When I was a child my parents packed my brother and I in a ten year old 1938 Chevrolet. They filled the trunk with camping gear and off we headed for the Adirondacks.
I remember sleeping in a chemically preserved surplus World War II tent made of heavy canvas. We spent a few nights at Piseco Lake and another few at Raquette Lake.
I remember a river strewn with large boulders. It was great fun jumping from one boulder to another.
And there were these monstrous logging trucks. They had nine gears forward. The music of the large engines and the shifting gears was a symphony to my brother and I. We would sit in the back of that old Chevy and just smile from ear to ear.
No words needed to be spoken. Just as one logging truck would disappear around a curve behind us another behemoth would appear ahead.
Then I became a ‘youth.’ We continued packing the car, albeit a newer 1949 Chevy, full of camping gear. But now it was fishing, boating, dance halls in Inlet, wait-girls from Big Moose Lake Lodge and other such semi-adult activities.
As an adult seeking a break from my everyday duties, it was trout fishing in several Adirondack rivers and streams. On those streams I discovered things that I had somehow overlooked in my childhood and youth.
There were old abandoned logs, ancient dams that no longer held water back, sluiceways made of laid up stone and every once in a while a very old truck abandoned in the middle of nowhere with large trees growing through its rotting hulk.
The most amazing find was an old blast furnace from 1850’s which no one had paid attention to for over a century and a half. It had been used to smelt iron ore.
The furnace had also had been hidden by the forest. Three men could stand one atop of each other in the archways. The inside of the chimney was still coated with glass created by molten sand. The sand had undergone metamorphoses along with the iron ore.
It was only then that I realized our old Adirondacks were being lost. Parts of it had already been turned into a tourist trap. There were fake museums and faux Indian beaded moccasins and purses.
Our beautiful woods were disappearing.
This whole tourist thing had started back in the mid-1800’s. It was perpetuated by several men but I believe the Durants had the most to do with it. So you will see mention of the Durants from time to time.
The Durants were railroad people, large land owners and builders of enormous lodges.
So although they did bring money and progress to the Adirondacks they also started something that was unstoppable; commerce.
I thought it might be good to collect these old photos and wood prints. Then, I added a few words in an attempt to explain each image.
Finally I found Thomas Tahauwas.
This series will tell his stories.
Some of you have heard them before. However, I know that you may enjoy sitting around the campfire and hearing them again.
Thomas Tahauwas has much to tell us so it may take a month or two to hear all he has to say.