bolton Landing site as told by Mrs. Moore during a visit in 1986. At the time, Mrs. Moore was approximately 85 years young. She was the daughter-in-law of the original builder of the main house on the property. She was kind enough to provide us with some interesting photographs from the turn of the century.
Rear Admiral John W. Moore
USN Rear Admiral John W. Moore, retired commandant of the Brooklyn Ship yards, bought approximately 1.7 acres in Bolton Landing in 1894 from the Finkle Family. They named it "The Mooring's". Construction of the main house was done in 1894-1896. (Which now serves as the living quarters, eating and cooking facilities for DFWI). Mr. and Mrs. Moore vacationed each summer there with their six children and two servants. Mr. Moore I believe died in 1916. His love for the area is noted by the fact that he is buried in the Bolton cemetery, not Brooklyn where their permanent home was.
The original construction consisted of three buildings: the main house, the Brookside cottage (originally a one story "playhouse" for the children), and a boathouse. After Mr. Moore's death, the family sold the property in the late 1910s to an individual (Dr. Boehm, I believe) who added the wainscoting to the lower level of the main house and finished the stone work on the fireplace. No information is available as to other improvements he made to the property.
In the mid 1930s the property was purchased by a couple who began running the site as a summer resort. During the 1930s and 1940s three cabins on the lower site and hillside cabin were built. It is presumed that during these years the larger kitchen wing was added to the main house to accommodate the serving of meals to guests staying in the bedrooms upstairs. It is also assumed that the "Brookside" cabin was raised to two floors during this period where the lower level, with its concrete slab and garage type doors housed storage of equipment for the resort during the winter months. At a later date, part of the "Brookside" lower level was converted into a rental unit for guests. In the mid 1960s the four-room motel unit was constructed near the road.
Since purchasing the property, Rensselaer has continued to maintain all of the original buildings, though modifying some of the interior rooms for scientific use.
Construction and Renovations for 21st Century Research and Education
In 1995, a state-of-the-art $2.5 million Research and Teaching Facility was constructed. This building replaced the old four-unit motel, which served as the laboratory for over 10 years.
During 2002-2003, the main house received a major renovation to become the new Education Center, which now enables year-round research and educational opportunities.
In 2014, Rensselaer built the Helen-Jo and John E. Kelly III ’78 Data Visualization Laboratory (affectionately known as the Kelly Lab). The Kelly Lab is a state-of-the-art research center for high-powered data visualization, designed to mesh cutting-edge graphics processing with modern data collection.