Posts Tagged ‘Tahawus’

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Paddling the Upper Hudson and Opalescent Rivers

Mann_opalescent-600x388Brian Mann and I had been on the water for several hours when we came to a fallen tree stretched across the river. We pulled over to a sandbank to carry our canoes around.

“Human footprints,” Brian remarked.

“So I guess we’re not Lewis and Clark,” I replied. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tahawus: An Adirondack Ghost Town for Halloween

Tahawus Ghost Town in the AdirondacksIt seems that every big city now has a “ghost tour,” but here in the Adirondacks we have our very own ghost town.  And what could be more appropriate than a Halloween tour of a ghost town?

Iron ore was discovered on the banks of the upper Hudson in 1826 and two businessmen, Archibald McIntyre and David Henderson, soon developed a mining operation that they conducted with varying success for the next three decades.  To house the workers, a nearby village was built and named McIntyre, then renamed Adirondac around 1840.

McIntyre’s Adirondack Iron & Steel Company came to an end in 1858, and so did the village.  Reasons for their demise include the difficulty in transporting iron from such a remote mountain location, impurities in the ore that made it difficult to process, a downturn in the global economy, a devastating flood that washed out the dams, and McIntyre’s death.  The settlement of Adirondac again changed names, now being called simply “the deserted village.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Recent Adirondack Search and Rescue Incidents

DEC Forest RangerThe Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Report below is issued intermittently by DEC and is not a comprehensive list of all emergencies in the back-country, these are only a few of those recently reported by DEC.

The events reported below are reminders that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry and always carry a flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

The Adirondack Almanack reports the most current outdoor conditions on Thursday evenings.  On Friday mornings, John Warren’s reports the latest outdoor conditions on WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio.  To subscribe to the weekly conditions podcast.
» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Diane Chase: Learning About Tahawus

Adirodac_CottageUsually a trip to the Upper Works in Newcomb for my family doesn’t include an extended history lesson, but I always have a few interesting facts to tell our visitors while driving this seemingly endless stretch of County Route 25 to the southern entrance of the High Peaks. We are usually there to hike, though the area’s history is just as vast and interesting as its trails.

I share that the McNaughton Cottage is where Vice President Theodore Roosevelt and his family were staying in 1901 when he took his “midnight ride” after receiving word that President McKinley had taken a turn for the worst from an assassination attempt six days before. The Roosevelt family was climbing Mount Marcy when the official word of McKinley’s fate was received via telegram.

I could even give some vague references to the McIntyre Iron Works Blast Furnace and the dilapidated condition of an old mining town called Adirondac.

But now when we go to the Upper Works, we schedule a bit more time to explore this area with the addition of interpretive signs detailing the historical significance of these buildings, the mining operation and the blast furnace that would produce iron for only two years. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Commentary:
Preserving and Promoting Adirondac and the Upper Works

Signage at Blast FurnaceToday I conclude my series on Adirondac the the McIntyre Mines.  The deserted village of and the remains of the operation at Upper Works make for an evocative Adirondack destination.  Though this abandoned settlement’s historically significant mining heritage is known among locals, history buffs, and High Peaks backpackers who use the Upper Works trailhead, it is by no means widely known, or even somewhat known.   There are great benefits to be had if this fact changes.

When the Open Space Institute purchased the Tahawus Tract from NL Industries they put a terrific plan in place to designate the area containing Adirondac and the 1854 blast furnace as a historic district.  Work began some years ago to stabilize and preserve the furnace, the one original village building, McMartin House (or MacNaughton Cottage)  and the cemetery.  However the work has taken years and  I hear through the grapevine that funding is an obstacle.  As a result the implementation of the historic district has been slow.  » Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Adirondac: The Search for the Church of Tubal Cain

Tubal Cain on North Elba 1858 Land MapToday I return to my series on the McIntyre Mines, the Settlement of Adirondac and the romantic sense of the past the area embodies.  Being a ghost town, and an area of historical significance dating back nearly two centuries, the remains of the works, village, and private club possess an unmistakable aura of mystery.

This sense of the unknown, of the forgotten lives and fortunes of those who partook of Archibald McIntyre’s enterprise, extends beyond the experiences of wondering visitors who are discovering it for the first time or the hundredth.  Indeed, despite the fact that the history of Adirondac has been well-chronicled and that primary documents abound (mostly in the form of letters and business records) there are many things that remain legitimate mysteries to this day.  For example there were several furnaces  that were built or improved during the nearly thirty years the proprietors tried to make a go of it.  We still do not know where all of them were located.  We do not know where the original log boarding house sat, nor do we know where the great guide John Cheney lived during his many-year association with the mines. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again in North Creek

tedd-rides-again-450pxTeddy Roosevelt is not available to recreate his historic 1901 ride from the North Creek Train Depot, but nationally recognized Roosevelt reprisor Joe Wiegand will be on hand to fill those famous shoes.

On September 14-15 the Saratoga/North Creek Railway (SNCRR) is providing historic train rides, recreations and special excursions surrounding the theme of Teddy Roosevelt’s famed ride from Tahawus to North Creek. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Newcomb: The Adirondac Cemetery

Gravestone at AdirondacThe most obvious attraction to the settlement of Adirondac in its current state is that is is a ghost town, crumbling and abandoned.  It is no wonder that people find ghost towns appealing, being as they are romantic places tinged with loneliness and even sadness.  Most of all they are landscapes of mystery, places where the imagination can run with little limit, wondering at the lives and stories echoed within.

Like any ghost town and perhaps even more than most owing to its wild, forbidding setting, Adirondac invites mystery.  To the knowledgeable visitor some of that mystery requires little imagination, merely some history.  Where was the earliest furnace?  Where and what was the nature of the house in which legendary guide John Cheney resided?   How many families lived in the settlement at its peak?  These and many other questions have no answer.

When I first became obsessed with Adirondac in the 1980’s I entered into a mystery adventure of my own.  I assumed that there must be a cemetery associated with the settlement and I resolved to find it.  It was more than fifteen years before my wife Amy succeeded. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

David Henderson: The Prince of Adirondac

Henderson MonumentIt was June of 2007 and I was ensconced in the Adirondack Museum library, fortuitously avoiding an unusually muggy early summer afternoon.  I had gone there to do a little research for a work of historical fiction that I thought I might write.  By then my interest in Adirondack history was in full thrall, which made holding the document I had been presented by librarian Jerry Pepper something close to a religious experience.

It was an original letter, written in 1826, well preserved though the paper was a bit brittle and slightly darkened with age.  The script was beautiful; fluid and robust but not embellished or overly fussy.  The writing was sincere, filled with a youthful wonder and spirit of adventure but at the same time composed with a powerful energy and purpose.  Its tone was mellifluous, phrased but unforced, the work of a superb natural writer.  All in all it was – and is – a remarkable document, a singular account of a journey from the early written history of the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

McMartin House: Adirondac’s Last Building

IMG_6774Those  who visit the Upper Works trailhead pass through the remains of the most notable ghost town in the Adirondacks.   The ruined village is known by various names: Adirondac, the Deserted Village, Tahawus (mistakenly), Upper Works, McIntyre.

All of these names (some more historically valid than others) hearken back to the original settlement carved out of the wilderness more than a hundred and eighty years ago by prospectors eager to capitalize on the massive veins of iron ore to which they had been guided by Abenaki Indian Lewis Elijah Benedict in 1826.

However, the collapsing structures lining the old village street and ranging back into the woods date from a more modern era, most around the turn of the twentieth century and into the 1920’s (though the foundations of some are original to the mining village).  The last of them was abandoned as recently as the 1960’s.  Now the Adirondack forest is reclaiming them at its usual unrelenting pace. » Continue Reading.


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