Welcome to Science Lake, a favorite park attraction with an interesting history. Science Lake was built in 1926 as the new location for a science camp popularly called "The School in the Forest." Chauncey J. Hamlin, president of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences and a member of the original Allegany State Park Commission, initiated the science camp program, recognizing the potential of the area as a public park and as a place for serious nature study. The original science camp operated from 1921-1926, serving school-aged children. (2) The main building looked very much like this architect's drawing, 1926. Sullivan W. Jones, State Architect and Harry F. Hudson Associate Architect. The camp at Science Lake, known formally as the Allegany School of Natural History, operated from 1927 to 1940. It served students who had the equivalent of a high school education and a serious interest in science. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts used the camp through the 1940s and early 1950s. The abandoned camp buildings were torn down in the early 1960s. Several stone chimneys and foundation pilings are all that remain. (9) A typical student cabin, 1927. An ornithology class, 1928. Red-wing Blackbird. Wild Turkey. Photographer: Sara Bove. Ruby-throated hummingbird. Wild Geranium. Spring Peeper. Photographer: Thomas
LeBlanc. Hummingbird, blackbird and red fox images courtesy of United States Fish & Wildlife Service. Allegany School of Natural History: 1. Open Air Museum, 2. Main School Building, 3. Laboratory, 4. Library, 5. Dining Hall, 6. Icehouse, 7. Well, 8. Double Cabins, 9. Student Cabins, 10. Washhouse, 11. 75-foot Garages, 12. Bridge, 13. Student Cabins, 14. Creek, 15. Spillway (3) In the geology lab, 1928. Dolostone (Not found in park). Shale. Conglomerate. Wood Fern. 12-Spotted Skimmer. Red Fox. Science Lake was the first of three man-made lakes in Allegany State Park. A small dam built across a deep ravine created a lake about 20 feet deep and 3.6 acres in surface area. (15) Park workers pour concrete for the new dam, 1926. Science Lake with the dam and school buildings in the background, 1929. Students conducted scientific studies on birds, flora, geology, reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies under the direction of University of Buffalo science faculty. The results of their studies were published by scientific journals, and by the New York State Museum in a series of handbooks. (1) View of the open air museum, 1928. The sign reads: Open Air Museum, Allegany School of Natural History, Visitors Welcome. Dr. Albert Schadle of the University of Buffalo leads a zoology class. Crayfish. Sunfish. Image courtesy of New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation.