Woodchuck Lodge gains exposure in nationwide Ford magazine

An article in the current issue of My Ford magazine has brought national attention to naturalist John Burroughs and Woodchuck Lodge, his Catskill Mountain retreat in Roxbury.
The article, which spotlights the unlikely friendship of Burroughs and industrialist Henry Ford, appears in a magazine that goes to an estimated four million Ford automobile owners. Countless more viewers can read the story online, and see a short video featuring Woodchuck Lodge Board President Bill Birns and Burroughs’ great-granddaughter Joan Burroughs.
Written by Seth Putnam, the piece features period photos as well as images and videographry by Jonathan Kane, son of prominent photographer Art Kane who once lived in Margaretville. Jonathan Kane works for Time Inc. Content Solutions, which produces the quarterly publication. Kane visited Woodchuck Lodge two summers ago and initiated the story.
“Century of Change” looks at the friendship between Burroughs and the man who spurred the advancement of industry, Henry Ford. The writer, driving a 2014 Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid, visits the lodge, the Catskill Center for Conservation & Development in Arkville and Burroughs’ Slabsides in Ulster County, while ruminating about technological changes since Ford sent the elderly Burroughs a Model T in 1913.

New relationship
This unexpected gift sparked a relationship between Ford and Burroughs, which lasted until the older man died in 1921. Ford visited Burroughs at Woodchuck Lodge several times, and even helped clear rocks from a pasture on the Burroughs family farm adjoining the lodge. Burroughs named the field “The Ford Lot,” chiseling it on a roadside boulder, which can still be seen today.
Both men were farm-raised, and both were avid bird fanciers. With inventor Thomas Edison and rubber magnate Harvey Firestone, they were known as the Four Vagabonds, enjoying several highly publicized camping trips to sites around the East. One of those trips began in the apple orchard at Woodchuck Lodge.
Ford attended Burroughs’ funeral in West Park and his burial in Roxbury. He and wife Clara owned Woodchuck Lodge for more than 20 years following the naturalist’s death until the property returned to the family.
Woodchuck Lodge, listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, will once again welcome visitors in 2014. Free tours will be offered the first weekend of the month, May through October, and several nature programs are planned.
For more information, and to donate to the upkeep of this treasured landmark, visit www.woodchucklodge.org, where you will find a link to the My Ford article on the home page.