An abandoned hamlet in the northeastern Adirondack Mountains. It is surrounded by the High Peaks Wilderness Area except for the south where the access road is situated. The hamlet was founded to house the workers of the nearby mines and steelworks plants of Adirondack Iron Works.   Over two centuries later it is now in the possession of the Open Space Institute. The institute wishes to preserve the heritage location and restore the natural site that was damaged by the long term mining operations.


The hamlet is located in a small valley surrounded by several peaks. These peaks include Sanford Hill, Echo Mountain, Popple Hill, Mount Adams and Henderson Mountain. The Hudson River flows through it and has formed several lakes along the way. In the North is Henderson Lake and at the center are two parts of Sandford lake. The entire area still shows clear signs of the mining operations with several tailing piles and quarries. The quarries often fill with water at least temporary.


There is not much infrastructure remaining. Of the original buildings only around ten remain. The most notable is the MacNaughton Cottage which was restored. The cleaned and stabilized remnants of a blast furnace used during the first mining operation remains. It is the last building from before the 1900.   The access road is called Tahawus road and is maintained. The remnants of the railway are still there though all the buildings surrounding it have been removed. The tracks are not maintained.


There are no humans present in this area today year round. Hikers pass the hamlet on their way to the Indian Pass or Mount Marcy. The area of the former hamlet is the home of the Tahawus clan. They are a large clan of Gahongas. They live around the Hudson River and the various lakes and ponds in the valley.
Abandoned Hamlet
44.05145, -74.05242
Access Road
Tawahus Road (CR 25)
Current Owner
Open Space Institute
Location under

Cover image: Book of Magic by TJ Trewin
  • 1826 CE

    David Henderson meets Lewis Elijah Benedict
    Discovery, Exploration

    The Native American trapper Lewis Elijah Benedict leads David Henderson over the Adirondack Pass (today known as the Indian Pass). There he shows him where he found the piece of iron ore he had found.

  • 1827 CE

    Iron Ore Mining Begins

    Mining operations begin for the Upper Works. These are located about 16 kilometers up the Hudson River from the modern day settlement ruins. These operations were not particularly successful or profitable. All the iron ore had to be shipped to Lake Champerlain for processing until 1837 and the iron had unknown impurities that made it difficult to process.

  • 1837 CE

    Furnaces constructed
    Construction beginning/end

    A small pudding furnace is constructed close to the mines. Some time after this a blast furnace is added. This allowed the iron ore to be processed shortly after extraction. This was much cheaper than transporting it to Lake Chamberlain and processing it there. The downside of this was of course that the furnace requires a lot of fuel to run. This fuel was supplied with charcoal as wood was readily available close by. With the kilns large portions of forest close to roads and rivers were cut down to supply the wood. This angered the dryads as several hundred of them were killed in the process.

  • 1857 CE

    Iron Ore Mining Ends

    The Upper Works are abandoned by the Adirondack Iron Works company. Most of the inhabitants leave the settlement and go live somewhere else. Some people remained behind as there were still minor opportunities in the lumber industry and hunting game. Most of the land was leased for recreational purposes by James R. Thompson via the Preston Ponds Club.

  • 1876 CE


    Preston Ponds Club founded

    The Preston Ponds Club is a small and informal club founded by James R. Thompson. The club leases the land around Tahawus for recreational purposes like hunting and fishing. The club allows Mr. Thompson to better protect the game and fish and use the land for socializing in this circles.

  • 1877 CE


    Adirondack Club Incorporated
    Cultural event

    The informal Preston Ponds Club is incorporated and renamed to "Adirondack Club". The club continues to lease the land in and around Tahawus for recreational purposes.

  • 1898 CE

    Club Renamed to Tahawus Club
    Cultural event

    The Adirondack Club is renamed for a second time to the Tahawus Club. The club continues to lease the entire Tahawus tract from the heirs of the mine owners.

  • 1901 CE

    Theodore Roosevelt visits
    Political event

    Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was visiting Tahawus in 1901 during the final days of President William McKinley's presidency. Roosevelt had been vacationing in Vermont, but quickly left for Buffalo, New York after learning that President William McKinley had recently been shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. Hearing of the President's good prognosis and expecting a quick recovery, Roosevelt embarked on a hiking trip up Mount Marcy from Adirondac, where his family was staying. Three hours into the trip, a mounted park ranger alerted him that McKinley was in critical condition. Roosevelt began the trip from Tahawus to Buffalo, and learned of McKinley's death while at the North Creek Railroad Station.

  • 1940 CE

    Titanium Dioxide

    The mine was reopened for the extraction of titanium dioxide. This previously unknown ore was causing issues when smelting the iron ore extracted from the mine the last time it was operated. They were simply known as impurities.   The mine was opened by National Lead Industries along Sanford Lake. It was about two kilometers south of the original operation and became known as the Lower Works.

  • 1943 CE

    Tahawus is established

    A small hamlet is established to house the mine workers called Tahawus. It incorporated some of the older buildings that were already there from the previous mining operations.

  • 1945 CE

    Tahawus grows
    Population Migration / Travel

    At this time the hamlet has grown to a total of 84 buildings.

  • 1989 CE

    Mine closed

    The mines were official closed after 49 years of operations. During this time a total of forty million tons of titanium were extracted.

  • 1993 CE

    Begin Purchase Negotations
    Financial Event

    The Open Space Institute starts purchase negotations for the tract of land with National Lead Industries. The tract of land is of interest to the conservation organization, because of its significance as part of the Hudson River shed.   Joe Martens, former president of the institute, described the Tahawus tract as "absolutely breathtaking." He continues, "Its defining natural features include rugged mountains, crystal clear, glacially carved lakes, and the headwaters of the Hudson River."

  • 2003 CE

    Purchased by Open Space Institute
    Financial Event

    The Open Space Institute purchases the tract of land after twenty years of negotiations for US$8.5 million. The deal was supported by the Adirondack Park Agency and shares some of the management responsibilites.

  • 2019 CE

    3 October

    Special Territory Incorporated
    Political event

    A special territory named after the settlement is incorporated by the Tahawus clan inhabiting the area. The remnants of the settlement are now part of that special territory and governed by the clan.   This claim was backed by the Adirondack Park Alliance, the Adirondack Park Agency and the Dryad Wilderness Federation of the Adirondack Mountains. The Open Space Institute continues to protect the land in cooperation with the Tahawus clan.


Author's Notes

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