Noah John Rondeau was not the original Adirondack hermit. The Great North Woods have harbored many individuals who could stake claim to the title, from French Louie in the West Canada Lakes to the mysterious, Follensby near the Saranacs. It seems that nearly every section of the Adirondacks has hosted at least one capable woodsman who preferred the forest to the town. Yet, Noah John Rondeau was certainly the most visible of the breed and he remains the most famous.
A self proclaimed mayor of Cold River City, (population of one), Rondeau established his wilderness residence on a high bank overlooking the Cold River, upstream of the junction with Ouluska Pass Brook. His hermitage was established on the location of an old, abandoned Santa Clara Lumber Company logging camp.
Although Rondeau had worked as a barber, caretaker and lumber camp laborer, by 1926 he was ready to become a permanent resident of the sprawling metropolis of Cold River City. On a high bank overlooking the Cold River valley, Noah established his cabin and a number of outbuildings, which he named the Town Hall, the Hall of Records and the Beauty Parlor. He also constructed a variety of "Wigwams." These wigwam structures, which resembled teepees in shape, were constructed for the collection of firewood.
During his ordinary everyday travels, whether hunting, trapping or fishing, Rondeau would return to camp dragging a long, slender sapling. The tree would be notched every 18 inches or so and stacked in a teepee fashion to dry. He gave these structures proper names, calling one the Pyramid of Giza.
In the deep snows and cold of winter, he could open the window, pull a sapling in to a notch and break it off. The system worked well, he never had to step outside to cut firewood during the winter. It was just one of the many secrets of comfortable, forest living that the old hermit acquired. There were many others!