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Tahawus: A Ghost Town In The Adirondacks

Ghost towns are normally depicted in Wild West movies, but here in the Adirondacks, we have our own abandoned town: Tahawus. Located in the northern portion of the Town of Newcomb, Tahawus' history dates back to the 1820's when iron ore was first discovered there.


When they found iron ore in the Adirondacks in 1826, Archibald McIntyre and David Henderson saw a business opportunity and decided to begin a mining operation called Adirondack Iron & Steel Company. They recruited workers and built a village to house them. The village was originally named McIntyre after one of the founders, but was re-christened "Adirondac" in the 1840's.

In 1856, Adirondack Iron & Steel met its demise due to transportation difficulties, iron ore impurities, a disastrous flood, and eventually McIntyre's death. The residents of Adirondac moved on to other jobs in other areas leaving the town deserted.

20 years later, a hunting and fishing club moved in, building cottages and repopulating the village. They renamed it Tahawus, and eventually the National Lead Company started a titanium mining operation there. After many years of success, workers were ultimately transferred from Tahawus to Newcomb, and the village once again became a ghost town in 1962.

Although it was twice abandoned, Tahawus holds an important place in U.S. History. The most well-preserved building in the village - McNaughton Cottage - is where Theodore Roosevelt was staying in 1901 when he received word of President McKinley's assassination and deteriorating condition. He made his famous midnight ride from Tahawus to Buffalo to take over for McKinley.

Today, you can drive through Tahawus and see the remains of buildings constructed 100 years ago. The severe winters have done a number on many of the structures, but you can still get a good idea of what the village looked like in its prime.

Check out our video of what Tahawus looks like today:

Want more history? Learn about fire towers in the Adirondacks »


Photo Credit: Another Collapsing Adirondac Village Building via photopin (license)