E33 – Abandoned Adirondacks
Have you ever stumbled upon the remnants of a tragic event while exploring the great outdoors? Picture this: a mysterious plane wreckage on Wright Peak in the Adirondacks. As I delved deeper into the story, I uncovered the haunting truth of an Air Force B-47 Stratojet bomber crash from 1962. The silent memorial of lives lost still lay scattered on the mountain peak, a chilling reminder of the fragility of life. But little did I know, this was just the beginning of my journey into the abandoned places of the Adirondacks, where each discovery held a captivating tale waiting to be unraveled…
In this episode, we will:
- Reveal the secrets behind the Adirondacks’ long-forgotten, abandoned places.
- Traverse the chilling narrative of the B-47 Stratojet’s tragic accident on Wright Peak.
- Step into the eerie shadows of Tahawus ghost town to unmask its mining legacy.
- Discuss the designs and historical importance of Camp Santanoni’s Adirondack architecture.
- Scan the riveting story behind Frontier Town amusement park’s longevity and inevitable shutdown.
Here is a transcript of the podcast. Please remember this was done via AI, so there are typos and mistakes.
Welcome to the roaming Yeti podcast. I’m your host and Head Yeti Beth Schillaci. And we are diving into the Addi files this week. The any files or when I want to dig a little deeper into a topic and I don’t have an expert available, so I send agent Addi, our favorite Yeti mascot out to investigate and she brings back her findings. Welcome to the Addi files. Earlier this year I did an episode with Mark Pulvino about hiking the peaks of the Adirondacks. He talked about the abandoned plane wreckage on right peak. This one has been in the back of my mind for a while. And I wanted to learn a little bit more about it. So once again, I sent an email to learn more, in addition to the plane info, and he presented me with information about some other abandoned places in the Adirondacks. The following are her field notes. Are you ready? Let’s Roam. In the early morning darkness of January 16. In 1962, an Air Force B 47 Strato. jet bombers slammed into the top of right peak in the Adirondack back country near Lake Placid during a practice run. It is thought that the bad weather of freezing rain and wind driven snow caused the crash. It took more than four days to find the first pieces of wreckage. Three open parachutes and part of a wing were found at first, the parachutes were not opened by crew members but seem to have opened on their own during the crash. Remains of two of the men were found about a week later. The third crew man was found later and one man’s remains unfortunately were never found. The plane apparently veered off course due to the bad weather. And we’re probably not aware of the high peaks of the Adirondacks. It was determined that all four crewmen on board died when the plane went down, and the wreckage was scattered across the mountain summit. Just below the summit of Wright peak, you can still find pieces of debris from the bomber. A plaque was placed near the impact site to honor the four lives lost. First Lieutenant Rodney de bloomgren First Lieutenant Melvin Spencer, First Lieutenant Albert Cadet ski and a one see Kenneth R. Jensen Yeah, it was really interesting and sad that that’s still there. Well that that it occurred and interesting that the wreckage is is still there was not removed. But I’m glad that they’re honoring the the four lives lost and I know people climb to just see that and to honor them as well. Um, but in addition to the abandoned wreckage, we also it also track down some other abandoned places that you can check out throughout the Adirondacks. Most of them you’re available, you can go check out there’s one unwillingly when we get there, I’ll tell you. The first one is to Hollis, which is also known as Adirondack but without a K at the end. It was a historic mining site. And it’s also now considered a ghost town and it’s found in the Adirondack Mountains. To Hawes is was primarily known for its mining activities, especially the mining of iron ore, and iron ore deposits were discovered in the region in the late 19th century and mining operations began in the mid 1800s. The mind was one of the first commercial mining ventures in the Adirondack Mountains. The ore mined, the ore that was mined there was very rich in iron and iron was used in various industries, including construction and manufacturing. In the late 19th century, the Adirondack club a which was a club, a group of prominent businessmen and politicians, established a private retreat Narita to Hall was mine and it was used as recreational purposes sort of their their outdoor club. But then in 1940, a new mine opened for the purpose of obtaining titanium oxide and this allowed for a whole new community to be built. And by 1945 to Hollis had 84 buildings. And then then by the time the mind ceased operations again in 1989 40 million tonnes of titanium had been extracted. I mean, that’s a lot today, to Hollis is considered a ghost town as Little remains of the ones that Have you seen a little remains of the ones thriving mining company? The site is within the boundaries of the Adirondack Park and some remnants of old mining structures can still be found for hikers and history enthusiast to check out. So that is one that you can see parts of. The next one Addy brought back to me was camp Sant unone and camp Santa noni is a historic great camp located in New Combe New York. And it’s one of the most well preserved and significant examples of what’s considered the Adirondack gray camp style architecture. And that style of architecture was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. So camp Santanoni was built in the late 19th century by Robert C. And Anna prune, who were a wealthy company from Albany, wealthy couple from New York, Albany, New York, not company. The construction of a camp began in 1892 and then was complete in 1893. The couple use the camp as their summer retreat, to escape the city’s heat and enjoy the beauty of the Adirondacks. And the Adirondack great camps were private retreats and built by wealthy families during the Gilded Age and they were characterized by rustic yet elegant architecture. They like to blend into the surrounding wilderness, didn’t sort of you know want to stick out they wanted to make it similar and look, as it’s part of an Kent camp Santa noni was designed by architect Robert H. Robertson, in this rustic style with buildings made of native materials such as logs and stone on the campus spread out over a large area of land, and includes the main lodge several guest cabins, a farm complex, and even a boathouse. And the camps buildings are strategically placed to provide breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. And one of the unique features of Camp Santa noni is its remote and pristine location. The camp is nestled deep within the Adirondack wilderness accessible only by a five mile long carriage Road, which visitors can hike or bike during the warmer months now, and during the winter, visitors can ski or snowshoe to reach the camp. The camp is now owned and managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been carefully preserved to showcase its original beauty and significance. So it’s, you know, it’s open to the public. It’s part of the Forest Preserve of Adirondack Park, and visitors can actually explore the building of the camp buildings, take guided tours, and learn more about this the rich history and the architecture of great camps. As someone who really gets into some of the architecture this is one place that I’m looking forward to checking out at some point just to see how all the camp you know how it looked and how people vacation at that point in time. Another place that Addy found was the Lake Placid Club. These are remains of an adirondack hotel. The Lake Placid Club is a historic resort, located in Lake Placid in New York, in New York in again in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. The Lake Placid Club was built in 1895 by Melville Dewey. Does that name sound familiar? Yes, it should. He’s also the creator of the Dewey Decimal system used in libraries. So this is this is his place, he sought to create a place where people could escape the city and enjoy the pristine natural beauty of the Adirondacks. And the club was established on a largest state accomplishing over 2400 acres. So yes, our guide, Dewey Decimal System also built a club up in Lake Placid. The Lake Placid Club quickly became known for its sports and recreational facilities. It offered various activities including golf, tennis, boating, fishing, horseback riding and winter sports such as ice skating, skiing, and tobogganing. The club’s commitment to sports helped me CLAY Placid, a renowned winter sports location. It also actually helped get the Winter Olympics. So,
you know, it’s it’s pretty important. It’s a pretty important club up there. The Lake Placid Club operated as a private resort with a membership system. If I understand correctly, that membership system was with not without some faults of exclusion, so that that wasn’t a great part of its history. But over the years, the popularity of private clubs did decline and the resort did face financial challenges and eventually ceased operations in the in the 1980s. Today, many of those buildings that once belonged to the Lake Placid Club are either privately owned part of residential communities or used for various purposes, the main lodge while no longer a hotel is still standing and has been adapted for other uses. So you can see some of these buildings, not sure you know if you can enter it’s definitely not part of a of a park or part of the state. And then another place that has been abandoned and is not not available for visiting is frontier town. Now frontier town was a wild west themed amusement park located in the Adirondack Mountains, and the park, which it opened in 1952. Which if you listen to my episode a few weeks ago, about Enchanted Forest and some of those other parks, you know that this was the time that a lot of these small parks were opening. This one was a different theme. It was designed to recreate the excitement and adventure of the American frontier during the 19th century. And it became a really popular attraction for families, tourists and travelers just passing through that area. frontier town was founded by Arthur Benson, who was a businessman who wanted to create a unique entertainment experience for visitors and the building. The park was designed as a western frontier town, complete with wooden buildings, streets and themed attractions. They definitely went a different direction from the storybook character theme. And frontier town had some unique attractions is such as a prairie junction, Pioneer Village, a Native American village, a rodeo arena and a small railroad and over the years frontier town, expanded its attractions had other themed areas, it changed ownership multiple times saw a lot of updates, a lot of various updates a lot of renovations. But unfortunately, frontier town just face too many financial challenges. And also declining attendance in the late 20th century. So it closed his doors to the public in 1998, after nearly five decades of operation, so I mean, it was a good run, you know, for frontier based theme park, the state was supposed to take it over and create a tourism hub on the site. But that didn’t happen. And seemed to get a lot of a lot of conflicting information. But it seems though maybe a private investor has bought the area. And there’s maybe like a trading post and some places to eat, but there’s definitely not a full Park. And no one’s allowed on to that abandon land either. So unfortunately, you can’t can’t go visit that. But you know, it did exist and it sounds like it was it was a fun time. Finally, this was fascinating, having seen Oppenheimer that there are Atlas missile silos in in the Adirondacks. in Plattsburgh, New York, which is located on the western shore of Lake Champlain was it was home to Atlas F missile silos during the Cold War. Plattsburgh Air Force Base, which was operational from the 1950s to the 1990s held several of these missile silos. The Plattsburgh Air Force Base was an important strategic location during the Cold War, due to its proximity to major East Coast cities and its position for potential nucular deterrence against potential potential adversaries. The base was part of the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command and housed Atlas F intercontinental ballistic dig missiles in underground silos. And the Atlas F missiles stored at Plattsburgh Air Force Base were designed to be launched from their underground silos in response to potential nucular threats. So they were part of the efforts to maintain a deterrent during those cold warriors that a lot of us lived through. Since the end of the Cold War, though, Plattsburgh Air Force Base has been closed, and the missile silos have been decommissioned today. Some of the former missile silo sites are at Plattsburgh have been preserved or repurpose for other use, while others have been remediated, remediated for environmental purposes. So in addition to the peaks, you can see there’s seems like the Adirondacks have a lot to offer every type of tourist and there’s definitely a few of those I would would like to check out. If you’ve been any of these or you know of any others again, please let me know I’d love to get some firsthand, firsthand experience from those. But in the meantime, I hope these episodes inspire you to get out and roam even in your own neighborhood. So please subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes. And if you like what we’re doing here, please leave a review and a rating. Also to help support us please head to Yeti to shop to pick up some roaming Yeti merch and sign up for our newsletter to join us in our monthly bingo challenge. Talk to you soon and keep roaming