John Burroughs' Slabsides
500 Burroughs Drive, West Park, NY 12493 - United States
Slabsides is the rustic cabin retreat of naturalist John Burroughs. The two-story cabin, built in 1995, constructed using rough bark-covered slabs, was a place where he wrote and entertained the growing number of enthusiastic readers of his nature essays.
Burroughs was one of the most popular and influential authors of his day and is credited with creating the modern nature essay. Through his writings and friendships with national leaders, such as President Theodore Roosevelt, he had a profound impact on the emerging conservation movement. Using easily understood prose, describing nature that was familiar and local, he brought the natural world to his readers and imparted a sense of place and purpose in the land and empathy with the natural world.
Slabsides was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1968. It is also a Hudson River National Heritage Area Site of Special Interest. The network of trails in the surrounding 200-acre John Burroughs Nature Sanctuary at part of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Trail system.
John Burroughs’ Slabsides is preserved much as it was in 1920 when the naturalist was last there. Visitors will get a sense of the simple life he lived there from 1895 to 1920, from his cooking corner, open hearth, birch bedstead covered with the spread made by his mother on the family loom, and writing desk. Much of the furniture and trim he constructed himself. The open first floor is trimmed with yellow birch that also provides nooks for books, papers, and magazines.
The tour of Slabsides will include a short presentation on Burroughs' contribution to reading literacy beginning in 1895 and the study of nature in schools.
Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.