Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Adirondack Trivia: The Presidential Mountains

trmountainmwannerwikiNew Hampshire’s famous Presidential Range in the White Mountains has many peaks named after presidents and other famous statesmen. While we don’t have a range here in the Adirondacks dedicated to our nation’s leaders, we do have several mountains that bear presidential surnames. They weren’t necessarily named after White House occupants, but the name is the key if you like trivia games, which I do. Giving it some thought, how many can you name?

The High Peaks by far get the most attention in the Adirondacks, but because I began favoring less-traveled areas many years ago as popular trails became more crowded, I climbed some lesser-known mountains that happened to have presidential names. In the trivia realm, that helped me list a half dozen before I turned to digging up some additional examples. Without revealing their names just yet, here’s a bit of info about each.

President #2 is by far the easiest because of its location near Marcy, so if you didn’t get that one, this will be a stiff trivia test. But on the plus side, if you read on and check out some links, you’ll discover the locations of several mountains you probably didn’t know existed, which isn’t a bad thing. We focus so much on the High Peaks that the majority of other hills and mountains are overlooked. Some we see often, but just don’t know their names.

President #7 is a good example, one that many of us have driven by in the Keene area on our way to grander destinations. President #9 is represented in the northeastern Adirondacks, about a dozen miles north of Giant Mountain, in a range that offered solitude decades ago when most climbers were fixated on Marcy and company.

President #12 is covered in Essex County, north of Elizabethtown in the town of Lewis, and at a second location in Warren County, five miles southwest of Lake George.

Some of you may have guessed that President #16 was represented, and you’re right. The location is just two miles northeast of #9, and three miles east of the Jay Covered Bridge. I’ve visited both #9 and #16, along with the next one, President #17, which is found in the far northern Adirondacks, very close to Clinton Prison. Infamous Dannemora escapees Richard Matt and David Sweat slogged their way across its lower slopes in summer 2015 as they headed west to avoid capture. Folks living in the North Creek area may be aware that President #17 is also represented nearby, about a mile north of Wevertown.

Farther south, near Saratoga, President #18 is honored by a mountain (named after him) several miles southwest of Glens Falls, near Lincoln Mountain State Forest—which, oddly enough, seems to have no site officially designated as Lincoln Mountain.

About six miles slightly northeast of Minerva in Essex County is a mountain bearing the name of President #19 (which makes four in a row). From that point, a peak just six miles to the northwest carries the surname of President #26—on a route where he famously raced into Adirondack history. In 1999, an unnamed peak near Marcy received a new title officially bestowed by Governor George Pataki, further honoring President #26 by attaching his famous initials as its new name.

A peak near Schroon Lake in the east bears the name of President #28, who is also covered by a distant mountain in the northwestern Adirondacks, several miles north of Cranberry Lake in St. Lawrence County.

And if you’re still guessing at some of the names, here’s a clue: Presidents #6, #23, #32, and #36 are also represented among the group, for they each bore the same surname as one of their predecessors.

If you’ve clicked on the links provided, you’ve seen where each mountain is located, but that probably didn’t help much in determining who was represented … so here they are.

President #2: John Adams (and #6, John Quincy Adams), by Mount Adams, a couple miles east of Henderson Lake at Tahawus.
President #7: Andrew Jackson, by Jackson Hill, near Keene in Essex County.
President #9: William Henry Harrison (and #23, Benjamin Harrison), by Harrison Hill, near Jay in Essex County.
President #12: Zachary Taylor, by two Taylor Mountains, near Lewis in Essex County and near Lake George in Warren County.
President #16: Abraham Lincoln, by Lincoln Mountain, near Jay in Essex County.
President #17: Andrew Johnson (and #36, Lyndon B. Johnson), by Johnson Mountain near Dannemora in Clinton County and Johnson Mountain near Wevertown in Warren County.
President #18: Ulysses S. Grant, by Grant Mountain, north of Wilton in Saratoga County.
President #19: Rutherford B. Hayes, by Hayes Mountain, northeast of Minerva in Essex County.
President #26: Theodore Roosevelt (and #32, FDR), by Roosevelt Hill, a few miles east of Newcomb in Essex County. Teddy was further honored in 1999 with the renaming of an unnamed peak near Marcy as T R Mountain.
President #28: Woodrow Wilson, by Wilson Hill near Schroon Lake in Essex County, and by Wilson Mountain in St. Lawrence County, north of Cranberry Lake.

Photo: Marcy Dam Pond in 2008, from Marcy Dam, showing, left to right, T R Mountain, Mount Colden, Avalanche Mountain (Mwanner, Wikimedia Commons).

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Lawrence Gooley, of Clinton County, is an award-winning author who has hiked, bushwhacked, climbed, bicycled, explored, and canoed in the Adirondack Mountains for 45 years. With a lifetime love of research, writing, and history, he has authored 22 books and more than 200 articles on the region's past, and in 2009 organized the North Country Authors in the Plattsburgh area.

His book Oliver’s War: An Adirondack Rebel Battles the Rockefeller Fortune won the Adirondack Literary Award for Best Book of Nonfiction in 2008. Another title, Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow, was a regional best-seller for four years running.

With his partner, Jill Jones, Gooley founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004, which has published 83 titles to date. They also offer editing/proofreading services, web design, and a range of PowerPoint presentations based on Gooley's books.

Bloated Toe’s unusual business model was featured in Publishers Weekly in April 2011. The company also operates an online store to support the work of other regional folks. The North Country Store features more than 100 book titles and 60 CDs and DVDs, along with a variety of other area products.

5 Responses

  1. Justin Farrell says:

    Nice article, thanks for sharing!
    It has inspired me to look over some maps to see if there are any others.

    How about some honorable mentions….

    – Like Hamilton Mountain, not a President, but one of our founding forefathers, and he is on the ten dollar bill.

    – How about Thomas Mountain for Thomas Jefferson

    – Or how about Bald Peak for President Eisenhower haha!

    – Or Bullhead Mountain for George W. Bush lol.

    – Or how about Black Mountain for…. Nevermind. 😉

  2. Larry says:

    Good stuff, Justin! Thanks for following up. I’ll have more trivia-type things in the future. I think it’s fun, and at least in a small way it helps educate us about other parts of the Adirondacks. I sure learn a lot from all the digging!

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