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Taking the scenic route in Newcomb

March 22, 2012
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

History of the Newcomb area

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Newcomb has a vast, pristine wilderness to explore - the largest in Essex County. It is known for many things, among them, the High Peaks, hiking in Santanoni Preserve, the Adirondack Interpretive Center, Mt Adams and Goodnow Fire Towers and it's many other trails. We also have, hunting, horseback riding, wagon trips, mountain biking trails, canoeing, (rentals are available) fishing, camping, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, and sledding.

Newcomb is also known for entertaining and well done theater productions offered by the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake. Several performances are scheduled for the state-of-the-art Newcomb Central School stage.

Newcomb's diverse history began with Indians, Loggers, Miners and even includes Theodore Roosevelt becoming president of the United States.

According to Indian legend, this region was previously occupied in Colonial times by two tribes of Indians. The Algonquin Nation & the powerful Iroqois. Many artifacts were discovered in the area and although the Indians fished & hunted in Newcomb, there is no known evidence that they lived here during the harsh winters.

Newcomb itself was established March 15, 1828 in the "Center of the Adirondack Wilderness", and is surrounded by unspoiled lakes and majestic views of the High Peaks. Our elevation is 1,500 feet and the major peaks range from 3,000 to 5,344 feet above sea level.

Logging was a large part of the history. Many of the French Canadians who came to work for the logging companies have remained to this day. Farmers of the area also worked for the logging companies in the winter to help support their families.

Finch & Pruyn has been an important part of our logging history. They moved their company from Canada to Newcomb in 1928. The farm was used to supply their various logging camps.

Archibald McIntyre sent his son John, and Duncan McMartin, to search for silver in the Adirondack Mountains. According to legend a young Indian led them to the site where they found large quantities of iron ore on the outskirts of Newcomb Village. They formed the Adirondack Iron & Steel Company. Some of the buildings as well as the blast furnace are still on the site.

Later, the Adirondack Steel Company mine was sold to The National Lead Company who discovered titanium in the area, which was used for paints during the Second World War. The property and developed titanium site is Previously owned by NL Industries. In 2003 the property was purchased by the Open Space Institute

In 1963, The National Lead Company moved the entire Village of Tahawus to the Winebrook area in Newcomb, so they could expand their mining operations. Many of the employees retired and live in Newcomb. In 1990 the Mine closed due to economics.

During the depression the Civilian Conservation Corp., Camp S-129 housed over 200 young men in Company 1297 in Newcomb. We can thank the men in the CCC's for many of our trails and roads we enjoy and use today. They were also responsible for planting many trees.

Archer and Anna Huntington donated their 15,000 acre Adirondack estate to the State University of New York/Environmental Science and Forestry in 1932, to be used for research and education. Huntington & Arbutus Lodges, once joined as an original Durant Adirondack Camp, served as the Huntington's summer camp and retreat. The Adirondack Ecological Center was established in 1972 on the Huntington Wildlife Forest to provide the scientific community and the people of New York with a greater understanding of the Adirondack ecosystem through research.

Teddy Roosevelt spent many vacations as a young lad in the Adirondacks. While staying at the Tahawus Club, located in the township of Newcomb, and hunting on Mount Marcy, Guide Harrison Hall climbed Mount Marcy to inform TR that President McKinley was near death. Enroute from Tahawus to the North Creek train station, TR became President of the United States, upon the death of McKinley. A Memorial Plaque, on Route 28N, marks the site of this event.

Camp Santanoni was visited by Teddy Roosevelt many times. This 12,500 acre Great Camp from the late 1800's, open year round, is being restored and many of the buildings such as the main lodge, kitchen and studio are still there to see. The farm complex: the barn, creamery, smoke house and worker's homes are also being restored. The distinctive gatehouse of stone and wood greets you as you start your hike, bike or ride in on horse drawn wagons to the main house of the Great Camp.

(Information courtesy of Historic Saranac Lake: www.newcombny.com)

 
 
 

 

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